I write these words amid the hubbub of hundreds of enthusiastic delegates, gathered at the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre for “Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow”. This conference, or rather “convening” (which implies a less academic and more capacious programme), is an initiative by the French Institute of SA and the embassy of France.

An impressive event, bringing together participants from many countries and from across the culture and heritage sector, it aims to be more than a talkshop — moving “from conversation to action”, as one of the session subtitles puts it. In her opening address, curatorial committee member Ngaire Blankenberg welcomed those in attendance with the acknowledgment that “we are under no illusion that this convening will fix everything”, but she also affirmed that “silence is complicity”...

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