Red Location Museum South Africa, Port Elizabeth

Red Location Museum

The Red Location Museum is an Apartheid museum in New Brighton township of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was designed by South African architectural partnership Noero Wolff Architects and has won a number of prestigious international architecture awards, such as the RIBA's Lubetkin Award. It was opened in 2005. Towards the end of 2013, it is reported, residents of the surrounding township forced its closure, accusing the authorities of building "a house for dead people" while they live in squalor. The residents threatened to assault visitors, and "efforts to reopen it have been met with violent protests."

The Red Location Museum challenges the traditional role of museums as representing a single or hegemonic perspective of history. Instead, the floor space contains various "memory boxes", each one exhibiting the life story or perspective of people or groups who fought against the Apartheid regime. There is no clear hierarchy to the arrangement of these boxes, and visitors are free to walk between and into them in whichever order they wish. The site of Red Location was important in the history of the Struggle: the first Umkhonto we Sizwe branch in South Africa was started in the township, and it was also the site of the first Defiance Campaign arrests. The museum pays homage to the area in various ways. The towering memory boxes are clad in the same rusted corrugated metal sheets as the surrounding shacks of the shantytown (which give Red Location its name), and the overall form of the museum resembles that of a factory. This is a reference to the workers' unions and industrial unrest which was instrumental in bringing down the Apartheid government.

The museum is open to the public, and houses exhibition space, an art gallery, restaurant and auditorium.