The Iziko Slave Lodge was originally used to house slaves, and is the second oldest building in Cape Town. A site with a painful past, it now serves as a reminder and pays homage to the enslaved both past and present. The museum is geared toward creating awareness of human rights, and through its inspiring exhibit, shares difficult narratives including the history of slavery in the Cape and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as well as contemporary social matters.
This historic building has had many names over three centuries. Built in 1679, it was initially christened the Slave Lodge by the Dutch East India Company. The Slave Lodge was believed to house up to 9,000 slaves, convicts and mentally ill locals between its erection and 1811. In 1810, the building served as government offices before being restored in 1960 for use as the South African Museum. The name changed in 1969 to the South African Cultural History Museum. Finally, in 1998, the building was renamed the Slave Lodge. Under the umbrella theme, ͞From human wrongs to rights͟, the museum provides insight into the long history of slavery in South Africa.