The Camissa Museum tells the stories of the peopling of the Cape. It reveals the rich and complex history of Camissa Africans, those classified as ‘Coloured,’ who have been portrayed by others for centuries but never by themselves. This history and these stories, that have been buried and hidden for centuries, are now told for the first time.
The museum is a place of memory and restoration; it uncovers a hidden ancestral and cultural past, crucial for communities to understand themselves and for a common understanding among different communities.
We believe that knowledge of our history and origins builds vital self-understanding that fosters that important sense of belonging and connection to place. We believe that a people who know their history and origins are better able to navigate their present and future.
Bringing these stories of the Cape, and its people, to life will bring healing, affirmation, and restoration of human dignity, after centuries of suffering colonialism, slavery, forced removals, restrictions on freedom of movement and imposition of the first pass laws, nineteen wars of dispossession, ethnocide, genocide, de-Africanisation and Apartheid.
The Camissa Museum invites you to take a journey with us to explore the emergence and progress of Camissa Africans from the year 1600 to the present, by tracking seven broad tributaries of peoples brought together from over 195 roots of origin, by forced migrations. These peoples faced great adversities together, but their collective story is of a people who rose above adversity and thrived.
The home of the Camissa Museum is the Castle of Good Hope, a Cape Town landmark which was the seat of colonial power for 200 years and which was built using the exploited labour of the enslaved. This project is one of a basket of projects emerging at the Castle as part of a process of transformation and restorative memory. Without restorative memory it is difficult to fashion the necessary restoration and transformation required across the broader South African social landscape.