​Museums and Libraries

The mission of the Polokwane Art Museum is to enable people to explore the works of art in the Museum for their own enjoyments, inspiration and education, with the goal of leaving visitors with the recollection of having had a unique Limpopo Province experience.  In order to accomplish this mission, the Museum collects, protects, exhibits and holds in trust artifacts for society.

Administered and funded by the Polokwane Municipality, the Museum was established in 1970 when a resolution approved the launch of an art museum for the City. A budget of R1000 (one thousand rand) was approved for the purchase of works of art as a contribution toward the establishment of an Art collection.

Jack Botes, a former Town Clerk realized that it would take forever to build an art collection if works were to be purchased.  Using his considerable influence he approached artists for donations to the collection.  Today there are over 1000 works in the indoor collection.  An outdoor collection boasts a number of sculptures on permanent display. The museum also curates 15 unique works of art produced from industrial material in an open air park.  The Industrial Art Park is the only one of its kind in Africa.

Works from well known artists and sculptors like Naria Mabasa, Danie de Jager, Jackson Hlungwane, Hennie Potgieter and John Baloyi, to name a few, are on exhibition.

Contact details
 +27 (0)15 290 2177.

An unusual and eclectic mix of local rural crafts, bespoke furniture and the artworks of a variety of well known South African artists can be found at Eloff Gallery.  Unlike the modern and stark new generation of art studios, the gallery is warm and inviting with a combination of masterpieces to leave a visitor in awe.  The gallery was opened in 1989 by Barenda Eloff who was passionate about all things African.  If you are looking for something unusual, original, something of real value, then Eloff Gallery is a must on your agenda.  Displays of art works by local artists like Peter Goss and Willie van der Merwe are a highlight, as are the works of well known South African artists such as Hannetjie de Clerque, Pieter van der Westhuizen and Claerhout.

Contact details
 +27 (0)15 297 5132

Just outside Polokwane this museum depicts the lifestyle of the Northern Sotho people, including the Bapedi Tribe.  Linked to the archeological site of a 17th century village and its complex stone walls, the Bakone Malapa Open Air Cultural Museum is a revival of the history of the people of the Province.  The traditional ways of hut building, wood carving, basketry and thatch working are on display and the ancient art of pottery and metalwork are fascinating.  It’s a trip back in time, a walk through ancient times.

Contact details
 +27 (0)15 295 2432

A visual history of the city, its evolution and its people can be viewed at the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum.  There are 23 000 glass negatives and cameras on display which were taken by Hugh Exton from 1892 to 1945.  It is history of technology and a story book in pictures of the evolution of a small town into a flourishing metropolitan centre.

Contact details
 +27 (0)15 290 2185

Right in the centre of the city is Irish House, a Victorian building that was prefabricated and moved complete to the city by a German immigrant, Moschke in 1906. The building sold to JA Jones in 1920 and housed a general dealer.  It was restored to its former glory in 1986 and was turned into the Polokwane Museum.  It displays the diverse cultural heritage of the city and the Limpopo Province.

Contact details
 +27 (0)15 290 2185

The elegant gazebo in the Civic Square was built in 1924.  It was the home of a coach magnate, Doel Zeederberg, who established the first passenger stage-coach service between Pietersburg (now Polokwane) and Bulawayo (in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia) in 1894.  It is a reminder of an era of huge progress and the service played a big part in attracting people to the region.

The Roman Catholic Church in the heart of the city was built in 1934.  While it is a relatively young building it is considered one of the city’s finest pieces of architechture.  Still the home of the large catholic congregation in Polokwane, this grandiose monument is applauded by the whole city.

“VOORTREKKERS” – “Those who came first.”  Sites commemorating the arrival of the early settlers in the region are abundant.  Apart from their historical value these sites remind us of the important role the first settlers played in the development of the district.

Louis Trichardt, a leader of one of the earliest treks and an explorer, is remembered at the Trichardt Memorial which is located 6km north of the city. 

Exploration and travel into the region was hard, plagued with sickness, toil and danger. The Voortrekker Memorial and Wagon Tracks commemorate the Great Trek of 1938 and the people whose courage and determination made a difference.

This war which raged at the beginning of the 20th Century between the British and South Africa had an impact in this district, as it did throughout the country.  4000 women and children were incarcerated by the British and lack of amenities, sickness and starvation led to the death of many.  The Concentration Camp Cemetery in Cobal Street in Polokwane bears witness to the suffering of those South Africans at the hands of the British.

The old English Fort of Marabastad where in 1880 the Boers forced the siege of 140 solders for 104 days is tied into the history of this era.

The 1800’s are famous for the big gold rush.  Gold has always played a big role in the development of the City and the region as a whole.  In the 1800’s the areas first crushing site and gold power plant operations are marked by the Eersteling Monuments, 18km from the city on route to Mokopane.  The explorers, diggers and buyers were reliant on horseback and horse-drawn carriages in these times and the Horse Rails, which marked the centre of the business hub, are still standing near the Post Office in Landdros Mare St.

At the end of the Makgoba War in 1893, all the guns were confiscated and melted into a mass of metal to ensure that they were destroyed completed.  The building of a golf course in 1975 uncovered this mass of molten metal.  It was proclaimed as a gun memorial and the mass was moved to the Polokwane Art Museum in the library gardens.