About Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum

Walk through an original historic migrant labour hostel. The only preserved hostel in the Wesrtern Cape, Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum is a memorial to the system of migrant labour, single sex hostels and the control of black workers through the identity document which controlled the lives of black South Africans under apartheid - the infamous pass book.

The museum reminds residents and visitors of the horrific living conditions that the migrant labour system imposed. Lwandle was established in 1958 with hostel type accommodation for workers in the nearby fruit and canning industry. These hostels were only intended for single men. Hostels provided very basic accommodation with four to six men occupying a small confined space, with an entire block sharing rudimentary ablution facilities. In the 1980s, as the control of the flow of people from rural areas was eased, these hostels became even more overcrowded. Facilities were not provided to sustain the increased population.

With the onset of democracy in South Africa, the ANC led government turned the hostels of Lwandle into family type accommodation. Residents of the area felt that at least one hostel should be preserved to sustain a memory of how the system of apartheid had operated and decided to establish a museum. On Workers Day (1 May) 2000 the museum was officially opened by the poet and ex-Lwandle resident, Sandile Dikeni. The museum's exhibits commemorate the trials, tribulations and triumphs of migrant workers and hostel life in Southern Africa. Here you can learn more about the migrant labour system, walk through an original historic hostel, meet members of the community and view the whole township on a guided walk.

+27 (021) 845 6119
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Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum Map

Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum is 6.3km from the centre of Somerset West , the nearest airport 34.8km (Cape Town International Airport).
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling

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