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​​The Hector Pieterson Museum stands as a powerful testament to the 1976 Soweto Uprising. At the helm, guiding the museum's mission is Chief Curator Prince Dube.“Museums are the cornerstone of a nation’s identity,” says Prince. “They allow us to see ourselves, our history, as South Africans. Here at the Hector Pieterson Museum, we strive to showcase this story for the world.”

As Chief Curator, Prince leads the museum’s vision, ensuring it meets its goals and serves the community. A big milestone for the museum was when they recently won an Outstanding Museums award.

Prince’s journey began in KwaGingindlovu, KwaZulu-Natal. After matriculating, he pursued his passion for art at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly the University of Durban-Westville). His career path has seen him dedicated to arts education and cultural preservation. He began at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 1996, followed by positions at the Springs Art Gallery and the Alexandra Museum. Finally, on his birthday, 1 December 2019, he embraced his current role at the Hector Pieterson Museum.

Prince took a proactive approach on arrival by reviewing visitors’ feedback and identifying areas for improvement. He then presented a detailed report to the City, advocating for necessary upgrades.

These improvements included repairing audiovisual equipment and ensuring a smooth reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown. The museum’s interior and exterior were refreshed, and the staff workspace was revitalised with a splash of colour to boost morale.

Another key focus for Prince was increasing visitation. His efforts have yielded impressive results. The 2022/23 fiscal year saw over 63,000 visitors. Remarkably, with two months remaining in the current financial year, the museum has already surpassed that number, reaching over 70,000 visitors. International tourists and pupils, particularly those from as far as Limpopo, flock to the museum to gain a deeper understanding of the uprising.

The museum uses a captivating blend of over 30 audiovisuals, photographs, text panels, and historical artefacts to narrate the events leading up to and following the uprising.

“It’s crucial to present the story authentically,” emphasises Prince. “Visitors leave here touched and informed. We owe it to those who lost their lives to remember their sacrifice. 

There can be no sugarcoating history.”

The museum’s success is a collective effort, supported by its dedicated staff of 11 members – tour guides, cashiers, cleaners, education officers, a museum attendant, and an intern.
The Hector Pieterson Museum has also had the privilege of hosting esteemed guests, including former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, international dignitaries like Barack Obama and Robert Mugabe, ministers, and even royalty.

In closing, Prince underscores the museum’s commitment to its stakeholders and the surrounding businesses. He emphasises a collaborative spirit – the museum, and the community, all working together, united in their love and dedication to preserving this significant piece of history for future generations.