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Sunday, June 18, 2023



(Left: Paul Mikula, courtesy of Facebook)

 Architect Paul Mikula, the founder and now the managing trustee of the Phansi uBuntuArtMuseum in Durban reveals the current activities at Phansi.


Project Phase 1

During December 2021, Phansi Museum welcomed and employed 31 Youth, to participate in the ongoing Phansi Goes Phezulu project (PGP).

The participants were placed in various departments within the museum such as; Photography, Video Production, Curation, Library and Archive. PGP is an exciting campaign to digitise the vast collection of the Phansi ubuntu Arts Museum, which includes the collection of indigenous artworks from all over Southern Africa and Africa.

"I learnt how to digitise archives by scanning documents and photographs. I am grateful to have been part of such an opportunity and to have worked alongside other artists,” said Amanda Thabede, one of participants in the Archival and Library Department.

The aim of this project is to make the museum’s exhibitions and documentaries accessible to all from the comfort of their homes.


Phansi Museum Goes Online

During lockdown 2020, Google Arts and Culture unveiled its collaboration with Phansi Museum as part of their initiative to digitise the museum. We are able to create virtual exhibitions and display our collection with detailed metadata online.

Our project, "I Am Because You Are: is a celebration of South African creativity" aims to celebrate the people of South Africa through traditional, ancient and contemporary art. This project is featured online for the first time.

“It has been a long journey to get this project to this point. For three of those years, I have been working with Google, we are proud to be partners. We hope this allows our work to be seen and enjoyed by Africans in the diaspora but also the world at large,” said Paul.

The public can access, explore and discover the stories about the museum through immersive tours and curated online exhibitions. View the online projects at


A Surprise Visit By Zulu Royal

The late Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi surprised the Phansi Museum with an impromptu visit.

Museum curator, Mam' Phumzile Nkosi, who has worked at the museum since 1996 was proud when Buthelezi came to visit. "We felt really honoured to have spent time with him. It was a very happy moment," said Mam' Phumzile.

Prince Buthelezi was the custodian of the Zulu Royal Family. He prided himself in the preservation of the Zulu Nguni culture and traditions.


Smithsonian National Museum Curator Visit Phansi Museum

As the year progressed, we were excited to receive a visit from USA sports curator Dr Damian L Thomas. Dr Thomas is from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Dr Thomas was provided an in-depth personal tour from Phansi Museum Founder Paul Mikula.

He was provided with unique information from Mikula's experiences as an artefact collector, his personal stories from the people sharing their knowledge on African tools and artworks while visiting various African regions.


The Resuscitation Of The Community Murals Project

History came to light in an eight-panel visual project by the late resident artist, Peter Engblom at the Phansi Museum last year. Engblom, who created collages in the Roberts House cowshed adjoining the museum, an on-going project in memory of well-known Durban artist Terry Anne Stevenson and all those who worked with her, the trustees of Phansi Museum embarked on a legacy project that will be of long-lasting value.

Terry Anne Stevenson greatly contributed to street art murals in Durban, including the three layers of human rights murals which were once on the Durban prison wall, as well as the grand and giving Umkubulwana at Berea station and the Market.

In continuing this legacy, the Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum has partnered with the Umbilo library to host a mobile exhibition, History In The Essence Of Music And Journals. This display of visual anthropology celebrates the resilience of the original spirit against adversity.

“We hope to edu-tain, forge on-going relations between the libraries and other suitable venues. We hope to see it go to as many venues as possible,” said Thobeka Dhlomo, project facilitator.

The exhibition is made up of eleven panels showcasing images of the transition of South Africa from the 1800s until 2020 and the influence it had on music, attire, architecture, education and culture.

This exhibition was an audio-visual experience.


Phansi Museum Welcomed Ten Interns

In December 2022, 9 young graduates were placed with Phansi Museum to work on the digitisation of the museum’s artworks and archival material. The project was supported by Art Bank of South Africa through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP3).

"As an aspiring cultural heritage practitioner, I am hoping my internship will expose me to as many skills as possible that are related to assessing, conserving, interpreting and exhibiting cultural heritage...Through this experience, I've learnt about various artefacts from Southern African ethnic groups, and that has been insightful and fascinating", said Anele Bhengu, regarding her internship working in the Archive and Library Department.

“I hope to enhance my skills set in the art realm", said an excited Lusanda Msomi from the Community Murals team.

The Department of Sport, Arts & Culture has made PESP3 funding available to the cultural and creative industry with the aim to expand the creative industry and to contribute to economic recovery and reconstruction.

Due to the successful implementation of the first PESP3 in 2020/22, the museum was re-awarded further funding to continue supporting the development of future professionals in the Arts Industry.


Welcome 30 Participants

Phansi is currently training 30 participants in beadwork, visual anthropology, sculpture and digitisation, the project is being sponsored by the National Arts Council. The project started in the beginning of February until the end of March.


Clive Sithole

We are proud to announce that the ceramic classes are being led by Clive Sithole who works with local potters, including Zulu and Venda ceramic artists.

He has led workshops internationally, travelling to Nigeria to study the Udu ceramic drum and to the University for the Creative Arts in Farham, England, to work with Magdalene Odundo.

“As their teacher, I am interested in working with them, but the problem is that we have a short period of time, which makes it difficult for me. But besides that, we are still doing well,” said Clive Sithole.

"Working with Nontando (the one who teaches beadwork) is very good, she has patience for all of us as her students. I really hope that at the end of this project we will have learned a lot from her, said Khethiwe Cele.


Announcement Of Our New Project At Inanda

We are proud to announce our new project funded by the National Heritage Council, which will be run from the Inanda area which is an incredible location surrounded by Inanda Dam.

Phansi Museum is a very busy place, where you can find people with various artistic skills. Phansi aims to create job opportunities for everyone. Since the year began, we have had many ongoing projects, one of which is ongoing in Nongoma, sponsored by National Art Council.


2023 Calendar

Every year Phansi Museum collaborates with Dignity Print to create a new calendar to showcase a part of their collection. This year the Phansi Museum presents a new calendar titled Other Roots, with the collection of fabrics collected in north-west India in early 2000.

Those pictures show off the Rabari women of Gujarat who decorate their houses and animals with beautiful beaded textiles to bless them all and bring good luck. We like to thank our sponsor; especially Yusuf Patel for making it happen, dignity for printing it and the ever-ready Fathima Paruk for getting everything together for the final print.

To purchase a calendar email

Once again we like to thank our sponsor for support.

Paul Mikula


Phansi Museum is situated at 500 Esther Roberts Road in Glenwood, Durban. For more information visit