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Children’s museum catalysing innovations in creative learning, children’s rights, parent engagement and social cohesion.

Play Africa

location_on Johannesburg, South Africa
Disrupting the idea of a “museum,” Play Africa developed a flexible museum model to bring transformative learning experiences promoting creativity, innovation and connection to a divided society. Through replicable programmes and exhibits, Play Africa empowers children, parents and teachers with learning approaches that bring global thinking to classrooms and communities.
Overview

HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

ALL
Target Group
25 000
Children/Users
1
Country
2014
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
445
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Updated on September 23rd, 2021
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about the innovation

Re-imagining cultural institutions for our youngest citizens

What we do?

Play Africa is pioneering, de-centralised children’s museum that creates inclusive spaces for high-quality play and playful learning. In six years of successful operations, we’ve become a platform to champion children’s rights, bring families together, and foster social inclusion through inspiring play exhibits and facilitated programmes.

In Johannesburg, we are based inside a former prison at the iconic Constitution Hill, just 15 metres from Nelson Mandela’s cell. We transform this apartheid-era prison from a site of humiliation, oppression and fear, into a joyful family playscape of discovery and learning. However, not every child can come to us, so we create pop-up experiences in the city itself -- in school halls, parks, community centres and inner city rooftops. 

We developed a scalable, replicable model to create Play Africa experiences in a range of urban contexts. The majority of our visitors include children who from low-income homes, underserved communities, are physically or mentally disabled, neglected, orphaned, homeless, refugees or asylum seekers, physically and/or mentally abused or traumatised. We offer special access hours twice a month to make special provision, and remove additional barriers, for children with disabilities and special needs.

With a demonstrated track record of social impact, combined with world-class back-end controls and a realizable strategy for sustainable growth, we are poised to scale in several locations across sub-Saharan Africa and are looking for the right strategic partners.

Why we do it?

Everyone deserves access to safe environments where they can play, create, discover and connect with one another, so we make 21st-century, high-quality playful learning available to everyone – from all walks of life and abilities. Everyone who visits Play Africa can try new play experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, that are locally-relevant and rooted in educational pedagogies. Over the last five years, we’ve created inclusive, scalable, appropriate solutions in a society that is highly polarized, deeply unequal and characterised by exclusion. 

Five days a week, we offer free, safe and inclusive public play and educational spaces open to the 1 million children age 10 and under in greater Johannesburg, and increasingly attract visitors from neighbouring provinces. Besides making provision for play on site at Constitution Hill, we conduct right to play outreach and advocacy programmes in underserved communities that directly serve tens of thousands of children nationwide.

Media

See this innovation in action

Pupils in fossil-rich East Cape village shown potential of palaeontology
THE HERALD21 September 2021While most children only dream of finding a dinosaur bone in their backyard, those in the village of Qhemegha have their own palaeoscience playground.In an effort to educate the village’s 160 school and early childhood development (ECD) pupils about the history of the area located on the Eastern Cape side of the Lesotho border, Play Africa recently launched its “Dinosaur Dig” travelling exhibition.In 2015, residents alerted SA universities of fossils in the area.Since then, palaeoscientists have been working with the community to excavate what is now known as one of the richest dinosaur fossil sites in Southern Africa.Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, partnered with the DSI-NRF Centre for Excellence in Palaeosciences and the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University to design and build the “Dinosaur Dig” travelling exhibition.The 100m² hands-on exhibition was designed and built by small businesses before being transported to Qhemegha Senior Primary School.Play Africa chief executive Gretchen Wilson-Prangley said the interactive exhibit included playful learning elements and a life-size dinosaur skeleton created with a 3D printer.“We believe the children of Qhemegha are among the potential South African palaeoscientists of tomorrow,” Wilson-Prangley said.“We want every child in Qhemegha to fall in love with and be proud of the amazing fossils of the area.“We also want them to learn how they can pursue this field of study for a future career.”The exhibition allows pupils to move through different scenes to envision ancient landscapes and learn more about how palaeontologists dig for fossils.The Evolutionary Studies Institute’s Prof Jonah Choiniere said the greater Qhemegha community had been the catalyst for groundbreaking research on dinosaurs.“Now we’re closing the loop by bringing that research back to them to inspire the next generation of palaeontologists,” Choiniere said.Sginyane Ralane, a prominent resident, along with shepherd Dumangwe Thyobeka, first alerted Choiniere to the existence of the fossils.Ralane said you could see and feel the optimism and enthusiasm of the whole village about the exhibition.“Ultimately, we would love to see the children of this village following studies in palaeoscience at university.“The future looks brighter for these children through playful learning.”Wilson-Prangley described the exhibition as an exciting, informal learning environment with materials that invited children to test, experiment and explore.“We help children see that if they loved this experience, they can ‘lean in’ to coursework and careers that unlock pathways to careers in palaeontology, or other fields in science, technology, engineering and maths [STEM subjects].“We’ve designed this programme to show every child that she or he has a right to science, science education and science literacy,” Wilson-Prangley said.“We want to unlock new possibilities for children traditionally excluded from and underrepresented in STEM fields.”She said the exhibition was launched as a pilot project over five days last week and had since returned to Gauteng.“Like any educational project we need partners to come on board for funding.“We had a budget to launch the project in the Eastern Cape but for it reach hundreds and thousands of pupils across SA it requires funding.”Amkelwe Mnduze, a grade 7 pupil at Qhemegha Senior Primary said that through the programme she had learnt of a few of the hotspots where you could dig for fossils in and around the village.A library of age-appropriate books, many with a special focus on STEM subjects, and other educational material were also donated to the pupils.
"I am a Scientist!" Exciting science education & STEM learning for children in Africa - Play Africa
Click here to watch this video!I am a Scientist is an exciting educational enrichment programme for primary school children that aims to bridge the opportunity gap and promote equitable science outcomes in South Africa. Through virtual and in-person programmes, children discover the wonder of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the world all around them, and are inspired by local STEM experts and authentic materials. I am a Scientist brings the excitement of STEM to South African children of different backgrounds, ages and abilities - creating a more diverse future workforce by showing every child that she or he can become a scientist!Programmes like these in disadvantaged communities may help bridge opportunity gaps in science education. Research shows that racial and gender disparities are reflected in the unequal visibility of South Africans in STEM fields. In 2017, Marina Joubert and Lars Guenther reported in the South African Journal of Science that 78% of South Africa’s most visible scientists are white, despite the fact that white South Africans make up only 8% of the country’s population. A full 63% of the most visible scientists are white men. This might lead to devastating misconceptions among South African children about who can and should pursue science and STEM careers. “Promoting equity in science and STEM in South Africa means changing mind-sets, fighting racial and gender biases, and challenging stereotypes that limit children’s professional goals,” said Gretchen Wilson-Prangley, CEO of Play Africa. “We’ve designed this programme to show every child that she or he has a right to science, science education and science literacy. We want to unlock new possibilities for children traditionally excluded from, and under-represented in, STEM fields.”Play Africa’s “I am a Scientist” programme is made possible by a grant from 3M, a science, technology and manufacturing company based in St. Paul, MN, USA. 3M recently announced a new global, education-focused goal to advance economic equity by creating five million unique STEM and skilled trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.  Naresh Sanjith, 3M Country Leader South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa, is championing the partnership and says, “Looking at the impact this project has the potential to make around the country, 3M is fully supportive of this effort. With so many communities isolated and in need of developing new skills, Play Africa & 3M can help meet a critical demand in underserved communities that have little or no access to literacy resources – a situation made even more dire in the wake of COVID-19.” “Our partnership with Play Africa on their “I am a Scientist” programme represents another step towards advancing Science Technology Engineering & Maths [STEM] opportunities for children and students in Soweto and the greater Johannesburg. It also signifies the commitment we both share in fostering global citizenship and help improving lives around the world.”“I am a Scientist” has received additional support from Rand Merchant Bank and Constitution Hill.“Together with our partners, we’re helping children learn that they can be changemakers,” said Wilson-Prangley. “Children are full citizens in our society, and we’re helping them learn skills today to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. We want children to know that science is all around them, wherever they are, and that a lifelong passion for science can be ignited anywhere.”
Inspiring the African Scientists of Tomorrow: Play Africa + Goethe-Institut + Science Film Festival
CLICK HERE to see this videoPlay Africa has joined Goethe-Institut Johannesburg to host the Science Film Festival and to inspire the African scientists of tomorrow! See how we're opening new pathways to science by running a dynamic, fun and inclusive STEM programme for more than 300 children in Johannesburg’s inner city.As a dynamic African children's museum, we know that not every child can come to us -- especially during an era of COVID. See how our flexible, responsive cultural institution brings learning to children where they are... inspiring a new generation of scientists through accessible, engaging film screenings and related play-based learning activities. The world is on the brink of scientific and technical revolutions. We empower South Africa's children through age-appropriate STEM activities starting from birth through age 10. Every child deserves the wonder and awe of science!Videography by Eugene AlbertsPlay Africa is a dynamic, growing and agile children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We empower and equip all children and families for the future through #play, #creativity, #innovation & #connection.
How does Play Africa inspire the African scientists of tomorrow? STEM at Science Film Festival 2020
CLICK HERE to watch this videoWe’re a growing, agile children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We empower and equip all children and families for the future through #play, #creativity, #innovation & #connection.In October, more than 350 children in Johannesburg’s inner city participated in a dynamic #STEM learning that aims to be accessible, entertaining and fun. The Science Film Festival aims to inspire a new generation of scientists through film screenings and related play-based learning activities. Taking place at 13 different locations over 8 weeks, it brought the wonder and awe of scientific subjects directly to children in their own classrooms and communities. Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill, used the film screenings and related activities to promote science literacy and build awareness of scientific, technical and environmental issues through films and hands-on educational activities. “To help create the South African scientists of tomorrow, we are making science fun and accessible to all children,” said Play Africa programme manager Mpho Tsele. “Through Play Africa’s partnership with the Science Film Festival, we are showing children that they don’t need a lab coat to be a scientist. Science is all around us. It’s in the colours of the rainbow, it’s in how our food grows, it’s in the water we drink and how we recycle. ” Since its inception by the Goethe-Institut Thailand in 2005, the Science Film Festival has become one of the biggest film festivals worldwide, with over 1 million visitors. It is organized in each country by the Goethe-Institut in close cooperation with local partners.  “The Science Film Festival presents scientific issues in an accessible and entertaining way to a broad audience and demonstrates that science can be fun for children from all ages,” said Dr. Nadine Siegert, Head of Culture and Development at the Goethe-Institut South Africa. “Through the festival, we are continuing our work in the field of science education as we did with the I am Science project from 2016-2019. We are very happy to have found a project partner in Play Africa who is as enthusiastic about children’s education as we are.” The programme received additional support from Rand Merchant Bank, Constitution Hill and Care for Education. This year’s theme is the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were created to be a “shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people.” The ambitious goals to fix climate change, end poverty and fight inequality and injustice were designed to motivate citizens, not just policy-makers. “Play Africa wants all children to know they can be changemakers,” said Play Africa CEO Gretchen Wilson-Prangley. “We see children as full citizens in our society, who are learning the skills today to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. We want all children to know they can play a role, however small, in responding to the Sustainable Development Goals.”  This is the second year that Play Africa has partnered with the Goethe-Institut South Africa to bring the Science Film Festival to children in Johannesburg. Wilson-Prangley said the team had to get creative in an era of COVID-19. “Last year, we welcomed children and families at public screenings at Constitution Hill,” Wilson-Prangley said. “This year, due to COVID-19, we’ve developed an innovative solution by partnering with inner-city housing companies, so we can offer relevant, meaningful STEM education experiences to children in high-rise apartment buildings. We want children to know that science is all around them, wherever they are, and that a lifelong passion for science can be ignited anywhere.”For more information about this programme, contact info (at) playafrica {dot} org [dot] za.
Supporting parent and child mental health amid Covid-19 VIDEO
CLICK HERE to watch this videoAs Covid-19 spread around the world in March 2020, Play Africa's team embraced design thinking to reimagine how to serve vulnerable young children and their families through isolation and uncertainty. We've innovated using low-cost, accessible technology and in-person programmes with physical distancing to reach new, underserved audiences. Throughout, our determination to support creativity, curiosity and connection through play never waned. Every child in South Africa deserves learning opportunities that spark imagination, critical thinking and communication - skills that will help them thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Amid the disruption, we’ve helped families support their children’s well-being, and fostered stronger bonds through play, thanks to the support of our donors and partners. This project was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, with additional support from Rand Merchant Bank, Constitution Hill and Care for Education.Heal and Connect is an original Play Africa programme in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Guided by global frameworks created by UNICEF, UNESCO, World Health Organisation and others, Play Africa helps local schools and community groups to create a humane, rights-based response to COVID-19 that is rooted in play and mental health and psychosocial support. Working closely with local schools and community groups, Play Africa brings parents together through virtual support groups with professional social workers. In addition, Play Africa reaches out to families with one-on-one phone calls to offer "Psychological First Aid," a research-backed response in emergency settings to offer encouragement, information and links to services. Supported by new education resources and play-based learning materials, families can focus on healing, connecting and developing new resilience for the future.Play helps children make sense of the world, process complicated feelings, and build relationships with others. Play Africa will work with local partners to develop emergent, relevant responses guided by global and local frameworks that will place play, healing and human connection at the forefront of response strategies for children and parents.For more information, contact us today at playafrica.org.za.
COVID-19 Helps Expand African Storytelling Stage
JOHANNESBURG - The ancient art of traditional African storytelling has found an unlikely ally in the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of lockdowns, the Play Africa Children’s Museum in South Africa has put its African Storytelling project online, broadening its audience to include children around the world. Thembile Tshuma is among professional storytellers who have taken traditional African storytelling online.   He was supposed to entertain youngsters on location at the Play Africa Children’s Museum in Johannesburg but the pandemic lockdown changed all that.   Now, Tshuma is performing through a camera and computer screen. His global exposure has been growing.   “Now I [have] more than like 3,000 people following me on my page.… That’s also happening to other storytellers … and to the Play Africa page,” Tshuma said.     Internet-savvy mother Pamela Seloane from Soweto explains why she initiated viewing sessions in a local bookshop.      “Some kids don’t have the opportunity to actually watch, even on their phones … They don’t have access. So, I’m like, why can’t I let other kids watch with me? It was from an excitement of discovering this and I just wanted to make it go viral,” Seloane said.It was a steep learning curve for the storytellers, the children’s museum and its partner organization ASSITEJ SA, the South African branch of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People, to master the technology and adapt techniques and props to bring interactive African storytelling to Facebook Live. However, their efforts have transmitted African story magic far beyond South Africa, despite the COVID-19 lockdown, says Ann Simmonds of the Play Africa Children’s Museum.“That ancient art form is now putting a human and a human together again via zippy technology. We started seeing people from Kenya and elsewhere in Africa connecting. We often see in Europe, in the UK families logging on. We’ve had families from Australia,” Simmonds said.   Despite clear benefits, online African storytelling must be dealt with carefully going forward, says applied theater practitioner and analyst, Lalu Mokuku.   “It may also exclude many people that may not have access to the digital space. That’s why I said there needs to be care. At the same time, it’s also quite important for our stories to be told widely,” Mokuku said.    Play Africa Children’s Museum and ASSITEJ SA are also working on developing complementary educational content and considering ways for wider use of the stories.  Watch this story
How to Inspire Children's Creativity, Problem Solving and Joy: Play Africa Children's Museum Video
WATCH THE VIDEO (2017)Play Africa is a small children's museum based at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa. Watch how Play Africa brings together children and families from diverse backgrounds and abilities for shared, equitable creative learning through play. From STEM learning to arts programmes, Play Africa gives every child the opportunity to explore a range of curated exhibit spaces in the former prison courtyards of Constitution Hill. Parents are important partners in children's engagement, spending special time forming bonds of attachment and discovering new opportunities for growth. Through its work, Play Africa fosters social cohesion and nurtures a sense of belonging in all children and families.This video features its collaboration with Johannesburg-based businesses, creating opportunities for employee volunteers to make an impact in education.
Testimonial: Play Africa Children's Museum Sensory Play Exhibit for Children with Autism - RMB
WATCH THE VIDEO.April 2018RMB showcases Play Africa, a small, community-connected children’s museum based at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, which partnered with Gauteng Department of Education to launch a first-of-its-kind sensory play exhibit for children with autism. This video, taken at Gateway School in Ruimsig, Gauteng, features images of the custom-built sensory wall, along with interviews from MEC Panyaza Lesufi, autism specialists, parents and Play Africa team members about the project, created to foster social inclusion and acceptance of children with disabilities.
How does Play Africa promote creativity and innovation in South Africa's schools? VIDEO
WATCH THE VIDEOThis video features Play Africa's partnership with two no-fee government schools, Pohopedi Primary and Mfundo-Mtoti Primary, in Poortjie, Orange Farm, about 45 km south of Johannesburg's city centre. Play Africa equips children and families for the future through child-led programmes that promote creativity and innovation. It empowers parents and teachers with playful learning approaches that bring global thinking to classrooms and communities. As a children's museum, Play Africa pioneers equitable public spaces for high-quality early learning in South Africa. In six years of successful operations, it has become a globally-acclaimed platform to foster social inclusion and bring families together through play-based learning. Play Africa is grateful to founding partner Rand Merchant Bank for supporting its work to promote creative, critical thinking and a growth mindset among South Africa's children. This partnership in Orange Farm was made possible through support from Discovery Vitality, Care for Education and the Gauteng Department of Education.
How to Stop Bullying & Xenophobia: Play Africa Children's Museum Fosters Inclusion of Refugees Video
WATCH THE VIDEOBridges of Peace is an original Play Africa program designed to strengthen social inclusion of refugees, asylum- seekers and other migrant communities through facilitated workshops and exhibits that promote empathy and compassion. For South Africa’s democracy to thrive in future generations, children need to learn to live, play, learn and work alongside one another with tolerance and peace. This begins by nurturing a shared sense of belonging and affirming the values of the Constitution and the rule of law.Play Africa is a growing, agile children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We empower and equip all children and families for the future through play, creativity, innovation and connection. Based at the iconic Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa., Play Africa creates a society that honours children and champions their rights, celebrating imagination and encouraging experimentation, innovation and problem-solving. Its hands-on play areas encourage children to test their independence and gain confidence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), the arts, self-expression and civic engagement. Through this exhibit and facilitated programmes, Play Africa aims to:1. FOSTER EMPATHY AND UBUNTU THROUGH DIALOGUE AND PLAYExplore concepts of inclusion, diversity, empathy and ubuntuBuild awareness about xenophobia and its consequencesInvite learners to build on these themes through Play Africa's original, child-centred learning environment designed to develop emotional awareness and to encourage interpersonal connection2. CELEBRATE THE RICH DIVERSITY OF CULTURES IN SOUTH AFRICAShare examples of the importance of ubuntu and human connection as a way to address xenophobia or misdirected hate towards othersReinforce the right of every child and every person to live in peace in our Constitutional democracyEncourage personal expression on diversity and inclusion3. INSPIRE CHILDREN TO BECOME CRITICAL THINKERSEmpower children to become self-directed learners through development of five key areas: creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and new competencies.As in all our programmes, we capture qualitative and quantitative data to ensure we successfully deliver on our objectives.CONTEXTXenophobia and intolerance of refugees and asylum seekers remains a serious challenge in urban Johannesburg, despite South Africa’s many strides towards a more democratic, rights-based society. Refugees and asylum seekers face violence, intimidation and fear – as evidenced by the recent uptick in attacks in early 2019. The basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers are routinely violated by host country staff within South African institutions, including schools, hospitals, police and other services. By virtue of their age, children remain the most vulnerable members of migrant communities. This is compounded by high incidences of family poverty, violence, social exclusion, neglect, and poor education on children’s rights within urban Johannesburg. Laws protect all children, but in practice many of the country’s migrant and refugee children, like host-country children, still lack basic protections, much less a chance to learn through play in safe, inclusive and equitable environments.
Play Africa Connects (COVID-19 Response) - Supporting Your Child's Emotional Well-Being
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS VIDEOHow do we build resilience in our children? How can we as parents support their emotional well-being?Join Play Africa, Johannesburg's children's museum, for this important conversation with Wits University Department of Social Work senior lecturer Dr Ajwang' Warria, clinical psychologist Ruth Ancer and psychologist and author Paul Bushell. This conversation on Facebook Live was moderated by Play Africa play and learning supervisor Mpho Tsele. This is a safe space designed to support you as parents!About Play Africa ConnectsPlay Africa Connects is a series of unique online dialogues for South Africans to connect with compassion through technology, created in response to the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with Goethe-Institut Johannesburg. Additional support is provided by Rand Merchant Bank. Play Africa Connects provides a unique, non-judgmental space for all families -- including families in vulnerable communities -- to share ideas about how to cope with disruption and uncertainty.Play Africa (playafrica.org.za) is a growing, agile children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We equip all children and families for the future through play, creativity, innovation and connection.
Play Africa Connects (COVID-19 Response) - Parenting Children with Disabilities During Lockdown
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS VIDEOJoin Play Africa for a discussion with Basheera Surty of Diketo - Inclusive Education and Vicky Lamb of Autism South Africa. This conversation on Facebook Live was moderated by Play Africa play and learning supervisor Mpho Tsele. Audience members were invited to comment and ask questions. This is a safe space designed to support you as parents!About Play Africa ConnectsPlay Africa Connects is a series of unique online dialogues for South Africans to connect with compassion through technology, created in response to the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg. Play Africa Connects provides a unique, non-judgmental community space for all families -- including for vulnerable communities -- to share ideas about how to cope with disruption and uncertainty.Play Africa is a growing, agile children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We equip children and families for the future through play, creativity, innovation & connection.
Launch of Play Africa's Courtroom for Children's Rights in South Africa
WATCH THE VIDEOHow can we empower children to learn about the Constitution and rule of law? How can we give children insight into career possibilities as children learn about different roles in the judicial system?Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill, launched its new Children’s Court, an interactive exhibit that uses play to introduce children to South Africa’s judicial system. The Children’s Courtroom nurtures children’s own concepts of themselves and their rights as secured in South Africa’s Constitution. Through facilitated play and dialogue, the programme strengthens children’s rights by introducing all children to the core values of the Constitution, the rule of law, and different ways they can make their voices heard in a democratic society.  “We’ve created an exciting new learning environment that will ignite new career possibilities in the minds of children, while instilling core principles of the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Play Africa founder and CEO Gretchen Wilson-Prangley. "Despite South Africa’s strides towards a democratic, rights-based society, the reality is that children’s rights are routinely violated, and children remain the most vulnerable members of our society. Our Children’s Courtroom is a safe space where children can learn how to make their voices heard in a court of law, so South Africa’s democracy can thrive in future generations."  “We are excited to partner with Play Africa in this important work. Exposing children to the justice system and teaching them about the rights and duties of citizens is an investment in their future success and that of our country as a whole,” said Fatima Laher, head of Pro Bono at Bowmans, a leading African law firm, which provided funding for the manufacture of the exhibit.  Retired Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron was the guest speaker at the event. He delivered remarks on the Constitution and children’s rights. Constitutional Court Justice Zukisa Tshiqi cut the ribbon formally launching the child-scale exhibit, made of stainless steel and wood. Its several components – from the judge’s bench to the witness box – are designed to be fully modular, so it can be set up temporarily in other settings. “Play Africa would like this exhibit to become a powerful resource for outreach programmes and for other child advocacy organisations working in South Africa,” said Wilson-Prangley. Play Africa is a pioneering “children's museum” based at the iconic Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa, a former prison complex that is now seat of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. Situated inside the Old Fort, Play Africa operates in the courtyards just 15 metres from the cell where former President Nelson Mandela was once incarcerated. As a cultural institution, its exhibits and programmes are designed to stimulate imagination, experimentation, innovation and problem-solving in children, as well as their families and educators. “Constitution Hill is proud to be the home of Play Africa and stands behind it’s initiatives and programs,” said Dawn Robertson, CEO of Constitution Hill Development Company. “The greatest significance is that we are able to encourage community participation thus supporting the growth and development of children in the inner city for the foreseeable future.”  
Partnering with Parents How to Inspire Children's Creativity, Problem Solving and Joy
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Milestones

Achievements & Awards

September 2021
Play Africa Launches "Dinosaur Dig" in Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa
September 2021
Play Africa and Mam'Gcina Mhlophe Promote Inclusion for International Literacy Day
July 2021
Play Africa global launch of free virtual toolkit: "Designing with Children: A creative approach to re-imagine cities and communities"
June 2021
Partners adapt Play Africa's design thinking toolkit for placemaking initiatives in Melusi
June 2021
School in Jeppestown pilots Play Africa's design thinking workshop for school improvement initiative
June 2021
University students adapt Play Africa's design thinking toolkit for high school learners
May 2021
Partners adapt Play Africa's design thinking workshop in Lenasia
May 2021
I am a Scientist, 340 m2 traveling STEM playful learning exhibition for Grade R-3, launches in Soweto
April 2021
Play Africa Kicks Off Virtual "Meet a STEM Role Model" Programme, serving 5,000 children in South Africa
December 2020
Play Africa invites children to co-design new I am a Scientist exhibition to promote STEM learning
November 2020
Play Africa Wins Placemaking Award in Real Play City Challenge
August 2020
Virtual African Storytelling Programme Keeps Children Safe During COVID-19
July 2020
Play Africa Children's Courtroom Shortlisted For "Child Advocacy Award" at African Legal Awards 2020
May 2020
Play Africa's Bridges of Peace Named one of "100 Beautiful Things" in South Africa
May 2020
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
March 2020
Play Africa Launches New Programmes in Response to COVID-19
February 2020
Bridges of Peace Exhibit Launched at Constitution Hill with High Commission of Canada
November 2019
Children's Courtroom Launched at Bowmans with Constitutional Court Justice Zukisa Tshiqi and retired Justice Edwin Cameron
June 2018
Play Africa Keynote at MuseumNext: "Defining the Future of Museums" in London
May 2017
Play Africa Presents 3 Sessions at InterActivity Conference of Association of Children's Museums, Pasadena, CA, USA
March 2017
Play Africa Moves to Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa
August 2016
Play Africa Shares its Vision for the Future
June 2016
Play-based Learning: Educator Training Partnership with School District 12, Soweto, South Africa
March 2016
Soweto Launch of Art Across Oceans - Collaboration with Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago
February 2016
Unpacking our First Major Exhibit in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa
May 2015
Play Africa Presents at Kohl Children's Museum, Glenview, IL, USA
May 2015
Play Africa Presents at InterActivity Conference in Indianapolis, IN, USA
April 2015
Play Africa Public Launch at GIBS, University of Pretoria, Illovo, johannesburg
October 2014
Play Africa Named "Best Emerging Social Enterprise in South Africa" by University of Johannesburg and PwC South Africa
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