How to support Cape Town’s heritage on a student budget

Using your student card to get discounts is a rewarding part of university life. But your student card is not just an entry pass into bars or a coupon off clothing baskets, it’s also your ticket to promoting local heritage.

Heritage Month may be limited to September but with your student card you can access heritage institutions at a discounted rate all-year-round.

Many of Cape Town’s top museums and conservation spaces also offer annual memberships for students.

This double saving often means that you get unlimited access to the institution (plus loads of other members-only perks) and support local heritage institutions.

The South African National Gallery

The South African National Gallery is probably the most beautiful of the Iziko museums and runs an active membership programme.

The Iziko museums aim to “ignite connections between our shared history, our heritage and each other”.

The National Gallery does this through a treasure trove of South African art, including a vast collection of beadwork and pieces by renowned local artists like David Koloane.

  • Annual student membership: R100
  • Single student entrance fee: R15
  • Membership benefits: unlimited entrance, discounted event tickets and invitations to exhibition openings.

Two Oceans Aquarium

Entering the Two Oceans Aquarium really feels like stepping into another world. The dark space is teeming with luminous cases of fish and opportunities to get close to marine life.

  • Annual membership: R358
  • Single student entrance fee: R150
  • Membership benefits: unlimited entrance, discounts at food kiosks, souvenir shop and Bootlegger restaurant, and members-only events (including sleepovers).

The Two Oceans Aquarium makes public the extraordinary natural heritage offered by the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Through conservation and public participation, the aquarium promotes sustainable development for the “future well-being of our oceans”.

The District Six Museum

The District Six Museum is a charismatic tribute to the people affected by the brutal apartheid-era land removals. It’s quirky, cosy and full of personal stories and memories.

The museum is part of a broader foundation which is actively involved with former residents of District Six and other areas where there were forced removals.

  • Annual student membership: R200
  • Single student entrance fee: R45
  • Membership benefits: unlimited entrance, bookshop discounts and event invitations.

The museum programmes focus not just on keeping the spirit of District Six alive but also on supporting its former residents.

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The Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocaa) in Cape Town. Image: Adobe Stock

The Zeitz Mocaa

The lofty Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocaa) takes your breath away. The renovated grain silos are home to an extensive collection of art from across Africa and the diaspora, as well as a busy calendar of public participation events.

  • Annual membership: R290
  • Single student entrance fee: R15
  • Membership benefits: unlimited entrance, shop discounts, preferential queue and members-only events.

The Zeitz Mocaa doesn’t only work to preserve the continent’s artistic heritage but also brings it closer to ordinary people. It offers a range of public events and school programmes that are well-worth supporting.

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Kirstenbosch Gardens
Image: Supplied

The South African National Botanical Society (Kirstenbosch Gardens)

Whether it’s the Boomslang tree canopy walkway or the summer sunset concerts that first draws you to Kirstenbosch, it’s the perfect spot to hang out with friends. It’s also a great setting for a status update on social media.

  • Annual student membership: R326
  • Single entrance fee: R40
  • Membership benefits: free entrance, bookshop discounts and a programme of events (including talks and nature walks).

The South African National Botanical Society, of which Kirstenbosch is a part, works towards sustainable development in South Africa.

A large part of this involves conserving biodiversity, part of our natural heritage. Kirstenbosch Gardens is a mesmerising showcase for this thanks to its sloping picnic lawns, chirping birds and bursts of colourful flowers.

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