Robaina's plantation

Thursday 14 April 2016

Casa de Africa (Havana) a Museum showing the history and culture of Africa

                     I have walked by this building dozens of times but had never bothered to enter until now. The architecture in Old Havana is absolutely stunning and I like going to these museums because generally they're housed in an old mansion that belonged to some rich guy centuries ago. I couldn't find very much on the internet about this place except that the original building dates back to the 17th century, the structure standing today is a rebuild from 1887. At that time, Plantation owners lived upstairs while their tobacco factory operated below with black slaves being the workers.
                      Since Jan.6, 1986, it has housed the 'Casa de Africa' which has on display the history and culture of Africa. Among the objects that can be found are; ivory carvings, paintings, masks, devices used on slaves, musical instruments, weapons, tools...among other items. Many of the pieces have been donated by Fidel Castro coming from his personal collection of objects sent to him by the African countries which Cuba has helped. There are also some valuable pieces from 27 African countries that have been donated by Fernando Ortiz. The ground floor emphasizes the Slave Trade and Cuba's involvement with it.
                      All in all it was an ok visit. I was taken a bit by surprise when I was told I couldn't take pictures of the objects on display. By this time I had already taken a bunch of photos but why in the heck couldn't I take pictures....State Secrets?? A security person, who witnessed me being told, suggested I continue while she made sure the authorities were elsewhere....of course she earned a gratuity. It's in the middle of Old Havana so you're not going out of your way if you're thinking of visiting. Maybe a 15 minute walk about, a little longer if you understand Spanish and pause to read about the Slave Route (in Spanish only) and how it affected Cuba. How important is it to visit this museum? If not for the beautiful restoration job they've done to this building, it represents part of Cuba's history.

Obrapia #157
La Habana Vieja, Havana
Phone:+53 7 615798
Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm Tues-Sat; 9am-1pm Sun

Trapiche de Madera (wood cane crusher) replica 

stocks for the punishment of slaves an eighteenth century invention

title 'Expedita' artist 'Antonio Tomas Ana' from Angola

object used in the making of coffe

title 'Romance de la Comida Africana' made from a single piece of wood 
by 'Olabisi Fakeye' from Nigeria

whip and shackles, implements used in the punishment of slaves

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