The Apartheid Museum is a museum complex in Johannesburg, South Africa dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. The complex, owned by Gold Reef City Casino, was opened in November 2001.
After the legalisation of gambling in South Africa post-1994, the government established the Gambling Board with the purpose of granting casino licenses. As a part of any bid to construct a casino in the country, developers are required to demonstrate how their prospective casino would attract tourism and stimulate the creation of jobs.
A consortium known as Akani eGoli put in a bid to construct the Gold Reef City Casino, as well as an adjacent museum complex called Freedom Park. The bid was successful and space was created for the complex next to Gold Reef City Casino. The name of "Freedom Park" was later changed "The Apartheid Museum at Freedom Park", leading to the name controversy and legal action. The construction costs of the Apartheid Museum amounted to around R80 million, paid for by Akani eGoli.
The museum was registered as a Section 21 company, which means that it was incorporated not for profit, with an independent board of trustees. The company is separate from Akani eGoli, which has leased the museum to the Section 21 company for the duration of its casino licence. The museum therefore relies on donations, contributions, and sponsorships to sustain its growth.
The name "Apartheid Museum" was registered as a trademark in 1990 by Mike Stainbank. When the initially-proposed Africa Freedom Park was renamed The Apartheid Museum at Freedom Park, Stainbank took legal action against Akani eGoli, but Stainbank was denied justice by the South African judiciary. Stainbank maintains that the verdict was unfair. The twin brothers who developed the museum, known as The Kroks brothers, raised money from selling skin whitening chemicals to black people, which according to Proud Majilah, an activist, is believed to be a direct contradiction of what the museum stands for.