[FPSPACE] US Moon rock gift to South Africa safe

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Fri Feb 25 06:29:43 EST 2011

    in January 2010, Robert Pearlman  & I had some emails exchange, some in this forum, some off-forum, about the present whereabouts of US Moon rock gifts to some forty countries during the Apollo era, including South Africa.  I had emailed that the moon rock gift was on display in the South African Parliament, outside the door to the Parliamentary restaurant. (One other such gift Bob had a photo of in a Johannesburg or Pretoria museum).
     I was then a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Oakland University, Michigan USA, but promised to re-check after my return to South Africa in May 2010. I was hopelessly over-extended for months with backlogs, but this morning four of us faculty & a dozen of our students visited Parliament.
    Here let me mention that our Parliamentary complex in Parliament St., Cape Town, consists of the neighbouring
Cape Colony Parliament, built 1885
Union of South Africa Parliament, built 1910
current Parliament, built 1987.
   I am happy to inform you that the glass case has outside it the plaque from President Nixon, mentioning Apollo 11.
Inside the glass case is a small replica of the old 1927-1994 South Africa flag (orange-white-blue). 
Above the flag is a small glass disk-shaped vial, which contains 4 tiny fragments of precious Moon rock!
 Two of them are slivers, perhaps 1 cm. long by 3mm. wide.
Two others are more pebble-shaped, maybe half a cm. in diameter. They are all very dark coloured.
       The only change since my last visit is that this exhibit is no longer displayed on the ground floor just outside the Parliamentary restaurant door. It is now upstairs on the 1st floor (US: 2nd floor) in the old Cape Colony Parliament building, adjacent to other historical displays such as an original 1927 copy of the Afrikaner national anthem "Die Stem", and a 19th century Parliamentary Speaker of the House chair.
   So I confirm that there has been no theft of the USG gift to South Africa!
Keith Gottschalk.
Political Studies Dept.,
University of the Western Cape.
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