Security salute of distinction: UP Museums security awards conferred

Posted on October 31, 2023

Security salute of distinction: UP Museums security awards conferred.

The University of Pretoria (UP) Museums recently conferred the UP Museums Security Awards for 2023 to Peter Moloko and Sello (Solly) Lebelo) at an award-giving ceremony held in the Villa Gallery on the Hatfield Campus. The congratulatory event was attended by the Registrar, Prof. Caroline Nicholson, Deputy Director of the Department of Security Services, Phillip Mmushi, and Chris Colyn, Manager of Compliance from the Department of Security Services and the UP Museums staff. The UP Museum Security Awards took place on 30 October and made their debut and set the standard for future awards in this category.

The award recognises the dedication and contribution of the two security officers permanently allocated to the UP Museums in the Old Merensky Building and the Old Arts Building. Both recipients received certificates of appreciation and awards honouring their outstanding achievements and the direct contributions they make to ensure the UP Museums are safe environments for both the museum’s collections and people.

These are the first museum security awards in higher education and within the South African museum sector and the University of Pretoria Museums wish to acknowledge Peter Moloko and Solly Lebelo as recipients for their contributions and outstanding security services. Shared museum values applied within curatorship, collections, engagement and conservation are very similar within the museum security environment: honesty, loyalty, kindness, respect, accountability, integrity and quality.

Physical museum security is the first defence against theft and criminal activity and the utmost protection of valuable and often irreplaceable collections. At the same time, museum security provides a safe environment by protecting premises, buildings, museum facilities, students, staff, and visitors (both local and international tourists) and the broader communities, which the UP Museums serve as their social contract to civic society. Watching over visitors by physical guarding, surveillance systems and the top-notch standards of the Department of Security Services within a given museum space monitors and safeguards the rich art, cultural and heritage artefacts within the University of Pretoria. The UP Museum Awards recognise the vital role that museum security plays in the protection not only of institutional assets but South African heritage as well.

The Museums are proud to have Peter Moloko and Solly Lebelo working alongside the museum’s team. Mr Moloko has dedicated 11 years of outstanding services and before this position, worked as an alarm response officer. In the ceremony, he said, “it was the excellent relationship he had with security services and UP Museums staff that keeps him dedicated”. Mr Lebelo expressed his thanks and stated, “he appreciates the recognition award because it shows the trust that security services and UP Museums staff show him”. Mr Lebelo has given 8 years of trustworthy services to the University of Pretoria Museums and prior to this, he worked at UP as an events security officer.

The UP Museums openly acknowledge the value that museum security brings to daily operations in enhancing the quality of services and the reputation of museum collections and archives. At the University of Pretoria, due recognition is vital to those who provide a professional service, and it is hoped that others in the creative arts, heritage industry and museum security sector consider the many more unsung heroes out there who are also deserving of praise.

- Author Dr. Sian Tiley-Nel

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