Phansi Museum is housed in Roberts House on Frere Hill in Glenwood, Durban. Here it occupies three floors of one of the few domestic national historic monuments in the city. Roberts House was built in 1896 by the parents of Esther Roberts, one of the first female anthropologists in South Africa. It was declared a national monument in 1980 and is still in its original condition.
The museum houses one of the finest collections of Zulu and Southern African traditional artefacts in South Africa. These include beadwork, earplugs, milk pails, snuff containers, beer pots, headrests, tobacco pipes, telephone-wire baskets, as well as ceremonial and medicinal items, dating from the present, back to the mid 19th century.
Displays include life-size puppet dolls showing ceremonial wear from different regions and cultures of South Africa, sangoma figures, meat platters and much more. The goal of the museum (through the activities of the Phansi Museum Trust) is to promote, document and preserve South Africa’s cultural heritage through documenting indigenous traditional ceremonies, customs, crafts and artefacts, and stimulating public interest in South African indigenous culture.