This museum features a collection of traditional Southern African arts and crafts. Celebrating ubuntu art is the objective of the displays. The collection is held in Roberts House, a restored national monument in Glenwood, Durban. Three floors of the Victorian mansion are packed with Zulu beadwork, earplugs, wire baskets, milk-pails, beer-pots and fertility dolls; Ndebele blankets and ceremonial items; and artefacts from the eastern Cape, Namibia and Kenya.
The old villa has many rooms, all of which have been used in such a way that they display the beauty of the objects and tell their individual stories. The most popular exhibit is a marionette room, where 30 life-size puppets are adorned with ceremonial dress from all over Southern Africa. This collection was exhibited at ABC Home in New York in 2008/2009, to great acclaim.
The museum also has a partnership with the Amazwi Abesifazane: Voices of Women, memory cloth project, and houses an archive of over 2000 memory cloths, exhibiting groups of these on a rotating basis. Their BAT Shop has relocated from the BAT Centre to the museum, and sells contemporary local crafts.
Phansi was started in 2000 as a small private space, and has since expanded to host large impressive collections. It has about five major opening events per annum, when a major exhibition is curated in their flagship gallery. Smaller exhibitions happen in a landing gallery.
Their publishing division, Phansi Publishing, produces short runs of specialist-interest arts, crafts and cultural literature.