Fifty-one years since the declaration of District Six a White Group Area
‘DISTRICT SIX: BIG SHAKE-UP IN PLANS FOR CITY.
Proclamation a shock’ read the headlines of The Cape Argus City Late edition on Friday, February 11 in 1966.
The article, written by a staff reporter for the newspaper, anticipated a number of issues that the city is still dealing with as part of apartheid’s legacy. It foresees, amongst other things:
- ‘A huge increase in the city’s already overloaded housing burden;
- … the creation of transport problems for a much larger commuter population.’It also refers to the government having ‘created new prospects for White expansion on the fringe of the city’s central business district’ – all issues which we are still facing even today.
- It also refers to the government having ‘created new prospects for White expansion on the fringe of the city’s central business district’ – all issues which we are still facing even today.
The annual walk of remembrance has become an important activity on the calendar of former District Sixers, and others who are committed to actively remembering the past in ways which inspire us to think of a new way of being citizens.
The commemoration has all the hallmarks of the District Six Museum’s methodology: it is participatory, performative, it references the past and energises thinking about the future. Very importantly, it is a constant reminder that restitution should run much deeper than being a housing project. In addition to the important return to the land, it involves the return of dignity, the affirmation of rights, the assertion of cultural identity as well as respect for valuable local knowledge. It is a reminder that the past really does matter.
The community has been advocating for the declaration of District Six as a National Heritage Site. Join the call to fast-track the statutory process of declaration by pledging your support on this day. Join the call, too, to remember apartheid displacements from other areas around our country.
The centre pic is from the front page of the Cape Argus, 8 February 2017.
“My Grandmother, Mabel Isobel Hutton (AKA Ma, Aunty Bell or Mrs Hutton) Unless we acknowledge our past,…” CECILÉ-ANN PEARCE
The walk of remembrance starts at the District Six Museum, 25 Buitenkant Street, at 11h00 on Saturday 11 February. The walk will proceed with replicated District Six street signs, to Keisersgracht to line the street in a few moments of silence, interspersed with a few surprise performances along the way. Youth involved in our Art in Public Places – an archival photography project – will display their work to mark the site of remembrance. The programme will end at 13h30 at the Homecoming Centre, 15 Buitenkant Street with some light refreshments.