Land, liberty and telling our stories

In partnership with Joburg Theatre, the Museum was pleased to have hosted a public conversation with J Edward Chamberlin, a writer and land claims expert from the University of Toronto in Canada whose book, ‘If this is your land, where are your stories?’ has been much celebrated.

The conversation took place at the Museum’s Homecoming Centre on Monday 4 June, and provoked many questions of interest and concern. Chamberlin has worked extensively on indigenous land claims in places as diverse as Canada, USA, Australia and South Africa, and the title of his talk ‘Land, liberty and telling our stories’ was an apt segue into the importance of stories of land evolved from a relationship with the land.

He spoke of stories as being an important component of land claims, not merely as a decorative add-on, but as expressions of cultural experiences and relationships.

The conversation was beautifully moderated by Nomboniso Gasa and participants left feeling both inspired and unsettled enough to take some of the conversations into their own personal spheres of influence.

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Media Release May 2018: Why Dulcie?



Dulcie September was assassinated in the heart of Paris on 29 March 1988 as she unlocked the ANC’s offices at 28, Rue des Petites-Ecuries where she served as ANC head representative for Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. September, who was 52 at the time, was shot five times with a .22 calibre silenced rifle. Why was this principled cadre and former schoolteacher murdered? Who were the killers and did she uncover a shadowy international arms-dealing matrix.

30 years on and no-one has been charged with Dulcie September’s murder. The French investigation into her death was closed after 10 years and in South Africa, The Truth and Reconciliation Committee (“TRC”) findings were inconclusive.

Documentary filmmaker, Enver Michael Samuel of “Indians Can’t Fly” acclaim, goes in search of answers and pays homage to Dulcie September in his documentary film Why Dulcie?.

Dulcie September wasn’t only murdered but there was an attempt to erase her existence. There was an attempt to remove her from the centre of a very powerful network of players that were supporting the Apartheid government. It was done in a manner that after 30 years we still don’t know who killed Dulcie September. Hennie van Vuuren author Apartheid Guns and Money


September’s work in Paris included the everyday tasks of an ANC representative, organising trips for the ANC leadership and attempts to build alliances with local anti-apartheid groups.  Her personal handwritten notes, however, reveal that she had gone far beyond these duties and was secretly investigating the clandestine arms trade between France and the South Africa apartheid regime. On the fateful day, a misty spring morning, Dulcie had just visited the post office to collect the ANC’s offices mail.  She would have been completely unaware as she pressed the lift button to take her to the fourth floor that an assassin was lurking in the shadows.  She was found lying crumpled at the door of the ANC office … an old trusty handbag, orphaned lying next to the wall, her cold legs in nylon stockings, sensible shoes still on her lifeless feet. The mail laying in her congealed blood …

Watch the preview below

The making of Why Dulcie?” is sanctioned by September’s family, and is a personal undertaking by Samuel to share the story of a determined woman of great integrity, who’s perseverance led to her assassination in Paris in 1988.  At the heart of his film is the quest to know who Dulcie was and to understand what made her able to stand fast in the face of death. The project is currently self-funded and financial support is being sought through crowdfunding at


Enver Michael Samuel is a producer/director whose career has spanned over 25 years in the South African broadcasting community. He studied both practical and theoretical aspects of Film and Television locally and abroad, in England, Australia and Germany.  Enver has worked on numerous television productions including high profile corporate videos for clients like the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Coca-Cola, Kaiser Family Foundation, Primedia, Dischem Foundation etc. combining this with lecturing in Television Journalism/Production at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ).  In addition to being a member of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) from 1998 – 2014, Enver currently serves on The National Film & Video Foundations (NFVF) training and bursary committee. Since 2012, he has also been a South African Film & Television Award Judge (SAFTA).

Enver Michael Samuel

Enver has worked on various productions that were SAFTA nominated, including a SAFTA win for Solving It, SABC 3.   He produced and directed the documentary Indians Cant Fly for SABC3 Docuville that was an official selection for the Durban International Film Festival and The Toronto South African Film Festival. Indians Cant Fly was nominated for three South African Film & Television Awards (SAFTA’s), best director, best documentary, best editor for documentary short, winning best achievement in directing and best documentary short.

For further information, please contact:
Candice Jooste
cellphone: 083 212 0106

May Supper Club with Ilze Wolff: Reflections

Breyani, sago pudding and boeber on a rainy night in May

Ilze Wolff’s menu choice was a perfect for a Cape Town wintry night in May! The context within which we engaged in conversation with Ilze about her life in the city – as an architect, a business co-owner and  mother of three – was warm and inviting.

Ilze offered several issues for discussion and reflection. She prompted us to think about what it meant to be a woman in this particularly male-oriented profession; what was the meaning of ‘people-centred’ architectural design; what was the responsibility of architects in redesigning the Apartheid city, and how could transformation within the profession be scaled up and escalated?

While acknowledging the immense scale of intervention needed to deconstruct the geography of our divided city, Supper Clubbers left the building feeling hopeful that the support for change was growing incrementally, and that they could make a real if small difference.

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June Supper Club with Ryland Fisher

Date:     Thursday 28 June: In conversation with Ryland Fisher

Time:    18h00

Venue:    District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

Cost:    R 150 (R 130 if prepaid)

Booking essential: call Chantal Delilie- 021 4667200 OR email

Menu: welcome drink, samosas, main meal (with vegetarian option), dessert, koesisters, coffee, tea

Theme: ‘Conversations in and about our city’

What does it mean for Cape Town to be a home for all? The rhetoric is desirable but hardly  tangible. The daily reality of many city ‘users’ is as part of a mass exodus of service workers at the end of the day, navigating unreliable and unsafe transport to reach their homes. The added current challenge of ensuring that homes are supplied with water for the family’s needs further compromise a good quality of life.

What stories do the many people of our city carry with them every day? Where do their voices find expression, where do they get heard and how do these impact on policy? How have so many people kept their hopes and aspirations alive rather than being buried by their challenges?

Cape Town’s CBD is no island’, writes Professor Njabulo Ndebele, ‘but is fundamentally connected to the lives and livelihoods of surrounding communities – and vice versa. Successful urban partnerships, like good stories, allow space for divergent views and multiple voices, and the recognition that, even in our difference, there is common ground on which we can forge a sense of common purpose.’

Cities can be inspiring platforms for engagements, and ‘Conversations in and about our city’ seeks to add depth to Cape Town as one such platform.

District Six Museum, food and stories

The phrase ‘gooi ‘n tafel’ (literally, ‘throw a table’) is particularly familiar to people from District Six and the Bo Kaap. It references the tables that were laid out by families  for Christmas Choirs on Christmas Eve and for Malay Choirs at New Year. Laden with seasonal fruit like watermelon as well as pastries and cakes, the tafels were celebratory – marking the festive season between the December to January period.

Tables are thus evocative symbols for the District Six community representing coming together, sharing, arguing, breaking bread and storytelling around a common space. Tables also reference the intimate family rituals around food, work and religion that were performed in District Six homes before destruction, on a daily basis.

The Museum’s Huis Kombuis project is centred around such stories and remembrances of food routines re-enacted in the present. The District Six Museum’s Supper Club concept emerged from a desire to create opportunities for conversations of all kinds: enlightening, entertaining, philosophical, lyrical, visual or performative. It is intended to bring people together who might ordinarily not have met, and also create opportunities for friends to meet up with each other. It aims to contribute to a culture which encourages the expression of different points of view in a space which is contained and supportive.

Past Supper Club storytellers have been very diverse. They have included Diana Ferrus, Prof Njabulo Ndebele, Ernestine Deane, Terry Fortune, Basil Appollis, Trevor Jones, Auriol Hayes, George Hallett and Tina Schouw amongst others.

The 2018 iteration of the Supper Club series  is called ‘Conversations in and around our city.’ Storytellers will be invited to share their stories in whichever  way they wish. Guests attending the session are invited to listen and to later engage in conversations with the storyteller and each other. Conversations continue over supper and dessert. Hopefully friendships and engagements will continue beyond the evening.


Brief biography of Ryland Fisher

Ryland Fisher has more than 35 years of experience in the media industry as an editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive. He is the former Editor of the Cape Times and The New Age, and was assistant editor of the Sunday Times. However, his experience in the media industry extends across all media platforms, including broadcast, online, books and events. He works with several media companies, in South Africa and abroad. Early in his career, he was one of the pioneers of alternative community journalism in South Africa.

Fisher is the author of Race (published 2007), a book dealing with race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provided insights into the media industry. He has contributed chapters to several other books. Among others, he has edited the official Opus on Nelson Mandela, books of empowerment, a book on 20 years of democracy in South Africa (published in July 2014) and two books on the National Development Plan (published in 2015 and 2017).

He is the founding chairperson of the Cape Town Festival, which he initiated while editor of the Cape Times in 1999 as part of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ project. He consults on media and social transformation and has lectured on transformation and race in countries such as Switzerland and the United States of America.

He writes a weekly column for the Weekend Argus, called Thinking Allowed, and occasional articles for other publications in South Africa and abroad. He grew up on the Cape Flats, mainly Hanover Park and Mitchells Plain.

Youth Day at District Six Museum

On Saturday 16 June we will be paying tribute to the youth of our country, who on this day in 1976 sacrificed so much for the cause of education, as a means towards our country’s liberation. On this day we would also like to affirm the ongoing contribution of youth in protecting our hard-won struggles and freedoms. We need to emphasise that not only are the youth part of the future generation of leaders, but their leadership is present and needed even now.

The Museum’s programme on this day is an intergenerational one. It will feature a new documentary called ‘Salt River High 1976: the untold story’. It depicts the series of events surrounding the arrest of 10 students, 2 teachers and a parent at Salt River High School in 1976. It occurred at the height of political unrest in the struggle for liberation against discrimination and racial subjugation.

The programme starts at 10h30 and will be followed by a brief question and answer session by the maker of the film, Anwar Omar, who was one of the people arrested. He will be in conversation with others who were also involved.


Date: Saturday 16 June

Time: 10h30

Venue: District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

Admission is free and all are welcome

(Repeat screenings will be held on the same day at the Castle at 1.30pm and at the Palestine Museum (28 Sir Lowry Road) at 7pm for those who miss the first screening at the Museum)

Cape Argus article Salt River High’s untold story of ‘76