Interactive Discussion The South Africa we all want to live in

Interactive Discussion Social Media Post_19 Feb .png

Members of the public, especially those involved in non-governmental and community organisations, are invited to the District Six Homecoming Centre next Tuesday night (19 February 2019) to discuss what they would want in a future South Africa.

The event, hosted by Community Chest, the District Six Museum and the One City Many Cultures Project, follows on a recent discussion about the role of NGOs in an election year where it was clear that there was a need for a broader, more interactive discussion.

The discussion, facilitated by media expert Ryland Fisher and Bonita Bennett, director of the District Six Museum, will reverse the traditional trend of panel discussions. The discussion will start with inputs from the floor and invited respondents in the audience will be allowed to comment at the end. This is to ensure that more people are able to participate in the discussion within the limited time allocated.

“After the success of our previous panel discussion, held in January and where we explored the role of NGOs in an election year, it was decided that we needed to broaden the topic to look at what we want from the government that we will elect in a few months’ time,” said Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids.

Bennett added: “We want to know from ordinary people what are the issues we want government to deal with. How do we interact with government in a way that will help them achieve a more equitable society? How do we fix the many things that are wrong in our country so that we can all look forward to a better and more positive future? What do we want the country we live in to look like?

“We will bring together a group of people who are interested in taking forward the vision of a more equitable society irrespective of political affiliation. Our aim is not to point fingers at anyone but to help in the search for solutions.”

Fisher said that at the end of all the dialogues – the final one will be after the elections – the organisers intend to draw up a report that will be circulated to senior politicians and municipalities throughout South Africa to give them an idea of the views of ordinary South Africans.

Details of the other dialogues, which will be held at venues across Cape Town and the Western Cape, will be announced at the event.

For catering purposes, RSVP to reception@districtsix.co.za.

Celebrating Alex La Guma

20 February 1925 – 11 October 1985

ALEX LA GUMA

Alex La Guma was one of South Africa’s greatest writers of the 21st century. Born in Roger Street in District Six, this community became the setting for his first book, A Walk in the Night, which he wrote in 1962. In the next few years he also wrote And a Threefold Cord, The Stone Country, The Fog at the Season’s End, and Time of the Butcherbird. He was also an important political figure, and spent large chunks of time wither banned, under house arrest in prison and finally in exile. He was living  with his wife Blanche in Cuba as chief representative of the African National Congress in the Caribbean at the time of his death in October 1985.

Had he lived, Alex La Guma would have celebrated his 94th birthday on 20 February 2019. District Six Museum together with Friends of Cuba, invite you to a launch event on Wednesday 20 February 2019, starting at 18h00, at which we will share some ideas about the commemorative programme for the year. His good friend and legal counsel Judge Albie Sachs will be the guest speaker for the evening, and we will listen to a selection of readings from his works.

Please RSVP by Monday 18 February for catering purposes, by calling 021 4667200 or emailing reception@districtsix.co.za

Please note that this event will take the place of the Museum’s Supper Club event for February.

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2019

11 February 1966 – 11 February 2019

Remembering the declaration of District Six as ‘whites only’

In the face of so many issues that impact negatively on our communities and the growing disappointment of so many, commemorating significant past events becomes more and more difficult. Occasionally overwhelmed by present issues, it might seem like an indulgence to mark the past.

But, despite the potential for the issues of the day to completely absorb our attention and energies, we know that it is dangerous to live in the ‘now’ only. Legacies live deep and we need to acknowledge them appropriately.

In this context, we invite all Capetonians to once again join us in the annual commemoration which is significant to the District Six community. The walk of remembrance marks the day that District Six was declared a White Group Area in 1966.

Remembered in different ways over the past number of years, the former and returning residents have worked hard to ensure that the day will be remembered by generations beyond their lifetimes. Connections are made between this past traumatic day and its current translation into a positive signifier. It was on 11 February in 2004 that the first ‘Return of the Elders’ took place. We remember the elation of that occasion when Mr Dan Ndzabela and Mr Ebrahim Moerat (both now deceased) received the keys to their new homes from the late President Nelson Mandela. There was joyous acknowledgement of the place of that day in his own life as well, marking his release from prison in 1999. On that day in 2005, another celebratory event took place when the next group of returnees received their keys as well.

On this day we acknowledge the tremendous impact of the draconian Group Areas Act under Apartheid, and its lasting legacy in the communities of people who were directly affected by it: District Six, Sophiatown, Bokaap, Windermere, Sakkiesdorp, South End, Fietas, Constantia, Claremont, Tramway Road and so many more.

On this day we also renew our pledge to ensure that the right to memory is non-negotiable, and its place in nation-building is to be affirmed. We remind ourselves of the unfinished business of land restitution, and of the ongoing displacement of people even as we inhabit the space of the new South Africa.

Join us at the District Six Museum on 11 February, starting at 11h00. We will walk together to the cairn of stones in Hanover Street (now enclosed by CPUT residence fencing), and end at the Homecoming Centre. You are invited to bring a stone from your community to lay on the cairn.