Posts by Bonita Bennett : Thinking Aloud

Director of District Six Museum

‘EDUCATION MATTERS’: Supper Club with Lyrice Trussel

Thursday 23 May, 18h30 at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre promises to be an evening of thoughtful conversation and great food!

Strong views on education and other matters that are important to our country on a macro-level, and to her community on a micro-level, is what characterises  our May Supper Club guest, Lyrice Trussel. lyrice-trussel-static

Educator, subject advisor, curriculum specialist and outspoken practitioner, Lyrice’s contributions to the broad education debates come from her consistently practicing what she preaches for more than three decades.

Join the District Six Museum Supper Club movement, which is geared towards developing our collective listening and problem-solving skills. Where we are able to explore new and different views respectfully, in a positive environment. Let’s listen, let’s talk, let’s break bread and remain engaged in matters that affect us all and that can make a difference to the quality of our evolving and sometimes flailing transformation.

For those observing Ramadaan, a quiet place for breaking fast at Iftar will be made available before the start of Supper Club. Dates will also be provided.

 

Thursday 23 May 2019

18h00 – 20h30

District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

15 Buitenkant Street

Bookings / enquiries: Matthew Nissen: 021 4667200 / researcher@districtsix.co.za

OR

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/73494-district-six-museum-supper-club-with-lyrice-trussel/

 

 

 

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FRANK TALK Dialogue: ‘The Importance of Addressing the Land Issue Urgently’

Join the District Six Museum and the Steve Biko Foundation in this round-table discussion on Thursday 9 May from 6.00 – 8.30pm- one day after the country’s sixth national democratic elections. The venue for this discussion will be the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre, 15A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.land-dialogue-animated

Twenty five years into democracy, the land question remains a burning issue in the South African political landscape.

Following a motion raised by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) last year in Parliament for Section 25 of the Constitution to be amended to allow the expropriation of land without compensation for equal redistribution, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed to land expropriation without compensation, provided it doesn’t undermine the economy and impact on food production and security.

Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the ANC has followed a “willing-seller, willing-buyer” model whereby the government buys white-owned farms for redistribution to Black people. However, this approach has failed and delayed the process of equally redistributing land in South Africa. The majority of South Africans continue to express their disquiet about the slowness and the resulting triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The government has since scrapped this policy and introduced the land expropriation bill to fast-track the process of land redistribution.

The land question remains largely a contentious issue in South African politics. While some argue for a fast-tracking of the process of redistributing land, others argue that the acceleration of land redistribution needs to balance the urgency of social redress with sustainable land usage and food security. However, there is no argument that a way has to be found to redistribute and to restitute the land to those who were forcibly dispossessed of it.

The proposed FrankTalk dialogue will closely examine why it is imperative for the nation to address the land issue with urgency.

FREEDOM DAY @DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM with EMPATHEATRE

Freedom Day at District Six MuseumEMPATHEATRE

with Empatheater presenting BOXES

Saturday 27 April 2019: 11h00

 

BOXES, a one-act play

Devised and written by Neil Coppen (Olive Schreiner Award for Drama 2019; Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama 2011)

Co-written by Ameera Conrad (The Fall) in collaboration with journalist Daneel Knoetze (GroundUp)

Performed by Quanita Adams (Binnelanders; At her Feet)& Mark Elderkin (Tali’s Wedding Diary; Shakespeare in Love)

Produced by Empatheatre Ltd.

 BOXES is a thirty minute social-justice theatre project devised by award-winning theatre-makers Neil Coppen and Ameera Conrad, journalist Daneel Knoetze and performers Quanita Adams and Mark Elderkin. The project draws from a range of research-based, verbatim and documentary theatre methodologies to explore a myriad of perspectives and insights into urban land justice issues occurring across the City of Cape Town.

The play’s central narrative focuses around a young Cape Town couple: Kaye (Quanita Adams) and Lawrence (Mark Elderkin) who have recently moved to the inner-city and find their preparations for a house-warming dinner derailed when Lawrence announces that he has accepted a job offer to design a state-of-the art residential development in lower Woodstock. When it is discovered that local residents will be evicted from their neighbourhood to make room for the development, Kaye begins to probe the repercussions of her partner’s latest venture. As Kaye and Lawrence battle it out, we learn of Kaye’s interactions with her Aunt Sumaya in the Bo Kaap, who due to rising rates is having to sell up her family home and has been inspired to return to her activist roots.
As Kaye and Lawrence attempt to arrive at some sort of a resolve before the arrival of their dinner guests, audiences encounter a myriad of characters including property developers, politicians, residents and whistle-blowers whose lives are impacted, for better or worse, by the gentrification trends sweeping across the city and suburbs.

Over the course of four short scenes, Boxes probes the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and forced removals, examining notions of ‘development’ and ‘progress’, by interrogating the question: Who is really benefitting from all this so-called progress?

The play forms part of a wider Open Society Foundation project which connects South African investigative journalists with theatre makers and artists. The project encourage creatives to interpret the work of investigative journalists with the hope that alternative dissemination strategies would enable these narratives to reach wider audiences in the lead up to the 2019 South African elections.

Boxes is an appropriate contribution on this day marking the country’s hard-won freedoms. The commemoration of Freedom Day is a reminder that there is much to celebrate, and as much to re-commit to each year as we move further and further away from that glorious day on 27 April 1994. On that day all South Africans went to the polls as equals for the first time.

In this year, 25 years later, the gains of the freedom struggle seem distant; some would even say that they have been destroyed. It is more important than ever to raise our collective awareness about the value of strengthening the solidarity of citizens across all sectors, so as to be empowered to defend our freedoms.

As part of the broad District Six community, we should think about:

  • What is the state of freedom in our country? To what extent do YOU feel free?
  • What has helped YOU to express and exercise your freedom?
  • What do we need to do to ensure that the hard-won freedoms are guaranteed for ourselves and future generations?
  • What role does REMEMBERING the past play in the protection of our freedoms?

 

 VENUE: District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

Districtsixmuseum

 ADDRESS: 15 Buitenkant Street

 TIME: 11h00, performance of BOXES starting at 12h00

  ENQUIRIES: 021 4667200

* * *

About the Theatre Company

The play is produced by Empatheatre, a Durban-based company founded by Neil Coppen, Mpume Mthombeni and Dylan McGarry. Empatheatre has been responsible for launching several social-justice theatrical projects over the last decade including Soil & Ash (focusing on rural communities facing pressure from coal-mining companies), Ulwembu (street-level drug addiction and harm reduction advocacy), The Last Country (female migration stories), Boxes (homelessness and urban land justice inequalities in the city of Cape Town) and Lalela ulwandle (an international  theatre project supporting sustainable transformative governance of the oceans). More recently the Empatheatre team has been invited to work internationally in New York, St Louis, Toronto, Fiji, Ghana and Namibia.

 

 

 

DISTRICT SIX or ZONNEBLOEM? Does it matter?

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Artist Haroon Gunn-Salie initiated an intervention to take down area signs indicating ‘Zonnebloem’

 

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‘Zonnebloem’ area sign replaced with sign indicating ‘District Six’

Replacing the name ‘District Six’ with the name ‘Zonnebloem’ after displacing the people and bulldozing their homes, represented a final step in erasing the memory of the area under Apartheid. The official name on the map remains as Zonnebloem, and as an area name it remains closely associated with that Apartheid erasure. Claiming the right to return residentially, reclaiming social spaces, street names and ultimately the name of the area, are all components of the process of holistic restitution and restorative justice.

Acting on the expressed desire of the former residents of District Six, particularly those who are members of the Seven Steps Club, the District Six Museum has made an application to the Provincial Government’s Geographic and Place Names Committee to have the historic name reinstated. In order for this to be considered, we need to demonstrate that there is substantial public support for this, and to this end the Museum has initiated a campaign aimed at testing whether its understanding of such opinion is correct. Opportunities for expressing themselves will also be created for those who do not support this initiative, so as to understand what their concerns are.

Most of the campaign will take place during April and May of this year, and will consist of:

  • Door-to-door canvassing, particularly in the District Six area
  • Letters to the newspaper, as well as articles and press releases
  • Press releases to radio stations
  • Letters to businesses, organisations and institutions such as schools and clinics, to solicit their support
  • Letters in support of this initiative can also be signed in the Museum’s bookshop and coffee shop

For more information about the campaign, to make suggestions or to offer support, please email Matthew Nissen at researcher@districtsix.co.za or call him on 021 4667200.

 

DISTRICT SIX SUPPER CLUB 2019

2019_03_28-SUPPER CLUB WITH KHARNITA MOHAMED2019 Theme: ‘Finding Voices’

With its origin story firmly located in the practice of oral narratives, the District Six Museum is often described as an entity which ‘gives voice’ to people who have been rendered voiceless. Most times the people being referred to are those who have been displaced under Apartheid.

While acknowledging the affirmation that might be intended by that perspective, we self-identify somewhat differently, always believing that people have voices and express themselves regardless of whether organisations such as the District Six Museum exist or not. We see ourselves more on the level of creating opportunities for listening, and offering platforms for the existing voices of people to be heard, amplified and supported. It seeks out stories that are already in circulation, in order to strengthen its own understandings of what it means to be a platform for multiple and even discordant voices.

The difference might seem trite and subtle, but it is an important one which keeps us from speaking on behalf of people and usurping their voices. Hence, this 2019 theme signals our conscious attempt to actively find different voices.

The District Six Museum Supper Club is entering its fifth year of existence. It flowed from an exploration of the many ways in which ‘homecoming’ could be practically interpreted in actualising the intention of the Homecoming Centre. The common symbolism of community and sharing inherent in the idea of tables is referenced here: round-tables, ‘sitting around the table together’, the long-table concept, combined with the Cape Town practice of ‘gooi ‘n tafel’. This literally, means ‘throw a table’ (as in ‘throw a party’) and 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, Malay Choirs and Minstrels during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.  Laden with seasonal fruit like watermelon as well as pastries and cakes, the tafels were decidedly celebratory, signalling the culmination of the year-long preparation of rehearsals, voice-training and costume-making.

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 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, Tina Schouw, Jitsvinger and Fatima Dike and Prof Saths Cooper, amongst others.

Storytellers are invited to share their stories in whichever  way they wish, and guests attending the session are invited to listen and to later engage in conversations with the storyteller and with each other. Conversations continue over supper and dessert. Hopefully friendships and engagements will continue beyond the evening.

The 2019 iteration of the Supper Club series  is called ‘Finding Voices.’

March Supper Club

Date:                  Thursday 28 March 2019

Time:                 18h00 – 20h30

Cost:                   R 150

                             (payments can be made by EFT, Quicket, cash or credit car)

Bookings:         Email Matthew Nissen- researcher@districtsix.co.za

                             Call: Chantal Delilie – -21 4667200

Guest:                Kharnita Mohamed

Kharnita Mohamed lectures in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and is working on a PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape. She has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Raised on the Cape Flats, she is frequently confounded by the contradictions of post-Apartheid South Africa. She has written her first novel, ‘Called to Song’.

Interactive discussion (2): the South Africa we all want to live in

Paarl Dialogue

MEDIA RELEASE

INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION IN PAARL ON THE SOUTH AFRICA WE ALL WANT TO LIVE IN

Members of the public, especially those involved in non-governmental and community organisations, are invited to the Library at Paarl Boys High, Paarl, on Thursday 14 March 2019 to discuss what they would want in a future South Africa.

The event, hosted by Radio KC, the Community Chest of the Western Cape, the District Six Museum and the One City, Many Cultures Project, follows a similar discussion at the District Six Homecoming Centre in February where it was decided to broaden the discussion to towns around the Western Cape.

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.

“We started with a discussion on the role of NGOs in an election year and followed this up with a discussion on the South Africa we all want to live in. It became clear that we needed to take this discussion outside of the Cape Town metropolitan area,” said Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids.

The District Six Museum’s Bennett added: “We want to know from a range of 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.”

Radio KC Chairperson, Dr. Harlan Cloete said that the discussions were important to ensure proper democracy in our country. “Our democracy is incomplete, and these conversations will give effect to participatory democracy. We will make a concerted effort to ensure that the young people, who are the future, attend.”

Fisher said that after all the dialogues – the final one will be in June, 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.

The Paarl dialogue will be the second in the “South Africa We Want” series. It will be followed by one in Stellenbosch on Tuesday 19 March.

Lights snacks will be served before and after the discussion. For catering purposes, RSVP to reception@districtsix.co.za.

The event details in summary:

Event: Interactive discussion on the South Africa we all want to live in

Hosted by: Radio KC, District Six Museum, the Community Chest of the Western Cape and One City, Many Cultures Project

When: Thursday 14 March 2019

Where: Library, Paarl Boys High, Paarl

Time: 5.30pm for 6pm until 8pm

For more information, contact Ryland Fisher (rylandfisher@mweb.co.za or 082 800 5326), Bonita Bennett (bonita@districtsix.co.za or 021 466 7200) or Lorenzo Davids (ldavids@comchest.org.za or 021 487 1500)

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.