July Supper Club: Reflections

Although we were slightly hesitant about having three Supper Club guests in July rather than the usual single speaker, we need not have worried. We were concerned that the limited time for each speaker, might make the occasion seem hurried and that they might be frustrated at not having enough time to express themselves.

This was not the case: our three guests handled the limitations beautifully! The room was abuzz with the energetic and passionate views of our guests Lusapho Hlatshaneni, Jordan Pieters and Gabeba Gaidien who, acutely aware of the preciousness of the time, were thoughtful, considered and bold in the way that they chose to put forward their viewpoints. They modelled so wonderfully the spirit of the Super Club conversations, and everyone commented on how well they listened to each other especially when they held different points of view or disagreed with each other. Each responded to the issues on the table rather than shouting each other down.

This was a wonderful dialogue about youth issues expressed by youthful voices, acknowledging at the same time that the range of issues are far more complex, layered and varied than could be expressed by three people and in this limited context.

It was a bonus for the group to be invited into the Cape Talk Studios after Supper Club, to continue the conversation on the Koketso Sachane’s Show.

In Cape Talk Studio before Koketso Sachane Show

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SUPPER CLUB WITH RYLAND FISHER, JUNE 2018: Reflections

Supper Club attendees responded warmly to Ryland Fisher’s input as he shared his thoughts about living in various parts of the greater Cape Town. He spoke of his influences, his passion for writing, sharing his vision for a different way of being a citizen, and some thoughts about how we might get there. Discussions were heated and hopeful as people shared their own thoughts about collective responsibility, their own moments of doing reality checks and the need to revive activism as a permanent way of building communities.

These are some images of the night.

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Supper Club with Koketso Sachane: Reflections

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Oblivious to the lamb curry simmering in the room, and the malva pudding heating up, April supper club attendees were engrossed in the conversation stimulated by Koketso Sachane. Was there still time for dialogue? How will we turn our country from the abyss towards which it seems to be hurtling? What must people  do to be heard, and who is to blame for where we are as a nation? These are just some of the questions that were raised, debated and discussed. Many points of view discussed, beginnings of answers arrived at, finally concluding that much more by all, is needed, to bring about change.

Thanks to Koketso for being a great listener and conversationalist!

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Conversation with Blanche La Guma in partnership with FOCUS

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It was wonderful to receive Blanche La Guma at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre on Saturday 7 April. The Museum partnered with Friends of Cuba (FOCUS) to host this conversation. Blanche had been the deputy to the ANC Special Representative to Cuba, Latin America and the Caribbean. Her role has often been overlooked because of the stronger awareness of her well-known husband, the great novelist Alex La Guma who was the Special Representative until his death in 1985.

It was a wonderful afternoon of reflective conversation, where Blanche displayed a strong awareness of being part of a larger movement, with her and Alex’s roles being interrelated and dependant on the roles others and made possible by them. It was great to hear about a life lived with dignity and agency in exile, not as an out-of-place refugee made to feel like a beggar using up the resources of a country which was not their birthplace.

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REMEMBERING 11 FEBRUARY 1966

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.

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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

http://onthecouchwithca.blogspot.co.za/…/exiled-flight…Exiled – The Flight Out of District Six

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.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL WOMEN’S MONTH with the District Six Museum

Saturday, 29 AUGUST 2015

District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

13h30 – 15h30

You are invited to join us in honouring the women of the 1980s with the launch of the book,   ‘SOUTH  AFRICAN WOMEN’S APARTHEID AND POST-APARTHEID STRUGGLES: 1980-2014′ by Gertrude Fester

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Former Constitutional Court Judge, ALBIE SACHS

For further information and to be invited to the book launch, please email: gertrudefester@gmail.com / feministforum@telkomsa.net 

BOOK SUMMARY

TITLE: South African Women’s Apartheid and Post-Apartheid Struggles: 1980-2014

PUBLISHER: Scholars’ Press, Saarbrücken, 2015.

WRITER: Gertrude Fester

ISBN 978-3-639-51082-9

The first section examines grassroots women’s non-racial political activism (Western Cape) during the 1980-1994 phase to achieve citizenship. This is captured through analysing the United Women’s Organisation, UWO (1981-1986), United Women’s Congress (1986-1990) and Federation of South African Women (Western Cape, 1987-1990). These organisations had more than 6000 members at any one time. Despite apartheid, membership  ranged from Gardens to Guguletu, Manenberg to Macassar. Members were  domestic workers, students, housewives, university lecturers, professors, lawyers, factory workers, etc. The UWO was central to the formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and for the first few months of its existence here, the UDF used the UWO’s Mowbray offices.

Through tracing the history of women’s political agency and resistance, this study argues that women profoundly contributed to the New SA. Motherhood was the legitimate space granted to them by liberation movements but women transformed motherhood into empowering public roles, affirming demands for citizenship. These aforementioned ANC-supporting structures later broadened out into strategic alliances in order to  maximize women’s intervention as negotiations loomed. This illustrates the shifting nature of women’s resistance, what forms they took and how they pragmatically and strategically changed over time. Subsequently the Women’s Alliance was formed and thereafter an even broader structure, the Women’s National Coalition.

This narrative of women’s struggles asserts that despite patriarchy relegating women’s issues as secondary, women’s focussed struggles united diverse women to effective intervention. This culminated in the gender-sensitive constitution.

A secondary focus examines transition from apartheid to  ‘women-friendly’ SA. By comparing the demands of The Women’s Charter for Effective Equality (1994) with the 1994-2014 reality of women and by analysing what women themselves state (200 interviews), women’s citizenship is assessed.

The penultimate chapter outlines progress of 20 years of freedom. Many critical challenges remain. The question, within this context, asks whether women in government have contributed to radical transformation of women’s lives.

This study concludes that the achievement of feminist citizenship is uneven. Despite the impressive constitution, the sporadic implementation of gender-sensitive policies, poverty, high levels of violence against women and children and the negative impact of culture and religion are some of the obstacles to women’s comprehensive citizenship. The above is all told from an ‘insider-outsider’ perspective as Gertrude was a leader in all the above struggles.

REVIEW BY SHIRLEY RANDELL

‘I commend Professor Gertrude Fester’s book to all feminists and human rights activists around the world who are interested in the struggle of women in Africa for human rights. Gertrude is in a unique position to write on feminism in South Africa having lived and worked in the women’s liberation struggles through the anti-apartheid movement, been imprisoned for her efforts, privileged to serve in the Mandela Government and lead significant organizations since then. She chooses to focus on grassroots women and women’s organizations and through her insightful interviews their stories become alive for us. Her book is a brave history that will be feasted on by scholars for years to come. ‘

Prof. Shirley Randell AO, PhD, Hon.DLitt

Founder and former director of the Center for Gender, University of Rwanda.

Currently- Pre-service Secondary Training Program Specialist

Ministry of Education, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The book is available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/African-Womens-Apartheid-Post-Apartheidstruggles/dp/3639510828/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431576749&sr=1-1&keywords=9783639510829

Morebooks: https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/south-african-women-s-apartheid-and-post-apartheid-struggles:1980-2014/isbn/978-3-639-51082-9

Barnes Noble :http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/south-african-womens-apartheid-and-post-apartheid-struggles-fester-gertrude/1121851529? an=9783639510829&itm=1&usri=9783639510829

SOON TO BE AVAILABLE AT BOOK STORES IN CAPE TOWN!

A round-table discussion with Mindy Fullilove: Impressions of the mental health of Cape Town as a ‘recovering’ city.

Join District Six Museum and the African Centre for Cities in a round-table with Dr Fullilove during which time she will share with us some of the practical expressions of her work, as well as her impressions of the mental health of Cape Town as a ‘recovering’ city.

TUESDAY 11 AUGUST 2015,
18h00 – 20h00
District Six Museum Homecoming Centre,
15 Buitenkant Street
021 466 7200 / nicky@districtsix.co.za for more information

Dr Mindy Thompson Fullilove, will be visiting us from Columbia University in New York.
She is a professor of Clinical Psychology and Public Health, and is interested in the links between the environment and mental health. She has researched, written and designed projects which speak to this concern, and is well-known for her critique as well as the development of various initiatives in New York and surrounding neighbourhoods.
In the introduction to her book Root Shock’, she writes:
I present here the words of the people who have lived upheaval: the uprooted, the planners, the advocates, the historians. Read their words with care for them and for yourself. Read their words, not as single individuals living through a bad time, but as a multitude all sharing their morsel of the same bad time. Read in that manner and I believe that you will get the true nature of root shock. Read in that manner, and I believe you will be able to embrace the truth, not as a fearful thing, but as a call to join the struggle for a better tomorrow.

A SHORT BIO:
Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a board-certified psychiatrist who is interested in the links between the environment and mental health. She started her research career in 1986 with a focus on the AIDS epidemic, and became aware of the close link between AIDS and place of residence. Under the rubric of the psychology of place, Dr. Fullilove began to examine the mental health effects of such environmental processes as violence, rebuilding, segregation, urban renewal, and mismanaged toxins. She has published numerous articles and six books including “Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities,” “Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It,” and “House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place.”