USAKOS – Photographs Beyond Ruins: The old location albums, 1920’s-1960

This exhibition is a mobile version of the one housed at the Usakos Municipal Building, Namibia. It will open on Tuesday, 16 February at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre, followed by a walk-about and panel discussion on Saturday, 20thFebruary (The politics, culture and pedagogy of representation) and it will be closed with the launch of a photo and video blog on Saturday, 12th March titled: Tell your story to a ‘born free’!

This mobile exhibition revolves around private photographic collections owned by four female residents of the small town in central Namibia called Usakos: Cecilie //Geises, Wilhelmine Katjimune, Gisela Pieters and Olga //Garoës. The photographic collections lay out the physical and social landscapes of the old location. They range from studio photography; images of particular location sites and buildings; photographs of mission congregations and school classes; music bands and football teams; and many portraits of men and women posing in front of the camera. Most images were taken by local or itinerant African photographers, and they evidence a vibrant aesthetic and visual culture in a cosmopolitan environment that made a stand against the containments and constrictions imposed by the politics of race.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 17th February to 16th March 2016

EXHIBITION OPENING

OPENING TALK: OMAR BADSHA

Tuesday, 16th February 2016
6 for 6.30pm
D6M Homecoming Centre, Gallery
15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

GPS: -33° 55′ 36.940707″, 18° 25′ 28.475475″

Buitenkant street panorama_HRes_Text

Contact Zahra: 021 4667200 / reception@districtsix.co.za

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GiselaPieters,OlgaGaroes1 WilhelmineKatjimune

Usakos, a railway town

Usakos developed as one of the main hubs of first the German colonial and later the South African railway system. Its urban morphology was marked, from its early beginnings, by the policies of segregation and apartheid urban planning. The exhibition highlights a particularly traumatic moment in the town´s history, when in the early 1960s the apartheid administration began to remove African residents out of what was then called the old location into newly built townships that were geographically removed from those parts of the town subsequently reserved for ‘whites’.

The collectors and the collections

The four women and their photographic archives are part of a trans-generational network and practice of collecting and curating. Since their lives and those of their fellow residents have been deeply marked by the experience of forced removal, and concurrently by economic decay and socio-cultural disruption, their collections have become part of diverse discourses and practices of commemoration and memorialisation.

The women´s care for the photographs – the ways in which they have for several decades placed them in albums, displayed them in living rooms, shared them in conversations with family, friends and acquaintances, and stored them in handbags and boxes – is an expression of how these women´s small but continuous daily aesthetic acts powerfully countered the ruination of their living environments. This is why the collections transcend the concern to recover the past alone and also describe an ongoing reflection of the present inviting an opening into the future. The Usakos photographic collections then constitute forms and practices of collective mobilisation – of memory and experience, of vision and imaginary.

Paul Grendon

The resonances of the old location photographic collections in the past, present and future are taken up in the exhibition through the work of photographer Paul Grendon. His camera follows the traces and layers of the Usakos experience of colonialism and apartheid that remain visible in the physical and social landscape of the town: it exposes ruins of the old location houses, maps out a decaying railway infrastructure, but also explores the many ways in which residents of Usakos have and continue to relate to their environment, turning spaces of ruination into places of belonging.

The exhibition catalogue and content

The exhibition catalogue includes essays on photography and the urban history of Usakos; three image sections including a black and white one introducing the women collectors and their collections of historical photographs; and one section with colour photographs by Paul Grendon.

The exhibition consists of mobile panels on which are printed black and white photographs selected from the women’s collections and colour photographs by Paul Grendon. Additionally there are information panels and two large maps. The mobile exhibition is a newly produced version of the one produced for Namibia and another one for international travel.

Important to the process was the substantial involvement of students in the Usakos and Basel exhibitions. Students from the collaborating Universities of Basel and Namibia, participated in the mounting of the exhibition in Usakos and again in Basel. They also worked on joint oral history projects.

Usakos

The first exhibition opening was in the Usakos Municipality Building on 27 June 2015.  The opening event was planned by the Usakos Municipality in collaboration with the Museums Association of Namibia. The exhibition will permanently remain in Usakos and be integrated into the future local museum.

Europe & USA

A second exhibition was produced for Europe and America, and was opened in Paris at Sorbonne University on 7 July 2015.  The exhibition was then scheduled as part of the European Conference of African Studies in Paris on 8-10 July. Following Paris, it was presented at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Basel on 28 August 2015, and then at the University of Bielefeld on 7 November 2015. The following venues have been confirmed: the Regis West Gallery, Minneapolis on 5 April 2016 and then the Brunei Gallery, London on July 2017.

Southern Africa

The mobile version that will be at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre, Cape Town in February 2016, is scheduled to go to the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, the University of Fort Hare in East London, and then the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. Eventually the exhibition will be handed over to the Museums Association of Namibia for further educational use in the country.

The exhibition is curated by Paul Grendon, Giorgio Miescher, Lorena Rizzo, and Tina Smith

PROJECT PARTNERS & FUNDERS

Carl Schlettwein Stiftung Basel

Centre for African Studies, University of Basel

District Six Museum

Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft BS

Max Geldner Stiftung Basel

Municipality of Usakos

Museums Association of Namibia

Pro Helvetia Johannesburg

Stiftung Mercator Schweiz

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

University of Namibia

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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!

Women’s Humanity Walk through District Six

The Artscape Women’s festival programme will include a HUMANITY WALK organized by the Woman Zone. The walk will start from the District Six Homecoming Centre on Sunday, 9th at 11h00 and pass through the site of District Six. This interactive initiative gives ‘Walkers’ the opportunity to communicate with someone they don’t know and build a bridge of dialogue.

After the success of last year’s event, the Woman Zone’s Women’s Humanity Walk returns in 2015, encouraging all women to don their walking shoes and take to the streets for an enjoyable stroll on WNational Women’Day, 2015. The walk begins at the District Six Homecoming Centre and ends at the Artscape Piazza, where there will be music, speeches and a special celebratory Humanity Meal.

Visit http://www.artscape.co.za for more information about the Women’s Humanity Arts festival, booking details and participating organisations.

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.”

District Six Museum’s July Supper Club with Njabulo Ndebele

2015_07_30_Supper Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 30 July 2015
18h00 – 20h00

Professor Ndebele will talk about his life as a writer, poet, academic and public intellectual. A visionary storyteller of note – not to be missed!

Further reading
http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/njabulo-simakahle-ndebele

Not even the ANC will survive a legacy of corroded systems, political purges and politically conferred “innocence”. Njabulo S Ndebele reports. http://mg.co.za/article/2010-12-23-toxic-politics-diary-of-a-bad-year

Njabulo S Ndebele explores the collective anguish of a nation trying to find the way past race and into leadership. http://mg.co.za/article/2009-09-23-of-pretence-and-protest

Speeches: http://njabulondebele.co.za/publications_and_speeches/speeches/

VENUE: DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM HOMECOMING CENTRE
15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

MENU
Chicken Breyani and Mutton Curry with rice
A surprise pudding
A welcome drink and samosas on arrival
Coffee, tea and koe’sisters to round off your meal

R 150pp

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: Please call Zahra on 021 4667200 or email reception@districtsix.co.za

With kind support from Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited

District Six Museum’s June Supper Club presents GEORGE HALLETT

George will talk about his life as a photographer  and show some slides of his work!

George Hallett has been described as a humanist photographer.  He worked in Europe for three decades photographing the positive aspects of people’s lives, teaching photography, working for The Times Educational Supplement in London, and designing book covers for the Heinemann African Writers series.

His first exhibition with South African artists Gerard Sekoto and Louis Maurice was held in Paris in 1971. This was followed by an exhibition in the Weste Kerk in Amsterdam organized by The World Council of Churches.

George and his photography has always had pride of place in the life of the District Six Museum. In many ways his photography has come to symbolise the documentary work of the museum in remembering a tragic part of Cape Town’s past – capturing the often beautiful resilient spirit of the time.

READ MORE: ASAI

Thursday 25 June 2015

18h00 – 20h00

MENU

  • Snoek curry OR dahl curry with rice
  • Boeber OR sweet  potato  pudding with custard
  • A welcome drink and samoosas on arrival
  • Coffee, tea and koesisters to round off your meal

***DATES WILL BE SERVED TO THOSE WHO NEED TO BREAK THEIR FAST AT IFTAR, 17H49

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL: Please call Zahra on 021 4667200 or email her at reception@districtsix.co.za

DISTRICT SIX  MUSEUM HOMECOMING CENTRE

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

From Wits University Press

When, in February 1966, the National Party government announced that District Six was to be razed to the ground in order to make space for a new ‘white area’, the poet James Matthews suggested to George Hallett and Clarence Coulson that they photograph the area before the bulldozers came in. As young students of photography they produced an intimate portrait of District Six under the guidance of Peter Clarke and Sakkie Misbach, who also provided Hallett with film for the project.

District Six Revisited is set to become the definitive collection of photographs of this vibrant suburb, whose destruction became a symbol of the cruelty and inhumanity suffered by the people of this country. It attempts to reconstruct the spirit of the place from important historic photographs, some of which are published here for the first time.

Kids_on StreetPoleSwing_HallettGeorgeHallett

CornerBoys_Hallett

Further information about George Hallett:

A NOMAD’S HARVEST

AFRICASACOUNTRY

CONNECTING HISTORIES

M&G

WITSpress

District Six Museum’s May Supper Club presents TERRY FORTUNE

Meet Terry Fortune over a supper of tomato bredie and rice, with sago pudding for dessert followed by coffee and tea. A welcome drink will be served on arrival

THURSDAY, 28th MAY 2015

18h00 – 20h00 sharp

District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

Tickets are R 150 per person, and should be booked in advance by emailing reception@districtsix.co.za or calling Zahra on 021 466 7200

Terry Fortune is a veteran of South Africa’s music and entertainment industry. He was born in the year that the National Party came to power – 1948. He went on to defy the Calvinist conservatism that dominated society and became the first black man to choose ‘female impersonation’ as a vehicle for his alter ego and career.

Terry has worked and travelled extensively throughout Southern Africa, Europe, Brazil and the UK.  A remarkable aspect of his career is that he worked mainly in the ‘straight’ entertainment market as opposed to the ‘gay’ market where this kind of entertainment is most welcomed. He performed in drag at both the Namibian and Mozambique Independence, and at the ultra-conservative ‘Dutch Reformed Church synod conference’.

Terry has appeared in cabaret, extravaganzas, musicals and in 2009 won the Fleur de Cap award for ‘Best performer in a musical’ for his role in Songbook.

Recently he started writing his autobiography as a series of Facebook entries entitled   ‘Faces of ‘Fortune’ and spends his free time nurturing young artists and teaching them life skills.

With the kind support of BRIMSTONE