‘We’re in it together!’, Heritage Day Walk through District Six, 23 September 2017

Artwork: Lionel Davis

“In 1969, my mother and neighbours were all removed from District Six. I only saw the end of forced removals after my house arrest ended in 1976. Only after that was I allowed to go back to District Six, because I was not allowed to come anywhere near Cape Town during my house arrest order.”

The unique journey and life story of former District Sixer, ex-Robben Island political prisoner and artist, Lionel Davis, captured our imagination for this year’s Heritage Day programme.

Born in District Six on 21 June 1936 Davis is described by many as an activist, storyteller and cultural worker, but his contribution to the South African art community and civic organisations exemplifies selflessness and determination against all odds.

A retrospective exhibition of Davis’ artwork entitled Gathering Strands was recently curated by the District Six Museum in partnership with Iziko Museums, and opened in June this year on his 81st birthday at the National Gallery. It runs until 1 October 2017.

As an insider making art about District Six, Lionel Davis created a ‘space’ for reconnection – sharing with us his intimate relationships with people and the spirit of place. Through his work he reminds us not about what was lost but rather how to remember, and about the ordinary things that matter.

For Heritage Day we have developed a site walk retracing Davis’ footsteps – based on a series of pencil drawings and watercolours that he recorded of popular District Six landmarks, buildings and streets before it was demolished. Drawing our inspiration from his Masquerade art series, which was influenced by his strong connection to his slave ancestry, the klopse carnival and African traditional mask making traditions, the procession will feature painted masks, puppets and textile handcrafted banners produced by ex-residents, youth, artists and community members. It will be accompanied by voices of poets and the musical rhythms of the klopse, Christmas and Malay Choir Bands.

Join us!

Date: Saturday, 23 September 2017

Start: 10h00, Lydia Williams Centre for Memory, Chapel Street

[old CAP and old St Philip’s School building]


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Image:Trudy Rushin and Wayne Bosch

Following on from our wonderful August storyteller is another Cape Town musician, Trudy Rushin!

Trudy Rushin has been a teacher for most of her adult life. Her love for music evolved into a parallel career, and she has somehow managed to find a balance between the two worlds.  As an active musician, she sings, plays guitar, writes songs and performs, both as a soloist and in collaborations. With a strong preference for the duo format, she has worked extensively in duos with guitarists Keith Tabisher (since 2003) and Wayne Bosch (since 2008). In 2011, she met Errol Dyers and realised a dream when she performed a concert of her original work with him at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre (2014).

Trudy sees music as an intrinsic part of her value system, and believes that its transformative power, especially in the lives of the youth, is an untapped resource in present-day South Africa.  She is currently the CSI Project Coordinator for Survé Philanthropies, where she works on projects, like The Delft Big Band and World’s Children’s Prize.

Listen here to some of Trudy’s original music.

The cost is R150 and includes a 3 course meal (vegetarian option available).

We start at 18h00, District Six Museum Homecoming Centre, 15 Buitenkant Street.

The perfect way to end off the working month!

Please RSVP with Chantal de Lillie at reception@districtsix.co.za or call 021 466 7200.



District Six Museum Symposium

19 – 21 October 2017

Registration opens: Monday, 18 September 2017

Photographer: Paul Grendon

‘It is the storyteller who makes us who we are, who creates history.

The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have – otherwise their surviving would have no meaning.’’ 

Chinua Achebe

District Six Museum has been one of the main advocates for promoting storytelling as a tool for healing, knowledge-making, activism, education, community-building and personal growth – and its ever-expanding oral history archive bears testimony to that.

Storytelling has always been at the heart of the Museum’s work since it started. They have not all been easy to tell or to listen to. They have been mixtures of pain and joy, loss and reclamation, about longing for lost homes and desires for return.

Storytelling has also become a fashionable business tool. High-end storytelling retreats generate good income for entrepreneurs, and many businesses are using storytelling techniques to brand their products. While not denying its validity in these other contexts, we have felt the need to reassert the power of storytelling as practiced and facilitated by the Museum and other partners, as distinct from storytelling in these other contexts. We have felt the need to reflect on the challenges which we face in dealing with the multi-dimensional stories of our country which have some elements of uniqueness. We also need to draw on lessons learnt from practitioners who might not have had the opportunity to reflect on their own practices.

This 3-day symposium will take place in two main venues: Guga S’thebe Arts and Cultural Centre in Langa, and the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. It will include presentations, discussions, workshop sessions, site walks and panel discussions.

If you would like to receive more information about the programme and how to register, please email Ms Eunice Christians on districtsixmuseum.info@gmail.com

Registrations open on Monday 18 September 2017.






‘From where I am sitting’: Supper Club with Trevor Jones

The 2016 series of District Six Museum ‘Tafel Conversations’ is called ‘From where I am sitting.’

Thursday 31 March 2016: ‘From where I am sitting’: supper and conversation with Trevor Jones

As a young boy in District Six, Trevor Jones spent many hours in the local bioscopes and was even known to bunk school in order to feed this passion.
As a famous Hollywood film score composer, he remembers these early days when he believes his love of film and music was born. As a young man he won a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London where he studied composition, orchestration, conducting, piano and organ. His list of films scores is impressive. They include Notting Hill, Mississippi Burning, Arachnophobia, The Last of the Mohicans, Richard III and GI Jane, amongst others.
We are privileged to have Trevor Jones as our first Supper Club guest for 2016 who will share his story at the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre on Thursday 31 March at 18h00.
Tickets for the event which includes a three-course meal, is R 150. Bookings can be made via Webtickets (www.webtickets.co.za) or by calling Zahra Hendricks on 021 4667200 or emailing her on reception@districtsix.co.za

Symposium: Memory in a time of Freedom

Hosted by the District Six Museum and the Steve Biko Foundation.

Fri, 23 – Sat, 24 October 2015

District Six Museum Homecoming Centre

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

For directions: https://goo.gl/maps/5JzPziztK5J2



District Six Museum and the Steve Biko Foundation aim to host and facilitate a multi-disciplinary symposium to explore the status and nature of memorialisation in our 20th year of ‘freedom’. This symposium will provide a platform for scholars, community-based activists, expressive artists, designers, policy influencers, youth, amongst others, to reflect on various notions of freedom and restitution. The symposium will take the form of a series of critical appraisals over two days with the aim of bringing into sharp relief the key initiatives since 1994 that have either entrenched or started reversing colonial and apartheid legacies of inequality, racism and marginalisation. We will reflect on this in relation to memorialisation and its important role in imagining an egalitarian future.


  1. Re-imagining divided and unequal cities – cultural geographies of racial and class identity;
  2. Race, identity and voice – mediating popular and difficult discourses on difference, diversity, multi-culturalism, ethnicity, gender and class;
  3. Stories of hope, social justice and a vision for a new humanity.

The symposium will consist of mediated panel discussions, workshop sessions and presentations in a register that encourages participation across multiple experiences in society (community organisation, university, research institution, public spaces and projects, etc).


A.   Contribute to a workshop (See themes above);
B.   Display your organisation’s material;
C.   Contribute to a blog / social media;
D.   Share your organisation’s work (see themes above);
E.   Creative expression (see themes above);
F.   General participation;
G.   Tell your story to a ‘Born Free’ (Saturday)


We encourage reflections on the role of memory projects as places to connect, enact and sharpen acts of participatory democracy in two spheres:

  1. The collective reconstruction of a past that makes visible what colonialism and Apartheid Laws rendered invisible;
  2. The application of important lessons from the past in the present to strengthen grassroots agency and democracy;

How do we develop this into a codified body of practice for community-based organisations to use as a tool for developing our coherent voice in ‘a time of freedom’?


R100 for one day or R150 for the entire symposium to cover teas, coffees, water, and the SUPPER CLUB.

REGISTER: http://goo.gl/forms/Sh63YH7SE3

FOR MORE INFORMATION: lornahouston@gmail.com

Contact the Museum:
Zahra Hendricks – reception@districtsix.co.za / 021 4667200 (during office hours)

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

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/

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

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.


Thursday 25 June 2015

18h00 – 20h00


  • 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


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


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


Further information about George Hallett: