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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April Supper Club with Koketso Sachane

Koketso Sachane

“Conversations in and about our City” with broadcaster, moderator and communicator, Koketso Sachane

With the topic of land restitution and land expropriation without compensation once again brought to the fore, it is fitting that the District Six Museum’s April Supper Club Series tackle this very emotive topic.

The Supper Club Series, which takes place the last Thursday of every month, will for the year of 2018, hold conversations around the theme, “Conversations in and about our city”.

This April, the Supper Club will host broadcaster, moderator and communicator, Koketso Sachane, who will share his thoughts on dispossession, apartheid special planning and colonialism in a South African context.

“As a country, let alone a city, we come from a fractured past with various lived experiences. Honest dialogue presents an opportunity for us not only to understand each other but also, based on that understanding and respect for lived experiences, to be able to collectively create cities we all have ownership of,” said Sachane.

He added: “The city’s landscape remains rooted in a history of dispossession which through colonial and apartheid spatial planning has had the obvious and unavoidable manifestation through existing economic disparities. One cannot discuss the landscape of our city in economic, social and even spiritual terms without discussing the question of the land.”

Bonita Bennett, Director of the District Six Museum, explained the decision for the Supper Club’s 2018 theme “Conversations in and about our City” was importat for communities of Cape Town to share in conversation and dialogue about the city they live in, and the Museum hopes to be one of those platforms where people feel comfortable enough to debate around these very lively topics of conversation, said Bennett.

“When speaking about the city, sometimes it is the CBD that is being referred to, and at other times it is the broader metropolitan city. Either way, there are many initiatives that seek to support a broad citizen movement to reclaim the city, reimagine the city, rebuild the city, etc.

“The District Six Museum forms part of that broad movement and seeks to provide one more platform for engaging in conversations – through both listening and speaking – which contributes towards building understanding between people with different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds,” said Bennett.

She added that cities are inspiring platforms for engagements, and “Conversations in and about our city” seeks to add depth to Cape Town as one such platform.

Said Koketso on why Capetonions should join the conversation: “The forced removals of District Six and the fact that those displaced have yet to return remains a blight on the moral make-up of Cape Town. Having this important conversation at the District Six Museum serves as a reminder to us all that we have unfinished business. My hope is that fellow residents come with a willingness to engage in honest and unfiltered conversation. My approach is not about what I have to say but rather the engagement and flow of conversation as a collective.”

“Conversations in and about the City” will take place on Thursday 26 April 2018, 6pm for 6:30pm, at the Museum’s Homecoming Centre, 15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. Tickets are R150 and includes a welcome drink, main meal, dessert, and a hot drink with koesisters to round-off the evening. Advance bookings through Webtickets or by direct deposit made by Wednesday 25 April earn a discount of R 20 per ticket.

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About the District Six Museum’s Supper Club series:

The Supper Club Series brings people together who might ordinarily not have met, and also creates 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.      

About Koketso Sachane:

Koketso Sachane is a radio and communications practitioner with experience in the public and private sector. Sachane currently hosts a talk show on Cape Town regional radio station, Cape Talk. He is a former communications advisor in the Western Cape Provincial and National governments. Sachane is a passionate broadcaster with interest in the role dialogue plays in understand history and forging interpersonal and intercontinental linkages.

Human Rights Day 2018

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ART IN PUBLIC PLACES #3
Images of Displacement

Human Rights Day programme:
EXHIBITION OPENING

Exhibition opening includes:

10.30 – 12.30
Co-curators Artist, Scott E Williams and the Giemba Collective
Meet the artists walk-about
Music provided by Boeta G
Open Mic
12.30 – 1.30pm
The programme ends with a screening of ‘I live here’ by Masala FilmWorks followed by a discussion – Human Rights Matters! Film maker, Maganthrie Pillay, will be present.

ART IN PUBLIC PLACES #3 Images of Displacement

Human Rights Day programme: EXHIBITION OPENING

Curated by D6M Young Curators 2018 – the Giemba Collective with Scott E Williams

Wednesday, 21st March 2018

10.30am – 2.30pm

District Six Museum Homecoming Centre, Gallery

15 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

Featured artists:

The Giemba Collective (Young Curators) | Bronwyn Katz | Bulumko Mbete | Donovan Ward | Gabrielle Sanson | Gary Frier | Jarrett Erasmus | Kristin Warries | Lizette Chirrime | Masixole Feni | Paul Grendon | Robyn Pretorius | Ronald Muchatuta | Rory Emmett | Monishia Schoeman (MC)

Featured film screening: ‘I live here’

Refugee children speak

Produced by Masala FilmWorks
Directed by Maganthrie Pillay

Watch the trailer below

Open Mic

Workshops to prepare the Young Curators took the form of a series of Saturday Masterclasses with overall project facilitation by artist Scott E Williams.

Participants learned how to use photography, collage and design to produce wheatpaste artworks to illustrate the theme of Images of Displacement. Works were produced in collaboration with ex- residents of District Six and others who have experienced forced relocation or displacement. The artworks of the Giemba Collective were produced as part of a District Six Museum ‘Memory Design Lab’ approach with ex-residents and storytellers for inter-generational conversation.

For more information contact Mandy Sanger mandy@districtsix.co.za

Restitution Bioscope

17 February – 17 March 2018

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The Collections, Research and Documentation Department hosted a Restitution Bioscope series in February and March. The movies chosen were themed around restitution / return and the loss of leaving District Six, as well as the experiences of communities such as Claremont. A discussion with the audience followed each screening. After Time to Return Home we spoke about the difficult memories of District Six and how nostalgia sometimes silences these histories. We also spoke about the collective trauma of removals and how that has filtered down to younger generations. In Langa we met residents of Tennant and Pepper Streets who were thrilled to see depictions of old Cape Town in Lala Sana and identified with the hopes and dreams of Ebrahim Murat and Dan Ndzabela in The Return. Valhalla Park hosted an open mic session and Last Supper in Horstley Street. Former residents reminded us that many District Sixers now reside in Paulus Crescent and encouraged us to continue the film screenings!

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The discussions were led by community activists Denver Plaatjies, Thulani Nxumalo, Irma Titus and Deirdré Jantjies, who in their work encourage active citizenship and look to their communities to be drivers of change.

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Our next screening is Siona O’Connell’s An Impossible Return which looks at Cape Town after forced removals and the progress of the restitution process.

Venue: Lydia Williams Centre for Memory, Chapel Street

Time: 7.30pm

Date: Saturday, 17 March 2018

Watch the trailer here:

If you would like us to organise a screening in your community please contact Dean Jates at dean@districtsix.co.za or call 021 466 7200. We have a range of films available for viewing.

Movies screened:

Time to Return Home, Directors: Diana Manfredi, Arianna Lissoni (2005)

Lala Sana, Director: Ken Law (1963)

The Return, District Six Museum (2006)

Last Supper in Horstley Street, Director: Lindy Wilson (1983)

An Impossible Return, Director: Siona O’Connell (2015)

February 2018 Seven Steps Members’ Club

February was a particularly busy time for members of the Seven Steps Club, which is an honorary membership club for former residents of District Six and friends of District Six. Most of the members are elderly. Sadly some are confined to their beds and others have general mobility issues so they are not able to attend the monthly gatherings. The quarterly newsletters sent by ‘snail-mail’, the SMS updates and occasional home visits – which we don’t manage to do often enough – are the ways in which contact is maintained remotely.

Those who are able to attend on a regular basis make up for the absence of others with their vibrancy and energy! The Seven Steps gatherings and related activities are an important source of life and inspiration for the work of this Museum.

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Seven Steps members preparing the cairn of stones on the CPUT campus for the annual commemoration on 11 February- the day that District Six was declared a white area in 1966.

Seven Steps members together with members of the public participate in the annual 11 February commemoration: a walk of remembrance, ritual at the cairn of stones and site-marking.

Seven Steps members helping to clarify the Museum’s vision through a strategic planning session.

February 2018 Supper Club

The  2018 Supper Club programme had a wonderful start with the legendary Fatima Dike taking the microphone on the storyteller’s easy chair at the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre. Playwright, performer, poet, cultural activist, educator and mentor, are some of the ways in which Fatima – Sis Fatts – has been described. The 2018 series is themed around ‘Conversations in and about our city’, and in thinking about this Sis Fatts shared her thoughts about what was happening in her hometown, Langa. She had been moved by current happenings in Langa: on that day lives had been lost as a result of shootings at the Langa taxi rank; earlier in the week she had facilitated a dialogue about the cultural sensitivity / insensitivity of the controversial film, Inxeba: The Wound. Thoughtful discussion emerged from her provocation in a reflective environment. Thank you Sis Fatts!

Sharing points of view at Supper Club, and inviting Fatima to end the session with her poem ‘Madam, please’ which she did. A fitting end to a lovely session.