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.

d6streetsign1capeargus8feb17d6streetsign2

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.

PRESS RELEASE: District Six Museum Remembers

Day of remembrance programme to be held on Wednesday the 11th of February

11 February 1966 is a day that will always be remembered by the District Six community – a date that marked the start of the end. This was the day that District Six was declared a whites-only area. Subsequently, more than 60 000 people were forcibly removed and the buildings were flattened.

District Six Museum – a memorial to a destroyed community and a meeting place for old and new Cape Town residents who identify with its history – will be hosting its annual day of remembrance programme on Wednesday. On this day every year, the Museum commemorates the destruction and recommits to the process of restitution together with the community.

The 11th of February marks a significant day for the Museum and its community. The annual programme is our way of bringing people together to re-connect and honour the past”, says Bonita Bennett, Director of the District Six Museum.

From 1994, a commemorative procession starting at St Mark’s Church has marked this day, and various individual and collective pilgrimages have followed on each year. In 2004, the first families received the keys to their new homes on this date, and in 2005 the names of the next returning families were announced.

Traditionally there has been a major focus on the cairn of stones – whereby ex-residents lay their stones at the cairn on Hanover Street. The cairn is made up of their stones laid there over the years, symbolising ex-residents’ connectedness to the land and staking their claim to its history.

This year, the proceedings cannot continue in the same manner due to the CPUT construction which currently surrounds it. CPUT has been approached to permit access to the cairn which lies cordoned off in the heart of the building site. Stones will be laid, but the performative ritual around the cairn will not be possible because of the intrusion of the building. This will be the first time that the stone laying will take place under these circumstances and it should provide some clues as to the future of the cairn. The day will be concluded with an interfaith service at the Lydia Williams Centre of Memory. Albie Sachs, former Constitutional Court Judge and anti-apartheid activist, will be the guest speaker for the evening.

The programme for the day will include:

  • 11h00: Gather at the D6M Homecoming Centre. People are requested to bring stones to lay at the cairn
  • 11h30: Procession to the cairn and ritual of remembrance
  • 13h00: Reflections and refreshments at D6M Homecoming Centre
  • 19h00: Interfaith service at The Lydia Williams Centre of Memory (the old St Phillip’s School), Chapel Street in District Six.  Guest speaker Judge Albie Sachs.

The programme is free and all are welcome to attend (please confirm).