Mini-Exhibition and book launch: ‘HURRY, HURRY ALBERT’

‘Hurry, hurry Albert’ is the nickname affectionately given to the late Albert Johanneson, footballer of note. South African by birth, he became the first black football superstar in the modern English game when he played for Leeds United in the 1960s. The comic book details Albert’s struggles with both apartheid in South Africa and the overt racial prejudice in England at the time. It is also a celebration of Albert’s wonderful footballing achievements.

A reflection on racial prejudice will accompany the comic book launch and exhibition which is scheduled to take place on Human Rights Day, Monday 21 March at 11h00 at the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre. The exhibition will be open to the public for three weeks. There is no charge for visiting the exhibition, and requests for guided group tours need to be made ahead of time as it has largely been set up as a self-guided experience.

The comic book has been developed with FURD (Football Unites, Racism Divides)- one on the Museum’s partners based in Sheffield in the UK. It has been illustrated by Cape Town illustrator, Archie Birch and first formed part of our 2010 exhibition on Football and racism.

It is hoped that this exhibition will serve as a catalyst for discussions about matters of racial and other prejudices, and will form part of the Museum’s ongoing Public Education Programmes.

Human Rights Day – 21 March – was officially declared a public holiday in 1994 following the inauguration of former president Nelson Mandela. This national public holiday is both a stark reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s constitution, forged on the basis of respecting human rights for all.

Read More: SA History Online

Brief Background to the Comic Book:
On Saturday 1st May 1965, Albert Louis Johanneson became the first black footballer to appear in an English FA Cup Final as Leeds United met Liverpool. Albert was cheered in anticipation by Leeds fans, but also clearly audible were the widespread boos reserved for England’s first Black Superstar.

There were virtually no black professionals in England when, in January 1961, the 20 year old from Germiston township in Johannesburg pulled up his collar against the icy blast as his train pulled into Leeds station.

Albert had grown up in Apartheid South Africa; sadly he found early Sixties Britain a deeply prejudiced country where institutional racism was firmly ingrained.

Fortunately for Albert, on the field with Leeds, Jack Charlton and Billy Bremner took it upon themselves to become the winger’s minders, a sort of early-day anti-racists, defending. Albert against the racist actions of opposition players, fans and club officials.

When new manager Don Revie made Albert his first signing he signalled his determination that lowly Division 2 Leeds were about to build an international reputation. The Real Madrid-style kit soon followed, and as season 1964-5 drew to a close the Yorkshire team were favourites to achieve the League and Cup double. Albert was the exhilarating star of the team, scoring ten times from the left wing that season; but they faltered at the final hurdle, finishing runners-up in both league (to Man Utd) and in the Cup, losing 2-1 to Liverpool.

Now Sheffield-based Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) and illustrator Archie Birch from Cape Town have joined forces to publish a 24-page comic book telling Albert’s inspirational,yet sadly poignant story. The partnership project has built on the success of a previous comic collaboration ‘Arthur Wharton, Victorian Sporting Superstar’ between Birch and Howard Holmes, founder of FURD, an anti-racist education project set up in Sheffield in 1996.

Former Leeds and Sheffield United star Brian Deane has welcomed the acknowledgement that Albert received at the 2015 FA Cup Final, which marked the 50th Anniversary of Albert’s appearance at Wembley. Deane commented:

‘As young, football-crazy lads growing up in Chapeltown, Leeds, in the early 1970s, Albert Johanneson was a name that we were all familiar with. Although his career was over, we knew he had been a great player for Leeds United and an inspiration for the next generation of black footballing talent in the city.

He was a true pioneer, and one can only imagine how hard it must have been for Albert as the only black person in the stadium, never mind just on the pitch, in an age when there was open hostility against people purely because of the colour of their skin.

I know he received some terrible stick from opposing fans, but he persevered and became a hero both to the Leeds supporters and the black community in the city and beyond’.

Manchester City talisman Yaya Toure has also warmly backed the Johanneson comic, tweeting a pic of himself reading it and messaging:

‘Great to see FURD producing resources to raise awareness of African pioneers like Albert Johanneson’

The comic has received backing from the SA-UK Seasons 2014-15 programme, a partnership between the British Council and the South African government’s department of Arts and Culture, with additional support from the Fare Network and Professional Footballers Association in the UK, District Six Museum and the South African Football Players Union. 2500 copies each are being distributed in both the United Kingdom and South Africa, and it is hoped that the comic will act as a catalyst for a similar partnership that will develop the subject into an animated film.

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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.”

BOXING GHOSTS: Seminar with the Institute for the Humanities in Africa, UCT

EXHIBITION OPENING

Kurt Campbell’s ‘Boxing Ghosts’ exhibition opens at 13h00 on Saturday, 23rd May 2015, at the D6M Homecoming Centre. The exhibition features augmented reality and live boxing demonstrations!

SEMINAR

The Institute for the Humanities in Africa (HUMA), UCT will facilitate a public conversation about ‘Boxing in the life of the city’ on the same day of the exhibition opening. Speakers include the artist, Kurt Campbell.

The Heavy-Bag Boxing Gym

The boxing gym installed in the gallery serves as a functional public artwork. It is a modern recreation of the famed “Western Cape Sporting Club” situated in the District Six area circa 1915.

The gym is accessible for the duration of the exhibition. At various times of the day, professional instructors will be present to demonstrate how to ‘throw a punch’ correctly.

This gym will travel to various locations around the city to encourage the practice of disciplining both the body and the mind, a crucial aspect of life for the boxers featured in this exhibition.

Those who make use of the boxing gym do so at their own risk.

Viewer engaging the interactive artworks

This exhibition deploys a variety of three-dimensional objects associated with the practice and training of boxing. These objects are brought into conversation with the District Six Museum Boxing Archive using interactive technology. This technology incorporates tablet computers and augmented reality software that make digital archival images visible to the viewer.

BoxerSamAndrews_deVries

Boxer Sam Andrews; Donor – Barney de Vries

 

Advert for boxing match at the National Theatre, William Street, District Six, 1915. Donor: Maurice Hommel

Advert for boxing match at the National Theatre, William Street, District Six, 1915. Donor: Maurice Hommel

Albie Sachs speaks at the Lydia William’s Centre for Memory

11 February 1966: District Six was declared a white area…

Join the District Six Museum, the community it works with and friends for words of reflection by our guest speaker, ALBIE SACHS, former Constitutional Court Judge. This will form part of the Interfaith Service that will conclude a day of remembrance and place making. For more information: http://tinyurl.com/qbzs2ej

The Lydia Williams Centre for Memory (Old St Phillip’s School)

Chapel Street, District Six

11 February 2015

7pm

 

 

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).