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.

‘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

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

Woman-against-wallCouple2womenandman

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

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).