District Six Museum

June 19, 2023
Hair dressing stand

Before its destruction under Apartheid. District Six was a living example of how diversity could be a strengthening characteristic of a community and need not be feared.

It was a community representative of diversity in terms of language, religion, economic class, and place of origin. There were many people living there, including former slaves, merchants, artisans, workers, and immigrants. They had strong ties to the city and the harbour. The Apartheid regime, which began with the National Party’s election to power in 1948, needed the exact opposite message to be internalised by the population, and this was the antithesis of that. District Six Museum is a museum in the former inner-city residential area and, District Six, in Cape Town, South Africa in an old Methodist church.

District Six earned its moniker since it was Cape Town’s sixth municipal district back in 1867. It was formerly known by the unofficial name Kanaldor. Which was purportedly inspired by the network of canals that cut across the city. Therefore, using the district (kanaal is the Afrikaans word for “canal”) to traverse around this area. Lastly, over time, some locals began to refer to the area around Station Square as Kanaladorp (kanala being the Indonesian word for “please”).

As a result, District Six in Cape Town became a primary target for urban demolition.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 designated it as a white area on 11 February 1966. Furthermore by 1982, the community had died out. More than 60,000 people were uprooted. From their homes in District Six. Forced to relocate to the Cape Flats. An arid region outside of Cape Town. Here are more photographs.

It breaks your heart, makes you want to shout, and as a proud South African, I am ashamed of the bigotry that permeated my family tree.

Here are more photographs.

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