District Six Museum
Did you know?
The vibrant history of District Six was celebrated in a musical of the same name by David Kramer and the late Taliep Pietersen.
The District Six Museum, a historical Cape Town museum, utilises multi-media techniques to add a new dimension to the experience, combining documentary, digital and sound elements to narrate the story of the District Six suburb.
District Six, the 6th municipal district in Cape Town, was established in 1867 as a racially mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants. With close links to the city and port, it was renowned for its vibrant atmosphere.
Hettie Adams and Hermione Suttner, residents of District Six back in the day, recall what it was like after working all day as domestic servants in the wealthier yet sterile parts of Cape Town:
‘Here in District Six, when we get home, it's crowded and full of noise, full of people, full of friends. And a happiness comes over us, and we think, we don't want to be rich, to be rich is to be lonely'.
They also tell of the great tradition of Malay choirs that would emerge in fancy dress and march to saxophones and strumming banjos from New Years Eve until 2 January. But, sadly, apartheid officials brought it to an end.
First to be forcibly removed were the African residents, in 1901. In 1966 it was declared a white-only area and over the next decade, 60 000 coloured residents were relocated to faceless townships on the Cape Flats, their beautiful houses flattened by bulldozers.
The District Six Museum Foundation was established in 1989, leading to the opening of this museum in Cape Town in 1994. It works with the memories of these past experiences and the history of forced removals.
Through its collections, exhibitions and education programmes this museum in Cape Town seeks to reconstitute the spirit of the community and provide a different interpretation of the past.
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Who to contact
District Six Museum
Tel: +27 (0) 21 466 7200