The Slave Lodge - District Six Museum
10h45 Leave the Slave Lodge by turning right out of the door and take your next right into Spin Street. You’ll come to Church Square which has some interesting art installations and a wonderful café called Bread Milk and Honey.
10h55 At the end of Spin Street, turn first left into Corporation Street and then immediately right into Caledon Street.
10h57 Caledon Street crosses Buitenkant, (loosely translated meaning ‘the outer edge’), which marks your exit
from the oldest part of Cape Town. Once you cross this road, you are in what used to be called District Six, now Zonnebloem.
If you continue down Caledon Street, and you’ve got the time, go and have a look at The Fugard Theatre, Cape Town’s newest theatre, named after one of South Africa’s most prolific and celebrated playwrights, Athol Fugard. Architecturally, it’s a treat and it’s very much not on the tourist trail.
District Six Museum
Tel : (021) 466 7200
District Six was for a long time one of the few racially and socially mixed communities in early South Africa. Most of the people that lived and worked here were involved in the construction of what we now see in Cape Town or the workings of the port. Successive right wing governments in the Cape had become frustrated over what they saw as the problems of racial mixing but it was not until high apartheid that the process of removals and marginalisation of the inhabitants really got going. The term 'resettlment' was used to try to encourage people to move to the then wastelands of Mitchell’s Plain and this started as early as 1901. Then, by 1966, it was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act of 1950. The large scale destruction and removal of people of all creeds and colours began in 1968 and by 1982, the life of the community was over. It has to this day not been entirely rebuilt and restitution has been a slow and difficult process.
The District Six Museum, established in December 1994, works with the memories of these experiences and with the history of forced removals more generally.
Phil and Liz say: Despite the reasons for the museum’s existence, the District Six Museum manages to retain an amazing amount of promise and hope in its exhibitions. You’ll find that the exhibits are very much a collage of found objects collected by the curators from inhabitants (either living or dead) of what used to be District Six and in this way, it’s both a moving and personal experience and encapsulates what the history of South Africa has been to date and how relevant and present it still is. Take some time to talk to the staff here, most of whom will be descendants of original inhabitants: you might be surprised by some of the things they have to tell you.