Diving into the history of South Africa means facing the reality of the Apartheid. A visit to the District Six Museum is a fascinating way to learn about the history of the country and the forced movement of over 60,000 inhabitants.
This area was originally known as Kanaldorp. It was named for the series of canals that criss-cross through the city. It was part of the sixth municipal district of Cape Town, thus the name district six.
The area was filled with a diverse mix of inhabitants from all sorts of backgrounds. It was a thriving and bustling community. Until it was destroyed by the National Party when they came to power in 1948. It was declared a white area, and as a result, tens of thousands of people were forcibly removed. These people saw their homes demolished and were pushed out into the barren lands of the Cape Flats.
District Six Museum
The museum was the work of the District Six Museum Foundation. The doors opened in 1994 with the starting exhibit – Streets: Retracing District Six. The people who once lived in district six have been pivotal in the direction of the museum. Many of the people who work at the museum still have links to the original inhabitants, giving the museum a real feel.
Since its original opening, the museum has expanded beyond the Methodist church that housed it. There is now a second location a block away, which is called the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre.
The museum links the experiences of the inhabitants of district six to others who went through forced removal in other parts of the world. This link means that the experience of visiting the museum gives you a real insight into the realities of the apartheid.
The museum gives back to the community whose story it tells. They offer training for the residents of the area. This includes the construction of housing, environmental planning and the development of culture in the area. The aim of the museum is to promote the peaceful co-existence of all different races and dignity for all.