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*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
Table Mountain, Heart of Cape Town Museum, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Holocaust Centre, Rhodes Memorial, Noon Gun, Lions Head, Groot Constantia, Long Street, Castle of Good Hope, Greenmarket Square, South African Museum and Planetarium, South African National Gallery , Two Oceans Aquarium, Chavonnes Battery Museum, Langa Township, Orange Kloof, The Company's Garden, Newlands Brewery, Signal Hill, Two Oceans Marathon, Koopmans-de Wet House, Newlands Stadium, Long Street Baths, Blue Train, Whisky Live Festival, St George's Cathedral
Housed in an old church, the District Six Museum in Cape Town visually guides visitors through the early days of a resilient and cheerful area called District Six in the first half of the 20th century, to the forced removal of over 60000 people in the 1970s.
District Six is located east of Buitenkant Street, the Dutch word Buitenkant implying outside of town. In 1901, the area was considered a bubonic plague threat and the Black residents were all moved across town. Over the years it was redeveloped and although economically depressed, the Black, Indian and mixed race residents regarded it as their home. Then, between 1968 and 1983, and under the guise of a Group Areas Act, the apartheid government dismantled the buildings and shipped people out of the area into far flung suburbs. The purpose was to provide space for white families and the suburb name was changed from District Six to Zonnebloem. Strangely, the name never took hold and people continue to call the area District Six, and no meaningful development ever occurred. But for the churches which were left standing, the area had essentially become a wasteland.
The museum tells this story with photos, old street signs and personal mementos obtained from past residents. Tickets to the museum can also include a guided walk through the area to visualise images of what once took place around the overgrown cobbled streets, to meet a few past residents and hear their moving stories.
Already some homes have been provided for past residents or their descendants to return to the area and plans are underway to offer land restitution to those who were forcibly removed. Another project soon to begin is the establishment of a memorial park and the area is expected to be granted national heritage status.
The District Six Museum has been labelled a Museum of Conscience where past injustices are openly discussed, debated and remembered.