Former District Six residents who were evicted from their homes during apartheid plan to visit the old Hanover Street on Heritage Day on Wednesday as a form of remembrance. According to the organisers of the event, the District Six Museum, Hanover Street was the most popular Street in District Six but ongoing construction of the residences of the Cape Peninsular University of Technology (CPUT) might leave Hanover Street seizing to exist. The director of the D6 Museum, Bonita Bennett said residences occupy both sides of the street leaving little of the area available.
“The site is endangered of disappearing beneath the building as the Technikon occupies most of street,” says Bennett.
On Heritage Day, much of this oral history will be reflected on through song, poerty and discussions. At 12pm, the museum visitors will be encouraged to participate in a walk of remembrance lead by local musicians and at 1pm refreshments will be served.
The programme is open to members of the public and kicks off at 11am at D6 Homecoming Centre. Entrance is Free. The centre is situated at 15 Buitenkant Street where the old Sacks Futeran textiles building used to be situated.
“We invite people to bring their stories and photographs in memory of Hanover Street. Someone gave me a call and told me they have an item of clothing they bought at a store in Hanover Street many years ago and would like to tell a story about it. That is the type of mood we would like to set offering a mood board of recollections and memories about Hanover Street,” says Bennett.
The D6 Museum was established in 1994 in memory of the force removals during Apartheid that moved people of colour out of the area and into homelands and townships. The cosmopolitan area of District Six was named the sixth municipal district in 1867. The aim of the museum is to preserve the District Six experience by keeping alive the memory of the time.
“One of our main focuses is how the people relate to the site of Hanover Street and District Six in general,” says Bennett.
She warned that the expansion of the CPUT technikon will prohibit residents from performing old rituals they’ve participated in, in previous years.
“Despite the community calling it an area of conservation, CPUT has done ongoing construction. Residences are on both sides of the road. We will not be able to pick up stones and lay it on the area like we used to because the technikon occupies the space,” says Bennett. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)