The famous Hanover Street of District Six will soon regain its place in the City as the renaming of Keizersgracht Street has officially been approved. This comes after the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) requested the City of Cape Town to rename Keizersgracht Street to Hanover Street – an act the D6WC felt would restore part of the dignity that was taken away from residents during the District Six forced removals. The renaming was unanimously supported during a full council meeting at the City council on Thursday.
According to the D6WC, the renamed street is expected to have its official “handing over” to the community this year on Heritage Day, 24 September.
“This is not about the area – it is about Hanover Street itself. We dedicate the renaming of Keizersgracht Street to the people of the Cape Flats who were so horribly removed under the Apartheid regime,” said chairperson of the D6WC, Shahied Ajam.
“It’s the memory of Hanover Street which matters here. We regard it as a major victory and as an historic moment in history for the people of District Six. Now, the youth can identify with the street their parents and grandparents have been talking about for so many years.”
“We are looking forward to Heritage Day, when this street will be officially handed over to the people of District Six.”
Ajam says that all in South Africa should be happy with the decision to rename Keizersgracht Street as Hanover because Hanover Street was the “lifeblood” of District Six.
“People must be happy about it…Our dignity is being restored. We are re-energised, and we are doing everything in our power to get back as many of the old names and streets. They [the Apartheid regime] had desecrated District Six when they reduced it to rubble…we are getting it back slowly, bit by bit. We are coming back to District Six very soon. These are exciting times.”
He added that the D6WC is expecting Heritage Day to be a “great party” in District Six and he urges the public to attend.
“We are going to have the coon carnival that will lead a procession from the Grand Parade. The mayor, as well as some ministers and elderly people, will be sitting on a red bus. We’ll then move up from Darling Street into Hanover Street where they’ll cut a ribbon with the elderly citizens.
From there, we will move onto a vast open space where a marquee will be put up for roughly 500 people.”
“There will also be a mini carnival in Hanover street for the kids…it’s going to be a great big party and people must not miss it. It’s about our heritage which has been swept under the carpet for so many years. 24 September will be a historic day,” said Ajam.
A mass meeting is expected to take place on the first of September at the Castle of Good Hope, where further discussions on the details of the Heritage Day celebrations will occur.