As South Africans mark Heritage Day on Saturday 24th September, the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) has planned a walk from the Grand Parade to Kaizergracht Street at 12pm. The walk forms part of a bid to raise awareness on the initiative to have District Six declared a heritage site. Despite attempts by government to provide restitution to former residents who were evicted during apartheid, the D6WC says the land is being usurped by profiteering property developers. This is a major setback to the process for restitution.
“The area represents an important yet painful aspect of forceful removals during Apartheid on the basis of skin colour. So it is in this context that this entire site must be protected and this will only be achieved with a declaration,” said Shahied Ajam, chairperson of D6WC.
With District Six being the cornerstone of the histories of many people of colour in Cape Town, Ajam said the area must be revisited on Heritage Day.
“With minstrel groups, they intend to hold a peaceful march from the Grand Parade to the District 6 land where we shall share food and have Cape Town’s people to engage in conversation with each other. You are encouraged to bring along picnic hampers,” he said.
Dispossession and disparities in landownership are stark and loom large as powerful symbols of enduring racial inequality and social exclusion in post-apartheid society.
“Our violent removal after 11 February 1966 displaced a community of more than 60 000 people to different and desolate places on the Cape Flats. For half a century it has left an unhealed wound in our hearts and souls. The desolate slope on our beloved Table Mountain is a daily reminder of our pain,” added Ajam.
The D6WC committee represents claimants petitioning for the restoration and preservation of the area that was once District Six.
The event is open to the public. VOC