District Six is the name of the former district where African, Malaysian and Asian were used to live in harmony. District Six was a vibrant centre with close links to the city and the port.
The South African government rapidly decided that these people were living too close to the whites settled down in the city center. It was therefore implemented a project to relocate the residents. The first to be forced out were black South Africans who were displaced from the District.
The biggest decision was made on the 11th of February 1966 because it was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act of 1950, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. More than 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats.
In addition, these people who were not “white” were to follow new laws: separate schools, respect forbidden places, or not to be in the company of white people, new passports were created to differentiate who was African, Malaysian, Asian and white. Violate these laws could lead to imprisonment. They have struggled for decades to bring back a more “egalitarian” system.
Today the District Six, the symbol of segregation tries to get back its unique, vibrant and multicultural atmosphere.
The area hosts one of the largest universities of Cape Town. The district offers many cafes and bars with various concepts, trendy places where people can mingle and have a good time.
Our tour of the neighborhood aims to help you to select different stage we recommend you during your discovery off the beaten track of a Cape Town, seen and reviewed trails.
Begin by Charly’s Bakery, 38 Canterbury Street, in a building designed with colorful graffiti walls and offset tones: it’s one of the most renowned pastry in Cape Town where you can enjoy their delicious cupcakes, cakes and many well other pastries that will make your mouth water. An excellent start to take the necessary forces and beat the pavement with a load of energy during your visit.
Let’s go to the District Six Museum in order to know a little bit more about the history of this area and even the history of South Africa. The museum welcomes you in a modest building but the visit is well-made with many spaces, images which date back to history, different staging and even reconstruction of the interior of a typical house at the time. For even more interaction, visits can be made with a former resident of the District Six. And thus capture the essence of this neighborhood and its tragic fate but now turned to its rebirth. It is located at 25 Buitenkant Street.
We now head to the Book Lounge which is a bookstore richly endowed with South African literature but also international, available in the language of Shakespeare. By his old style and cozy interior, this place is ideal for relaxing with sofas to browse a good book at the ground floor or at the basement. Its managers will be happy to recommend books to suit your tastes. The book is at Lounge 71 Roeland Street, and good reading.
Culture again but this time with the Fugard Theatre, created in 1839, making it the oldest theater in Cape Town. Its name comes from Athol Fugard who is the most significant and internationally South African’s acclaimed playwright. Theater popular with locals Cape regularly produces shows of international renown such as The Rocky Horror Show, Two Brothers or Romeo &Juliet. It is located on Harrington Street and Caledon Street.
District Six is still physically marked by vacant land, inheritance of his destruction. However, a rehabilitation project is underway: ” Fringe ” whose aim is to give more life to the area that was filled with it by the past. And its integration, its natural return to Cape Town.
Timothé & Stéphane
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