The Red City Tour's free Yellow Downtown Tour bus will take you to a vibrant museum which stands today in honour of the fondly remembered area of District Six, which is a region readily found on all Cape Town maps. District Six was named the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town in 1867. Originally established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants, District Six was a vibrant centre with close links to the city and the port.
› Discover how and why District Six no longer exists today
› See how apartheid and the Group Areas Act tore a community apart
› Learn more about the residents of District Six
When the South African apartheid government swooped on District Six, Cape Town in 1966, forcibly removing its occupants and declaring the area a "whites-only" zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished, but vibrant community was torn to shreds.
It was at this time that removals and marginalisation caused by apartheid had begun. The first to be 'resettled' were black South Africans. 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers.
› Understand when and why the District Six Museum came into being
› See artifacts and original pieces of historical material
› Share and explore the memories in this Cape Town historical museum
In an effort to preserve the memories of District Six, including the forcible relocation of thousands of people around the country, the District Six Museum Foundation was established in 1989. In 1994 The District Six Museum was launched and now houses an impressive collection of historical materials including photographs, paintings, artefacts, physical remains like street signs, books and studies as well as audio-visual recordings of District Six, most which were donated by its former residents.
Today the museum acts as a vehicle for advocating social justice, as a space for reflection and contemplation, and as an institution for challenging the distortions and half-truths that manifested in history about Cape Town and South Africa.
Be sure to also visit the Museum's Homecoming Centre (one block away from the Museum) which houses temporary exhibitions.
› Take a walk through the streets of District Six and see what remains today
› Go on a guided tour with an ex-resident of District Six
› Get a sense of the magnitude of the destruction that took place
The museum has been designed in such a way that a visitor can wander in off the street and take a self-guided tour, but more importantly a visitor can also make use of the privilege of taking a tour with an ex-resident of District Six. These guides provide historical information and commentary as well as answer questions. It is an amazing experience to hear the personal recollections of an ex-resident. The site has been nominated as a National Heritage Site and is therefore a conservation area of Cape Town and should be treated with sensitivity and respect.
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