District Six Museum

25A Buitenkant St, Zonnebloem, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa

District Six was originally a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, laborers, and immigrants. Marginalization and forced removal of the residents began early in the last century and, in 1966, the neighborhood was declared a white area. By 1982, more than 60,000 people had been relocated to a barren spot aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers. An agreement about what to do with the land that was District Six has yet to be reached, and those who were forcibly evicted are still awaiting a fair settlement.

Established in 1994, the District Six Museum preserves memories of the area through photographs, traffic signs, and videos, and also focuses on forced removals in general. A large map of the district covers the floor of the museum and includes former residents’ handwritten notes about where they once lived.

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Heart Wrenching Memories of the Apartheid Era

As time passes and memories fade we all would do well to make the effort to remember. Here at the District Six Museum in Cape Town you can learn about the experiences of one vital neighborhood dismantled under apartheid. Photographs and words bring the memory of District Six alive for visitors. Another must-do sight is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and others spent years in prison. Former prisoners speak of their own experiences there. And in nearby wine country there is a memorial to the Long Walk to Freedom speech Mandela gave on the day he was released. A half a world away when this struggle was going on, I had only an intellectual understanding—after visiting South Africa I stand in absolute AWE of Nelson Mandela—he chose peace and forgiveness over vengeance and bitterness and made the world a much better place.

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