The District Six Museum Heritage Ambassador project (HAP) is a heritage education programme designed to encourage young people to participate actively in the life of the Museum. As part of the programme, young people from all over Cape Town creatively explore specific issues related to Colonialism, Apartheid and socio-economic systems held in place by race, class and gender stereotyping. The HAP forms part of the Museum’s youth network programme, Baluleka! Wees Belangrik! Be important! This emerged from our 11 year partnership with Malmo Museums, Sweden and the Zenit programme designed to engage youth in the global issues of the day.
The District Six Museum recruits youth from high schools as well as youth active in our partner organisations to become part of a customised and intensive series of learning journeys that create the space for committed youth to become Museum Ambassadors in three areas: Anti-racism; curatorship and Expressive Arts. Heritage Ambassador Programmes have been enabled by funding from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the National Heritage Council (NHC) who continue to support the intergenerational work of the museum with youth and adults in dialogue. The Museum has moved from a singular Heritage Ambassador Programme to a more expansive series of ‘learning-by-doing’ programmes that includes the following:
An Anti-Racism Ambassador Programme where youth explore apartheid and link this to contemporary issues of identity and strategies to deal with racism in our society today.
The 2007-9 Heritage Ambassador project was a partnership project with the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum. Youth explored issues related to forced removals and migrant labour in a National Heritage Council funded project.
The youth learnt to use a range of creative tools – oral history, online and library research, photography, storytelling, visual art, performance art, poetry, amongst others, to design an exhibition and education programme to highlight the experiences of forced removals and migrant labour in the making of Cape Town.
Two exhibition openings were organised by the youth involved – one at the District Six Museum and the second one at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.