PRESS RELEASE: District Six Museum Remembers
Day of remembrance programme to be held on Wednesday the 11th of February
11 February 1966 is a day that will always be remembered by the District Six community – a date that marked the start of the end. This was the day that District Six was declared a whites-only area. Subsequently, more than 60 000 people were forcibly removed and the buildings were flattened.
District Six Museum – a memorial to a destroyed community and a meeting place for old and new Cape Town residents who identify with its history – will be hosting its annual day of remembrance programme on Wednesday. On this day every year, the Museum commemorates the destruction and recommits to the process of restitution together with the community.
“The 11th of February marks a significant day for the Museum and its community. The annual programme is our way of bringing people together to re-connect and honour the past”, says Bonita Bennett, Director of the District Six Museum.
From 1994, a commemorative procession starting at St Mark’s Church has marked this day, and various individual and collective pilgrimages have followed on each year. In 2004, the first families received the keys to their new homes on this date, and in 2005 the names of the next returning families were announced.
Traditionally there has been a major focus on the cairn of stones – whereby ex-residents lay their stones at the cairn on Hanover Street. The cairn is made up of their stones laid there over the years, symbolising ex-residents’ connectedness to the land and staking their claim to its history.
This year, the proceedings cannot continue in the same manner due to the CPUT construction which currently surrounds it. CPUT has been approached to permit access to the cairn which lies cordoned off in the heart of the building site. Stones will be laid, but the performative ritual around the cairn will not be possible because of the intrusion of the building. This will be the first time that the stone laying will take place under these circumstances and it should provide some clues as to the future of the cairn. The day will be concluded with an interfaith service at the Lydia Williams Centre of Memory. Albie Sachs, former Constitutional Court Judge and anti-apartheid activist, will be the guest speaker for the evening.
The programme for the day will include:
- 11h00: Gather at the D6M Homecoming Centre. People are requested to bring stones to lay at the cairn
- 11h30: Procession to the cairn and ritual of remembrance
- 13h00: Reflections and refreshments at D6M Homecoming Centre
- 19h00: Interfaith service at The Lydia Williams Centre of Memory (the old St Phillip’s School), Chapel Street in District Six. Guest speaker Judge Albie Sachs.
The programme is free and all are welcome to attend (please confirm).