Seven Steps Club members (former residents of District Six) support the ‘Reclaim the City’ campaign
Submission by the Seven Steps Club of the District Six Museum
District Sixers understand exclusion. Like many other South Africans, they understand the impact of the loss of homes, and the struggle for decent and dignified housing . District Sixers are acutely aware of their own struggle to be part of this city’s spatial planning thinking which has made them ever more sensitive to struggles of others in similar situations.
The Seven Steps Club of the District Six Museum is a gathering of former residents of the District, who gather at the Museum on a monthly basis. It is a space of healing and hope where discussions, storytelling, support actions and research ideas are engaged. It is also a place of reconnection. Underlying each monthly meeting is the awareness that we are still struggling to be a part of our city’s planning even though we have contributed so much to its character and growth. The townships where most of us live after being forced out of District Six under apartheid, have not been nurturing spaces, and we have struggled to raise our families and make a living in ways which are dignified and uplifting. The struggle to return to the vacant and traumatised land of District Six is part of our daily struggle, together with striving to build safe places of residences in the townships for those who will not return.
At our meeting on Tuesday 31 May 2016, we resolved that the struggle to stop the sale of Tafelberg land for private use, is part of our struggle. It is a struggle for the right to be heard, to expect due consideration for the daily suffering of poor citizens to uplift themselves and to be housed in ways which acknowledge our human rights. Many of our parents particularly our mothers worked ‘in service’. They endured the indignities of employers who thought of them as lesser beings. We are saddened that there are many who still endure such conditions even after apartheid has ended, and we add our voices to those who work in the Sea Point area, who are crying out for dignified homes. We also support the call for affordable housing for others who do not work in the area. Without such support from our government, those who are currently excluded because of affordability issues, will remain excluded and our city will continue to be as divided as it currently is.
We do not think it unreasonable to expect local government to utilise every opportunity to use land in a transformative way, and call for serious consideration of this to be given.
State-owned land is a precious commodity which is to be used for the benefit of all citizens.
THE SEVEN STEPS CLUB members of the District Six Museum
6 June 2016