Cape Town - The District Six Museum has invited former residents to its annual commemoration of February 11, 1966 – the day District Six was declared a White Group Area.
The museum commemorates 58 years since the declaration and also celebrates the 30th year of its existence, with the special announcement appointing Zeenat Patel-Kaskar as the new executive director of the museum.
The programme is set to take place on Saturday, in which the museum will remember the day thousands were displaced and witnessed their homes being destroyed.
District Six Museum archive manager Chrischené Julius said: “Sixty thousand people – is the indelible number that we lament annually on the 11th of February when we remember the destruction that District Six suffered through eviction, displacement and de-homing.
“It is on this day that we acknowledge all those affected by the declaration of whites-only areas during apartheid.
“We focus on the destruction caused by the Group Areas Act, which planned all areas of residence in South Africa based on racial classification. It is the day that the District Six community regards as having marked the beginning of the end of their lives as they knew it.”
Julius added: “Integral to our day of remembrance is the crucial attendance and participation of former District Six residents who were most affected by the displacement, many of whom reside in areas far from their beloved location.
“It is for this reason that we choose to host the 11 February 1966 Commemorative Day on Saturday the 10 February 2024, when transport is more accessible.”
Patel-Kaskar said: “There is much work to be done in understanding what is happening with the status of the restitution process for former residents of District Six.
“We remain committed to this process, but we also remain concerned that there is some relief offered to our former residents; not only compensatory, but also a focus on the human condition – which is necessary to release some of the trauma that our former residents carry.
“We are keen to explore what work the museum can offer, particularly when outrages of displacement and loss continue despite the collective experience of historical atrocities. It is time to catapult our memory into action and remind people of how we got here”.