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Elation as hundreds celebrate District Six 'healing process'

Former and current District Six residents gathered at the Castle of Good Hope to commemorate 54 years since the area was declared a whites-only area by the apartheid state. Picture: Ian Landsberg / African News Agency (ANA)

Former and current District Six residents gathered at the Castle of Good Hope to commemorate 54 years since the area was declared a whites-only area by the apartheid state. Picture: Ian Landsberg / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 17, 2020

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Cape Town – Commemorations of the 54th year since District Six was declared a white group area were different this year because they were held after the official name change of Zonnebloem back to District Six.

The event at the Castle of Good Hope at the weekend saw hundreds of current and former residents remembering the area.

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District Six Working Committee chairperson Shahied Ajam said: “It has been a tremendous healing process: first the renaming of Hanover Street, then District Six, then finally the repackaging of the redevelopment.

“We are celebrating a new era of restoring the dignity of the people. For the hundreds of people who attended the event, there was only elation and joy, especially on the faces of those who are in their eighties and nineties.”

District Six was declared a white group area by the apartheid state on February 11, 1966. This year’s commemoration celebrated the official renaming of Zonnebloem back to District Six, a campaign spearheaded by the District Six Museum last year.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said it was an honour to be at the commemoration.

“Today, as much as the pain remains from the heartbreaking removals of the community of District Six 54 years ago, we can look forward to the groundbreaking restoration that the people of District Six have waited so long for.

“While the return of the name is a good change, it is not good enough to just change the name, we need to have the people of District Six come back,” she said.

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