District 6 activists not invited to Harry, Meghan museum visit
Cape Town Prince Harry’s South African tour could be dogged by controversy from the start when his visit to the District Six Museum on Monday snubs the District Six Working Committee, which represents more than 3000 families who have fought for decades to return to the homes from which they were forcibly removed by the apartheid regime.
“I’m perplexed that the committee hasn’t been invited,” said chairperson Shahied Ajam, who has called on Prince Harry to apologise for “the monster that his forbears created”.
“Prince Harry is a representative of a former colonial power that was the architect of what transpired in District Six. Forced removals and the other apartheid evils had their roots in colonialism. The English don’t have a good history in South Africa. They enforced and implemented segregation,” he said.
District Six is about “the people and the place, and not about a museum”, said Ajam.
“So why weren’t we, as a major stakeholder, told about the visit or invited to participate? For me, that is an indication from the royal house that they are not interested in the plight of the people of District Six,” he said.
The tour is taking place at the request of the UK foreign and commonwealth office, which may have created a political hot potato for Prince Harry by not inviting the working committee.
According to the royal itinerary, they will tour the museum in Buitenkant Street from 4.20pm for half an hour “to learn about the history of the area and meet former residents”.
District Six Museum Board chairman Judge Siraj Desai said it did not regard Prince Harry’s visit as being “of any significance in the restitution process”.
“This is a museum and we do not exclude people because of their political affiliations.” The museum said it did
not plan the itinerary. However, spokesperson at the British High Commission in Pretoria Isabel Potgieter said the visit was arranged by the District Six Museum.