Just outside of the city centre, District Six is located on magnificent real estate on the foothills of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, with stunning views of Table Bay. Despite land restitution and efforts to atone for the mistaken segregation policy of the apartheid regime, District Six remains tainted by a past that many find difficult to forget.
District 6 has been a scar on the horizon for forty years. It is an empty area of land with only a church and a few mosques as its only structures. Here, 60 000 individuals were evicted against their will between 1966 and 1982, and their homes were demolished to prevent them from returning.
Similar to Sophiatown, District 6 was designated a “white” neighbourhood 36 years ago by the National Party. The government’s rules were violated by the presence of such a diverse population so near Cape Town, 10% of whom were emancipated slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers, and immigrants in District six by 1901. The site remained vacant as a result of pressure from both the local and international communities after the areas fiasco. The apartheid government renamed the area Zonnebloem in an effort to forget its plans for the area, which were never carried out.
The first three families moved into Chapel Street on June 6, 2004, after which the first symbolic keys to the new residences in the area were distributed. Additional 4000 dwellings were also part of the plans, as were the commercial development and “reincarnation” of Hanover Street with stores, banks, chemists, and other establishments to mimic the feel of the former District 6 and encourage the resettling of working-class families from the Cape Flats. The District 6 Museum, located in the centre of District six, preserves the memories of the neighbourhood and its displaced residents. It is definitely worth a trip.