Baluleka! Be Important! Wees Belangrik!
This is the youth programme of the District Six Museum. It was launched on 10 December 2005 as an umbrella programme for a range of projects that serve to engage youth in the life of the Museum, the city and globally. The idea is that Baluleka! will become a partnership driven programme and resource centre with the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre serving as the hub for youth based and intergenerational activities. Young people, we hope, will bring the cultural and political life back to the city centre and will sustain the important link between the Museum and its community into the future.
The Museum has run a successful Heritage Ambassador Project since 2002, in Cape Town, Grabouw, Atlantis, Eastern Cape and in the Northern Province. In the 2006/7 project, we focused on ‘The role of forced removals and migrant labour in the shaping of Cape Town’. This was a partnership project with Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, the first township based museum in South Africa, which fortified their education department and bolstered their relationship with schools and community in the area. Through this project young people learnt valuable exhibition making and memorialisation skills: oral history, photography, performance, computer skills, exhibition design, and exhibition construction
This was a partnership project with the British Council. Young people were taken on an intensive journey of exploration, discovery and development where they got to know each other as people and looked beyond notions of race to the influences of class, culture, gender and geography on identity. The project culminated in the young people designing and implementing community based projects where they performed the role of anti-racism and human rights ambassadors.
This was a partnership project with Malmö Museums in Sweden. Youth were engaged in a series of exchanges across borders that investigated global issues of poverty, unfair trade, gender, racism, human rights, health and welfare. They produced collaborative exhibitions, research reports, exchanged e-mails and launched an e-newsletter during a visit by ten youth to Malmö in December 2006. In July 2006, six youth from Malmö visited Cape Town and completed a joint exhibition and performance programme, expressing their perceptions of Cape Town as ‘insiders and outsiders’.
In addition, we run a developing schools programme that introduces primary and high schools to the Museum, the history of District Six, its music, culture and vibrancy. We have developed ‘Re-imagining the City’ – an interactive role play that can be adapted for all levels.
The District Six Museum Ambassador programme is a unique heritage education programme designed to encourage young people to participate actively in Museum activities. As part of the initial programme, young people from communities all over Cape Town were trained as Museum Ambassadors and were responsible for teaching primary school learners about the Museum and its exhibitions.
The Museum envisages extending this programme as a national project covering the development of community based provincial exhibitions in nine provinces, culminating in a national exhibition and publication.
A pilot Heritage Ambassador project, which worked with young people between the ages of 15 and 19 from three different provincial communities in South Africa, was implemented by the Museum. Young people developed exhibitions focusing on the history of their community, their personal and family history and their vision for the future. This pilot project culminated in three community exhibitions in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.
The exhibitions gave expression to the voices of young people, often the voiceless, by providing a framework in which the participants contributed to the recording of new memories and the visioning of their collective future. A unique archive of information was produced and is housed at the Museum. The project stressed the need for constructive leadership, citizen rights and responsibilities for the future.
Participants were introduced to all areas of exhibition work and were responsible for the exhibitions at all stages of its development. Using collaborative learning activities they researched the content of the exhibitions. They were also responsible for its design and construction. A media campaign run by the participants formed part of the programme. Finally the participants designed and implemented an education programme for primary school learners from their communities.