The exhibition The Last Days of District Six showcased 60 photographs of the District by architect Jan Greshoff. Greshoff explored this part of the city through the viewfinder of his camera.
In the moment of their creation, the photographs evoke a premonition of a largely unpeopled place, a ghost town in the making. At the same time, the almost etched, tonal images illuminated the public space and architectural landscape of District Six in rich detail, suggesting the possibility of resurrection. Churches, mosques, cinemas and corner shops, as well as colonnaded walkways, the steps, schoolyards and aged buildings, the detailed latticework, were all features of the built environment which shaped the setting of inner-city life and gave meaning to District Six as a place. These detailed elements of the surface texture of Greshoff’s images connected with a landscape of nostalgia, promising the pleasure of access to a lost reality, and resonating with a desire to testify to “having been there”.
1A small collection of Greshoff’s photographs form part of the permanent exhibition at the District Six Museum.