• District Six Encounters

    Over the years since its formal launch in 1994, the Museum has acquired expertise in narrative and route development based on many levels of research. It has the benefit of a rich archive of material which can be referenced in order to develop these narratives, and access to a number of ex-resident storytellers who are passionate about their heritage. In addition, a number of visitors to the Museum, especially those from abroad, have expressed a desire to experience the story of the area beyond the confines of the Museum walls.

    These are the origins of the District Six Encounters series, which invites visitors to experience some of the vibrancy and cultural life that characterised the District before destruction, and which puts the community’s desire for restitution and return into clear perspective.

    District Six Encounters is a series of offerings which include site walks, home visits and planned interactions in the Museum space. It is on offer in addition to the tours which take place inside the Museum. While general site tours are always available on request, the tours which form part of the Encounters series of constructed engagements each have a specific focus.

    The current programme consists of six main Encounters:

    A. ‘No matter where we are we are here’

    Visitors can choose from two encounters. The title of this series is a reference to the words of a Mrs. Abrahams, an ex-resident expressing the way she felt on entering the Museum for the first time.

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    A.1 Memories of the East City.

    This walk meanders through destroyed and existing sites situated around the Museum, stopping at four of them for storytelling and reflection. Capetonians who frequent this area are often surprised at what they have learned about places that they pass by every day through this walk.

    A.2 Never, never again

    ...draws on a slogan which is a rallying call against atrocities world-wide. It takes visitors to sites which speak to the strong desire of the District Six community to return, and which serve as reminders of the need to stand in solidarity and in support of the rights of all people.

    Each encounter lasts 2 hours and costs R 100 per person (with koe’sisters and coffee at the start) or R 80 (1 ½ hours) without. They are also available on request to groups consisting of a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 20. Both start and end at the Museum, 25A Buitenkant Street.

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    B. Sunset walks

    The evening light falling over the vacant, scarred land of the District brings into sharp focus the horror of the removal. This walk touches on 4 main sites which have been identified by the displaced community for memorialisation, each site with a poignant story to tell.

    This encounter starts at the Museum and ends in the home of a returned family who have been successful in their claim for restitution. These are scheduled to take place on the last Thursday of each month starting in September, or at any other time for groups of 10 (minimum) and 20 (maximum).

    Dates for encounters are 28 March, 25 April, 30 May and 27 June. Each lasts 2 hours and costs R 100 per person.

    C. Stories of hope

    The process of return enabled by the Land Restitution Act of 1995 has been a rocky yet hopeful one for the returned families. The stories of their lives- their resilience and their hopeful approach to a future which at times was uncertain - is exemplary. This encounter draws on the generosity of members of the reconstituted community, and includes conversations in the front lounges of two families, sharing traditional snacks and a cup of tea with them.

    This tour starts at the Museum and ends in the homes of two families who have been successful in their claim for restitution. This encounter lasts 1 1/2 hours and costs R 120 per person.

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    D. A musical walk through District Six

    The music of the District is legendary. Be it goema, jazz, langarm, street bands, opera, minstrel choirs or ‘copy-cat’ standards- the performance of music in the streets and halls of the old District gave the area a very distinct character. Its energy and vibrancy was drawn from the hybrid of musical styles which came together from all corners of the globe.

    The District Six musical tour draws on these musical traditions, and invites old musicians conversant in some of these genres to engage visitors in performance and reflections of their musical lives. It involves a brief video overview at the Museum, a walk with a musician along a short stretch of one of the routes followed by the marching bands of District Six, and ends at the Homecoming Centre for a brief performance and refreshments.

    This musical tour is available or on request for groups of 10 (minimum) or 20 (maximum). This encounter lasts 3 hours and costs R150 per person and includes a snack at the Museum’s Homecoming Centre

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    E. Noor’s story: my pigeons come home

    Noor, an ex-resident of District Six and a long serving staff member at the Museum, starts out by speaking about his life in the District and the impact of forced removals on his family. His talk is supported with photographs / slides from his personal album of life in District Six before, during and after the destruction.

    This is suitable for all ages and a special version is available for primary and high schools respectively. A maximum number of 25 people can be accommodated. This encounter takes place at the District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant Street.

    The cost is R75pp with a coffee and koe’sister session or R55pp without the coffee and koe’sister session. It lasts 1 hour and is available by pre-arrangement.

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    F. Joe’s story: the colour of my skin

    Joe, also an ex-resident of District Six, starts his tour with his reflection on the social and psychological effect that forced removals had on families in District Six. His talk is supported by an extract from his video: ‘The colour of my skin’. Visitors are also welcome to order coffee, tea and a koe’sister and to watch the full version of Joe’s story (by arrangement).

    Optional and weather permitting: visitors will be taken on a walk with stories at the site of well-loved and remembered places in this part of District Six: Peninsula Maternity hospital, Vernon Terrace, the Bloemhof Flats, etc…
    This encounter is generally suited for adults and younger visitors over the age of 13, with a special version of this being available for primary and high schools on request. A maximum number of 25 people can be accommodated. This takes place at District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant Streetby pre-arrangement .

    The cost is R75pp with a coffee and koe’sister session or R55pp without the coffee and koe’sister session. It lasts 1 hour and is available by pre-arrangement. 

    The cost is R75pp with a coffee and koe’sister session; R55pp without the coffee and koe’sister session; R100pp with a coffee and koe’sister session and walk; or R80pp with walk and without the coffee and koe’sister session.

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    School groups

    For all tour bookings, encounters and requests for information about visitor engagements, Please call receptionon 021 466 7200 or email reception@districtsix.co.za / education@districtsix.co.za You may also book by downloading and completing the group visit request form and mail it to education@districtsix.co.za

    school group request form