District Six gone but not forgotten

District Six was home to 60000 residents in the city, the inhabitants forcibly moved to Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats in 1966. The area has been renamed Zonnebloem, but there is little left to be seen of the original area, as all the houses were flattened by bulldozers, leaving only churches, schools, and mosques.

The area was inhabited by former slaves, artisans, merchants, as well as Malay immigrants brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company. Most of the former District Six area belongs to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and houses one of its three campuses in Cape Town.  Some families with roots to the area have returned to the former District Six.

The most tangible reminder of District Six is the District Six Museum on Buitenkant Street, only 350 meters from Labotessa, which opened in 1994. It is a remembrance to the District Six area, and its culture and history.  One can see street signs from the area, a map which marks where the families lived, and has become a meeting place and community centre for residents connected to its history.

‘District Six – The Musical’ by David Kramer and the late Taliep Pietersen told the story of the area, and toured locally and internationally. ‘Kat and the Kings’ was a follow-up musical, also set in the area.  The area was known as the home of excellent  jazz musicians such as Abdullah Ibrahim (previously known as Dollar Brand) and saxophonist Basil Coetzee.

Labotessa Luxury Boutique Hotel…….’like no other in Cape Town’.

Labotessa Luxury Boutique Hotel, 5 Church Square, Parliament Street. Tel (021) 010-6600 www.labotessa.com