The Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town was originally established as a community of about 60 000 labourers, immigrants and freed slaves, gaining formal recognition in 1867.
Although considered a slum, District Six became home to many colourful characters and developed a happy culture of its own – only to become the scene of forced evictions under the old apartheid regime during the 1970s.
The District Six Museum in Cape Town tells the story
Music played a large role in the lives of the original District Six residents and they embraced it in all its forms. Goema, jazz, langarm, street bands, opera and minstrel choirs all had their place here.
You will find the main building at 25A Buitenkant Street, with the second venue just down the road at 15 Buitenkant Street.
While the exhibits are designed to be explored individually, you will find that taking a guided tour with one of the original residents of the area is the most rewarding way to explore this museum.
Tours take place Monday to Friday at 10am, 11am, 12pm and 2pm.
Entitled ‘Digging Deeper’, the exhibits use multi-media applications to help immerse you in the District 6 experience, bringing the joys and tribulations of these people to life. Exhibits are constantly updated and recreated as more interesting items are salvaged from the depths of the Museum’s vast collection of mementos.
‘District Six Encounters’ include walks, visits and planned interactions and are an activity not to be missed. There are currently six different encounters available:
- A guided walk through the ruined buildings of the old city (Saturdays at 2pm)
- Sunset walks on the last Thursday of each month
- Stories of Hope have residents telling stories from the area
- Walking the streets with musicians who have first-hand experience of the heyday of District 6
- ‘Noor’s story: my pigeons come home’ – a local tells his story with a talk and slideshow
- ‘Joe’s story: the colour of my skin’ – a talk and video extract presented by a resident
The District 6 Museum will enthrall you with a cultural blast from the past, unique to the Mother City.