District Six & Long Night’s Journey Into Day

Yesterday we had the chance to visit the District Six museum in Cape Town. District Six was a township in Cape Town where predominantly “non-whites” lived during the 1960s. In 1966 the residential aria was demolished under apartheid and residents were forcibly removed so that whites could occupy the area. Basically under apartheid there was a law known as the Group Areas Act. This law assigned racial groups to certain residential areas to increase the separation brought on by apartheid. Non-whites were restricted from living in developed areas that were specifically for whites. In South Africa, white people are actually the minority, yet they were given the most land and best conditions rather than the many black and colored South Africans who were given practically nothing. District Six was one of the areas separated for non-whites, until February 11, 1966 when the government decided to take that land by forcibly removing the residents and demolishing their homes. The District Six museum was created and has gradually included recovered artifacts through the rubble. We are reading a book written by a South African author, Richard Rive, who grew up in District Six during the 1960s. The book features real landmarks of the city including St. Marks church and various street names that we actually saw as we drove by District Six. Right as you walk into the D6 museum (it’s located inside an old church) there is a giant sized map on the floor of the streets and all the different homes that made up D6. They also recovered the original street signs that were buried after the demolition. It was interesting to see the street signs of actual streets that were mentioned in our book entitled Buckingham Palace: District Six. The museum was incredibly moving as you read about families whose lives and the government for really no justifiable reason took possessions away. Those people had homes and families that were totally destroyed as a result of apartheid. Our tour guide, Ebrahim actually grew up in D6. He says that to this day, whenever the subject of D6 is brought up around his father, his father will walk out of the room because he refuses to talk about District Six.

After our museum excursion, the ten of us gathered in one apartment to watch a movie called Long Night’s Journey into Day. It is a documentary of four stores centered on apartheid in South Africa as seen through the eyes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the film, white soldiers/police officers working for the apartheid government killed many black ANC activists (African National Congress). The “criminals” are on trial to apply for amnesty. In the audience are the black victims mother’s, and family members who are looking at the faces of those who killed their innocent sons/daughters, who were fighting for justice. The movie was really heavy and emotional. It makes you realize that as Americans, we are so ignorant about what else is going on in the world. We don’t take the time to educate ourselves and learn about the world and different problems taking place outside of the US. If we don’t see it, than we don’t think about it and it doesn’t apply to us. Look at the movie trailer I’m going to attach to see what the film was like. IT WAS FACINATING!

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2 thoughts on “District Six & Long Night’s Journey Into Day

  1. It will always baffle me how people can treat other people. Nothing will ever make me understand such horrible cruelty.

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