The District Six was named the 6th municipal district in 1867 and was originally established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants. It was a vibrant centre with closed links to the city and the port. However, when in 1966 the South African apartheid government swooped on District Six, forcing occupants to vacant and declaring the area a “whites-only” zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished yet vibrant community was torn apart.
The District Six Museum was established in 1994 in order to provide a community space for ex-residents to gather and meet. Additionally, the Museum has also become a site that tells the story of District Six to visitors from near or far.
The Museum was design in a way that allows visitors can just wander in off the street and take a self-guided tour. Guests can also opt for the full experience and choose a guided tour with one of the ex-resident of the district. The District Six Museum offers wonderful visuals, oral testimony, documentaries, audio-visual materials and last but not least the historic knowledge and commentary of an ex-resident.
The site has been nominated as a National Heritage Site and is therefore a conservation area of Cape Town and should be treated with sensitivity and respect.