Published: September 20th 2009August 29th 2009
Lost street names of District Six
Our remaining time in Cape Town is spent enjoying the views from Signal Hill, strolling around town and visiting the District Six Museum. As a town planner, urban renewal is a familiar subject, but the forced relocation of a multi-cultural community in Cape Town’s central area (known as District Six) during the apartheid era is something altogether more important. Formerly a neighbourhood occupied by a poor and diverse but culturally rich community, District Six was requisitioned for habitation by whites. The residents were forced to move, sometimes with no advance warning, and their houses and shops were demolished. Despite this mass clearance, few buildings were built in their place, aside from the ugly and sprawling Technikon, which remains once of the only buildings amid the district’s empty streets. Work is now underway to repopulate District Six, with a community to reflect that of the original neighbourhood. The story is an important one in understanding the city and the nation of South Africa, but the museum is clearly aimed at locals, so uninitiated visitors need to work hard to piece things together - but it’s worth the effort.
Having done all we wanted in Cape Town, we pick up a hire
Table Mountain shrouded in mist from Signal Hill
car to head out along the Cape coast. Although Anna and Ali will be returning to Cape Town to fly home on the 6th September, I’ll be continuing on east, so our plan is to take the car as far as George, the start of the Garden Route, where we’ll part company. In the best tradition of hire cars (indeed, I think it’s the law), we name our VW Golf Betty, and head out towards Simon’s Town at the bottom of the Cape. Just south of Simon’s Town lies Boulders Beach, home to a colony of Jackass Penguins... and some more dassies. As expected, the penguins are amazingly cute and funny, looking like miniature French waiters, but their donkey-like calls aren’t exactly endearing. Thankfully, they stay quiet most of the time, and we watch as a family of three penguins execute a synchronised exit from the surf and waddle in tandem back to the colony... priceless.
Satisfied that we’d enjoyed the little fellas in tuxedos as much as possible, we returned to Betty and headed east to our next destination - Hermanus, the whale-watching hub of the Western Cape and, unbeknownst to Ali, centre of South Africa’s dassy population...
There are more photos below