South Africa: Reflecting On Public Spaces As Bulldozers Make History in District Six

opinion

The bulldozers and excavators are back in District Six. This time to build.

It was unexpected. No one came around to even just put a note in the postbox. On Friday 26 June 2020 at just past 7.30am the shudder of excavators' front buckets tearing into the ground started.

It was the first sign - in nearly two decades - of movement in the restitution of District Six. The process has been marked by politicking and bureaucratic snafus, divisiveness and court action - but also determination to get justice and restitution, right back to the 1988 launch of Hands Off District Six.

It comes some 16 years and five months after South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, on 11 February 2004 handed the keys of the first two of 24 homes to District Six beneficiaries Ebrahim Murat, 87, and Dan Ndzabela, 82 - the elders who returned from Retreat and Gugulethu respectively.

That date - 11 February - was not an accident. Mandela was released from jail on that day in 1990. District Six was declared white under the Group Areas Act on that day in 1966.

By 1982, 60,000 residents had been forcibly removed, shattering their lives,...

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.