We spent the remainder of the morning relaxing (or in my case sleeping). In the afternoon, the downpour turned to drizzle, so we walked a few blocks to see the District Six Museum.
1) They made it illegal for races to mix, saying interracial interaction bred conflict. This was a very diverse neighborhood so they separated everyone to facilitate compliance with the law.
2)They deemed District Six a slum full of crime, prostitution, gambling and drinking. They said it wasn't even fit for rehabilitation so it had to be destroyed.
While these were the official reasons given by the government, many people believed they did it because they wanted the land, which is located close to the harbour, city center and Table Mountain.
In 1968, the government declared Disctrict 6 a Whites Only neighborhood, and by 1982 over 60,000 people had been relocated to Cape Flats township, a very bleak, sad place. We would later drive by a stretch of shanties in the Cape Flats area on our way back from the Winelands/Hermanus - they looked even worse than the favelas in Brazil.
After removing the residents, the government bulldozed the entire town to the ground, leaving only places of worship. It remained vacant for a while, but then the government built the Cape Technikon (now a Technical University) over much of District 6.
When Apartheid ended in 1994, the South African government recognized claims of former inhabitants. The first former residents moved back in 2004 - over 30 years after being removed. Many people are still trying to get their properties back, but it seems like a long and complicated process.
The museum was built in 1994 to honor the memory of what District 6 was before the bulldozing. There are photographs of families, shops, and schools - everyday things that we all take for granted because we don't think they will just disappear one day. They recreated beauty salons with actual products from the 60's. They also recreated people's homes, hanging pictures of their families on the wall.
They displayed signs, like the one below, from when the government was removing people of color from the neighborhood.
That evening, we went out to dinner at Momma Africa on Long Street to listen to live music. We were still talking about District Six when we arrived, but all that changed once the band came on - which consisted of a few bongos, a trombone, trumpet, xylophone, cowbell and triangle. They were amazing! We literally both had fevers, and the only prescription was more cowbell :)