no feriado do 27 de Abril (Freedom Day) fui finalmente visitar o District Six Museum, lugar de muitas memórias de horror que se tornou numa ilha de tolerância e liberdade no meio de tanta tirania e injustiça que acontecia nos anos de apartheid.
It became an island of tolerance and freedom in the growing sea of apartheid oppression and injustice. This was undesirable to the apartheid government, so in 1966, they declared it a whites only area, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. More than 60.000 people were forcibly removed to outlying areas like Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Guguletu, Hanover Park, Nyanga, Bonteheuwel and Langa, while their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers. But the spirit of the community still exists as an unrelenting desire to return, to remember and to teach the lesson of never again.
In 1972, Langa township was opened and in 1932-1936. Ndabeni residents were moved to Langa, and Ndabeni was closed. In 1957, another African township was established at Nyanga. From 1963 onwards, people were evicted from the following sites; District Six, Newlands, Claremont, Mowbray, Greenpoint, Lansdowne, Constantia, Simon´s Town and just about every suburb around the Peninsula mountain chain. People were removed to new townships developed on the Cape Flats.
Nearly 1000 non-white people in “Germantown”, Tramway Road, Sea Point, and Stony Place, Newlands were told that they were living illegally in White area and that they must make arrangements to remove themselves soon as possible. Even though these communities had for the most part been living there longer than the Whites, their period of residence stretching back more than 100 years, and it was the whites, spreading outwards, who had surrounded them.
Pass raids were a daily feature of the lives of Africans. They took place at arbitrary times, at bus stops, railway stations, factory gates or in the dead of night during house to house searches. Along with raids came prosecutions and fears of eviction, losing your home and job and being separated from family and friends. Pass laws were another means of enforcing segregation. They had been introduced as early as 1760 by the Dutch colonial government and applied to slaves in the Cape. Subsequently, during the 19th and 20th centuries the pass laws were used to control the movement, settlement and employment of "African" people, by removing then from the urban areas when their labour was deemed redundant or not permanently required. It has been estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century more than 17 million Africans have been arrested or prosecuted under the pass laws.
Every adult African over the age of 16 had to carry a "pass" and had to produce it on demand at any time. A pass was obtained at a Pass Office where applicants were carefully screened. Each morning hundreds of people in need of various documents or endorsements lined up outside the pass offices. The queues began to from before sunrise. Many people were unsuccessful and had to return the following morning.
ao sair do museu deparei-me com o edifício do Centro Comunitário que também faz parte do museu onde estava acontecer um Fórum Aberto e Exposição intitulada Phefumla! (Breathe!), palavra Xhosa que significa respirar. a exposição organizada por um colectivo de artistas (fotografa, speaker, poeta,etc) interessadas no trabalho artístico e intervencionista que desafia as ideias hegemónicas de protesto e activismo.
no mesmo espaço ouve um debate aceso com intervenções extraordinariamente interessantes sobre a Descolonização da Memória Pública da Cidade, que terminou com uma performance na Grand Parade Town Square, com intervenções justamente na estátua de Edward VII, Rei do Reino Unido incluindo as Colónias Britânicas.