The Ruins of Cape Town’s District Six

Christian Ernsten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article gives an account of the praxis of cape town’s district six museum in relation to the restitution and redevelopment of district six. During south africa’s apartheid regime, district six was declared a whites-only area according the group areas act of 1966. Colored and black inhabitants were forcibly removed and their houses were destroyed on the grounds of slum clearance. Twenty years into democracy, we can think of how the materiality of shattered landscape presents ways of connecting to degraded personhoods, in the past and the present. This article portrays how the museum tackles the challenge of naming the heritage of district six outside the logic of cape town as a global city. It points to two moments in which the museum self-consciously put a counter-practice in place against the grain of dominant discourses that give shape to cape town.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-371
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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