District Six is one of Cape Town’s most politically and historically important suburbs. It’s also known as Zonnebloem, or sometimes the East City. It has a turbulent history, which reached a pinnacle in the 70’s and 80’s. Prior to the 70’s, it was a vibrant mixed race community. In 1970 District Six was renamed “Zonnebloem” and deemed a “white area”, and the residents were forcibly removed, mostly to the distant Cape Flats.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, protests halted almost all development in the area, leaving the open fields you see today. Some apartments have been built, which house some of the former residents. There is also the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, as well as a few churches and mosques which were spared during the demolition.
Today the area is starting to regain its vibrancy as a design and art hub. You’ll find a high concentration of street art, between design shops, eateries, alternative nightlife spots, and bars. It’s home to The Fugard Theatre, which showcases some of the best local productions as well as the occasional West End hit. It’s also where you’ll find the Cape Craft and Design Institute.
The District Six Museum is a highlight. Personal letters, sound recordings, maps, and relics paint a picture of the former District Six and the vibrant community that once called it home.