Teams Khulisa and SDR with local street members

Personal Growth and Understanding of the Street Community

After seven weeks working with the street community from the Canterbury Street we have learned the power of our daily generalizations. From criminals to people who have no place in society other than the streets, we as individuals, are often quick to judge people from their current state, ignoring their past and what might have brought that person to this point in their lives. Before this experience we would see people living on the streets and not do anything. We’d assume they were just really poor. This project has really forced us to see just how multifaceted the stories of the street people are. By hearing personal stories from those who live on the streets to personally seeing what they go through and the problems they face every day, we have definitely become more understanding, accepting and welcoming towards the street individuals.

The people we have worked with from the street community really taught us about acceptance; they do not blame people for the way they act towards the street population. They believe they act the way they do because of how they grew up. As a whole, learning how gentle and caring the street community is was quite astounding. Overall, this experience has opened our minds and made us deeply appreciate everything that we are lucky to have, even the simplest things.


District Six and the Apartheid Government

Working at the Canterbury Street Lot provided a great insight on Cape Town’s past through the strong presence of post-apartheid era debris. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring to see how much those who lived in the District Six area love and value this region. Seeing the effects of apartheid on District Six really tugs on your heart, hearing the incredibly personal stories about how people used to live before the removals. We had the opportunity to learn more about it from the museum and old residents, such as Annie Bam, making clear its importance to the community. It was heartwarming to hear the stories from those who lived in the area both pre and post-apartheid. The nostalgia was clear during those conversations, but so was the passion those people had for the area and its history.

On a more personal, project oriented level, while digging at the location for the memorial, about a foot deep, we ran into an immovable object. We had hit the foundations of houses the used to be on the lot. That was a difficult experience. Considering the amount of history and number of people that used to live on the lot, we really wanted to pay homage in creating the memorial. The amount of emotion we received from people’s responses to what we were doing has really showed us how people today remain affected by apartheid policies. It was upsetting to see that, today, not a lot of the past was remembered or celebrated around the Canterbury Street Lot. We are glad we had the opportunity to help people remember those from the past through a small memorial, but we know that what we did is small scale and there is more room for creating other remembrances for District Six. Other parts of District Six seem to be more recognized than the area in which we worked, but we hope our memorial will help highlight the importance of the area and the lives of those who lived there.

In the end, we realized that District Six is one of the common background stories that join Cape Town’s people together. Regardless of their current living state or amount of income, everyone in this city respects and recognizes its impact on their society.


D6 Eviction

Application to demolish dwellings in District Six during the apartheid era