District Six Museum in Cape Town pays respect to the former mixed-race community, of the same name. The museum is a memorial to the 60.000 residents who were forcibly evicted in the 1970s during Apartheid in South Africa. District Six Foundation was founded back in 1989 and in 1994 they opened this incredible museum in an old Methodist church. The museum offers you stories from the former residents, as well as an opportunity to learn more about Apartheid’s influence on the ‘colored’ people of Cape Town. A visit to District Six is simply something you must do when in Cape Town.
The history of District Six
The former area that was known as Cape Town got its name from being the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town back in 1867. Before the destruction during Apartheid, District Six was a diverse community. As it was mixed-raced there were several different languages, economic classes, religions, and geographical areas of origin. Therefore, it became a vibrant place of so many different people – from freed slaves, laborers, immigrants, merchants, and artisans. Which was contrary to what the Apartheid government wanted the population to believe and adopt. Thus, District Six became a target of the destruction of ‘colored’ communities in Cape Town.
On the 11th of February 1966, District Six was officially declared a ‘white’ area under the Group Areas Act. More than 60.000 residents were forcibly evicted to outlying areas while their houses in District Six were destroyed by bulldozers. By 1982 the life of the former vibrant mixed-race community was over.
District Six Museum
Nowadays, District Six Museum stands as a memorial to the residents of the community who were forcibly removed from their homes. The exhibitions in the museum are created from the personal artifacts of former residents. News clippings, pictures, letters, and artwork are all things that former residents have kindly donated to the museum. This makes for a very personal touch in the exhibitions and shows how different each of the lives was in the community. To make it even more personal, you are able to join a guided tour where a former resident talks about his or her life in District Six and how its destruction affected their life. District Six Museum is well worth a visit to understand what some of the common people of Cape Town endured during Apartheid.
Everything you need to know for visit to District Six Museum
As with so many other sites and attractions in Cape Town, there are a few things you might find useful before you visit the museum. Therefore, we have gathered everything you need to know for a visit to District Six Museum right here.
Getting to District Six Museum
District Six Museum is located in the inner city of Cape Town on Buitenkant Street. To be more exact the address is 25a Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. This is only a few meters away from several public transportation stops. However, you are also able to take an Uber or drive by yourself. If you end up taking your own car you must be aware that most of the street parking is only allowed for 1 hour. But do not worry – just a bit further down the road you will find a multi-storey car park.
The opening hours of the District Six Museum in Cape Town are from 09:00 to 16:00 every Monday to Saturday. District Six Museum is closed on Sundays.
When you are visiting District Six Museum you must decide whether you want to go on a self-guided visit or an ex-resident tour. If you want to visit on your own without a guide it is possible every time of the day. However, if you want to join a guided tour with an ex-resident, these are available from Monday to Saturday at 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, and 13:30. The prices of the different types of visits are as follows.
|District Six Museum tickets||Price|
|Self-guided visit (Adult)||45 ZAR|
|Self-guided visit (South African + African students)||5 ZAR|
|Self-guided visit (International students)||15 ZAR|
|Visit with an ex-resident guide (Adult)||60 ZAR|
|Guided site walk||110 ZAR|
|Guided site walk with a snack||140 ZAR|
|Ex-residents from District Six or other areas of forced removals.||Free entrance|
|South African pensioners||Free entrance|
You can either buy your tickets to the museum when you arrive or online. If you want to book your ticket before you can do it right here.
Time spent at District Six Museum
The District Six Museum in Cape Town is not very big. However, it does hold a lot of stories and interesting exhibitions. We would recommend you set aside 1 to 2 hours for a visit to District Six Museum. That way you are able to join an ex-resident guide and still take some time wandering the museum on your own afterward. There is a lot to read but it is definitely worth it!
Best time to visit District Six Museum in Cape Town
The best time to visit District Six Museum in Cape Town is in the afternoon. By visiting in the afternoon, you are able to combine your visit with some of the other things to do in the inner city. Bo-Kaap is well worth a visit in the morning hours before it gets too crowded. By visiting District Six Museum in the afternoon, you are also able to escape from the heat of the sun in the hottest hours. However, there is no bad time to visit District Six Museum. It is very interesting no matter what time of the day you visit.