Name change on the cards for Keizersgracht Street in District Six

02 July 2019 - 14:40 By Zoé Sinigre
Ebrahima Jonathan, 76, stands next to an old photo taken at the famous seven steps in District Six at the 53rd commemoration of forced removals from the area.
Ebrahima Jonathan, 76, stands next to an old photo taken at the famous seven steps in District Six at the 53rd commemoration of forced removals from the area.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

Keizersgracht Street in District Six could soon have its name changed if a renaming process by the City of Cape Town is successful.

Mayor Dan Plato will ask Capetonians for their views, between July 15 and 26, on a proposal for the street name to be changed back to Hanover Street, its historical name before it was changed by the apartheid government.

From 1968, more than 60,000 people were forced to move 25km away to the Cape Flats when the suburb was declared a whites-only area.

Most of them never returned and the suburb situated in the City Bowl is still a sensitive issue for the municipality.

Plato said in a statement: "The forced removals that took place during apartheid will always bring painful memories to those who resided in District Six. The proposal is that the renaming could assist in igniting good memories for those who suffered from and experienced these removals."

For Ruth Jefta, former resident and now a guide in the District Six Museum, the proposal is a good idea.

"We can't forget the past. The change of name should be done. When you look at the name itself of District Six, it's like they didn't give us a name but a number," she said.

Jefta hopes the renaming process will provide the recognition that residents have been fighting for.


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