Discovering District Six: A Captivating Photographic Journey.

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DISCOVERING DISTRICT SIX: A CAPTIVATING PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY.

In District Six, cobblestone streets whispered secrets, laughter echoed off colorful facades, and love and pain danced an intricate tango. Memory’s lens captured it all—the joy of neighbors sharing stories over fragrant curries, the sorrow etched into weathered doorframes, and the ache of homes torn down. Graffiti murals defiantly preserved love, while pain seeped through cracked windows, aching for lost connections. District Six, a resilient canvas, bore witness to both community bonds and brutal displacement

Remembering District Six: Stories of Strength and Diversity.

District Six, a historic neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cape Town’s city center, has a poignant and inspiring story. Established in the 19th century as the Sixth Municipal District, it derived its name from this designation. However, its earlier unofficial moniker was ‘Kanaldorp,’ likely inspired by the network of canals crisscrossing the city. To access District Six, one had to traverse these canals (with ‘kanaal’ being the Afrikaans word for ‘canal’). Over time, the community also referred to it as ‘Kanaladorp,’ perhaps influenced by the Indonesian word for ‘please’ (‘kanala’), resulting in a fusion of meanings.

Before its tragic destruction during the Apartheid era, District Six exemplified diversity across language, religion, economic class, and geographical origin. It stood as a living testament to how diversity could strengthen a community rather than be a cause for fear. This vibrant neighbourhood included freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers, and immigrants, all closely connected to the city and its port. In stark contrast to the Apartheid government’s narrative, District Six embodied unity and resilience, challenging the divisive beliefs they sought to instill after coming to power in 1948.



District Six, Dave Levin, 1968.
Woman leaving house in Bo Kaap, Cape Town street 1050s. Photo by Ginger Odes. Gallery F
Ginger Odes Fashion Shoot 1950’s

Paul Alberts, Ginger Odes, Juhan Kuus, Dave Levin, Gunther Komncik and Desmond Bowes Taylor—all armed with cameras—wandered through the vibrant streets of District Six. Their purpose? To engage with the community, capture its essence, and document its stories. District Six, before its heartbreaking destruction during the Apartheid era, was a microcosm of diversity. It transcended language, religion, economic class, and geographical origins. Within its boundaries, freed slaves, merchants, artisans, laborers, and immigrants coexisted, forming a rich tapestry of humanity.

District Six, Cape Town. 1970s. Suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town from which whole communities were forcably removed by the Apartheid government.
District Six, Cape Town. 1970s. Suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town from which whole communities were forcibly removed by the Apartheid government.
Gallery F, photographer Gunther Komnick, Gavin Furlonger, Sean Furlonger, Cape Town Gallery, photography gallery, photography Cape Town, apartheid, Cape Town, Cape Town art gallery, journalism, South African journalism, press photography, street photography, Cape Town street photography, District Six photography
Gunther Komnick, District Six. 1960’s

These photographers sought more than just images; they aimed to preserve memories. They documented the everyday lives, struggles, and resilience of the locals. Their lenses captured the spirit of a place that stood in stark contrast to the divisive ideology propagated by the Apartheid government. District Six was a living testament to the strength found in unity—a beacon of hope that challenged the oppressive narratives of the time.

Dave Levin, 1968.
Dave Levin, 1968.

Juhan Kuus, in particular, left an indelible mark. His photographs of the forced removals in District Six during the 1970s serve as haunting reminders of a community uprooted, homes demolished, and lives forever changed. Through their work, these photographers immortalized the soul of District Six, ensuring that its legacy endures even after its physical landscape was torn down.

Dave Levin, 1968.
Dave Levin, 1968.
Gallery F, Juhan Kuus, Gavin Furlonger, Sean Furlonger, Cape Town Gallery, photography gallery, photography Cape Town, apartheid, Cape Town, Cape Town art gallery, journalism, South African journalism, press photography, street photography, Cape Town street photography, District Six corner Street
District Six, Cape Town. 1970s. Suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town from which whole communities were forcibly removed by the Apartheid government.
Gallery F, Juhan Kuus, Gavin Furlonger, Sean Furlonger, Cape Town Gallery, photography gallery, photography Cape Town, apartheid, Cape Town, Cape Town art gallery, journalism, South African journalism, press photography, street photography, Cape Town street photography, District Six corner Street
District Six, Cape Town. 1970s. Suburb on the outskirts of Cape Town from which whole communities were forcibly removed by the Apartheid government.
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