Our plane, originally scheduled to land in the morning, was delayed, and we did not arrive in Cape Town South Africa until late at night. The guide who picked us up took us straight into the city,
and we checked into our hotel around 11:30PM. The drive in was in the dark, of course, so we saw nothing of the city on our initial approach.
Preview our trip to Cape Town on YouTube
The next morning, she picked us up around noon, and we drove around the city, then left to explore the surrounding environs. While still within the city limits, we passed a large cleared
area, on which stood nothing but a church. It seemed oddly out of place- both the church and the large, otherwise unoccupied tract of land.
I asked her about this place, and she told me it was all that was left of District 6.
A little history:
Cape Town was flooded with new immigrants early in the 1800's, many of whom were blacks, freed from slavery by the British in the 1830's. Most of these people migrated into an area that
came to be known as District 6, a vast, sprawling slum area, ultimately home to more than 150,000 people.
During the period of governmental sanctioned insanity- known as Apartheid, the white politicians of Cape Town decided they didn’t want so many blacks living so close to them. In a scheme under
the contrived label of urban redevelopment, in reality just another way to achieve racial segregation, the white government came into District 6 and ordered everyone to leave. Immediately. Or else. Then, the white government bulldozed everything in the area except the church.
We asked our young guide more questions, which she answered quite candidly. What we learned about the “resettlement” of the Blacks from District 6 reminded me
of stories I had heard about Nazis forcing Jews from their homes and into resettlement areas- then known as ghettos, the prelude to a train ride to the concentration camps.
All former residents of District 6 were resettled into new “Townships”. The blacks were led to believe the townships, with names like “New Hope”
and “Pleasant Valley”, would be a vast improvement over their former living areas.
As we were driving out of Cape Town to do some sightseeing, we came to the first of the “Townships”. It was squalid beyond belief. No water. No electricity. No Roads. No nothing, except
poverty, humiliation and degradation. I don’t understand why there are some lessons mankind never seems to learn.