“There’s going to be a place, brother/ Where the world can sing all sorts of songs/ And we’re going to sing together, brother/ You and I, though you’re white and I’m not/ It’s going to be a sad song, brother/ Because we don’t know the tune/ And it’s a difficult tune to learn/ But we can learn, brother, you and I/ There’s no such tune as black tune/ There’s only music, brother / And it’s music we’re going to sing/ Where the rainbow ends.”
So goes Where The Rainbow Ends, a poem by Richard Rive (1931-1989). Born and raised in District Six, the writer became one of its most famous exponents.
Author Rozena Maart, who was born in District Six in 1962 and whose family was forcibly removed from the area in 1973, tells her own story and that of a historically unique community in her 2006 collection of short stories, Rosa’s District 6.
The story about the Collingwood family, who were seen as “more white” than their neighbours, reveals the reality of apartheid in Maart’s distinctive style of awkward humour and painfully realistic observations.
Self-taught photographer George Hallett’s name is synonymous with portraiture in the history of South African photography, particularly during the time of his exile, when he captured the lives of other artists and political thinkers living abroad.
During his time in London, he made contact with African writers, including Wole Soyinka and Ahmadou Kourouma, which led to him publishing the now famous book Portraits of African Writers. Hallett was born in District Six in 1942.
Jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim hit Capetonians in the gut when Mannenberg was released in 1983.
It spoke of the forced removals of black people out of District Six into “coloured” areas like Manenberg, and has since become a Cape jazz classic.
“Manenberg was just symbolic of the removal out of District Six, which is actually the removal of everybody from everywhere in the world, and Manenberg specifically, because it signifies our music, and it’s our culture,” he once said.
FIVE DECADES OF MEMORY In February 1966, District Six was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act