The people of District Six understood how to create elegance and style out of the ‘ordinary life of the everyday’, and during 2014 the District Six Museum will reveal fourteen sights on the heritage tour route, showing previously forgotten microcosms of life in the neighbourhood.
Design processes are to be seen throughout, and for varied uses: the experience will be contextualised through a holistic visual communication plan using various design mediums, the relationship between the current site-specific memorial signposting; heritage tour routes on the District Six landscape and the Museum will be explored.
The project’s design methodology encourages ex-residents, visual artists, creative writers, performing artists, crafters, architects, academics, youth and designers to collaborate, interpret and innovatively develop memory work. By expressing the rich cosmopolitan traditions of District Six the neighbourhood’s urban fabric and cultural character the project will correct the interpretation that the area was a ‘slum’ and a community without a sense of imagination.
Besides revealing distinct niches of vibrant community life, there is a possibility that the project will inspire a range of supplementary design products that will complement the experience, a menu of traditional District Six food and homeware products could be one expression, while brochures, publications and memorabilia could be another. Cellphone technology and self-guided audio tours are also a possibility.
The fresh understanding of District Six’s contribution to the broader heritage of Cape Town will challenge a key target audience – the younger generation of ex-District Sixers – as to their own value, and that of their community.
The purpose of the heritage tour route is to create a presence on the physical landscape with the aim of bringing the memory of District Six and its stories alive in ways that will engage the interest of ordinary South Africans to want to participate. Through their working experience with ex-residents the Museum understand that there is a need to sharing stories as part of a self-reflective journey which allows for healing and the heritage tour route will provide a space for this interaction alongside the creative process.
Over and above this, the District Six heritage tour routes will enable memorialisation through art and design for a new generation, and restoring a sense of belonging, a sense of pride and dignity that gives purposes.