Forced removals recorded

2015-07-21 06:00

Former Noordhoek residents are being called to remember their past, as a committee is to be established to collect information on forced removals in the area.

After a similar process mapped the history of forced removals in Simon’s Town, community members are looking to document this history in Noordhoek.

Simon’s Town museum project coordinator Suzette Farmer says many people visit the museum for research on where they lived in order to file a land claim. However, there are few records from Noordhoek, unlike Simon’s Town.

“People come in looking for information on where they are from and where they lived. In Simon’s Town, all the records are up to date. But there’s nothing for Noordhoek,” she says. “Some areas are forgotten. When families come in looking for information and there is none, they go away very sad,” she says.

MemorabiliaInformation on the Simon’s Town forced removals was collected by the Phoenix committee, which was formed in 1996 by members of the community who were forcibly removed. They help staff of the museum with collection memorabilia and information for exhibits and archives.

Phoenix committee member Janet Cartwright says the work of the committee promotes transformation at the museum, moving away from a predominantly “white history”.

“It’s been very touching for people to be included in the museum. We want their stories,” she says.

Now the committee wants to help former Noordhoek residents too by starting a committee to collect records and history.

The committee will begin by piecing together family trees of those who were forcibly removed, and will then begin recording the oral history of the area, Farmer explains.

For the childrenShe hopes that the collected information can be used to create an exhibit or furnish a museum in Noordhoek.

“We must keep records for future generations,” Farmer says. “The older generation is dying out with these stories. For many, it is still too sore to talk about it. We must teach children what they’ve got, what people had and what was taken from them.”

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