The Simon’s Town Museum and Simon’s Town Phoenix Committee are calling on local residents to come together and plan how they will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dreaded forced removals. Everyone who was forcefully removed from their homes through the Group Areas Act is invited to come together and plan how they will commemorate the painful acts of the past.Although the process is likely to be a reminder of the painful past and some residents may prefer not to talk about it, the organisers feel it is important for people not to forget what happened, and talking about it can benefit the youth.The museum and committee are in the process of arranging a sharing and planning meeting with various Ocean View community groups to discuss and arrange the commemoration. The incident saw people of colour and the black community of Simon’s Town and Noordhoek forcibly removed from their area in the 1960s. Suzette Farmer, chairperson for Simon’s Town Phoenix Committee, says the forced removals impacted heavily on the dispossessed communities who were forced to settle in Ocean View. “The youth of today don’t know why we are in the areas that we are in. We are calling on interested parties, organisations, various groups and leaders of Ocean View to get together and plan this important commemoration event. We want people that were moved to share their stories. We want everyone to put their heads together and plan how we can commemorate the forced removals,” she says.Farmer admits it is a touchy subject but believes it should not be forgotten. “It is not an easy topic. Some of the people that were moved still get emotional when they talk about what happened back in the day. Others prefer not to even talk about it as it is a painful reminder of what they went through. The forced removals were such a painful thing, as the elderly were forced to leave their stuff behind and move into smaller houses. I remember my grandmother used to talk about how she was moved to come settle in the courts in Ocean View. Those forcefully removed had to leave their animals and furniture among other things. These are the things we want to hear and we want to plan together how we can remember the forced removals,” she says.The organisers are planning another meeting on Saturday 5 May at the PPK Church in Aries Avenue, Ocean View, opposite the New Apostolic Church. The meeting will run from 15:00 to 17:00.Farmer adds that they want everyone to have an input. “We want to share ideas. We will have the event later this year when we have a planning committee. When all the ideas have been brought forward, the planning committee will see how the event can be commemorated. It can be a festival. Whatever it is, we want to share the stories. We will not allow our history, memories or stories to be washed away. We want people to reconnect again. We want people to heal and remember that although they might have forgiven, we will not forget,” she concludes. V For more information, call Suzette Farmer on 083 583 1437 or Mary Kindo on 076 288 2464.