People's Post

D6 ‘caretakers’ named

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District Six was such a moral symbol of injustice that not even the apartheid government at the peak of its power could simply go in and rebuild the area. Photo: Lerato Maduna/ Supplied.
District Six was such a moral symbol of injustice that not even the apartheid government at the peak of its power could simply go in and rebuild the area. Photo: Lerato Maduna/ Supplied.

A group of community representatives will participate in co-design workshops for the public places in District Six in the coming months.

In the past seven weeks, the District Six community submitted nominations for representatives to participate in the Public Realm Improvement (PRI) co-design workshops for District Six.

During an online meeting on Wednesday 2 September, the City of Cape Town announced all its community “caretakers”.

Together with the Public Realm Study consultants, the caretakers will co-design the public spaces of District Six with the City on behalf of the community. The nominees represent various groups, communities, interested and affected parties.

People’s Post spoke to some of the nominees.

Karen Breytenbach, from the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) says it is an honour to serve the community and the greater public in this way.

“We can do wonderful things with green spaces, public parks, public art, community centres, arts and culture hubs, learning and e-learning hubs, urban agriculture initiatives, sports facilities, public transport, economic vibrancy, emotional healing, memory making, and more. To create a neighbourhood that is both geared for prosperity and embodies the place’s original spirit of Kanala (togetherness).”

Kirsten Wilkins, Managing Director (MD) at Open Streets, says they will be advocating for streets and public spaces focused on people in line with their manifesto principles.

“These principles for enhanced and transformed spaces are based on our 23 Open Streets Days hosted in neighbourhoods across Cape Town so far. Our second focus is on sharing ways in which to create engaging public events and interactions that enhance social cohesion. Designing space is important, but hosting and managing spaces that create belonging and ensure this process is community owned will be key to success.”

Shahnaz Arnold, a resident and secretary of the District Six Civic Association, says: “What we would like to see is that things are going to be done for this community that will run parallel with the bigger spatial development plan. We would like to see things in place for this community so that it can grow.”

Hassan Khan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Haven Night Shelter, says: “It is my view that the public space is made accessible and safe for children and people with disabilities. The other is to ensure that the designated parks in the area are properly furnished and safe. I’m hoping to find a space for a skateboard park somewhere within the D6 open space areas.”

Other nominees are Waggieda Ajam and Faeza Bassier (both from the District Six Working Committee), Jennifer Bakker (Canterbury Square Board), local resident Juliet Gordon, Bishop Gustine Joemath (Moravian Church), Dr Rudolph Perold (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and Rashiq Fataar (Our Future Cities).

Nominees also include Husain Khatib (National Department of Land Reform and Rural Development), Mandy Sanger (District Six Museum), Shuaib Appleby (South African Faith Communities Initiative), Nazeem Ebrahim (Zeenatul Islam Mosque) and Asa Salie (District Six Civic Association).

The City says it still has several seats available for more representatives, in particular for those from schools in the area, and other communities who are not represented as yet.

Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, congratulated the nominees. 

“This is a vote of confidence and trust in them to represent their communities and groups. I also want to thank all the nominees for their willingness to contribute to this process. It is a huge task and responsibility, and their commitment speaks volumes.”

She says the City is committed to re-establish District Six in collaboration with residents. 

According to Nieuwoudt, the representatives will be collaborating with consultants to determine the design guidelines for the public spaces and street fronts and will help identify the first projects to be implemented in District Six. 

“We are focusing on restoring the legacy and vibrancy of District Six. We want to bring back the life of District Six and revive the places where the community used to live and play. Our communities are formed over time in public spaces, and this is where we also find a sense of belonging.” 

A series of six, face-to-face co-design workshops are planned for later this month, with three more workshops in October and November and the rest early next year.

Nieuwoudt says the co-design workshops will be recorded and shared with the wider community to get their input. 

She says this will eventually feed into design guidelines – the look and feel – of the public open spaces.

“The City would have involved as many people as possible at these workshops, but, unfortunately, numbers have to be limited due to Covid-19. 

“The community of District Six has an inherent knowledge and experience of the public open spaces, and we want to draw on this wisdom as we are planning the future District Six,” concludes Nieuwoudt.

  • The Public Realm Study will also inform the draft Local Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) for D6 that is currently available for public participation until Sunday 31 October. The plan is available on the City’s website at 

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