10/09/2008

A moment with History.....


There was a conversation. A group of volunteers and myself were talking about District 6.
Standing near a parking lot near the venue for the Social Evening, at C.P.U.T. . (apparently employees of the C P U T, cannot refer to it as SEE PUT under pain of having to go shelf- read the reference section.... blindfolded).
The gist of the conversation was: the reason for District 6's prominence as an Apartheid crime. I argued that there were other places that had been cleared under similar circumstance, that also deserved some sort of recognition. I cited my Grandfather's removal from Harfield.
But then one of my collea.....fellow librarians, mentioned how her she had to come to a wedding with her mother, because her father couldn't bear to come to the District 6 site, at all.
Okay.
In my defence, I bearly remembered the 'troubles'. I was vaguely aware of a UDF march down the road my primary school was on.
I remember freed politico's coming to my High School and talking to us about District 6 and I have helped multitudes of the pimply faced ones with their District 6 assignments.
But here I was, bad mouthing the relevance of it, with someone who had a parent live in District 6 and to crown it all, standing on the site of where District 6 had once stood I still didn't get it Then Julian from Bontheuwel pointed something out.
He pointed to the foot of the mountain above CPUT and then all the way down to the hill, past where we stood, to the highway leading into town, and he said:
'That's how big District 6 was. From the mountain, all the way down.'
I got it, then.
Where the fields and roads stood, people lived, happy in the knowledge that they were home, until that was taken away and the bulldozers destroyed everything.
Sure people lost the homes in Harfield but standing there you could hear the echoes of all that people. So many many people in a place that size. I remember seeing an article that estimated the amount of people living in thr Imizamu Yethu settlement at around 20 000 people. It said further that 20 000 people were living on 16 to 18 hectares of land.
It helped that I saw the scale, the sheer size of the place.
District 6 was BIG. Approximately 60 000 souls lived on that land. And 60 000 souls disappeared from that land.

And now, it's small. So small.
The only thing as big or probably bigger than District 6 is the memory of District 6.
A memory that still lingers it seems in the fynbos and tarred roads, and in the minds of the people that lived there.
....
...
...
Time to be sociable ......

No comments: