We took a trip to the District 6 museum, the notorious inner-city district that had been segregated during the apartheid, with more than 60,000 people forcibly removed and their homes bulldozed to rubble. Our tour guide, Joe Schaffer, grew up in District 6 but was forced to leave because his race was labeled as colored. Schaffer described how the people were classified during that time: “Only ‘white person’ had the word ‘person.’ It was psychological mind games—if you’re not white, you’re not a person.”
One of the first places we visited was the Enfundiswa Preschool in the suburb of Nomzamo in the Strand township. The preschool, and its award-winning garden, is run by Nomaliso Pakashe. The inside walls of the school are decorated with kids’ drawings, and the kids’ faces brighten when Pakashe is around.
Professor Herman also took us to the Kayamandi township. Herman described the township as made up of predominantly squatter communities, living in shacks, with a very high population density and extreme poverty. The primarily Xhosa-speaking people originally came from the eastern cape, he explained, and migrated to Stellenbosch looking for work. In the middle of the township is an Anglican church with a big, yellow cross.
University of Western Cape campus
The University of Western Cape houses the Mayibuye Archives, which contained the purpose of our trip and served as our home away from home for three weeks. The campus itself is home to roughly 15,000 students, located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town.