Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Burn out the squatters!!

That's what former residents of District 6 in Cape Town are threatening to do now that the South African government has relocated 30 families to a plot in the area, the Cape Times reports. District 6 has a grand and notable history. It was one of the few multi-ethnic and multi-racial areas in the country (see history here) and faced years of sporadic forced removals. But things accelerated after the passage of the Group Areas Act, which made it illegal for people of different races to live in the same neighborhood. In 1966, the apartheid government declared District 6 a 'whites only' area. Between 1966 and 1980 60,000 people were forcibly removed from the district and their houses and shops bulldozed to the ground. Today, many of the original residents and their descendants, have petitioned to get their homes back, and they are worried that the squatters will now gain a competing claim to the land. Seems like there's got to be room for both in a renewed District Six. After all, isn't that what the spirit of the neighborhood was all about.

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