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District Six’s Keizersgracht Street goes back to its original name

After a ceremony and an official unveiling earlier on Tuesday, it's now called Hanover Street; the name it bore before forced removals in the 1960s during apartheid.

Keizersgracht Street in District Six has officially been renamed to Hanover Street; the name it bore before forced removals in the 1960s during apartheid. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Former and current District Six residents have been reminded of the pain and joy of the past at the renaming of Keizersgracht Street.

After a ceremony and an official unveiling earlier on Tuesday, it's now called Hanover Street; the name it bore before forced removals in the 1960s during apartheid.

The name change was approved during a full council sitting earlier this year after the District Six working committee made a request to change it.

Some residents forced out of District Six during apartheid have cried tears of joy during the renaming ceremony while others shed tears of sadness, saying hurtful memories of the day their families were forcibly removed from their homes came flooding back.

Washiema Majiet from Lansdowne, who was born in District Six in 1948, remembered that day.

“Heartbreaking, sad, depressing… we couldn’t believe that we were being pushed out of here.”

Amina Maloon, who was moved to Kensington, said while she has fond memories of growing up in District Six, the historic community as she knew it would never be the same again.

“Not even the gangsters bothered us, we were safe among the gangsters. They were fighting against each other and we would go and check them fighting. It was nice, we missed District Six. Our neighbours cried when we moved out, we were like family.”

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