Simon’s Town was declared a White Group Area on 1 September 1967 – almost 50 years ago. A special commemoration of this painful series of events will be held on Heritage Day, Sunday 24 September 2017.
The Simon’s Town Phoenix Committee together with the Simon’s Town Museum has decided on the theme ‘Shared Memories of a Forgotten People’. In joining us, you are invited to re-connect with many others whose stories are similar to yours and whose stories sometimes intertwine – a real sharing of memories.
Are we a forgotten people? Perhaps. What the Nationalist Government imposed on us, neither the ANC nor the DA governments of the Western Cape has seen fit to recognise, much less fit to address. ‘Shared memories of a forgotten people’ is appropriate theme for the day.
So this invitation is extended to all you who were affected by the removals, whether you lived in Red Hill, Dido Valley, Luyolo, Glencairn, Kloof, the Kraal, Seaforth, Goode Gift, Simonstown proper as well as Noordhoek and surrounds. The invitation goes out to the communities from Ocean View, Gugulethu, ‘Up the Line’ or wherever in the Cape or further afield you have settled, to share, reflect and commemorate on the day. We extend the invitation to the younger generations who may not have experienced the violence of forced removals but whose day-to-day lives are haunted by the course of events set in motion on that day in September 1967.
While the forced removals left a lasting scar on all of us, we are also characters in some funny, strange, insightful, inspiring and amazing stories of our lives in this town. Before we were kicked out, we were a diverse, idiosyncratic and sometimes normal community. In the words of Bishop Colin O’Brien Winter, people of Simonstown were ‘Just People’. Most of our families go back to the 1800’s and some further back still. Many of our fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers fought in both World Wars.
We are so much more than the scars we carry. We are more than the posters in the museum. We may not be the poster child of forced removals, but we matter.
Join us. Lets connect and lets take ownership of our memories. And lets become unforgotten.
Our programme will start as we join the former Luyolo community, just below the Luyolo site, (alongside the Kelp factory) at 09.15 for a short commemoration, thereafter we gather at the Simon’s Town Museum and St Francis Church at 10.45am for the start of our Commemorative walk at 10am, led by the Ocean View church brigades. We proceed along St Georges Street to the Forced Removals monument at Jubilee Square for the wreath laying ceremony, then to the Kraal at the Dawood Building on the opposite side of the road, for a short reflection. (This area is soon to make way for a commercial site). Our procession then continues to the SA Navy Sports Field in Seaforth where our day’s commemorations will start with an interfaith service at approximately 11.30am. Cars and buses to follow in convoy. A number of food stalls will be selling traditional cultural foods. Not forgetting the coffee and koeksiesters.
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