Museum Gives a Voice to “Simonites”
On Heritage Day, 24 September 2013, people who had been forcibly removed from Simon’s Town under the Group Areas Act returned to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the imposition of racial segregation in the town. The event was organised by the Simon’s Town Museum and the Phoenix Committee.
At least 6 000 people were forcibly removed from Simon's Town to Ocean View, Gugulethu and other remote places. This year the event was dedicated to the people who were removed between 1965 and 1970.
Simon’s Town is a diverse place with a rich, multi-cultural history but many “Simonites”, as they are known, remember that they were a close-knit community that became scattered as removals began.
A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the forced removals plaque in Jubilee Square and the crowd sang along while the Two Oceans Band played the national anthem. The names of former residents who have passed away and a poem about the vibrant Simon’s Town of the past were read. Chairperson of the Phoenix Committee, Ms Olivia Osbiston, spoke about the importance of celebrating our shared heritage.
A historical tour to Cape Point followed and stories were shared about the families that lived in Cape Point. People who were removed from Luyolo township to Gugulethu said the tour to Cape Point brought back good memories for them.
The group intends to hold this gathering every year to remember this important part of South Africa’s history and to celebrate its rich heritage.