As the writer, Alan Paton famously said, “the Group Areas Act is the greatest sin which the white people committed during Apartheid”.
The history of District Six is one enveloped in dehumanisation, segregation and debasement of the black, Coloured and Indian populations who once called the vibrant place home.
This book is not a book rooted in politics, but an acute observation of a history lived by real persons and reminds us how damaging the past once was. This is a flat but very humane novel. It tells the colourful story of the lives of the inhabitants of a stretch of the District Six suburb just before the Group Areas Act was implemented in 1965/1966. All flawed characters, yet all lovable.
“By the time you get this I will be gone, maybe near, maybe far, but gone away.” I loved that sentence so much. Very well written. Succinct but weighty. I read it repeatedly, and the pain was palpable.
This is a very simple book with easy prose, but the subtle messages and quirky characters remain with the reader long after the last page is turned.