District Six: The Musical (1987) is arguably South Africa’s most popular musical. It was followed by a number of spin off musicals on the same theme, the most recent of which is a reprise, District Six Kanala [Please], currently completing a run in Cape Town. It is, however, far more than a musical.
Cape Town’s District Six came into being in the 1840s, as the original town between the sea and Table Mountain expanded residentially towards the east. It became an inner city neighbourhood, home to a very diverse population, as waves of immigrants found their first homes there. By the mid-twentieth century, it had become run-down and known for its gangs.