Zonnebloem Renamed – Tennant Street
In the words of the artist:
Zonnebloem Renamed is a site-specific intervention and short film that presents a series of temporary artworks by changing the ‘Zonnebloem’ road signs in central Cape Town to read ‘District Six’. It forms part of the artist’s ongoing collaboration with District Six residents entitled Witness.
District Six was a closely-knit, vibrant and multicultural community until the forced removal of residents was decreed by apartheid during the 1970s. The area was declared ‘whites only’ under the Group Areas Act Proclamation in 1966. During this time, District Six was officially renamed by the apartheid government as ‘Zonnebloem’. The renaming further erased the history of the area and its people from maps, memories and public spaces.
Six years later, all street signs in Cape Town remain renamed ‘District Six’ through this intervention, and the District Six Museum have formally tabled the name change for consideration by the City.
In Zonnebloem renamed (2013) Gunn-Salie speaks directly to the forced removals and destruction of District Six by the apartheid state in the 1970s. Also addressed is the subsequent erasure of District Six, as an existing site, enacted by the municipality of Cape Town through renaming the area ‘Zonnebloem’. Also at play within the artwork, and Gunn-Salie’s intervention in reverting signage to ‘District Six’, is the practice of renaming of streets, neighbourhoods and cities in post-apartheid South Africa. Colonial or apartheid-era names are periodically renamed to honour anti-apartheid activists or to reflect pre-existing African regional or local names, in an effort to redress the atrocities of the past.