Help museum record history

The Simon’s Town Museum.

Victims of forced removals under apartheid are being encouraged to share their stories for an “oral histories” project.

The Simon’s Town Museum and the Phoenix Committee, which represents victims of forced removals, have set up the Albert Thomas Oral History Project.

According to the museum’s education officer, Tazneem Wentzel, the museum posts a weekly topic for discussion on its Facebook page.

People can then contribute their stories on WhatsApp for the museum to preserve for future generations.

“Your story will become part of the archives for younger generations to educate themselves,” she said.

No story would be made public without consent from the contributor and none would be used for financial gain, she said.

Simon’s Town was declared a whites-only area on September 1 1967 and about 12 500 residents were moved from the quiet coastal town they called home to Ocean View due to the Group Areas Act.

At the time, Slangkop, known today as Ocean View, had a population of about 5 000. It had been established to house the fishing community and inhabitants of Simon’s Town, Noordhoek, Sunnydale, Sun Valley and Redhill. In 1970, the name changed from Slangkop to Ocean View.

In reaction to the news of forceful removals, a local committee was established. It was made up of church representatives, the mosque, ratepayers’ associations, the chamber of commerce and various sports bodies.

But despite the public meetings and petitions that followed, the writing was on the wall, and in 1968, many families found themselves in an unknown area 15km away with unknown neighbours, no schools and limited transport.

For more information, visit the museum’s Facebook page, call 021 786 3046 or email Stories can be sent by WhatsApp to 073 936 3786