'Buckingham Palace', District Six

Catherine Ford

When I was about six years old, this book was made into a radio drama. I remember listening to it every Sunday night, not quite understanding it, but enjoying it never the less. Now, twenty years later I have read the book, and do understand it. It took me a long time to finish this book, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I didn't want to reach the end; for, I knew what happens at the end of the book, and it is sad, horrifying and desolate. The writer captured the lives of the people When I was about six years old, this book was made into a radio drama. I remember listening to it every Sunday night, not quite understanding it, but enjoying it never the less. Now, twenty years later I have read the book, and do understand it. It took me a long time to finish this book, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I didn't want to reach the end; for, I knew what happens at the end of the book, and it is sad, horrifying and desolate. The writer captured the lives of the people living in District Six extremely well; portraying their culture and sense of community in a vibrant manner. It pains me to read of how South Africa, my country, tore that community to pieces with its Group Areas Act. This book exposed the true brutality of that Act and what it meant for the people of District Six and so many other communities. Out of all of the Apartheid laws established over the years, I believe this was one of the worst... forcing people to abbandon the homes they had grown up in, forced to live in areas set aside for them, that had no community, and terrible living conditions, grouping people together because of what race they were; desegnating the best areas for the white people and the worst for all the other races. I cried on reaching the end of this book, when the last inhabitants of Buckingham Palace in District Six were torn apart, forced to watch the bulldozers demolish their house. I am glad there are books like this out there, to remind us of our past... to remind us what we as humans can subject each other to. To remind us of people like Zoot, Pretty-Boy, Mary, The Jungle Boys, Mrs Knight... to remind us that their story was real and how unjust laws wripped them all apart, exposing them to a new and grim reality. ...more

Lesley

Hilarious and unbearably sad. Richard Rive is a master of observation and dry humour. One of the best books ever.

Steve

A wonderfully evocative look at the slums of Cape Town through the colorful characters and their travails. The writing zips the reader through the incidents that make a bad part of town a community for its residents in the face of advesity and hardships in Apartheid South Africa

Tracey the Lizard Queen

Read this at school about 10 years ago, very funny and terribly sad. First book to actually make me cry!

A.J.

This book simultaneously hits the funny bone and pulls the heartstrings, a beautiful account of life in District Six during Apartheid. It is set in a community that is strengthened by adversity and united in the face of national segregation; the stark environmental contrasts together with the alluring characters in the narrative contribute to an intricate and rich tapestry. You become very close to the community while reading about the daily lives of people within it, so it's subsequent destruct This book simultaneously hits the funny bone and pulls the heartstrings, a beautiful account of life in District Six during Apartheid. It is set in a community that is strengthened by adversity and united in the face of national segregation; the stark environmental contrasts together with the alluring characters in the narrative contribute to an intricate and rich tapestry. You become very close to the community while reading about the daily lives of people within it, so it's subsequent destruction makes it all the more difficult to read. Cape Town is my home city; having walked around in what was once District Six and having family who were part of this community before it was destroyed, it also has personal relevance for me, I enjoyed it all the more for these reasons. I definitely recommend it to other South Africans and anyone wanting a unique and vivid insight into Cape 'colored' culture during Apartheid....more

Debby

Brilliant.Of the books I read recently the one that touched me most.I laughed and cried with Buckingham's people, celebrated and suffered with them. It's characters written to endure, despite all the hardships handed to them.

I'd give it six stars if I could

Andrew

A decent little book this very nearly a five star one but as it was a little short it was maybe just a little 'light' for that..however this book is episodical in nature and tells the days in the life of some fascinating characters who are at turns God fearing..cagey..lustful..and to be honest almost every other part of the human condition you can think of.
And that's why it works despite culturally it reflecting a different people with different experiences and values plus holding up a mirror to A decent little book this very nearly a five star one but as it was a little short it was maybe just a little 'light' for that..however this book is episodical in nature and tells the days in the life of some fascinating characters who are at turns God fearing..cagey..lustful..and to be honest almost every other part of the human condition you can think of.And that's why it works despite culturally it reflecting a different people with different experiences and values plus holding up a mirror to apartheid times south Africa this is a book of human condition(s) and as such there's much to amuse but also stuff to digest.

So if you see this book somewhere give it

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a go it's not a book of royalty but a book about characters in a precinct of south Africa...great stuff.

...more

K Flewelling

Buckingham Palace refers to a set of five houses in District 6, a district that was formerly located in Cape Town, South Africa before it was declared a white-only district under the apartheid government. This novel details the characters who lived there in a way that makes you feel like they are people that you also know, and love. The book is divided into three time periods, and you jump through time, as the sunset gradually falls on this district and its characters and their homes are erased Buckingham Palace refers to a set of five houses in District 6, a district that was formerly located in Cape Town, South Africa before it was declared a white-only district under the apartheid government. This novel details the characters who lived there in a way that makes you feel like they are people that you also know, and love. The book is divided into three time periods, and you jump through time, as the sunset gradually falls on this district and its characters and their homes are erased from the physical world -- but never from memory. It is a beautiful capture of the devastation of losing your home and your community, but choosing viciously to always remember. That is always our right....more

Mymoena

I can't be unbiased about this book, it tells my grandmother's story, and countless others in my family, who had the 'misfortune' of being Coloured in South Africa. I have re-read this as often as I have been able to and I haven't read anything since that relates a story that I can say this is how my people were treated, and here is how they lived and loved.

A poignant and important text where there is sadly too much of a void, the number of writers of Colour from Cape Town who tell our stories

I can't be unbiased about this book, it tells my grandmother's story, and countless others in my family, who had the 'misfortune' of being Coloured in South Africa. I have re-read this as often as I have been able to and I haven't read anything since that relates a story that I can say this is how my people were treated, and here is how they lived and loved. A poignant and important text where there is sadly too much of a void, the number of writers of Colour from Cape Town who tell our stories are few and far between. This book is a treasure, even those who have no ties to the place or people are likely to get something out of it.

But those of us who do, I dare you to read this and not be moved.

...more

Shelby Cramer

I believe that this book gives the reader an accurate insight to how district six really is. Although I do believe that as a South African this subject is a tad
Bit of an over kill. The author was brutally murdered yes and that kind of makes this book more of something that I was obliged to read, more so than something I actually wanted to. I don't think it was atrocious but I really don't think it deserves all the credit that South African English teachers are giving it. I think that it has mor I believe that this book gives the reader an accurate insight to how district six really is. Although I do believe that as a South African this subject is a tad
Bit of an over kill. The author was brutally murdered yes and that kind of makes this book more of something that I was obliged to read, more so than something I actually wanted to. I don't think it was atrocious but I really don't think it deserves all the credit that South African English teachers are giving it. I think that it has more historical worth....more

Liesl

My Grandpa was a child of District Six and therefore this book hit very close to home. After reading this book, I wish I'd asked my Grandpa more questions about what it was like to live in such a warm, tight-knit community. This book fills some of the gaps. I hurt for the people who were removed, forcibly from their homes... And it is still happening in 2016 where gentrification is uprooting communities to suit the white/rich and their swelling pockets.

Joanne

A damning indictment of apartheid, prejudice, and disenfranchisement of the poor and "lower" class. Well-written and humorous. Characterizations and political statements masked in humour remind me of Langston Hughes Simple Stories.

Teshnee Singh

It was my set book in grade 10 and I thought it was really good. I felt rather sympathetic towards everyone in the end of the book and it was just fascinating to read about such differ t and unique characters.

Leslynn

What an awesome book to start of my reading challenge -- reread rocks!

This poignant novel mires you in the history and emotion of Apartheid, and the effect it had on a community. While I was never affected personally, this is my culture, my people, our truth.

Kimberlyluisi

This book is required reading for students in South Africa - it made me think a great way to understand other cultures and countries w0uld be be to read their "required reading."

Beverly

Heartbreaking time of South Africa upheaval, a must read for anyone going to Cape Town.

Emily

Written in a way that it seems like this injustice happens to your friends or neighbours. Good thought provoking read.

Leneb67

This made me laugh out loud and sob out loud. Heartbreaking.

Anneley SinghAmy ChávarriAdam Di FilippeSihleChristieJadine KrugerNicci SchroennTsholofelo SelekeBeaMarcusLeaMarika Van Niekerk


Category: Review

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