The tragedy of District Six is one that is widely known, the ramifications of which are still felt today. Situated in the shadows of Table Mountain, the area became a melting pot of all the different races and cultures who called South Africa home post-WWII. This cosmopolitan bredie led to it being a vibrant hotspot for the arts in the decades ahead. This included the Avalon Cinema, which was a focal point of the local community, as families dressed up in their Sunday best to watch the latest cinema releases, or even just used the venue for numerous community events and anti-apartheid addresses.
In 1968, when the Apartheid regime declared District Six a whites-only area under the Groups Area Act, 30 000 residents were forcefully removed and relocated to the Cape Flats, the house flattened with bulldozers. Businesses suffered as well, and this included the Avalon Cinema which was forced to shut its doors. The Avalon Group, owners of the cinema, would see the rest of their chain close down as well as the government set the company in their sights. The Avalon Group was eventually reduced to a single cinema in Durban, but the late Moosa Moosa persevered to keep alive the dream of Avalon, which was co-founded by his late father AB Snr in 1939. In 1991 Moosa Moosa’s son, AB Jnr (named after his grandfather), joined his father in the business, and together father and son rebuilt Avalon anew.
The Group would open branches in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Johannesburg, but would not return to Cape Town where they were so violently uprooted. However, that all changed this Friday past when the Avalon Group opened the brand new CineCentre at GrandWest in Goodwood, Cape Town, marking the return of the brand after almost 50 years!
Kitted out with luxurious leather-clad, semi-reclining seats, newly installed crystal-clear screens, state-of-the-art digital projectors, and complete surround sound, CineCentre is set to transform the Cape Town cinema experience. As Avalon Group’s AB Jnr said in a press statement, “We are delighted that what was once a proud feature of District Six will find new life at GrandWest as we continue our plans to set up a national footprint under our cinema brand CineCentre.”
Of course, the ideal would have been to also rebuild the cinema afresh in District Six, but sadly the area has now changed from the vibe it originally had. Most people have now settled in other areas, and we are confident that many of them will bring their children and grandchildren to not just reminiscence about the heydays of District Six, but to also see the image of the original Avalon District Six in the cinema foyer at Grandwest.
CineCentre will be screening all the latest Hollywood blockbusters – including Frozen 2, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Bad Boys For Life, and more. Marking its 80th anniversary this year, Avalon is also amongst the oldest Bollywood exhibitors in the world and will continue that tradition at the new GrandWest venue. On top of this, you can expect more unexpected fare like the Depeche Mode: Spirits in the Forest documentary.
On top of this, AB Jnr reveals that the plan is to have the CineCentre at GrandWest hark back to its District Six roots by offering more than just on-screen entertainment.
We will be screening all the latest titles at Grandwest CineCentre from Hollywood and Bollywood, as well as local content. We will also engage the local communities to host appropriate community-based events at the cinema. One of our desires is to host a screening at the appropriate time where veterans of District Six can come together, similar to such events at our other CineCentre multiplexes in the past. It will be a wonderful moment to serve as a catalyst for what will no doubt be an emotion-filled reunion.
Avalon Group may be looking to rekindle some of their past, but they are very much about local convenience as you can download the CineCentre mobile app from the Google Play Store and Apple Store. Bookings can also be made on cinecentre.co.za.
We will have more to reveal about the CineCentre in GrandWest in early 2020 (stay tuned!), but to celebrate the opening of the new venue now, we are giving away three sets of double tickets to be used for the film of your choice. And all you need to do to enter is just provide your details in the form below. We will draw the names of the three winners by COB on Monday, 25 November 2019.
PLEASE NOTE: These tickets are just for the CineCentre in GrandWest, so please ensure that you are in the Cape Town area. Only one entry will be allowed per person, and winners will be notified via email, so please ensure those are correct.
Last Updated: November 21, 2019