This is one of my favourite photos of Bo-Kaap – the light reflecting on the pieces of cloth, the clouds falling over Table Mountain and the Bo-Kaap Museum in the middle ground.
Bo-Kaap was the place I most wanted to visit during our whistle-stop visit to Cape Town and we walked over on our first afternoon. I was intrigued by this beautiful place, the most colourful neighbourhood this side of Burano.
Of course, like everywhere in South Africa, there is a story behind the colourful houses of Bo-Kaap. During Apartheid South Africa, Bo-Kaap was known as the Malay Quarter, a primarily Muslim area.
Homeownership by non-whites was prohibited under Apartheid and thus houses were leased to families and painted white.
People were finally able to own their homes when Apartheid fell and they painted them in bright colours to exert their individuality and to celebrate their freedom.
With doorways like this, it’s little surprise that the neighbourhood is so Instagrammable but Bo-Kaap is an area of significant cultural importance.
For years, Bo-Kaap was at risk of gentrification with trendy businesses and developers moving in to push up the price of properties and force locals out.
In March 2019, residents of Bo-Kaap won heritage status after a four-year fight. The aim is to protect the neighbourhood and make it easier for local resident to retain their homes.
It was a quite Friday afternoon in December when we visited but I would love to return one day and sample local food and drink.
Does this mean I’m back? I have no idea. Over the past years, I’ve often used this blog to figure out where I was and when and I feel that I’ve lost the past three years to the ether. I also lost most of my photos (and my entire electronic life) when my supposedly infallible Nas drive spectacularly failed.
My aim is to catch up with posts from that time and also those that I never posted when I was blogging regularly.