Protests in Bo-Kaap have flared up by fed up residents who say they cannot afford to live in the neighborhood anymore. They took to the streets on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, with placards, burning tyres and blocking off roads to vent their frustration. As people calmly milled around the Wale Street area, protestors peacefully spoke out about the area losing its identity. The historical neighbourhood, known for colourful rows of houses and murals, is a popular tourist attraction for the City.

Residents in the area have complained that the increase in rates and taxes has made it unaffordable for them to live there. Some pensioners say most of their monthly stipend is spent on levies, leaving them with no money to sustain themselves for the rest of the month. Protestors are calling for the area to be declared a heritage area, a process which they say has been in the works for years with no outcome. Developers are also purchasing land in the area, and they want to stop gentrification before it begins.

 

Currently, the area is a historical neighbourhood and is off national heritage significance, but is not protected as a heritage site. Residents fear the City of Cape Town has been allowing developers to go ahead with the destruction of the area and say the city is working with them.

Osman Shaboodien, from the Bo-Kaap Civic Association, told IOL they are scared of losing their history. “The developments by the people buying up land here is overcrowding the area and it is stripping our area of its uniqueness. We want the Bo-Kaap to remain as is, and given its title as a heritage site,” he said.

Picture: Mogamad Shakeel Sampson – M DOT Photography/Videography

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