A set of unnamed steps in Kalk Bay has been formally dubbed the ‘Manila Steps’, in an effort to recognize and honour previous Filipino settlers of the seaside area.
The Kalk Bay Historical Association and the City of Cape Town held a renaming and blessing ceremony on October 28 at the Holy Trinity Church Hall. A blessing ceremony was conducted for the existing Filipino Burial Ground in the area that borders the newly named steps.
Filipino settlers arrived in the small seaside town during the mid 1800s – many of them were previous sailors or left their home country after the revolution.
These settlers were known for their talents as fisherman and relied on fishing and whaling for their livelihoods.
A request was submitted by the Kalk Bay Historical Association to the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee proposing that the steps on the corner of Quaterdeck and Kimberley Roads be labeled ‘Manila Steps’.
Majority of the public participation vote between June 15 – July 15 2017 supported the naming of the steps. After a recommendation from the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee to the Executive Mayor, the change was approved.
The City’s Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson attended the ceremony and commented on the importance of acknowledging the Filipino community.
“They have helped to shape the history and character of Kalk Bay and many of the descendants of these early settlers still live in Kalk Bay. As an inclusive City, we acknowledge the proud heritage of this community and the contribution that they have made to the unique and diverse history of Cape Town,” said Alderman Neilson
Ambassador to South Africa Joseph Gerard B. Angeles, Honorary Consul in Cape Town Steven Chaimowitz, and leaders of the Kalk Bay Historical Society met on 03 June 2018 in Cape Town to discuss the progress of the “Manila Steps Project:” https://t.co/sS0gJmtHky#HeritageDiplomacy pic.twitter.com/f7srHg8jlp
— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) June 21, 2018
Historically, the Filipino community helped to develop the fishing industry of Kalk Bay and influenced the traditional way of life in the area.
The steps were given their new signage in December 2017 with the official renaming taking place in October 2018.
Manila Steps | 🇵🇭
Great to see the name has been approved. Good job Kalk Bay/ St. James communities for driving the project 👏#Manila #Philippines #KalkBay #LoveCapeTown @cnnphilippines @TV5manila pic.twitter.com/FRZiIcYIbS
— Justin Hawthorne (@HawthorneBlog) December 6, 2017