They’ve probably appeared on every marketing campaign about Cape Town for decades, provided a backdrop to countless photographs and are such a colourful part of local beach life, that it’s inconceivable to imagine them not being there.
Red, yellow, green and blue — the iconic, photogenic Beach Huts on Muizenberg Beach are hurting. Just as 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, the primary colour boxes on this famous surfer’s beach are not so bright right now.
The 31 huts are in need of urgent attention before they are removed for being an eyesore and safety hazard. When local beach-goer Angela Gorman walked past the huts recently, she was shocked to see the dilapidated state they were in.
“Muizenberg is my favourite beach and it is tragic to see these iconic, vibrant parts of our heritage in such appalling condition. I would love to see a community project set up to contribute towards maintenance of the huts,” says Gorman.
She decided that the only way to get something done was to get it started herself. Gorman put on her proactive cap and set up a Facebook page called Save Our Beach Huts, calling for material sponsorship like wood, paint and brushes, along with volunteers to help paint and repair the wooden structures.
The response has been amazing, with commitment to help coming not only from Muizenberg itself, but from across Cape Town. Words of encouragement have also come in from people worldwide who have visited Cape Town in the past and remember the bright huts.
“I’m aiming to repair one hut at a time and hope that once people see us actually working on the project, more volunteers and donors will come forward,” says Gorman, who is hoping to get work started as soon as November. According to her the huts were last painted and repaired in 2017.
Phase one of her plan is to repair and paint the first 25 huts up to the Lifesaver’s Tower, with sponsorship for repair of the first four already secured.
“We are currently waiting for the City Council to provide us with the technical specifications for the wood and paint to be used before going ahead,” says Gorman, who said the City Council are happy for her to raise awareness on social media, and try to get as many interested parties involved as possible.
She confirmed the support of several role players, including the City of Cape Town, Muizenberg Improvement District, Neighbourhood Watch and Surfer’s Corner. The ultimate goal is to secure community maintenance of the huts after they have been repaired.
Angela is motivated to see the project through because the huts symbolise happiness to her that goes back to family outings as a child.
“Every time you walk past there are people taking photos and admiring them They symbolise a family day at the beach. As a Swiss friend said on a Facebook post — These huts are such a symbol, used by the international travel industry to promote South Africa.”
Apart from being part of Muizenberg’s DNA, the huts bring added value in the form of Instagram publicity and more importantly as a backdrop for advert and film shoots.
Join the Save Our Beach Huts Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Beach-Huts-118967823269680
Picture: supplied / Angela Gorman