Unlock the Sustainable Bo-Kaap Koestas Waqf Food Garden

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The Sustainable Bo Kaap Association (SUBOKA) food garden, planted on abandoned waqf land in the Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa, has been locked by individuals opposed to the use of the land for growing food to feed the economically devastated population of the Bo Kaap, with their intention to develop the land for themselves, to the exclusion of the community of the Bo Kaap.

The beautiful and historic Bo Kaap neighbourhood in Cape Town, the birthplace of Islam in South Africa, internationally known and loved as a tourist destination with its brightly colored houses. It has also been home to many English language students from the Arab world, is suffering great hardship as a result of the lockdown.

The tourists and the students have not come to the Bo Kaap since early March 2020 and there does not appear to be an end in sight for a while yet, meaning that no money has flowed into the area for almost a year.

Many people have run out of money to the extent they can no longer afford to buy food.

In July 2020 a group of Bo Kaap residents formed the Sustainable Bo Kaap Association, known as “SUBOKA”, with the aim of feeding the people of the Bo Kaap from a sustainable garden , teaching organic gardening skills to the people of Bo Kaap and Cape Town so they can feed themselves and, to empower women, holding a weekly women’s madrassa. 

SUBOKA did this on a piece of waqf land in the Bo Kaap, known as the Koestas.

According to the Sharia, waqf land is an endowment of land to be used for charitable purposes, including feeding and caring for the needy and vulnerable and providing religious education to Muslims.

This waqf land had lain abandoned for over 40 years and used as a den of iniquity from which crime was perpetrated against the community. It harboured criminals and gangsters, was used for alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution and as a rubble dump, and it was overgrown with plants of no food value. 

With basic tools and bare hands, the members of SUBOKA, the majority of whom are senior women from the Bo Kaap, went on their hands and knees and with sweat, blood and tears cleaned up the property and restored its dignity, turning it into a beautiful organic food garden and a place of learning.

However, there has been opposition to SUBOKA using the waqf land as a food garden and a madrassa, from a small group of individuals within the Bo Kaap, and another 3 people who are not even from the Bo Kaap.

These people have now put a fence and two gates on the property, and as South Africa goes into a second hard lockdown, which will cause further devastation to the people of the Bo Kaap, locked both gates to the property, effectively leaving the food garden to die in the scorching Cape Town summer heat. 

These individuals, with an ulterior motive to privatize the waqf land and develop it for themselves, to the exclusion of the community of the Bo Kaap, are currently being taken to court in Cape Town, in a bid to force them to unlock the property and allow us to continue growing food for the community, teaching others to grow food and holding a madrassa. 

We ask you for your support, expressed by signing this petition, to have our waqf land returned to us for the charitable purpose it was intended for by the late Sheikh Booley.

For more information, contact us at:

Facebook page: Sustainable Bo-Kaap

Email address: sustainablebokaap@gmail.com