Save our Bo Kaap , Save our African Heritage. Stop all Developments
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Situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the fringe of the Cape Town's city centre, and formerly known as the Malay Quarter, the Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to slaves. These people were known as Cape Malays, and were brought from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa to work in the Cape.
Between 1763 and 1768 Jan De Waal built several small “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) on this land, which he rented out to his slaves. The oldest one, still standing today, is no 71 Wale Street, which now houses the Bokaap museum. It is probably the oldest house in Cape Town surviving in its original form.
After the emancipation of the slaves in 1834 there was a great need for modest dwellings in Cape Town for the freed slaves. Property developers built many of the dwellings in terraces as “huurhuisjes”, as Jan de Waal had done half a century earlier. These flat-roofed houses were built in continuous rows with narrow frontages, roughly half that of the average house in the old part of the town, and are often of considerable depth to compensate for the narrowness of the frontage.
Many former slaves moved to the new parts of Bo-Kaap. Some were fishermen, others were tailors, shoemakers or builders, and yet others were skilled craftsmen such as cabinet-makers and silversmiths. This influx is of course closely connected with the construction of several mosques in the area after 1840. There are at least nine mosques in the Bo-Kaap, the oldest being the Auwal Mosque in Dorp Street built in 1844 . On the hillside behind the houses there are also several kramats, or tombs, containing the remains of much-respected religious leaders.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED SUPPORT DECLARATION OF BO KAAP AS A NATIONAL LIVING HERITAGE SITE :
- the recognition and conservation of the Bo-Kaap as a unique historical urban landscape with a vibrant, living culture and way of life
- the promotion of the Bo-Kaap, not only as a significant place or heritage tourist destination for the enjoyment and enrichment of visitors, but also as a significant place and embodiment of a way of life for the residents of the Bo-Kaap and Cape Town
- the promotion of heritage tourism in the Bo-Kaap to stimulate economic opportunities for the benefit of residents
- the protection of the Bo-Kaap as an inner-City residential area through the careful and considered management of development to avoid incremental decay of the social fabric of the neighbourhood
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