Whilst the property value of housing in Bo- Kaap might tempt residents to sell, the area is becoming a tourist hub and creating opportunities for the people residing in the colourful community, Osman Shaboodien, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association.
With Bo-Kaap poised to become a conservation area, developers are working against the clock to expand the area. As apartment blocks infiltrate the area, there is increased concern amongst residents that rapid development will erode the area’s history.
“They want to sell before it becomes a heritage site before it becomes a conservationist area,” says Shaboodien.
This came about after developers were given the consensus to erect buidings without the consent of residents. Shaboodien mentioned that residents have called on the preservation of the heritage site by challenging developer’s expansion decisions.
Last year, the US based World Monuments Fund named Bo-Kaap as one of 50 sites in 36 countries said to be at risk “from the forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change”.
“While residents welcome new investment, Bo-Kaap’s intangible heritage is placed at risk: oral history and popular memory, time-honored skills and techniques, as well as traditions and other knowledge are slowly being eroded. The 2016 World Monuments Watch supports local initiatives to create an informed and inclusive conservation management plan for Bo-Kaap,” the WMF report stated.
According to Shaboodien, new borders will be demarcated in the area. These borders include Kapstadt, Strand and Signal Hill in an attempt to preserve the environment.
The area that was formerly known as the Malay Quarter has become somewhat of a student capital with 9000 students occupying residences in the community. The civic association encourages residents to take on students to challenge the expansion projects of commercial developers.
Bo-Kaap residents are urged to use their properties to generate an income in order to maintain their livelihood.
“They should use the money they make of renting out of their houses to pay their bills,” says Shaboodien.
The association wants all the development of the area to be suspended until residents are notified. VOC