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Bo-Kaap residents concerned over gentrification as LSDF approved

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By Aneeqa du Plessis

Concerns are mounting among Bo-Kaap residents as gentrification threatens to eradicate the heritage of the birthplace of Islam in South Africa. This comes after the City of Cape Town (COCT) recently approved its Local Spatial Development Framework (LSDF) for the area that will set in motion the development of the area with an aim to boost tourism in the city.

Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Tuesday morning, Cultural Heritage Activist, Jacky Poking described the process that took place to gauge the public.

“There were attempts at public participation and meetings were held but we were not given the opportunity to adequately scrutinize the published 500-page LSDF that was approved. Some residents received the document a day before council made the decision and in terms of democracy public participation is one of the cornerstones,” said Poking.

However, Cape Town’s deputy mayor Eddie Andrews, has assured the Bo-Kaap’s cultural heritage will be respected in the city’s development plans. The city recently approved a local spatial development framework for the Bo-Kaap, aiming to boost tourism. Andrews said the approved document apparently reflects the city’s engagement with the community’s concerns.

“There is no place in the world that compares to Bo-Kaap. We can exist in harmony while allowing different religions, traditions, customs, and heritage to be the fabric of its people. We cannot allow the area to be redeveloped while eradicating the essence,” added Poking.

An anonymous resident said the COCT has disempowered the people of Bo-Kaap and only caters to them at the time of voting.

“I want to tell all Bo-Kaap residents we should take a stand and start making our own money from tourism in the true sense not doing mickey mouse business,” added the resident.

Apart from being one of the oldest residential areas in the Mother City, Bo-Kaap is home to several masaajied (mosques) but more notably the Auwal Masjied in Dorp Street is recognised as the first mosque established in the country. The mosque was built in the 18th century and is currently under the auspices of Shaykh Ismail Londt.



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