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‘We need laws to preserve Bokaap heritage’

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The South African government needs to put laws in place to stop the sale of homes in Bokaap. That was the view of Cape historian Ebrahim Roode, commenting on the preservation of the area’s heritage. The area is at risk of losing its culture and heritage, according to a recent report by the US-based World Monuments Fund. The NPO releases its watch-list every two years highlighting neglected cultural sites.

Bokaap, the origin of the malay community, is distinctly known for its diverse community and unique architecture. There are concerns that the heritage of this dynamic area is deteriorating. The residences of this tourist attraction are gradually being replaced by commercial development.

“Our heritage is being sold and we need to have it preserved,” says Rhoode.
Bokaap civic association chairperson Osman shaboodien says one of the main challenges is that fact Bokaap residents are not securing their wills and estates before death.

“Commercial interests are coming at the expense of our heritage. This is due to parents not leaving wills. Our mothers and fathers have to make proper wills because once they die the children fight amongst each other. This is the birthplace of the masjid and to build the masjid you need the people of the community. 20% of the area is gone due to tourists buying the houses,” says Shaboodien.

The City of Cape Town is the owner of a large proportion of the homes occupied by members of the community. A few of the reasons for the deteriorating of this area include people getting evicted because they do not hold title deeds to the homes, as well as government wanting to erect an increase of commercial blocks to promote economic development and foreign investment.

“Residents are not offered funds to maintain these houses as a result most of the buildings are owned by government,” says Rhoode.

The Civic Association feels the precinct is under threat as the Western Cape government does not prioritize heritage. There is a lack of communication between the City of Cape Town’s development department and its heritage department.

“The problem is the City does not have a progress preservation policy one of the reasons is that its departments do not liaise with one another,” Shaboodien asserts.

With nine masajid in Bokaap, the area has played a pivotal role in the conception of Islam. The masajid was developed in the area from 1784 until 1989 at a time of slavery. Most of the houses were established between 1750 to 1850, historically occupied by malay slaves.

“Muslims built their houses there, they lived there and established an area known as the Malay quarter. Now just a small part of the area is distinctly known for its encompassing malay culture,” says Rhoode. VOC

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  1. Bo-Kaap is also the birthplace of the Coon/Minstrel Carnival and Tweede Nuwe Jaar ask our Captains namely Melvyn Matthews,Kevin Momberg and our ex Premier and ex Ambassador in the Great USA E.Rasool friend of Richard “Pot” Stemmet of the Pennsylvanians (incidentally is a province in Indonesia) and we must not forget the legal team Prof Dr Anwar Nagia,Ozzy Shabodien Bo-Kaap Chairman of Bo-Kaap Civic and Attorney I.Higgins

  2. its more a societal problem rather than a state one, so wheres the ulema to guide us? during apartheid most of them said dont bring politics to the masajid, at least the aparthwidchiks allowed us to make salaah even though the masajid were in "white" areas,

    so now? even the "will issue" is an islamic issue, which primarily is also in the realm of the ulema, but presently most of the ulema and masajid are obsessed with the "shia gevaar" issue,

    kom reg mense…

  3. Last night at Bo-Kaap civic the borders were drawn for the Bo-Kaap by the Chairman by the Bo-Kaap Rates association namely by the New Unity movement (which is an communist party leader) Ozzy Shabodien.The borders is much smaller that were historically drawn on the map plan of the said area. Three mosques namely Palm street mosque in Long street,Noorul Mogamadiah Vos street mosque,Noor El Hamedia Mosque Long street and Coowatool Islam mosque, Loop street mosque were excluded.
    They stand now alone in their fight against everything that is going be thrown at them by any developer be it an casino,bar,nightclubs strip clubs and gay venues around them.
    It also look that the City of Cape Town has won in their quest to limit the borders and the people of Bo-Kaap and were duped by the so called adoption of the name “Bo-Kaap”.
    Also as we Muslims are preparing for Moulod Un Nabie PBUH next month the permission but was given carte blanche to 5 Five or Coon/Minstrels to have back to back marches in the Bo-Kaap where this area is Islamically historically area with 11 mosques in the area.What an insult to all Muslims to be told the Coon/Minstrels and Cape Malay choirs is part of our Muslim culture.Coons is an American culture brought to Cape Town by White slavemasters of America in 1840 to ridicule African American slaves and the Malay choirs (sic) was an creation of racists Afrikaner Prof ID du Plessis in 1939.
    So Tweede Nuwe jaar is still a venue in birth place of Islam in Bo-Kaap.
    Daar kom die Alabama (American Confederate Sailing Ship 1862-1864) Still in slavery time in America

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