Monday, June 13, 2011

Walking the Bo-Kapp

Two weekends ago, a couple of friends and I did a walking tour through the Bo-Kapp, the brightly-painted, traditionally-Muslim community that sits between the City Bowl and Signal Hill. Mostly comprised of descendants of the "Cape Malay," or slaves brought to work the gardens in the old Cape Colony (which was a re-stocking point for the Dutch East India Company on its trading routes to the East), the neighborhood is closely knit and steeped in its unique traditions. While visiting the kramats, or shrines, and cemetery in Bo-Kapp, a very nice man gave us a brief history of the Muslim saints buried there. He'd come to pay his respects with his son. You can hear the muezzins calling the faithful to prayer when hiking Lion's Head. The area is most famous for its brightly-colored houses. It can be a bit dodgy in some areas, and I've heard that strangers are not always welcome (an understandable reaction to gentrification), but overall, I found the people to be welcoming, which is surprising and commendable in any neighborhood that gets overrun with photo-snapping tourists. Above, the oldest mosque in Cape Town.

The oldest house in the Bo-Kapp.

Chiappini Street

View of the city from the Bo-Kapp cemetery

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