Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa declared 19 sites in the historical Bo-Kaap to be declared National Heritage Sites. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa declared 19 sites in the historical Bo-Kaap to be declared National Heritage Sites. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency

Recognition for Bo-Kaap as 19 sites to be declared National Heritage Sites

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published May 2, 2019

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Cape Town - There was a sense of victory for the Bo-Kaap community as Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa declared 19 sites in the historical quarter to be National Heritage Sites.

Mthethwa made the announcement in Bo-Kaap on Tuesday night, and said the sites would appear in the Government Gazette.

Mthethwa also visited families in the vicinity to learn about the history of the area, and listened to the grievances of the residents.

The sites to be given national heritage status are: the Auwal Masjid, the Prayer Quarry, the Tana Baru Burial Ground, the Stables Site, the Strand Street Quarry, the Wash House Quarry, the Spolander House, Schotsche Kloof Primary School, St Paul’s Primary School, Buitengracht Street Wall, Vista High School, Schotsche Kloof Homestead, Stadzicht Homestead, Nural Islam Masjid, Jamia Masjid, Masjid Shafee, Masjid Boorhanol Islam, Nurul Huda Masjid and the Bo-Kaap Museum.

The South African Heritage Re- sources Agency has declared the sites to be national heritage sites in terms of section 27 (5) of the National Heritage Resources Act (No 25 of 1999).

“The community and spirit of Bo-Kaap as described in many historical studies has been carried through the last two centuries by generations of families living in the area.

“The protection of the religious, cultural and architectural heritage of the area is at the fore of community concerns.

“Bo-kaap contains the largest concentration of pre-1850 architecture in the country and is the oldest surviving residential neighbourhood in Cape Town,” said the heritage agency in its announcement in the Government Gazette.

Mthethwa said: “Some people had to leave Bo-Kaap because they could not afford the life in this place and the life of their foremothers and -fathers.

“This is a working-class area and people have lived here for hundreds of years, and because it is a working-class area, somebody out there has put a burden on these people through gentrification. “Gentrification would result in the working class not being able to afford the kind of life being imposed on them here.”

He added this was one of several phases among many others to come, and that the long walk to freedom had to be walked.

Nazlie Benito, a Bo-Kaap resident, said: “I am overwhelmed with the outcome of all the sites being declared national heritage sites and being recognised in the Government Gazette.

She is among the third generation of her family who’ve been living there for seven decades.

“This is still only phase one, and the community hopes to continue protecting Bo-Kaap by keeping future developers out of the area in the next phases,” she said.

@Sukainaish

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Cape Argus

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