Cape Town - A protracted process to establish fixed boundaries and have the Bo-Kaap officially named as such, has been successful.
The Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has approved an application from the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association (BKCRA), publishing in the Government Gazette last week, that the entire area known as Schotschekloof would now become known as the Bo-Kaap.
The BKCRA had applied for the boundaries of the Bo-Kaap to extend from the quarry on Strand Street down to Buitengracht Street, to Carisbrook Street on the border with Tamboerskloof and up to Military Road on Signal Hill.
Previously, the Bo-Kaap area included three parts known as Schotschekloof, Stadzicht and Schoone Kloof - names of Dutch origin.
BKCRA chairman Osman Shaboodien said he was “ecstatic” after Mthethwa’s decision and soon plans would be announced for a “doepmaal”, a naming ceremony, to officially mark the occasion. A street festival was being contemplated to celebrate.
“It’s a great moment for South Africa and the history of the Bo-Kaap,” said Shaboodien.
“At last the Bo-Kaap has a boundary and we have dropped our slave name.”
The association started its campaign to have the Bo-Kaap officially named as such several years ago, holding two years of public participation to get a mandate from residents to make a formal application to the Western Cape provincial government and the geographical names committee.
“We can now take back our identity as an area. The Bo-Kaap is a name we’ve cherished all these years but a name that was not officially used,” said Shaboodien.
The Bo-Kaap already enjoys heritage protection as a Grade 1 resource which means it is of national heritage significance.
BKCRA spokeswoman Jacky Poking said the official boundaries would help protect the suburb against an onslaught of developments that were not in keeping with the heritage of the area.
Developers and the BKCRA have often clashed over whether proposed developments fell within the boundaries of the Bo-Kaap, with the argument often being advanced the properties actually fell within the bounds of the CBD.
Cases in point were plans for a gold refinery on Jordaan Street, a new high-rise apartment building 117 on Strand currently under construction and a 60m high apartment block awaiting the final go-ahead between Rose and Buitengracht streets.
Shaboodien thanked the city for supporting the renaming application.
Chairman of the city’s naming committee, councillor Brett Herron, pointed out the renaming of suburbs fell outside the mandate of the city.
“During my tenure as naming committee chairperson I received a proposal from the Bo-Kaap community representatives, along with a substantial amount of supporting documents and evidence of community support. In fact, they have conducted a thorough public participation process over a period of two years. The city’s naming committee supported the renaming and provided the proposal and supporting documents to the provincial government to take the necessary steps.”
City spokeswoman Priya Reddy said the city would take direction from the national department of arts and culture as to the boundaries it had gazetted and would adjust the council’s systems and databases where necessary to reflect the changes.