Bo-Kaap residents held an "iftar" protest in Wale Street on Friday as a week of anger culminated in a peaceful gathering to raise their concerns. Picture: Yazeed Kamaldien
Cape Town - Bo-Kaap residents held an "iftar" protest in Wale Street on Friday as a week of anger culminated in a peaceful gathering to raise their concerns.

Residents burned tyres earlier this week in protest against property developers and the City of Cape Town. Iftar is the meal at the end of a day of fasting in Ramadaan.

Osman Shabodien, chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association, said their iftar was about “fighting for our dignity”.

“We had to do this a long time ago. We have taken over what is ours. This is our Bo-Kaap. This is our home and what we are fighting for,” said Shabodien.

“The government could not chuck us all out in apartheid. They are trying to chuck us out now by making it impossible for us to live here. They are putting up our rates. They use this area as a tourist zone.”

He added: “We want affordable houses in the Bo-Kaap.”

Dawood Terblanche, imam at the Leeuwen Street mosque, said they have “immense frustrations about how the City of Cape Town is treating us”.

“We are in ward 77, smack-bang in a white area. We are only a minority in this ward. It has more than 30 000 people and in Bo-Kaap we are only just over 1 000 people. It means the City does not need the people of Bo-Kaap, therefore they are doing whatever they want to do with us.”

Bo-Kaap residents burned tyres earlier this week in protest against property developers and the City of Cape Town. Picture: Noor Slamdien/African News Agency/ANA

Councillor Brandon Golding, responsible for ward 77, said the City had been working with the Bo-Kaap Civic Association to address their concerns.

“The City offers an indigent grant and pensioners can get a rates rebate. Residents can apply for that. I think there are some younger people who are frustrated.”

Among the younger generation of Bo-Kaap is resident Shakirah Dramat, who is an activist with the campaign Bo-Kaap Rise.

“Over the past few days people have burned tyres but now that we have attention this is what we are about. Tonight is one of the most beautiful sights I have seen. We are standing together.”

Weekend Argus