After visiting the stunning Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, my family decided to stop in the outskirts of Cape Town to check out these beautiful, colorful houses we had spotted in the distance.
The gorgeous houses of the Bo-Kaap District, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city center, is a traditionally multicultural area formally known as the Malay Quarter. Malaysian, African, Indian, and Sri Lankan culture dominate the district, largely due to the descendants of the slaves who were brought over by Dutch imperialists in the 16th and 17th centuries settling in the area. Due to the harsh nature of slave life and strict rules for slave attire, once the slaves were freed they painted their homes bright, happy colors in an effort to express what had been repressed for generations.
A few things to experience while in the historic Bo-Kaap District are the noon day gun and the local museum. According to The Culture Trip, “After the English occupation of the Cape in 1795, Dutch guns were replaced by a bigger English cannon. Ever since 1806, a shot has been fired from the cannon at noon as a time signal. Today, the tradition is still held and the shot is loaded by the South African Navy and heard by residents daily. The noon day gun is Cape Town’s oldest lasting tradition and visitors are able to visit the site to watch the process of shooting the gun, learn about its history and gaze out at the views of the city.”
The Bo-Kaap museum was established in 1976 as an extension as the South African Cultural History Museum. Although the museum is small, set up like a family home, it offers visitors a look into the past, culture, and socio-political climate of the neighborhood.
Seeing the beautiful houses and experiencing the culture in this district was something I will never forget. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the Bo-Kaap District and seeing some of my photography!