A look back on the news headlines of 2023

The family of Bo-Kaap’s Fatima Kaffoor got together for her 100th birthday in June.

It’s been a year of ups and downs on the Atlantic seaboard and City Bowl, from Bo-Kaap’s oldest resident turning 100 to concerns about crime on the mountain.

Here are some of the stories that made our headlines in 2023.

A man died in a paragliding accident in January after crashing into Lion’s Head (“Paraglider dies after crashing into Lion’s Head”, January 16). Rescue services found him wedged between two large rocks and being cared for by bystanders. He was airlifted to Groote Schuur Hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

In February, hundreds of dogs and their owners strolled down the promenade to raise awareness about pet adoption when Paws-a-While charity organisation held their monthly fair (“Residents show love for rescue dogs”, February 15).

Sewage pollution in the ocean was in the spotlight throughout this year as it has been in previous years (“Sewage matters under spotlight”, March 16). More than 100 Camps Bay residents attended a public presentation on sewage pollution organised by proportional representation (PR) councillor Paul Jacobson in March.

In April, volunteer groups spoke out about muggings on Table Mountain, an issue that has plagued Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) all year (“Residents concerned about Signal Hill muggings”, April 20). Taahir Osman, one of the founders of Take Back Our Mountains, says they formed the NPO to curb crime by organising group hikes and environmentally-friendly activities on Table Mountain.

In May, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said Palestinian supporters were using hate speech as part of their protests, while the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign stated that such language is not tolerated (“Boards condemn ‘hate speech’ at protest”, May 25). Protests had taken place at the Community Centre that is home to the Gardens Synagogue, the South African Jewish Museum, the Holocaust and Genocide Centre and Café Riteve.

Grand dame Fatima Kaffoor celebrated her 100th birthday in the month of June surrounded by friends and family. She had relocated to the Bo-Kaap from Durban about 77 years ago, (“Oldest Bo-Kaap resident celebrates 100th birthday”, June 27).

Three people died in separate incidents in one week on the promenade in July (“Three deaths in a week on promenade”, July 13). Former Scotland international rugby player Greig Oliver died following a mid-air collision with another tandem paraglider; Sea Point property agent Laureen Leps was swept into the sea, rescued but died later in hospital; and a man’s body was found floating in the surfline.

The safety of paragliding was questioned this year.

Thousands of people from around Cape Town joined Bo-Kaap locals in the Muharram march, arranged by the Boorhanol Islamic Movement to celebrate the start of the Islamic New Year in August (“Muslims welcome the New Year”, August 3).

In September, a street cleaner told us his story of how he came to strut the fashion ramps as a model. Dominique Kazadi lost both of his parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite the tragedy, he finished his final year at Maitland High School before ending up wandering the streets of Parow (“A street cleaner by day and a model by night”, September 7).

As the tourist season approaches, questions were again asked about the status of Cape Town’s beaches (“Questions over Cape Town’s Blue Flag beaches,” October 26). Bikini Beach, Camps Bay, Clifton 4th Beach, Fish Hoek, Llandudno, Melkbosstrand, Muizenberg, and Silwerstroom had all been given Blue Flag status by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), but some environmental experts say it’s more of a marketing gimmick than a reliable test of water quality.

Palestinian supporters clashed with police on the Sea Point promenade in November (“Call for tolerance after Sea Point clashes”, November 13).

Two known criminals with ties to multiple robberies in the Signal Hill and Lion’s Head area were arrested in December in a joint effort coordinated by the newly formed Table Mountain Safety Forum (“Criminals caught on the mountain”, December 6, 2023).

Our year of news coverage ended with a heart-warming story when Reach for a Dream hosted a prom night at the Peninsula Hotel for youngsters who had missed their matric dance due to life-threatening illnesses (“Prom night for ‘Dreamers’”, December 14).

The ‘Dreamers’ had a ball when they came together for a prom night at the Peninsula Hotel.