Colour boost for Bo-Kaap


Bo-Kaap’s historic, colourful houses are almost as much of an iconic part of Cape Town as Table Mountain. Now, the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, along with the City of Cape Town, has started a project to give the homes a splash of paint and keep the neighbourhood looking its best on postcards and tourism brochures.

A survey has found that most residents back the project, says the association. It hopes the beautification drive will uplift the area and boost tourism.

Yusuf Safoodien, one of the association’s project coordinators, said: “It is about beautifying and cleaning up the area. People are excited.”

The initial areas they are looking at are Chiappini and Dorp streets, along with some of the smaller ones, and Mr Safoodien hopes the spruce-up will attract tourists.

“It is a great initiative of which we are excited to be a part of but the logistics need to be done properly before commencement of anything.”

Aaiesha Samodien, a Bo-Kaap resident who has been helping with the survey, thinks the project will be good for the community.

If you look at some of the people, they might not have enough money to afford to do it themselves. When we did the survey, people were happy.”

Some residents were even prepared to paint their own houses if they were given free paint, she said.

Chiappini Street resident Hajiera Ela said the community might be known for its colourful houses, but it was very costly maintaining them. “I would have no problems getting involved in this project,” she said, adding that drawing more tourists into the neighbourhood would benefit the community.

Asked what colour she’d like to paint her house, Ms Ela replied: “Green, it is a happy colour.”

Osman Shaboodien, the civic association’s chairman, said they had identified houses that were in need of a bit of a makeover.

“We earmarked homes where people couldn’t afford to paint but have shown that they were willing to participate. One of the good things that will come out of this project is that Bo-Kaap will look more uniform. It will be a boost for the area, colour always lifts people’s spirits.”

He added that they were grateful for sponsorship they’d received from a local paint company.

Ward Councillor Dave Bryant, said the project was a good example of an effective public-private partnership. The idea came about after a meeting with the paint company’s marketing manager. “We spoke about doing this where people might not have had the means to. Similar projects have been done in other parts of the world and they have been successful,” he said.

“This is a very exciting project. A number of the City-owned council houses are also in need of structural work and upgrades.”

He noted that owners of privately-owned homes were under no obligation to take part in the project.

Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism, said the area was very popular among tourists.

“Bo-Kaap is easily accessible as it is central to the CBD, and has fantastic views and photo opportunities. The contrast of the old, colourful houses and the ultra-modern skyscrapers nearby is a reminder of the variety of culture and architecture we have in Cape Town. The houses with their brightly-painted walls have featured in advertisements and even in international movies, so this small suburb has developed a reputation over the years. There are tours that are advertised so it’s likely that a visitor who is asking around will hear about B