Community celebrates Heritage Day

It was a day filled with fun, food and community as Bo-Kaap residents celebrated Heritage Day on Monday September 24.

The festival was organised by the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association (BKCRA) in partnership with the neighbourhood watch, Bo-Kaap Athletic Club and the City’s Sports and Recreation Department to mark the importance of the heritage of the Bo-Kaap community.

BKCRAmemberFowzia Achmat, said the aim of the event was to take back the meaning of heritage because heritage for the Bo-Kaap was important.

“Heritage Day is a national day, and it seems like people are not interested in heritage anymore. It’s becoming a braai day and the community of the Bo-Kaap needed to take that back,” she said.

Ms Achmat said heritage in the Bo-Kaap was not dead and the community did not have an identity crisis.

She said the culture, traditions, and religion were still alive and it was important that people understood the history of the area.

“The slaves were brought here and it became the colonial community and it is important to understand the history and the heritage of this area,” she said.

Ms Achmat said the Bo-Kaap was not only about colourful houses and cobblestones but about the active community that has been in existence for the past 300 years.

Chairman of the masjid of the Bo-Kaap, Iman Shameel Bassadien, encouraged the residents to remain united.

“As we’re grappling with tough issues in the area, we can’t afford to be split and create our own divisions. They will divide and rule us. We will have different ideas but the objective must be the same.

“This is one of the smallest suburbs in Cape Town and we’ve managed to create unity amongourselves,” he said.

Bo-Kaap resident and imam at the Leeuwen Street mosque, Dawood Terblanche, said it was important to celebrate heritage in this culturally and historically rich community.

“This is the jewel and pride of the Muslim community and it is important to preserve the culture and tradition of the community. Bo-Kaap is a good example of a rainbow nation, we’re multi-cultured with Muslim and Christian schools in the same area co-existing with one another,” he said.

Mr Terblanche said the community was facing the challenge of gentrification and people were being forced to sell their homes because it was becoming difficult to survive financially.

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