Heritage protection

The Tana Baru Muslim cemetary is one of 19 places in Bo-Kaap that has been declared heritage sites.

The Bo-Kaap Museum, Auwal Mosque and the Tana Baru are among the 19 areas in Bo-Kaap that have been declared as national heritage sites by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Mr Mthethwa visited the Bo-
Kaap last Tuesday, April 30, to give the community feedback on their plea to protect the heritage of the area.

This follows his walkabout in December last year where he was taken to different historical sites such as the oldest mosque in the country and the Tana Baru – a cemetery that is the final resting place of some of the country’s first Muslims.

Mr Mthethwa said this was a way to protect and preserve the history and the soul of Bo-Kaap. He said the community was an epicentre of unity in diversity. “This community produced sons and daughters who had a vision. People like Dr Abdullah Abdurahman,” he said.

Mr Mthethwa said the Bo-Kaap is a working-class community but gentrification would force people to leave the land of their forebears because they would not be able to afford living there.

He commended the residents for standing united to protect their community.

“People’s struggles have succeeded not because of the support from outside but primarily from the active role that they play so that whoever supports you sees that there’s been activity and this community did that,” he said.

Following the announcement, Mayor Dan Plato released a statement stating that the announcement by Mr Mthethwa was a step in the right direction.

He said it would support the heritage protection measures that the City recently put in place. The City council approved a heritage protection overlay zone for Bo-Kaap on March 28 (“Heritage battle won,” Atlantic Sun, April 4).

The Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association thanked Mr Mthethwa and all those who have supported them.

“We thank the people of Bo-Kaap and the broader community for their support and those who continue to support Bo-Kaap and the fight against gentrification. This declaration is part of the ongoing partnership between the community, the Department of Arts and Culture and SAHRA (South African Heritage Resources Agency). We thank and acknowledge those that have helped us in our struggle to protect our heritage,” they said.

Other landmarks that have been declared as heritage sites in Bo-Kaap are: Schotsche Kloof Primary, the Prayer Quarry, the Stables Site, the Strand Street Quarry, the Wash House Quarry, the Spolander House, St Paul’s Primary School, Buitengracht Street Wall, Vista High School, Schotsche Kloof Homestead, Stadzicht Homestead, Nural Islam Masjid, Jamia Masjid, Masjid Shafee, Masjid Boorhanol Islam and Nurul Huda Masjid.