Looking back at the stories that made the headlines this year

As 2021 draws to a close we look at the stories that mattered most to the Atlantic Sun community. While the Covid-19 pandemic was considered in most notable events that took place this year, the virus did not stop people from doing good.

A view of the Atlantic Seaboard from Signal Hill.

At the beginning of the year, councillor for ward 54, Nicola Jowell, shared her plans with the Atlantic Sun at the beginning of the year and that included upgrades to the Sea Point promenade (“Ward councillors share plans for 2021, January 28).

In Ward 77, then councillor Brandon Golding also had upgrades planned for the Tana Baru and amenities in Bo-Kaap, however, he was replaced by Francine Higham after the municipal elections in November.

The lockdown restrictions had a major impact on the hospitality industry, but role players came together to urge government to ease the restrictions. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday February 1, announced that establishments would be allowed close at 10pm so staff could be home by the extended curfew of 11pm (“A ray of hope for the hospitality sector”, February 4).

In March the City of Cape Town was criticised for changing parking requirements for some areas on the Atlantic Seaboard without any public participation. The Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (SFB) investigated a planned development to erect a building with 22 “studios” with only eight parking bays (City accused of changing parking requirements without public participation”, April 15).

In April we reported that the Western Cape High Court dismissed the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town’s application for leave to appeal its decision to set aside the sale of the Tafelberg property in Sea Point. This was decision was celebrated by housing activists Reclaim the City (RTC) and Ndifuna Ukwazi who want the site to be used for the development of social housing (“High Court dismisses the province’s leave to appeal Tafelberg sale”, April 29).

In April, City and it’s residents were overwhelmed by fires on Table Mountain and while there were no casualties the incident made national news and caused widespread devastation, (“Table Mountain fire contained, but ’not out’,” April 19).

In May the SFB launched Project HOPE, a project aimed at employing homeless people to keep the beaches clean and crime-free, (“Project Hope makes positive waves on the Atlantic Seaboard”, May 13).

Around mid-year, parents of pupils at the Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt (DSK) made the news as they protested outside the school after a teacher allegedly uttered racial remarks at black pupils. The teacher was suspended, reinstated and finally left the school in August (“Parents protest DSK teacher’s reinstatement”, June 17 and “DSK teacher ousted”, August 5).

With the homeless being a major source of debate in the area, Atlantic Sun asked a few of them why they were on the streets, to get some insight into their lives (“The plight of the homeless”, July 15) . We also spoke to the NGOs which assist them.

In July we featured Methuserah Mukenga who makes sculptures with sand at Camps Bay beach, collecting tips from onlookers as a way of earning some money to buy food (“Sculpting with sand, sea and sun”, July 1), while Rhino Bulo contributed to the community of Green Point by building a staircase that connects the beach to the walkway, (“Rhino builds staircase for residents”, August 5).

In Women’s month we looked at the challenges that homeless women face (“The homeless women’s monthly conundrum”, August 19) and also featured Camps Bay resident Chris von Ulmenstein who does her bit to keep her community clean (“Picking up litter on the platinum mile”, August 19) and a Miss SA contestant, Jeanni Mulder, (“Sea Point’s Miss SA finalist takes on bullying”, August 12).

Later that month the law enforcement troops swooped on the homeless people living opposite the Sea Point police station and confiscated their goods, the Atlantic Sun witnessed this removal of their belongings, (“Homeless evicted”, August 26).

This led to a court case which is still ongoing (“Homeless evictions court case on hold”, September 9). Also in September Vredehoek resident Verity Price became a Toastmasters World Champion, (“Verity is Toastmasters public speaking world champ”, September 2). Later that month we looked at the benefits of online teaching, (“Pros and cons of online teaching and learning”, September 9) and we visited the Bo-Kaap where residents raised their concerns about their rental units, (“Freedom Court residents unhappy with service delivery”, September 29).

In October the campaigning for ward councillors started and we brought our readers comprehensive coverage of who the candidates were for wards 54 and 77 and what they planned to do if they were elected, (“Ward 77 candidates share their vision”, October 13, “Seaboard election candidates have their say”, October 20, and “Where, how and why to vote”, October 27).

When the elections concluded the Atlantic Sun introduced you to the winners – Nicola Jowell in Ward 54, and Francine Higham in Ward 77 (“Voters paint Atlantic Seaboard blue”, November 11). During November we also highlighted challenges that the councillors and residents would have to deal with (“Renewed concerns about plastic litter in the ocean”, November 11, and “Beach Road residents revved up over noise, racing”, November 25) as well as the nation-wide protest against Shell, (“Protest against Shell“, November 25).

The protests against Shell’s seismic activity is opposed.

December started off with good news as the Averys celebrated 60 years of marriage (“Brian and Jean Avery celebrate their diamond anniversary”, December 3) and 10 kramats around the City, including one on Signal Hill, were declared national heritage sites (“Kramats declared national heritage sites”, December 9). A week later, however, the kramat at Oudekraal, among those granted national heritage status, was vandalised (“Oudekraal kramat vandalised”, December 16).

The kramat on Signal Hill is a national heritage site.