Have you ever seen pictures of tourists posing in front of brightly coloured houses in Cape Town? Well, they were most likely in the picturesque neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, which is best known for its multicoloured facades.

Hidden in central Cape Town, just below Signal Hill and away from the bustle, you will find this little gem which attracts people from all over the world. Bo-Kaap is a multicultural area with cobblestoned streets surrounded by colourful houses from the nineteenth and seventeenth century. At that time, freed slaves started to settle in Bo-Kaap. Originally they were imported as slaves from the Dutch East Indies, countries as spread out as India to Eastern Indonesia. They came to be called “Cape Malays” or “Cape Muslims” as they all spoke Malay, an important trading language at that time. Not only did they have the language incommon, they also shared the same religion.

Later on, under the 1950 apartheid law, the Muslim descendants of these slaves were segregated into Bo-Kaap. Here they created a flourishing community and it was during this period they started painting all the houses in bright colours. Originally all the houses here were painted white while on lease. No one really knows why, but with new homeowners they painted their houses in colour as an expression of freedom. It is also said to partly be a celebration to Eid.

This charming township doesn't only offer picture-perfect photos, it aslo offers an interesting history!



Categories: South Africa

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