The Bo-Kaap (“above the Cape" in Afrikaans) is an area of Cape Town, South Africa formerly known as the Malay Quarter.It is a former racially segregated area, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and is a historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town.
- 0.95 km² (0.37 sq mi)
- +27 (0)21
- South Africa
- The Bo-Kaap Museum: The Bo-Kaap museum is housed in one the oldest buildings in the area. It dates back to the 1760s. I suggest starting your visit here.
- Visit the Community Hall: After touring the museum, take a short stroll to the building behind the museum. The community hall holds exhibits and events.
- Admire the architecture: After taking in the history at the museum and the community hall, now is the time to stroll around the neighborhood. The Bo-Kaap neighborhood has the largest concentration of houses dating back to 1850.
- Enjoy Cape Malay foods! Bobotie (shown in this post), fish curry, dhaltjies (chili bites), half-moons, samosas and more. Grab a snack from one of the corner stores.
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Oct 25, 2019 · The origins of Bo Kaap date back to the 18th century, when the neighbourhood was home to slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in Africa. Today’s residents are descendants of those slaves and dissidents — in fact, many of the homes here have been owned by the same families for generations — which means Bo Kaap is still ...
The oldest building in the Bo-Kaap is in Wale Street and currently houses the Bo-Kaap Museum. This is the best place to discover the real history of the area and to get a glimpse into the life of a typical Malay family. The first established Muslim mosque in South Africa, the Auwal Mosque, can also be found in the Bo-Kaap.
- Culture Facts
- Where to Meet The Cape Malays
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Where: Bo-Kaap District, Cape Town, South AfricaWho: Former slaves from the East Indies, Muslims who’s language forms the roots of Afrikaans Discover: The exotic culture epitomised in the tropical Cape Malay Curry
TheCape Malaysare the only cultural group of their kind globally. They are a long standing people of South Africa who originally came as slaves, political prisoners or exiles from the Dutch East Indies and were brought from countries as spread out as India to Eastern Indonesia. They came to be called Cape Malays as they all spoke Malay, an important trading language at that time. Cape Malays are also known as Cape Muslims. They were tied by a common language, religion and presence of important political and religious figures. The culture has endured centuries and some of the worst abuses of the Apartheid regime. Their interaction with the Dutch produced a ‘kitchen’ Dutch that was the beginnings of the Afrikaanslanguage.
The Circle of Karamats around Cape Town is made up of tombs of twenty five saints from the Muslim community. One important exile isTuan Guru from Tidore. He spent thirteen years on Robben Islandand copied the Koran from memory in a very accurate reproduction and also helped Establish the first Mosque. If you are in Cape Town you should make time to visit Bo-Kaap, which is the Malay quarter. A tour by a local resident is well worth it. You should also sample a Cape Malay curry which you can get all over South Africa and represents the exotic origins of this unique culture. The curry is rich in spices and fruits, particularly dried apricots.
The Bo Kaap or Malay Quarter in Cape Town, South Africa A great and concise guide to this intriguing area of Cape Town. Great links to all the relevant sights in the area. The Story of the Cape Malay This is a nice little piece on the history of this cultures origin. It focuses mainly on the Cape Malays from Indonesia but still has plenty of useful information. By Electra Gilles Main image courtesy of Cape Town Tourism
Jan 07, 2020 · Bo-Kaap contains the greatest density of pre-1850 buildings in South Africa, making it the oldest residential area in the country and in Cape Town. Thanks to the persistence of its inhabitants, Bo-Kaap is in the process of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site so that the neighbourhood is not tampered with and retains its cultural specificities.
- Bo-Kaap’S Early History
- The District During Apartheid
- Things to Do & See
- Cape Malay Cuisine
- How to Visit Bo-Kaap
- Practical Advice & Information
- Top Tips
The Bo-Kaap neighborhood was first developed in the 1760s by Dutch colonialist Jan de Waal, who built a series of small rental houses to provide accommodation for the city’s Cape Malay slaves. The Cape Malay people originated from the Dutch East Indies (including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia), and were exiled by the Dutch to the Cape as slaves towards the end of the 17th century. Some of them were convicts or slaves in their home countries; but others were political prisoners from wealthy, influential backgrounds. Almost all of them practiced Islam as their religion. According to legend, the rental terms of de Waal’s houses stipulated that their walls must be kept white. When slavery was abolished in 1834 and the Cape Malay slaves were able to purchase their homes, many of them chose to paint them in bright colors as an expression of their newfound freedom. Bo-Kaap (which was originally called Waalendorp) became known as the Malay Quarter, and Islamic traditions became an intri...
During the apartheid era, Bo-Kaap was subject to the Group Areas Act of 1950, which enabled the government to segregate the population by declaring separate neighborhoods for each race or religion. Bo-Kaap was designated as a Muslims-only area, and people of other religions or ethnicities were forcibly removed. In fact, Bo-Kaap was the only area of Cape Town in which Cape Malay people were allowed to live. It was unique in that it was one of the few city center locations designated for non-whites: most other ethnicities were relocated to townships on the city’s outskirts.
There is plenty to see and do in Bo-Kaap. The streets themselves are famous for their eye-catching color scheme, and for their fine Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architecture. The oldest existing building in Bo-Kaap was built by Jan de Waal in 1768, and now houses the Bo-Kaap Museum – an obvious starting place for any new visitor to the neighborhood. Furnished like the house of a wealthy 19th-century Cape Malay family, the museum offers an insight into the life of the early Cape Malay settlers; and an idea of the influence that their Islamic traditions have had on Cape Town’s art and culture. The area’s Muslim heritage is also represented by its numerous mosques. Head to Dorp Street to visit Auwal Mosque, which dates back to 1794 (before religious freedom was granted in South Africa). It is the country’s oldest mosque, and home to a hand-written copy of the Quran created by Tuan Guru, the mosque’s first imam. Guru wrote the book from memory during his time as a political prison...
After visiting the neighborhood’s historic sights, make sure to sample its famous Cape Malay cuisine – a unique blend of Middle Eastern, South East Asian and Dutch styles. Cape Malay cooking uses plenty of fruit and spices, and includes fragrant curries, rootis and samoosas, all of which can be purchased at several Bo-Kaap street stalls and restaurants. Two of the most authentic eating places are Bo-Kaap Kombuis and Biesmiellah, both of which serve staples like denningvleis and bobotie (the unofficial national dish of South Africa). For dessert, try a koeksister – a spiced, plaited donut cooked in syrup and sprinkled with coconut. If you want to recreate the recipes you taste in Bo-Kaap at home, stock up on ingredients at the neighborhood’s biggest spice shop, Atlas Spices. Be aware that traditional Bo-Kaap restaurants like the ones listed above are halal and strictly alcohol-free. Wash your meal down with one of South Africa's signature non-alcoholic drinks, then head to a bar in a...
Unlike some of Cape Town’s poorer areas, Bo-Kaap is safe to visit independently. It’s a five-minute walk from the city center, and a 10-minute drive from the V&A Waterfront (the city’s main tourist area). The easiest way to find yourself at the heart of Bo-Kaap is to walk along Wale Street to the Bo-Kaap Museum. After exploring the museum’s fascinating exhibits, spend an hour or two getting lost in the scenic side streets that surround the main thoroughfare. Before you go, consider purchasing this audio walking tour by Bo-Kaap local Shereen Habib. You can download it to your smartphone for just $3.99, and use it to locate and learn about the area’s top attractions. Those that want the expertise of a real-life guide should join one of the city’s many Bo-Kaap walking tours. Free Walking Tours Cape Town offers a popular free walking tour (though you’ll want to bring cash to tip the guide). It departs twice daily from Motherland Coffee Company and visits Bo-Kaap highlights including Auw...
Bo-Kaap Museum is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm Mondays through Saturdays, with the exception of certain public holidays. Expect to pay a R20 entrance fee for adults, and a R10 entrance fee for children aged six to 17. Kids under five go free. Tana Baru Cemetery is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm. If you would like to stay in the Bo-Kaap area, we recommend Rouge on Rose. Located a four-minute walk from the Bo-Kaap Museum, it's ranked as one of the best guesthouses in the city and offers spectacular Lion's Head views, flawless service and cooked-to-order breakfasts.
If you decide to explore Bo-Kaap independently, bear in mind that this neighborhood (like most areas of the city) is safest during daylight hours. If you plan on being there after dark, don't walk the streets by yourself – rather book a taxi or go with a group. Ladiesshould dress conservatively in Bo-Kaap, in line with Muslim custom. In particular, you will need to cover your chest, legs and shoulders if you plan on entering any of the area’s mosques, while a headscarf carried in your bag is also a good idea.
Discover Bo Kaap in Cape Town, South Africa: Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo Kaap is a colorfully-painted suburb located in the “Mother City” of South Africa.
- Lew Blank
The distinct culture of Bo-Kaap is under attack, by the very forces considered indicators of prosperity. The total population of Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap neighborhood is 10,000 people. 70% of the residents are Muslim. But that’s changing. The rising property prices is leading to gentrification in Bo-Kaap.