By Miku Sato, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
I visited an area of Cape Town, Bo Kaap. It is formerly known as the Malay Quarter and a former township, located on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city center and is an historical center of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. The area is known for its brightly colored houses and cobble stoned streets. I also visited the museum, and it is the oldest house in the area and still in its original form. Usually the entrance fee is 10 rand, but we did not have to pay because the day we visited was Human Rights Day. The museum exhibits the cultural contribution created by early Muslim settlers. Most of them were skilled tailors, carpenters, shoe makers and builders. As a result of economic development in Cape Town and abolishment of racial segregation under apartheid, property in the Bo Kaap has become very sought after, not only for its location but also for its picturesque cobble-streets and unique architecture.
However, I met two local people raised in the area, and they said that they do not want to live there anymore because there is always full of tourists in the daytime. Even if they come back to home from school with exhaustion, they cannot take a rest because tourists and buses are always outside of the house and very noisy. Before I came to South Africa, I had thought that people do not live there anymore, and the area is an exhibition for tourists. But in fact, people live there. According to the local people, they have tried to ask the government for help, but it has not done anything for them. I think Bo Kaap is really attractive place, and there is an important history that we should learn. However, I thought the government needs to make a positive action for the local people to protect their life.