As I mentioned in my previous post : people often ask me about what has been left of Apartheid and I mentioned the presence of a gap between the different races which would be obvious after they had been given different levels of education and therefore also job oppurtunities.
The Apartheid government did not only differentiate education but also had acts such as the Group Areas Act which was passed. This law basically stated that people of different races had to live in different areas. Yesterday, I went and visited an area called bo-kaap. Bo-kaap itself means on top of the Cape. It is slightly past the Centre of Cape Town and you drive up a hill into this area. From it you can see a beautiful view of Cape Town and that is probably where it gets its name from.
Bo-kaap used to be called the Cape Malay Quarter. Most of the people that are here are descendants of people from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia and were enslaved back in the 17th century. This area is predominantly Muslim and had people of mostly Asian descent. They were named the Cape Malays but this is not a correct term because they are people who come from all over Asia not just Malaysia, The oldest mosque in South Africa is found in this area as are shrines of Muslim saints that first brought Islam to South Africa. It is not a Muslim only area but it is known for the place where Islam originated and about 90 % of its population is Muslim. It is vibrant and fun – one of the most interesting places I have been to in Cape Town.
It is truly a beautiful area, it is tucked right behind the centre of Cape Town. It is made up of different coloured houses, cobblestone roads and little shops on every corner. At the top of the hill ( which is actually quite steep and scary to drive up ) there is a little restaurant called noon gun. At noon every day the gun shot is heard. It used to be used to announce the arrival of ships before the use of any other kinds of communication. I really love this area. Even though the drive up to the noon gun restaurant is scary there is tranquility up there. You can overlook the ships and the dock and if you walk up the hill a little ( you need to park your car) , you can even catch sight of the beautiful soccer stadium that has been built.
When people think south Africa they think crime. But you can drive your car around this area and even park and walk around and there are kids and women sitting outside their houses drying their clothes. At prayer time you can here the Adhaan ( the call for prayer). Right now it is the month of Ramadhaan and so some of the restaurants are closed. I even went in to see the Bokaap museam. It is small but beautiful explaining the history of this area. I look at the entrance and the days off are Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. It is comforting to see how accepted Islam is in Cape Town – where we can make holidays of our holy days. It is so common to have Christmas or Good Friday as a day off and we need to take our own seperate days off as Muslims in most places in the world but here they can have their own days.
The people here are very friendly and there are a few people walking around with cameras. I do not know if this is a common tourist place but I feel very at home over here. There is a little convenience store which I absolutely love here. It has little newspaper articles pinned everywhere from pictures of sharks attacking dolphins to the first rugby team to the passing away of a holy man. Cape Town truly has it all. It has culture, it has adventure, it has wildlife..It has it all.