Tourism angers Bo-Kapenaars

It was a Facebook video that Dramat posted, echoing the sentiments of Bo-Kaap residents, that inspired some young people to become more active in the protests (David Harrison/M&G)

It was a Facebook video that Dramat posted, echoing the sentiments of Bo-Kaap residents, that inspired some young people to become more active in the protests (David Harrison/M&G)

In the colourful Bo-Kaap, residents are angered by gentrification in an old inner-city neighbourhood that still holds on to a lineage of Islamic and Cape Malay traditions.

Their ire seems not been influenced by Gatvol Capetonian and is directed at the tourism industry.

Three months ago, Shakirah Dramat began a small protest in Wale Street, on the periphery of the Bo-Kaap, during peak-hour traffic. She would stop drivers and tell them how gentrification has caused rental prices to skyrocket and how local businesses have shrunk next to new investments.

It was a Facebook video that Dramat posted, echoing the sentiments of Bo-Kaap residents, that inspired some young people to become more active in the protests.

READ MORE: Bo-Kaap unites in protest to hold onto heritage

“I’m fucking tired of the way this community is being treated. I’m tired of the tourism industry in South Africa and the tourists coming in and out of this area, going to view all of two roads and thinking that they understand Cape Malay history.
I’m sorry but you understand nothing about slavery,” Dramat said in the video.

Over the past two weeks, protest action has intensified as young men have rolled burning tyres into Wale Street to block traffic during peak hour.

However, one protest leader says that he has never heard of Gatvol Capetonian. He wants to keep his identity hidden to prevent being identified as a protester by police.

Dramat, who has now started Bo-Kaap Rise, says that she knows of the Gatvol Capetonian group in passing through social media but does not know the people involved in the group. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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