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Protests in Cape Town’s Bo Kaap escalate against gentrification

Bo Kaap, declared a Muslim-only area during apartheid, is the scene of a bitter battle between residents and property developers in recent months.

Gentrification in a South African context does not need to take on its typical Anglo-American form, in which gentrification is generally closely associated with black–white displacement processes.

The historic area of Bo-Kaap with its picture postcard pastel-coloured houses, rich cultural heritage and beautiful location overlooking Cape Town’s city centre has always been a favourite stop for tourists.

But over the past few months, the area, which adorns many of the city’s tourism brochures, has been the centre of attention following continued public protests against gentrification, characterised by a growing number of high-rise buildings and steeply rising property rates that many long-standing residents can no longer afford.

In Cape Town, a battle is being fought over the future of one of South Africa’s oldest Muslim communities.

Bo Kaap is a major tourist attraction, but it’s also in a prime location, and developers have been moving in.

That’s led to violence between police and residents who say they’re fighting to protect their heritage against gentrification.



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