Bo Kaap AirBNB Cooking School and Tour

Cooking School

Yesterday I went to an Airbnb Cape Malay cooking school. Cape Malay is a style of cuisine that originated from the blend of all of the food of the slaves that the dutch brought in (more on that later on). I learned how to make samosas and cape Malay curry at the cooking school. They were basically like dumplings and were very good.

Bo Kaap

After cooking school, we went on a tour of Bo Kaap. Our tour guide’s name was Zach, and he had grown up in apartheid. This is his story.

First, A Little History On Islamic Culture

Islam started in around 600 A.D and was spread around the world by the Arabs. In the 1400s, one of the countries that they spread it to was Indonesia. However, when the people were getting used to this new way of life, the Dutch captured all of their leaders and took most of them for enslaved people. One of the leaders caught was an Arab leader, who was also destined to become the leader of the Indonesians. The dutch decided he had too much influence to be in the public eye, so they threw him on Robben island. He spent eight years there and copied the Quran from memory. Eventually, he was released, and he went on to build the first mosque in cape town. Thanks to this one man, Islam has grown in South Africa through the years.

Apartihde in Bo Kaap

Life in the Beginning

Before apartheid, life in Bo Kaap was relatively the same as everywhere else, except for one factor: like in Sofiatown and District 6, religion, race, and culture blended. Moving into apartheid, life became more unstable, especially with the enactment of the group areas act.

Holding out From the Group Areas Act, and the Declaration on Bo Kaap as an Islamic Area

Coming into apartheid, Bo Kaap, like other townships such as Sofiatown and District 6, was pressured by the government to separate races and religions. To regroup (no pun intended), the group areas act was created to make a white superiority and a mixed race, Indian, Asian, and black inferiorities. This put a ton of stress on the people of communities like Bo Kaap, who had highly diverse races. In a rush to enforce this law, the government declared Bo Kaap an Islamic area, thus forcing out all people who were not Islamic from Bo Kaap. While Islam was deferentially the main religion in Bo Kaap, it was by no means an Islamic community. This regulation not only ripped the community apart but also ripped families apart. If one or two kids were atheists and not Muslims like the rest of the family, they were forced to live in “atheist areas.” This was truly tragic. It left families shattered and everyone traumatized. Most never saw their loved ones again.

Bo Kaap Now

After their lives had been shattered, the people of Bo Kaap started trying to put their lives back together. Even after apartheid ended, most people forced from their homes did not return.

Unfourtunentally, Bo Kaap is being swallowed up by Cape Town. Developers are coming in and buying swaths of land, then going to the city council and building huge skyscrapers, chipping away some of the parts of Bo Kaap that are so important and monumental, and we need to preserve it. These are historical places where slaves first lived; then oppressed people were the homes and birthplaces of many different peoples, religions, races, and cultures.

After our tour, we went to Zach’s mom’s house and had some tea and cookies, which we delicious, and chatted. My sister had an appointment, and so we had to go.

I will see you at my next destination!