Bo Kaap – Exploring Malay Culture

by Grace Njeri

And just like that, vacation is over! I had a wonderful time and I am already trying to find my way back to Cape Town.

I have so much to share on my trip to Cape Town but I wanted to start with one of my favorite tours which was the Bo Kaap area tour. Pronounced as “Boor kap.” If you google Bo Kaap Cape Town you will see lots of colorful buildings – all picture worthy but that is not all that the place is about.

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Bo Kaap’s First Mosque after they were granted religious freedom

The culture, art and heritage preserved here to date is actually amazing. Bo Kaap area is home to many muslims and freed slaves and their descendants who were captured and brought in by the Dutch from other Dutch colonies at the time  like Indonesia, India, Mozambique, Zanzibar and many other African countries off the coast of the Indian ocean. All of these people were skilled carpenters, tailors, shoe makers and builders.

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Homes in the area.

We took a tour and our guide took us through the 200 years of slavery that took place in Cape Town. We met the locals rehearsing for their annual minstrel festival that takes place every year on 2nd January because this was the only day of the entire year the slaves were allowed to rest.

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Another interesting thing about this area is their food; Cape Malay food which is served  all over the world today. A Cape Malay meal is known to have 10 to 13 spices like cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and many others. This place is a foodies paradise and if you are interested one of the locals actually offers a cooking class which gives you a chance to delve into their culture.

If you are ever in Cape Town, I hope my post inspires you to do this 90 minute tour of Bo Kaap because your perspective will change forever. Of course news of slavery and Colonization in Africa is no new news but for me, just understanding how many African countries have had a dark past,  from South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Congo, Kenya and so many others, changes my perspective entirely and gives me a whole new respect for that country which is what I now have for South Africa.

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Thank you for making it this far.

Love Always,

The Blendie.











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