Situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the edge of the city centre, and formerly known as the Malay Quarter, the Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous rental houses were built and leased to slaves, not quite sure how they afforded such rent as slaves were not known for thier wealth. These people were known as Cape Malays, and were brought from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa to work in the Cape.
To this day, the houses are a mix of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture, in distinctive multi-coloured rows on steeply cobbled roads. The choice of colour is said to be attributed to the fact that while on lease, all the houses had to be white. When this rule was eventually lifted, and the slaves were allowed to buy the properties, all the houses were painted bright colours by their owners as an expression of their freedom.
Many of the families in the Bo-Kaap have been living there for generations. There is a museum that we vistited which also displays the rich islamic background of some of the people brought over at the time