Colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap

The quaint cobble-stone streets, with unique architecture and the dazzling, the colourful houses are of the reasons Bo-Kaap is one of the most intriguing areas in Cape Town and people from far travel to see these colourful houses.

When and why the dwellers of Bo-Kaap did start to decorate and enhance their houses in these vivid colours? No one knows exactly when!

It is speculated that it has a lot to do with the self-reinvention of South Africa as the Rainbow Nation. But from residents stories, the change happened when the Bo-Kaap community residents bought their houses from the city council and as owners then decorated their own homes with bright colours, even more so since after Apartheid as an expression of long-subdued individualism and a celebration of their new-found freedom.

Also to note is that all Bo-Kaap homes built before a certain period, need to retain their building facades exactly as described in the Heritage documents, so that the area maintains it’s history from when it was built between 1750s-1950s.

An inevitable fact is that ever since the post-Apartheid era, Bo-Kaap has become hugely gentrified because wealthy outsiders embraced its distinct environment and strikingly, colourful architecture, as well as close proximity to the city.