Bo-Kaap (an Afrikaans term meaning “above the Cape”) may be a riot of vibrant colour and one of South Africa’s (and the world’s) ‘Most Instagrammable Places’, but there is much more to this friendly inner-city Cape Town community than just gorgeous good looks.
These coloured houses, painted in hues best described as pastels on steroids, are home to a fascinating history and a community with deep cultural roots.
Established in the 1760s by Dutch colonialist Jan de Waal, Bo-Kaap began life as a series of nondescript rental houses – all painted a pristine white. Built to accommodate Cape Malay slaves who had been exiled by the Dutch to the Cape from the Dutch East Indies (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) in the late 1600s, legend has it that de Waal insisted all the walls be kept white, or the slaves would find themselves summarily evicted. As you can imagine, when