We’re being invaded

We’re being invaded

SOLD: Properties in Bromwell Street, Woodstock. CREDIT: Brendan Magaar

Our communities are being gentrified and sold to the highest bidder.

It really bothers me when people who have no real insight or first-hand experience of a situation, but feel that they have the right to have a condescending opinion on it.

I have followed with dismay, sadness and anger, the drama surrounding the eviction of the Bromwell Street residents in Woodstock.

In the case of Auntie Brenda Smith, who has lived at 128 Bromwell Street for 75 years, the spokesperson for Human Settlements Zalisile Mbali glibly states: “An opportunity was given to her to relocate to one of our projects in Delft, however she turned down the offer, stating that the area is too far from where she is currently residing.”

It actually sounds as if you think that your offer to Auntie Brenda is a favour! It’s not!

Another trend that is picking up momentum is the City’s move to put all of this down to private evictions — and then stand back and say that they are not involved and it really isn’t any of their business. How convenient!

The City is responsible for the zoning of areas and the City knows full well what is going to happen to poor residents when properties get sold for business purposes.

And just like in the Bo-Kaap, they support it!

Our communities are being gentrified and sold to the highest bidder. Case in point is the R1 billion development in Rose Street, Bo-Kaap, and all the rest of Bo-Kaap being bought by foreigners.

Come klopse time, I am sure there’ll be phone calls from European home owners asking for the removal of “those people” from their doorstep, and a call for these savages to stop with their noise, as the tea party cannot continue through the sound of the trumpets!

For a while now I have been thinking about the possibility of moving the road marches and the Saturday night back marches out of Bo-Kaap. Actually take it to where the majority of the people are. Let’s find a designated space in central Mitchells Plain (like AZ Berman Road) or Klipfontein Rd in Athlone to hold these marches.

More of “our” people will be able to be a part of it. More will be able to come and see it and we surely will not have as much red tape and drama as we have in the gentrified Bo-Kaap, because politicians do not really care what we do on our side of the world.

Just look at the situation in Delft, if you don’t believe me! Thirty one people (human beings) have been murdered in less than a month and yet there is no outcry or outpouring of concern. But I think that if 31 dogs in Sea Point died, a full investigation and probably a state of emergency would be called!

And it is exactly THAT which makes me change my mind about moving our Christmas Choir, Malay Choir and klopse marches.

It’s like slaves being beaten and ultimately broken by their master. And I refuse to be a part of that scenario.

I would be open to the options of having additional venues in Bo-Kaap for Saturday night road marches in klopse season (after the Stadium competitions), providing the City pays for the infrastructure, which would include security, 
fencing, toilets, medical services, etc.

It does not mean that troupes will not march in Bo-Kaap, it just means that there will be another designated space or spaces for troupes to go to – alleviating the congestion we now have in Bo-Kaap. And should any of this come to fruition, it will only happen after full consultation with all affected parties.

But as for the “big” marches – oh hell no! We will NOT be moved to accommodate the rich who now invade our spaces. We were here before you. Our culture was here before you. Deal with it.

I think it is time we stood firmly by our traditions and values. If you don’t like the athaan going off five times a day – then YOU move yourself and/or your business.

The same if you don’t like the Christmas Choirs, the nagtroepe, the klopse, our sense of community or how we have lived for centuries and do things around here. YOU MOVE!

We were invaded, oppressed and colonised once, we would be damn fools if we allow it again.

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