Tourism driven gentrification in the Bo-Kaap versus cultural heritage objectives

17 Jul 2017

Gentrification may be described as a process through which wealthy investors drive out the original, and sometimes poorer, inhabitants of a particular area or suburb. Tourism driven gentrification refers to the process where tourism acts as the catalyst for change. The result of gentrification is mostly a renewal of the urban landscape. In the case of the Bo-Kaap it has resulted in a tourist attraction, particularly in terms of the architectural attractions, and the array of new tourist facilities in the area.One of the implications of this tendency is that these new inhabitants bring their own culture which may be perceived as detrimental to the established cultural heritage. In this case perceptions are largely based on the apparent conflict between the traditional Muslim culture being replaced by other cultures and developments not necessarily acceptable to the original inhabitants. The objectives of the study were to establish the nature and extent of gentrification in the Bo-Kaap and identify the perceived threats to the traditional culture of the area. A survey was done amongst 262 households in the Bo-Kaap utilising questionnaires followed by focus group discussions. The responses of the Bo-Kaap residents were often diverse and sometimes contradictory regarding the area?s culture and tourism, and whether gentrification plays any significant role.