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“Folks there VERY interesting to talk to”

Iziko Bo Kaap Museum
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$93.50*
and up
Cape Malay Cultural Tour of Cape Town
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Bo-Kaap Museum, situated in the historic area that became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery, showcases local Islamic culture and heritage.
San Diego
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Folks there VERY interesting to talk to”
Reviewed December 11, 2012

This museum seemed similar to the District 6 museum in that we didn't feel we really got a good overview and needed a guide to highlight information. Luckily, we stopped to ask questions of a woman working there, and she was amazingly informative (for instance, we were really unclear on what the Bo Kapp area was and how it formed---not directly answered in the displays). Between her, some of our drivers, and the Jewish Museum, we learned a lot. For instance, coming from the U.S., when we saw services available for whites and colored, we thought that covered everyone, but colored has a different meaning in the U.S than in South Africa. The woman at this museum helped me get past my unwitting confusion--I was completely misunderstanding their distinctions based on the background experiences that formed my way of thinking. THAT was eye opening to me!

Visited November 2012
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Thank bzribee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“very interesting and so user friendly. Lovely to see the history of my country”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Very welcoming and user friendly. Took some senior citizens for a visit and the staff was so accommodating with reminding us that the older visitors receive discounts and also arranged for wheelchairs for make the visit more pleasant. Well done to the staff your professionalism and friendly helpful attitudes really made the visit very pleasant. Keep up the good work. God bless. x

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank Cindy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
48 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Interesting”
Reviewed June 21, 2012

Very significant for tourists - shows the real Cape Town!

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank Louise V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at Iziko Bo Kaap Museum, responded to this review, June 26, 2012
So wonderful to hear you enjoyed your visit Louise. Thank you for the fantastic review!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Minimal museum with inaccurate historical memory”
Reviewed February 26, 2012

I love the idea of a museum to capture the history of the Bo-Kaap. Instead, this museum minimizes slavery, racism, and the general oppression of African heritage people while promoting the local Coloured community as in collusion with White South Africa. Definitely problematic.

There's even a pro-Slavery South display (and Confederate Flag) that shows suggests the Coloured community supported the American South in the Civil War.

Avoid this one and go to the District Six Museum across town and to the Apartheid Museum in Joburg.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank Lekker_World
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Public Relations Manager at Iziko Bo Kaap Museum, responded to this review, June 29, 2012
Thank you for posting your comments about your visit to the Iziko Bo Kaap Museum. We have asked the social history curator of this particular museum, Mr Paul Tichmann, to respond.

"The history of the Bo-Kaap embraces various narratives, including slavery and the story of Islam at the Cape. The Museum wishes to reflect on all these narratives. Its permanent exhibition at the Bo-Kaap Museum entitled ‘Who Built Cape Town’ tells the story of segregation and apartheid and the role of slaves, convicts and free workers and artisans in the building of the city.

A current research project is looking into the story of the impact of the Group Areas Act and other apartheid laws on the Bo-Kaap area and the forced removals of people who were regarded as ‘Non-Malay’.

The temporary exhibition entitled display entitled ‘New Year Carnival and the Alibama’ tells the story of Cape Town’s Nuwejaar carnival and explores the stories behind the famous Afrikaans song ‘Die Alibama’. The Confederate ship flag is on display because it links intimately to an historical event that took place in Cape Town in August 1863 when the Southern Confederate raider, the CSS Alabama captured the Northern Sea Bride in full view of the city’s residents.

As a result of this event a local trading ship built in Cape Town in 1864 was also named Alabama. This ship was used to transport goods to the West Coast, returning to Cape Town with corn, reeds and other produce. The song, ‘Die Alabama’ merges these two ships and events – that relating to the CSS Alabama of 1863 and that of the Cape ship - hence the reference to rietkooi nooi (reed bed/mattress young woman) in the song. The story of the Cape Alabama ship is not well known and is an intriguing element of fresh research that the exhibition at the Bo-Kaap Museum covers.

The display also points out that Cape Town’s carnival is intimately linked to the history of slavery and emancipation in the Western Cape and that touring minstrels from the United States (including McAdoo’s Virginia Jubilee Singers who toured South Africa four times between 1890 and 1898), themselves descendants of slaves in the States, played an important role in the complex development of carnival music. In turn carnival music had a very significant impact on music and performance in Cape Town. Living legends and musicians such as Abdullah Ibrahim and other Cape jazz singers continue to acknowledge the influence that the carnival and ghoema rhythms have had on their music.

A reading of the exhibition text will show that the display is not “a pro-Slavery South display”, nor is there any suggestion that “the Coloured community supported the American South in the Civil War”.

Visitors interested in the history of Cape slavery should also pay a visit to the Iziko Slave Lodge and pop in at Koopmans-De Wet House and Groot Constantia where the stories of slave men and women are carefully incorporated into a number of texts that relate to the social history of the houses."

We do hope that this explanation helps you the museum in a new light and we looking forward to welcoming you back for another visit.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lafayette, Indiana
Level Contributor
81 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Small, very few displays, not worth paying to see”
Reviewed November 16, 2009

There are only four rooms and a hallway. The rooms are very sparsely filled, with very few displays. None of the displays are relevant, nor are they very meaningful. I didn't really learn anything there that I couldn't read in a guidebook. It's unbelievable that they charge a fee to enter this place! There's nothing worth seeing there.

Hallway:
Start here. There are a few wall-mounted posters that discuss the history of Bo-Kaap, how the immigrants came to Cape Town and settled in Bo-Kaap. This is the most informative and relevant part of the museum.

Northeastern corner room:
Second stop. It contains wall-mounted poster-type displays that are just sort of a social commentary on Apartheid and slavery in South Africa--not really anything too specific to the Bo-Kaap, not what I expected. I feel that this stuff is more appropriate for a general South African history museum, rather than the Bo-Kaap museum.

Southeastern corner room:
Has some Muslim head wear on display--a few fezzes, a woman's veil. Has an Arabic poem or scripture as artwork on the wall, to show how Muslims cannot illustrate people, so they instead use calligraphy and patterns as artwork.

Southwestern corner room:
Has some Middle Eastern antiques on display--some old brass plates, metal cups, and old tiles. Most, if not all, of these artifacts are from Persia, so they're not from Bo-Kaap or South Africa at all.

Northwestern corner room:
There are a bunch of big pots and pans in this room, but no descriptions at all. I guess it's supposed to represent something about the cuisine, but it just looks like a bunch of rusted old woks.

There was a security alarm going off the entire time we were in there. We were told that they're doing some construction work behind the museum, which causes that alarm to short and continually sound. It had been sounding like that all day, for the past few days. This was completely unacceptable--I left with my head spinning.

Helpful?
Thank stargirlssc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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