In Woodstock, between Gympie and Baron Streets a new upmarket apartment block, The Woodstock Quarter has replaced a well known antique shop.
New buildings, coffee shops, art galleries and markets are signifiers of this renewal of Cape Town’s inner city. This is how developers and the City of Cape Town sell their vision, leaving out the stories of families that have been pushed to the outskirts to make way for this renewal.
Charol Jacobs lived in District 6 and had to leave her home because of forced removals and now she has recently had to pack her things and leave her home in Woodstock to make way for Swish Properties. Her wendy house was the only obstacle as she and her family refused to leave their home and community.
This is not the first time that Charol and her family have faced evictions before. This is what Charol had to say on the evictions:
“We have to stand strong, because if our government sees that we are weak, they will make mince meat from us. They want to remove us to a ghetto, where our children can become drug addicts and murderers, because they will be vulnerable in an area that they don’t know, and they must play by those rules. There is no work or facilities there, and we’ll struggle because we have no transport money to come to the city to look for a job. Everything in Woodstock has become about developers and money, and that means lack of housing for the poorest of the poor. I will fight for my rights. I will be at the front, carrying the Reclaim the City banner. I’m not afraid.” – Charol Jacobs, 18 August 2016
Across the road they are building an apartment block that Charol and her family will not be able to afford.
Charol and her family packed up their belongings and their wendy house and moved to Manenberg. They have joined a new community that they do not know and are far away from the City Centre. There is poor service delivery in the townships and I have to ask myself who this development is for? When the Jacobs family cannot afford housing in Cape Town’s innercity, being forced to leave their home and community to make way for swanky apartments that will be occupied by the middle class population of this city.
There is no political will from the City of Cape Town or government to regulate the private sector and to provide rental units and mixed income housing for those like Charol Jacobs.
How will Cape Town be desegregated when the poor are being pushed to Blikkiesdorp and Wolwerivier and any opportunities for deep connections and learning among people from different classes and races are seperated?