Purple house on Signal Hill slopes has Bo Kaap residents seeing red
A new three-storey house painted bright purple high on the slopes of Signal Hill in the Bo Kaap has caused outrage, with local residents dubbing it an eyesore and "un-Bo Kaap".

The house is clearly visible from the city centre and critics say it stands out like a sore thumb - a very bright sore thumb - on the hillside. But others love it and said the house had made the area attractive with a number of people, including foreign visitors, having noticed and visited it since it was completed about a month ago.

Owner Robbie Smith said the tower-styled house in Voetboog Road was fast turning the suburb into a tourist area and many people had photographed it. This week finishing touches were being put in the tiling in the house.

Most older houses in the Bo Kaap, a predominantly Muslim community, are single or double-storey with some brightly-coloured houses on the lower slopes, which are not visible from a distance.

Smith said his house was bringing something different and other property owners, including a neighbour who was renovating, were following his style.

But Osman Shabodien, chairman of the Bo Kaap Community Association, said residents were upset because the municipality had not consulted them before approving the plans. He said the straight block-style of the house was awful and the colour an eyesore.


"A bright colour against the mountain and as high as you can ... that man just wants to be noticed. Only people wanting to be noticed wear pink and purple."

He said the problem was that rich and foreign people were buying the houses from the poor residents and were doing whatever they wanted "because they have money". Shabodien said the association had written letters of complaint to the city council but there had been no response.

Smith, who is involved in the film industry, said he held a meeting with the community before the house was built and some had approved it while others had not.

"No one has complained to me and I suppose you cannot please everybody," he said.

Charles Cooper, media liaison officer for the city council, said the house was legal as all necessary approval had been obtained. He said the colour appeared to be the main complaint but the municipality had no say about the colour any building was painted.

Article by: Myolisi Gophe - www.capeargus.co.za