Historical steps named

2018-11-06 06:00
Kalk Bay Historical Association facilitated the naming of these unnamed steps to Manila Steps.

Kalk Bay Historical Association facilitated the naming of these unnamed steps to Manila Steps.

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The Kalk Bay Historical Association has finally succeeded in having the Kalk Bay steps named after a year-long process.

The naming ceremony was attended by deputy mayor Ian Neilson, as well as the Philippine ambassador to South Africa, Joseph Angeles. Religious leaders from various faiths officiated at the blessing ceremony which took place on Sunday 28 October.

An information board was also unveiled at the bottom of the steps to mark this historic occasion, which was hosted by the Kalk Bay Historical Association in honour of the Filipino settlers who made their homes in Kalk Bay in the mid-1800s. Many of these first settlers were sailors who jumped ship, while others arrived later after fleeing a revolution in their homeland.

The Filipinos were known for being excellent fishermen, and became part of the growing community in Kalk Bay whose livelihood depended on both fishing and whaling.

The move to name the steps was initiated by the Kalk Bay Historical Association. The Association deemed it appropriate to recognise the Filipino community for their contribution to the broader Kalk Bay community, and wished to see their heritage preserved.

They submitted a request to the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee proposing that the unnamed steps on the corner of Quarterdeck and Kimberley roads in Kalk Bay be named the “Manila Steps”.

A public participation process took place from 15 June to 15 July 2017, and the overwhelming majority of those who participated supported the proposal.

In November last year the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee considered the outcome of the process and recommended to the executive mayor that the proposal be supported.

“As an inclusive city, we acknowledge the proud heritage of this community, and the contribution they have made to the unique and diverse history of our city. It is important that we recognise and celebrate this little-known part of our City’s cultural heritage. That is why the City’s Naming and Renaming Committee recommended to council that the steps be named after these early Filipino fishermen, who were called ‘Manilas’ by the Kalk Bay locals when they first settled here. This is in line with our focus on building an inclusive Cape Town that acknowledges the unique cultural and social contributions of its diverse residents,” says Neilson.

He adds that the naming of the Manila Steps recognises the history and influence of the Filipino community in Kalk Bay. “They have helped to shape the history and character of Kalk Bay, and many of the descendants of these early settlers still live here today. The naming of the steps, and the installation of an information board that provides more detail on the history of the Filipino community, will help to raise awareness of their impact on the character and culture of our city. I would like to encourage all Capetonians to visit this site and find out more about this little-known aspect of our history,” says Neilson.

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