Contribute your knowledge and stories to a study of heritage and culture in the Bellville CBD

About the project

The City of Cape Town has commissioned a study of the heritage of the Bellville CBD and surrounds.

The project aims to identify physical and cultural heritage resources that should be protected, enhanced and celebrated in future planning.

Heritage experts will be surveying the area and carrying out interviews to map and describe aspects of Bellville with aesthetic, architectural, historical, social or cultural value. The team will be conducting research, interviews, and surveys in the study area between April and June 2021.

The team

The heritage specialist team is appointed by the City of Cape Town's Urban Catalytic Investment Department, and is led by A.C.O. Associates, a Cape Town-based heritage consulting firm with more than 30 years of experience in heritage assessment and research. A.C.O. is supported by architectural and oral history experts, and the project is managed by Infinity Environmental.

The scope

The project, which will be completed by June 2021, includes three major strands - historical research, physical surveys, and interviews and engagement with local sources. The team will be conducting research, interviews, and surveys in the area between March and June 2021. 

How you can help

Are there historic buildings, events, places or cultural practices that you would like to see celebrated or commemorated in the Bellville CBD?

Please submit your inputs using the form below or get in touch with the team to share your knowledge of heritage, places and events, as well as what you think should be celebrated or commemorated in the Bellville area.

Share your inputs

Talk to us

We want to hear from You

Please submit your inputs using the form below - the team would like to hear about historical places and happenings, as well as what you think should be celebrated or commemorated in the Bellville area.


Contact information

In case we need to find out more or want to discuss your inputs with you. Your details will not be used for any other purpose.

Bellville Study Area Map

A brief history of the Bellville CBD study area

19th century

The village that was to become Bellville came into being because it was close to a major transport route to Stellenbosch and beyond: a strip of hard ground that could support the weight of an ox wagon. About 12 miles from Cape Town, it was an ideal outspan with a source of fresh water.

Construction of a railway line and station in 1859 enabled the development of a small town which greatly benefited the surrounding farming community. Bellville was then located primarily between Voortrekker Road and the station, although Boston soon developed north of Voortrekker Road. 

Early 20th century

Over the years Bellville developed significantly, especially northward. The southern areas of Bellville developed differently although there are old structures there as well. The Hardekraaltjie Outspan, Tygerberg Hospital, railway goods yards and land belonging to Stellenbosch University and rail lines between the two areas were a significant buffer zone between the middle-class white area to the north and the poorer black and coloured areas to the south. When apartheid was more formally implemented communities from northern Bellville were forcibly relocated to southern Bellville – an action that would define the town planning for the apartheid years. The Voortrekker Road area became a business hub and large corporations established businesses there on a grand scale, enhancing a sense of segregation. During the days of insurrection against apartheid the city was under tight control as the “buffer zone” made protests tricky and the heavy police force in the area was always well prepared for action. There is a strong sense that Bellville was being set up to be an alternative capital to Cape Town with its strong police force and the construction of major business infrastructure.

Late 20th century

The situation has changed today – there is much more informal trade, public transport, and other activities which have altered the character of Voortrekker Road and side streets. Bellville is home to a significant diaspora community and developing in new ways.


Heritage is important to any community as it enhances notions of a sense of place and even to a degree a “sense of home”. It needs to be recognised, celebrated and enhanced, in the context of a 'Future City' and forward-looking planning.

Get in touch

Alternatively, please get in touch with the team using the details at right.

+27 (0)21 834 1602

Business hours