The woman be­hind Cape Town’s trans­for­ma­tion

As CEO of the Cape Town Part­ner­ship, Bulelwa Makalima-Nge­wana’s ca­reer nar­ra­tive runs par­al­lel to that of the Mother City’s re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion. She shares her story with fin­week.

Finweek English Edition - - ON THE MONEY -

thecity of Cape Town is one of the con­ti­nent’s clean­est and most hos­pitable met­ros, as well as one of the world’s best places to live, play and stay. Need ev­i­dence for this? Bri­tish news­pa­per The Guardian and the US The New York Times both voted Cape Town top hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion for 2014 − the same year the city was de­clared World De­sign Cap­i­tal.

Cape Town has it all − the pris­tine beaches, the nat­u­ral beauty of Ta­ble Moun­tain and Kirsten­bosch Gar­dens, the rich his­tory of Robben Is­land, as well as the clubs, cock­tail bars, cof­fee bars and world-class res­tau­rants that win in­ter­na­tional awards. But the city that is Cape Town wasn’t al­ways won­der­ful. Ten years ago, tour guides ad­vised tourists against vis­it­ing the city cen­tre, rather fer­ry­ing them to the com­mer­cialised har­bour at the V&A Water­front or out­ly­ing ar­eas in­stead. Crime was com­mon­place, build­ings were boarded up and stores were clos­ing down.

Makalima-Nge­wana re­calls the ur­ban de­cay: “Peo­ple were be­ing mugged at gun­point all the time, there was no park­ing man­age­ment sys­tem, the city was dirty and it looked like Dur­ban.”

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