Saving Muizenberg’s rainbow huts

The iconic beach huts on the eastern side of Muizenberg Beach.

A trust has been established to restore and maintain the far south’s iconic beach huts.

The Beach Hut Trust is a public-private partnership.

The huts, which have been in a sad state of disrepair for years, are a prominent feature on the False Bay coastline, and their origins can be traced back to 1895, according to Chris Taylor, chairman of the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society.

Beach Hut Trust chairperson Angela Gorman started the Save our Beach Huts Facebook page in September last year after a walk on Muizenberg Beach.

“The beach huts have always been special to me, and while walking on the beach, I noticed that they were in a shabby state and in desperate need of repair,” she said.

The campaign gathered steam and drew support from residents and businesses with offers of paint, wood, and time (“Campaign launched to save beach huts,” Echo, September 2020).

Local businessman Daniel Blaauw was one of the first people to get on board last year and agreed to donate proceeds from the sale of his My Muizenberg Buffs to the #saveourbeachhuts campaign. Fund-raising specialist Charles Maisel has also joined the team.

Work is under way on the eastern side of Muizenberg Beach, and five huts have been fully restored.

A roofing company renovated the first hut for free in November last year to demonstrate the workmanship and materials for City approval.

The company’s managing director, Andrew Gilbey, said he had fond childhood memories of Muizenberg Beach and he wanted to preserve the huts for future generations.

The huts, he said, were being clad in boards made of natural fibres. They were fire and mould resistant and were ideal for harsh weather conditions.

The boards are available in a timber-grain pattern that resembles timber when painted.

Repairing and painting the 35 beach huts up to the lifesaver’s tower is phase one of the project, according to Ms Gorman.

Shafiek Solomon, of Lavender Hill, was busy on the site last Thursday. He said he was proud to be part of the project as he enjoyed spending time with his family on Muizenberg Beach.

“I’ve seen the decay of the huts, and I’m happy to be involved in the restoration process. I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I helped save the huts,” he said.

Mr Maisel said he could not imagine the beach without the huts.

“The beach huts are a community project, and we are fully committed to getting them fixed up and fully maintained and to be used proactively within all sectors of the community and to be used to generate income for different community non-profits,” he said.

Mr Blaauw said it was “phenomenal” that the five huts had been repaired during winter. The trust was busy with fund-raising, he said.

Mr Taylor said the association was “thrilled” with the progress and the efforts made by the trust to preserve history in Muizenberg.

Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl said the City appreciated the efforts of the Beach Huts Trust and was entering into a memorandum of understanding with it to continue its work in cooperation with the City’s recreation and parks department.

“The beach huts are an example of true rainbow-nation South Africa because Muizenberg is one of our most integrated and diverse beaches, and families from across Cape Town can use those huts as a safe space when enjoying our beach. The colours mimic our integrated, unified South Africa and give hope, especially in these trying times,” she said.

Visit www.beachhuts.org.za or the Save Our Beach Huts Facebook page for more information.

The huts have been in a state of disrepair for some time.
Shafiek Solomon with his son, Washeem.
A team from a roofing company cladding one of the huts.