Have you been to The Republic of Hout Bay?

Posted by Anita Froneman on 9 March 2020

In 1987, the Lions and Rotary Club charities in the area of Hout Bay, Cape Town, came up with an interesting marketing strategy: declare this beachside suburb an unofficial ‘country’, complete with passports and flag. The idea was to attract more tourists to the area as well as donating the funds to charity.

Checkpoints were established on the roads leading into Hout Bay that were manned by volunteers on weekends and public holidays, who jokingly halted motorists and pedestrians and offered them these passports for sale, according to Sentinelnews.com.

As the passports initially took off during the apartheid era, some saw it as a form of resistance against apartheid.

Kerry Redelinghuys, marketing manager for Cape Coast Properties, told Sentinelnews.com that its ‘importance lies in the fact that it came at a time when there was a lot of uneasiness in the country, yet here we had a very positive spin-off. It was a representation of the resilience of Hout Bay people at a difficult time. It also makes the town stand out from the crowd. It was something silly and fun initially, but it has gone on to have great importance.’

Urban legend has it that one mischievous traveller used his Hout Bay passport to travel to countries that did not accept South African passports at the time, and came half way across the world before anyone stopped him.

Although you won’t be halted entering Hout Bay anymore, the passport can still be bought as a souvenir today at many shops.

If you’re looking to make your way to The Republic of Hout Bay soon, here are some wonderful places to stay.

Image: Instagram/oliveroth

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