Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana

About Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana

The CEO of the Cape Town Partnership, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana is a town planner with extensive experience in managing and coordinating public-private partnerships. An urban revivalist at heart, she has spent the last ten years with the Cape Town Partnership managing, developing and promoting Cape Town’s Central City as an economically thriving, creative and valued public and private space in which to live, work and play.

She was one of the key role players in developing Cape Town’s Central City Development Strategy (CCDS) in 2008, which puts forward a shared vision to guide future developments in Cape Town until 2018 and, as CEO of the Partnership, she is the key driver of this strategy. She has also been central in Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid.

Bulelwa is a member of the board of a number of national and international bodies. This include the Central City Improvement District (CCID), a public-private partnership for Cape Town’s CBD; investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape, Wesgro and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company.  She is also a board member of the International Downtown Association (IDA), an ambassador for the Cape Town International Convention Centre, member of the World Design Capital 2016 International Advisory Committee for Taipei and a World Cities Summit Young Leader.

Recent Posts

Dandora: Beyond a Dumpsite
25 May 2017

I first heard about the fantastic work done in Dandora, an area widely known as Nairobi’s dumpsite, when I shared a panel with Robinson Esialimba, co-founder and board chair of the Dandora Transformation League last year. While our discussion took place over Skype – I was in Cape Town, Robinson was in Harare – I

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The new right to the city
16 March 2017

I recently spent a month in the rural Eastern Cape, for our annual family holiday. On my return to the office, colleagues enthused about how rested I looked, how relaxed I seemed. “Must have been the lack of internet access,” one of them concluded. “Actually, the connectivity where we were is very strong,” I countered.

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What if the rains don’t come?
22 February 2017

I used to think that Capetonians were preoccupied with water: the lack of it, ways to save it, or even the wilful belief of “Water problem, what water problem?” A trip to Windhoek this week made me realise that if things don’t change, this preoccupation with all things H20 will ratchet into overdrive. Very soon.

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What we can learn from tomatoes
27 January 2017

I’ve just returned to the office after two months away. Having been at the Cape Town Partnership for thirteen years, I am very grateful to my board for granting me this extended period to revive my energy and focus. I hope you also had a restful festive season and that you’ve entered 2017 feeling rejuvenated.

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A Sense of Connection
Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana
9 January 2017

When I first moved to Cape Town in 1999, I encountered Church Square as a rundown parking lot. Thankfully, the City of Cape Town was already in the process of recognising the importance of placemaking in public spaces, and acknowledging the heritage value of the square’s troubled history. In 2005, the Cape Town Partnership officially

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Saturday in the city
9 December 2016

Born and raised in the rural Eastern Cape, as a child, I used to romanticise cities and city life. Friends who’d travelled to some of the Eastern Cape’s larger cities would impress me with talk of busy roads, hundreds of cars and fancy stores where all kinds of toys and treats were on display. My

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Little actions that bring people together
14 September 2016

As the CEO of a grant funded organisation, a non-profit, I am often challenged to validate the importance of placemaking programmes and allied activities in a country characterised by staggering inequality, high unemployment and poverty. These issues are of vital importance and require consistent intervention by civil society and the public and private sectors. Placemaking

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Inspiring women
29 August 2016

As South Africa celebrated National Women’s Day earlier this month, Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana was struck by how far removed this public holiday has become from the sombre and serious event – a march of approximately 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August 1956 – that inspired it.

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New initiative aims at reversing the past and creating a more equitable Cape Town
14 June 2016

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana discusses grief after a colleague’s tragic passing, working for Cape Town’s benefit and a starting a new process to find possible answers to the city’s major challenges.

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Lessons from San Francisco and Detroit
18 May 2016

As an urban planner and lover of cities, the African city will always hold a special place in my heart. That being said, there are many cities around the world that I love. San Francisco is probably near the top of that list. When I visited “The City that Knows How” – one of its

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