150a Loop Street,
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The Alabama Cinema was situated on the corner of Loop Street and Pepper Street in central Cape Town and opened during the mid-1940’s. It was previously known as the “De Wicht” Hall.
This cinema served Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap community with convenient and affordable cinema entertainment, however it was to be closed in controversial circumstances.
The owners of the building which housed the Alabama Cinema had decided demolish the 112 year old building and build a commercial building on the site. Although the Alabama Cinema had been advised to close no later than 30th June 1984, the cinema continued to screen films to the Bo-Kaap communities.
The manager/owner of the Alabama Cinema then handed a 14,000 strong petition opposing the demolition of the building to the Mayor’s secretary.
In spite of a court order, she (the manager) refused entry to demolition crews until she had received a formal notice from the City Council asking her to vacate the premises.
A last ditch appeal to save the Alabama Cinema was considered by the City Council’s Executive Committee, but it found that it was not feasible.
On 10th July 1984, the sheriff/clerk of the court enforced the court order immediately evicting her from the premises. This happened during a film performance, and the feature being the film “Firepower”.
After the court order was served, the film was stopped and patrons were ordered to leave before builders started stripping the roof. Reels of film and other equipment were dumped on the street and the manager was detained as a “judgement debtor”.
Unfortunately after a courageous last stand the Alabama Cinema was demolished. The above incident was widely reported in the Cape Town newspapers at the time.
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