New documents shed light on Amazon’s controversial Africa headquarters

Louise Matsakis & Patrick Egwu – 21 October 2021

On the east side of Cape Town’s Observatory neighborhood, the Liesbeek and Black rivers converge. According to locals, the area offers one of the best views of the city’s iconic mountains and is perhaps the only spot where Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, and Table Mountain can be seen simultaneously. In the year 1510, it was approximately here that a group of Khoi successfully fought back against Portuguese forces, marking the first battle between indigenous people and Europeans in the region. The conflict is regarded by some as one of the earliest liberation and resistance struggles by indigenous communities in South Africa.

Today, the site is a construction zone and the future home of Amazon’s new Africa headquarters.

The tech giant is expected to be the anchor tenant of a controversial real estate development dubbed the River Club, which will also include housing units, public green space, and other amenities. The developer, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT), and Cape Town officials say the more than $310 million (4.6 billion rand) project will create thousands of jobs in a country beset by high unemployment, and help to promote the city as a hub for Africa’s growing technology industry….