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Sunday, December 14, 2014


Cape Town is a strategic port for trading, stop-over and replenishment at the southern tip of the African continent. Amongst the early maritime power, the Dutch was in control of that region.  The Boers, of Dutch descendants had to fight against British intrusion and thus the Boer Wars.

(Orang2 Melayu di Afrika Selatan adalah keturunan Melayu jati yang telah berada disana beberapa lamanya. Dikanan ialah pemuda2nya sedang ziarah dimaqam seorang imam yang berasal dari Makassar dan dikiri ialah perempuan2 Melayu sedang berkain cantik menyambut Hari Raya) - MALAYA, 1920.

Apart from the maqam of a famous imam there is a memorial erected by one Hajee Sulaiman in 1925 that of Sheikh Yusuf (1626-1699), a martyr and hero of Bantam.  

The early Malay migrants (Cape Malays as they are now called) to Cape Town were brought mainly from Indonesia as soldiers, sailors or labourers by the Dutch. Those under banishment were sent there too.

The British colonised South Africa after the Boer Wars. More Indians were brought in as soldiers, workers, traders. Trouble makers from other parts of their commonwealth were banished there. 

Ahmad Deedat, the famous Muslim preacher was a mixture of Indian extraction (with Malay?). An Imam I met at Toronto has darker complexion than Deedat said that his mother's side is Indonesian.

Elsewhere in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (new name when Zanzibar joined with Tangayika) there are mixtures of Indian, Arab and perhaps Malay people. The Sultan of Oman who thrived on slave trade ruled Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania for a long time. Later Tangayika became a British colony.

My connection with South Africa was almost a tragic one. In May 1996 before attending a conference at Sun City I was in downtown Johannesburg. There I was mugged at knife point and death flashed my mind. I shouted "Allah hu Akbar". At that instant the muggers about 8 of them that were ransacking me released and threw me on the street. I ran on the street shouting Allah hu Akbar all the time at the top of my voice, waived a taxi and got back to the bus station where I spent the night.

  • Du Plessis, Izaak David. 1972. Cape Malays. Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa. Cape Town 7:145-50
  • ____ and Luckhoff CA. 1953. The Malay Quarters and its People. Cape Town
  • Mayson JS. 1861. The Malays of Cape Town. Manchester
  • Nor Aziah Sharif. 1992. Cara hidup wanita Melayu Afrika Selatan. Berita Harian, 11 Jun 1992
  • Ridd, Rosemary E. (?). Muslim of South Africa. In Weakes RV (ed) Contribution to Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey. Greenwood Press, USA
  • Shell RCH. 1974. The establishment and spread of Islam at the Cape from the beginning of Company rule to 1838. BA (Hons) academic exercise, Univ Cape Town

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