From the news desk

CT Fez maker takes his final bow

Share this article

With little pomp and a heavy heart, 76-year-old Gosain Samsodien, Cape Town’s last traditional fez maker takes his final bow, or rather, sews his final thread, after more than two decades of service to the local and global Muslim community.


“This is my passion. I’ve been doing this for the past 25-years and if it were up to me I would continue this illustrious work but unfortunately my health is more important,” said Samsodien.


From his humble home-factory in Kensington Cape Town, Samsodien described how he was introduced to fez making.


“My late brother, Rashaad, was a fez-fundi in Jozi [sic.] and he taught me the trade”, smiled Samsodien.


Samsodien from Woodstock Cape Town, spent the better part of his youth in the building trade in Johannesburg, but it was ultimately the words of his late mother that convinced him to follow the footsteps of his predecessor Sheik Abduragiem Tape Jassiem from Bo-Kaap.


Not only did Samsodien make fezzes for the local Shuyookh (priests), schools, and Malay choirs, but he had individual customers travel as far as Bahrain, India, Malaysia and Senegal to collect their high-quality possession.


“Everyone has that their own preference but whatever they request I would make their fez as per the request and the style they prefer. There are other factories that make fezzes, but the community prefers the hand-crafted version,” explained Samsodien.


According to Samsodien, one of his most memorable moments was making a fez for Daniël Hartman Craven renowned as a South African rugby union player, administrator, academic, and author.


Samsodien is one of only a handful of artisans worldwide that keeps this 600-year-old tradition alive. Moreover, he is worried that the art will eventually die out.


“I’ve tried to encourage my children, but they have their own passions. However, I am grateful that my son has vowed to help me continue making fezzes for as long as I can, “ explained an emotional Samsodien.


Samsodien is set to move to Maccassar with his wife where he will continue making fezzes leisurely in the company of his children.



Share this article
WhatsApp WhatsApp us
Wait a sec, saving restore vars.