A group of 40 Capetonians have embarked on a unique tour of Indonesia with the aim of retracing the historical lineage of the local Cape Malay community. The group, who will be traveling under the banner of “Moulood 1437: In the Land of our Roots”, are also due to attend the world’s biggest moulood celebration on the island of Java, with more than 1.5 million people expected to grace the event.
The visit marks the first time a delegation from Cape Town has ever embarked on a roots-seeking tour to Indonesia. The group will compromise a mix of tourists, media personnel and prominent members of the ulema.
Tour organiser, Fateegh Behardien says the package, which was offered by Suburban Travel and Tours, will see tourists backtracking along the same route that their forefathers once took.
The tour starts in the capital, Jakarta, visiting an older part of the city known as Batavia. The harbour that stands in Batavia marks one of the main sites from where many Indonesians first set sail for South Africa.
“From there we will head to Banten which is about 200km west of Jakarta. This place is very interesting because it is the place where Sheikh Yusuf (of Macassar) was captured. It was also the last outpost the Dutch couldn’t capture,” he explained.
Thereafter the tour heads to Bandung, the capital of West Java. The city is where the majority of the Cape Malay community’s forefathers, who worked as tailors, originate from.
“The guests that will be travelling with us will probably be the first people in their entire family lineage that have actually set foot back on the land of their roots,” he suggested.
The group will then attend a mass moulood in the City of Cirebon, deemed the biggest such event in the world.
“The fact is that the moulood is the world’s biggest Islamic gathering after the Hajj, so it is going to be an experience,” he added.
Another highlight includes a visit to Makassar, where the delegation will conduct a thikr with the direct descendants of Sheikh Yusuf. The tour concludes with a stop on the resort island of Bali.
The group departed on the 16th December and return on the 1st January 2016. VOC’s very first presenter, Shaheeda Carlie will be part of the delegation and will give regular reports on air. VOC
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