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Muslim youth showcases solo Cape Malay exhibition at Castle of Goodhope

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With Muslims globally preparing for the auspicious month of Ramadaan, closer to home, a handful of Cape Malay traditions is being exhibited at the Castle of Goodhope in the Cape Town CBD by Tashneem Abrahams under the title ‘The Preservation of Cape Malay Culture and Tradition’.

The display has been curated by Advocate Ighsaan Higgins under the auspices of the Muslim and Slave Heritage Museum.

Speaking to VOC News in the corridors of the Castle, Abrahams explained how the idea for the presentation was ignited.

“A couple of years ago, I went to my first moulood (celebrating birth of the Prophet Muhammed SAW) as an adult and when I asked pressing questions about our traditions and culture, very few people could answer and thus my curiosity was sparked,” explained Abrahams.

Abrahams said she wanted her work to create a passage for robust conversation that is both educational and entertaining.

“I realized that I needed to remind our community of their identity before it is lost completely,” said Abrahams.

The grand display allows the audience to explore and discover the essence of customs and rituals through all five senses.

“The Cape Malay community has played a huge role in shaping the City of Cape Town and its dark past. The City has been built on the backs of our ancestors. People of colour need to celebrate their history and learn about their ancestors and this is a great opportunity for that,” smiled Abrahams.

The three themes covered in the exhibition are:

  1. Bo-Kaap (History and Gentrification)
  2. Moulood (Ritual and Spirituality)
  3. Cape Malay Choir

“In the future I would like to focus on more themes like the blessed month of Ramadaan, the fishing community and create even more dialogue amongst the community,” said Abrahams.

“The thing with history is you’re supposed to learn lessons from it. How can we expect to grow, develop and progress if we aren’t using the past as an example,” questioned Abrahams.

The exhibition will be on display at the Cape Town Muslim & Slave Heritage Museum for the next two weeks.


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