As South Africa celebrated a historically different Heritage Day in 2020, the Muslim community in the Western Cape is being urged to add their voice to calls for the Cape Town Kramats to be declared National Heritage Sites. It comes after the Cape Mazaar Society and Vidamemoria heritage agency initiated the nomination of the ‘Circle of Tombs’ in 2019, to have the gravesites of those who founded Islam in the country officially recognized. Chairperson of the Cape Mazaar Society, Mahmoud Limbada explained that the first phase involved ten kramats at a time, with a total of 38 having been identified.
These kramats not only represent a spirituality within the Cape but are also a testament to the influential role the auliyah (friends of Allah) played during apartheid and the liberation struggle. The aim is hereby to acknowledge their contribution to democracy, honour their memory and leave it as an example for future generations.
“As a community its important because they are the roots of our history. We know that any society, or people, that don’t know their history, they have no future. (Our) forefathers came here as political prisoners (and) they maintained the value of Islam. We are a vibrant Muslim community, alhamdulilah. It is only right that we protect their shrines, their memory and their legacy,” said President of Cape Mazaar Society and Imam at Masjidul Quds in Gatesville, Sheikh Abduragmaan Alexander.
The first of the nominated sites are as follows:
Sheikh Yusuf Kramat, Faure
Sayed Mahmud, Summit Road Constantia
Sheikh Abdul Mutalib, Constantia Forest
Sheikh Abdurahman Matebe Shah, Constantia
Tuan Dea Koasa, Simonstown
Tuan Ismail Dea Malela, Simonstown
Sheikh M Hassen Ghaibie Shah, Signal Hill
Tuan Kaape-ti-low, Signal Hill
Sayed Moegsien bin Alawieal Aidarus, Mowbray
Sheikh A ibn Muhammad AlIraqi, Mowbray
Sheikh Noorul Mubeen, Oudekraal
“The circle of the shrines of the auliyah is very significant in that these shrines are symbols of what our forefathers stood for; symbols of resistance against injustice and oppression over the years. Alhamdulilah, we are proud to be the decedents with blood of warriors running inside us,” said Shaykh Alexander.
The comments will be received by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), who will then decide on the declaration. The public comments form can be obtained on the website: www.vidamemoria.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We appeal to the community to take part in the 60 day campaign because this is one again manifesting our existence and where we come from, where we are at the present moment and where we are going as a community who originated from Malay, Indonesia, Java,” said Shaykh Alexander.
“Let us stay this vibrant community and grow in positivity and strength In Sha Allah,” he added.
The deadline for submissions is 15 December 2020.