The Tana Baru Trust will mark National Heritage Day by hosting an open day at one of Cape Town’s most iconic Islamic landmarks. They will be providing free guided tours to the Tana Baru cemetery, with the hope of educating the community to its historical significance.
Situated at the top end of Longmarket Street in Bo-Kaap, the Tana Baru is considered the first registered Islamic cemetery in South Africa. It is the burial site of many of the pioneers of Islam in the Cape, including Tuan Guru and Abu Bakr Effendi, amongst others.
“These are the people who made substantial sacrifices to get us where we are today. Today there are 150 masajid in the Cape Peninsula alone,” said Tana Baru Trust chairman, Dr. Aadil Bassier.
According to Dr Bassier, the cemetery was also central to two of the local Muslim community’s biggest protests. He noted that in January 1886, two days after the Tana Baru was officially closed, nearly 3000 Muslims held a funeral procession through the streets of Cape Town, in protest of its closure.
Nearly a century later, during the heart of the Apartheid era in the 1960’s, the City of Cape Town initiated plans to build a highway across the iconic landmark. Dr Bassier said the Muslim community came out in their droves to protest what they deemed a lack of respect by the city, forcing them to abandon the plans.
The open day tour will allow the Trust to engage the community, keeping them updated on the current state of the cemetery. Tours will take place on an hourly basis, running from between 45 and 50 minutes each. The tour will stop off at 10 designated locations, for up to 5 minutes each.
Attendees will also be required to register before the tour, so that upon completion they can be issued with a special certificate on behalf of the trust.
The open day takes place on Wednesday 24th September. For more information on the day’s proceedings, or if you would like to pre-register for a tour, you may contact the Boorhanol Centre at 021 424 1864. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)