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Cape Malays () also known as Cape Muslims or Malays, are a
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
community or
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
. They are the descendants of enslaved and free Muslims from different parts of the world who lived at the Cape during
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

Dutch
and
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...
rule. Although the initial members of the community were from the Dutch colonies of South East Asia, by the 19th century, the term ''Malay'' encompassed all practicing Muslims at the Cape, regardless of origin. They initially used
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
as a ''lingua franca'' and language of religious instruction, and this was one of the likely reasons that the community were referred to as ''Malays''. Malays are concentrated in the
Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad ; Xhosa language, Xhosa: ''iKapa;'') is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and also the legislative Capital city, capital of South Africa. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is ...

Cape Town
area. Cape Malay cuisine forms a significant part of
South African cuisine South African cuisine reflects the diverse range of culinary traditions embodied by the various communities that inhabit the country. Among the indigenous peoples of South Africa, the Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contempora ...
, and the community played an important part in the history of
Islam in South Africa Islam in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . Sout ...
. The community played a part in developing
Afrikaans Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most po ...
as a written language, initially using an Arabic script. "Malay" was legally a subcategory of the
Coloured Coloureds ( af, Kleurlinge or , ) are a multiracial people, multiracial ethnic group Indigenous peoples of Africa, native to Southern Africa who have ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoi ...
race group during Apartheid, however the delineation of Malays and the remaining defined Coloured subgroups by government officials was often imprecise and subjective.


Cultural identity

The Cape Malay identity can be considered the product of a set of histories and communities as much as it is a definition of an ethnic group. Since many Cape Malay people have found their Muslim identity to be more salient than their "Malay" ancestry, in some contexts they have been described as "Cape Malay", or "Malays" and others as ''Cape Muslim'' by people both inside and outside of the community. Cape Malay ancestry includes people from
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...

South
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
, and native
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...
groups. Later, Muslim male "Passenger Indian" migrants to the Cape married into the Cape Malay community, with their children being classified as Cape Malay.


History

The
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—u ...

Dutch East India Company
(VOC) founded and established a colony at the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
, as a resupply station for ships travelling between
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, which developed into the city of
Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad ; Xhosa language, Xhosa: ''iKapa;'') is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and also the legislative Capital city, capital of South Africa. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is ...

Cape Town
. The Dutch had also colonised the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
(present-day
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
), which formed a part of the
Dutch Empire The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( n ...
for several centuries, and
Dutch Malacca Dutch Malacca (1641–1825) was the longest period that Malacca Malacca ( ms, Melaka; ta, மலாக்கா; ; dubbed "The Historic State"; ms, "Bandar Raya Bersejarah") is a state in Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Sou ...
, which the Dutch held from 1641 to 1824. The Cape Malay community's earliest members were
enslaved Enslaved may refer to: * Slavery, the socio-economic condition of being owned and worked by and for someone else * Enslaved (band), a progressive black metal band from Haugesund, Norway * "Enslaved", a song by Mötley Crüe on their ''Greatest Hits ...
Javanese transported by the Dutch East India Company to the Cape. Key figures in the arrival of Islam were Muslim leaders who resisted the Company's rule in Southeast Asia who, like
Sheikh Yusuf Abadin Tadia Tjoessoep (1626–23 May 1699), more commonly known as Sheikh Yusuf or Sheik Joseph, was an Indonesian Muslim of noble descent. He was also known as Muhammad Yusuf al-Maqassari. In 1693 he was exiled to the Cape of Good Hope A cape i ...
, were exiled to South Africa by the company. They were followed by slaves from other parts of Asia and Africa. Although it is not possible to accurately reconstruct the origins of slaves in the Cape, it has been estimated that roughly equal proportions of Malagasies,
Indians Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
, Insulindians (Southeast Asians) and continental Africans were imported to the Cape, with other estimates showing that the majority of slaves originated in Madagascar. Although the majority of slaves from South East Asia were already Muslims, along with many Indians, those from Madagascar and elsewhere in Africa were not. There were also skilled Muslim labourers called ''Mardijkers'' from Southeast Asia who settled in the
Bo-Kaap The Bo-Kaap (“above the Cape" in Afrikaans File:WIKITONGUES- Alaric speaking Afrikaans.webm, Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser ext ...

Bo-Kaap
area of Cape Town. The slaves from Asia tended to work in semi-skilled and domestic roles, and they made up a disproportionate share of 18th century
manumission Manumission, or enfranchisement, is the act of freeing slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslav ...
s, who subsequently settled in Bo-Kaap, while those from elsewhere in Africa and Madagascar tended to work as farm-hands, and were not freed at the same rate. In the latter part of the 18th century, conversions to Islam of the rural non-Asian slaves increased due to a Dutch colonial law that encouraged owners to educate their slaves in Christianity, and following their baptism, to allow them to buy their freedom; this consequently resulted in slaveowners, fearful of losing their slaves, not enforcing Christianity amongst them. This, in turn, allowed Islamic proselytisers to convert the slaves. After the British took the Cape, and began phasing out slavery in the first half of the 19th century, the newly-freed non-Asian Muslim rural slaves moved to Cape Town, the only centre of Islamic faith in the region. The South and Southeast Asians constituted the Muslim establishment in the colony, and the newly freed slaves subsequently adopted the
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Weste ...
used by the Asians. Thus, Malay was the initial ''lingua franca'' of Muslims, though they came from East Africa, Madagascar, and India, as well as Indonesia and established the moniker "Malay" for all Muslims at the Cape irrespective of their geographic origins, and by the 19th century, the term was used to describe anyone at the Cape who was a practicing Muslim, despite Afrikaans having overtaken Malay as the group's ''lingua franca''. The community adopted Afrikaans as a ''lingua franca'' to ease communication with between the Asian and non-Asian Muslims (who had adopted the Dutch used by their masters), and because the utility of Malay and the Malayo-Portuguese language were diminished due to the British ban on slave imports in 1808, reducing the need to communicate with newcomers. The non-Asian and Asian Muslims interacted socially despite the initial linguistic differences, and gradually blended into a single community.


Culture

The founders of this community were the first to bring Islam to South Africa. The community's culture and traditions have also left an impact that is felt to this day. The Muslim community in Cape Town remains large and vibrant. It has expanded greatly beyond those exiles who started the first mosques in South Africa. People in the Cape Malay community predominantly speak
Afrikaans Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most po ...
, but frequently also English. They no longer speak the languages which their ancestors used, such as
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
although various Malay words and phrases are still employed in daily usage. Adaptations of traditional foods such as '' bredie'', ''
bobotie Bobotie (Afrikaans: ) is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced ground meat, minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. Origin of name and recipe Bobotie appears to be a variant of ''Patinam ex lacte'', a dish documented by th ...

bobotie
'', ''
sosatie Sosatie (pl sosaties) is a traditional South African dish of meat (usually lamb or mutton) cooked on skewers. The term derives from ''sate Satay ( , in USA also ), or sate in Languages in Indonesia, Indonesian and Malay language, Malay sp ...
s'' and ''
koeksister A koeksister also spelled koesister is a traditional Afrikaner confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup or honey. There is also a koe'sister, Cape Malay version of the dish, which is a fried ball of dough that is rolled in desiccated c ...
s'' are staples in many South African homes. wrote three cookbooks, including ''The Cape Malay Cookbook'', which became instrumental in preserving the cultural traditions of Cape Malay cuisine. This cultural group developed a characteristic 'Cape Malay' music. An interesting secular folk song type, of Dutch origin, is termed the ''nederlandslied''. The language and musical style of this genre reflects the history of South African slavery; it is often described and perceived as 'sad' and 'emotional' in content and context. The ''nederlandslied'' shows the influence of the Arabesque (ornamented) style of singing. This style is unique in South Africa, Africa and probably in the world. Cape Malay music has been of great interest to academics, historians, musicologists, writers and even politicians. The well-known annual Cape Town Minstrel or Carnival street festival is a deep-rooted Cape Malay cultural event; it incorporates the Cape Malay comic song or ''moppie'' (often also referred to as ''ghoema'' songs). The barrel-shaped drum, called the 'ghoema', is also closely associated with Cape Malay music.


Demographics

It is estimated that there are about 166,000 people in Cape Town who could be described as Cape Malay, and about 10,000 in
Johannesburg Johannesburg (, also ; ; Zulu language, Zulu and xh, eGoli ), informally known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa, classified as a Megacity#List of megacities, megacity, and is List of urban areas by ...

Johannesburg
. The picturesque Malay Quarter of Cape Town is found on Signal Hill, and is called the ''
Bo-Kaap The Bo-Kaap (“above the Cape" in Afrikaans File:WIKITONGUES- Alaric speaking Afrikaans.webm, Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser ext ...

Bo-Kaap
''. Many Cape Malay people also lived in
District Six District Six (Afrikaans ''Distrik Ses'') is a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. Over 60,000 of its inhabitants were History of South Africa in the Apartheid era#Forced removal, forcibly removed during the 1970s ...
before they, among many other South African people of diverse ethnicity, were forcefully removed from their homes by the apartheid government and redistributed into
townships A township is a kind of human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings g ...
on the
Cape Flats The Cape Flats ( af, Die Kaapse Vlakte) is an expansive, low-lying, flat area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad ; Xhosa language, Xhosa: ''iKapa;'') is the second-most popu ...
.


International relationship

Connections between Malaysians and South Africans took up when South Africa rejoined the international community. The latter's re-entry was welcomed by the Malaysian government and many others in the Southeast Asian region. Non-governmental organisations, such as the Federation of Malaysia Writers' Associations, have since set on linking up with the diasporic Cape Malay community. There is also an increase in the interest of the food, culture and heritage of Cape Malay descendants around the world.


References


External links


Kramat
An early religious leader's legacy remains on
Robben Island Robben Island ( af, Robbeneiland) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll ...

Robben Island
.
Official South African history site
Early context for "Cape Malay" community.

An umbrella organisation for Cape Malay singing ensembles.

A descriptive bibliographic paper examining the contested identity of "Cape Malay."

and ttps://web.archive.org/web/20070224050608/http://www.eduprop.co.za/GALLERY.htm music.br>Cape Mazaar Society
{{authority control Ethnic groups in South Africa Indonesian diaspora Malay diaspora History of the Dutch East India Company Articles containing video clips