The Malay Archipelago
Posted by tahirfarrath on August 2, 2009
The history of South Africa can be mapped out into three distinct eras:
Colonialism (1652 – 1961),
Apartheid (1961 – 1994), and
Democracy (1994 – current).
I would like to look at how it all began for South African Malays. Why am I called a Malay? “I am what I am”, but what are the factors that influenced “the way I am”? Am I from Malaya or Malaysia?
Is it true that my ancestors were taken from some distant place whose inhabitants were Malays or were they Indonesians? But where exactly was that?
MALAYA used as a noun or an adjective is very rare. Malaya means the States of Malaya (also known as Peninsular Malaysia). In the Filipino (Tagalog) language of the Phillipines, a girl named Malaya, means – free or freedom. So, the closest I got was the Malay archipelago…
The Malay Archipelago is the largest group of islands in the world, located off the Southeastern coast of Asia between the Indian and Pacific oceans and Australia. It consists of the more than 13,000 islands of Indonesia and some 7,000 islands of the Philippines. The archipelago, formerly called the East Indies, extends along the Equator for more than 6,100 km. (http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9371061)
Alltogether, the archipelago’s area is more than 2 million km² to include other territories, such as Singapore, Brunei, the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah along with the Federal Territory of Labuan, East Timor, and most of Papua New Guinea. The Malay Archipelago encompasses many groups which may be considered archipelagoes in their own right, such as the Sunda Islands, which are known as the Greater and Lesser Sunda Islands. In addition to the Philippines, there is also the Maluku Islands, otherwise known as the Moluccan or Spice Islands. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malay_Archipela