Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Self-Empowerment: Cape & Tana Baru (1883 – 1884)

Posted by tahirfarrath on March 1, 2010

(History of Muslims in South Africa)

1883 – Public Health Act No 4 of 1883

The Public Health Act No 4 of 1883 dealt with the closure of the Muslim cemetery in Cape Town called Tana Baru.

The closure of Tana Baru was against the wishes of the Cape Muslim community. When the Act became law on January 15, 1886, the Cape Muslims did not have an alternate burial ground. Their sustained and tireless efforts in negotiations with the Cape authorities over a period of ten years were to no avail. The Cape Muslims refused to accept the burial site granted to them at the Maitland Cemetery saying that it was too far to carry their dead.

The Muslim community was totally united in their opposition to the Cape Government’s policy of closing Tana Baru. They did not recognise thePublic Health Act No 4 of 1883 as a measure in the interest of public health, especially since [they argued] their cemetery was well maintained, relatively empty and that they buried their dead six feet deep. The Muslim cemetery constituted no danger to public health – this view was supported by the evidence of Dr Ebdon, Medical Officer of Health to the Cape Municipal Cemetery Commission of 1859.

1884 – Masjied Boorhaanol Islaam, Cape Town

In 1881 Gouwida took transfer of a piece of land in Longmarket Street, Cape Town, and in 1884 she allowed the Pilgrim Congregation to establish amasjid on her property. The money for the building was provided by Hadjie Abdol Kaliel . The`Pilgrim Masjid’ was the eighth masjid to be built in Cape Town. This was the first minareted masjid in the Cape and was built consequent to the dispute which evolved round the succession to the imamatof the Jamia Masjid in Chiappini Street, Cape Town.

On September 26, 1888 Abdol Kaliel [d 1898], in his capacity as imam and trustee of the `Pilgrim Masjid’, took transfer of the property in his name. After the Second World War, the `Pilgrim Masjid’was extended and renovated. While the renovations were in progress, an application was made to change its name to Boorhaanol Islaam Masjied and the title deeds were transferred to the trustees of the masjid. This application was granted on October 31, 1949.

The first imam of the Masjied Boorhanol Islaam wasImam Abdol Kaliel from 1884 to 1898, followed byImam Sadien [Sa’ad al-Din] Jonas [1898 1911],Imam Abdol Bassier [1911-1962], Hadjie Abdur-Raghmaan Bassier [1962-?].

On April 15, 1966 the Masjied Boorhaanol Islaamwas declared a national monument in terms of the National Monument Act No 4 of 1934. This is the only masjid in Cape Town which has been declared a national monument.


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