Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Silat Fighting Arts

Posted by tahirfarrath on June 5, 2010

Guru besar, Toyer Farrath, demonstrating a hybrid form of Bersilat or Silat Melayu in the late 1970s. Little interest was shown for it in the Eastern Cape, and he instead continued to teach Kyokushin karate as the Branch Chief of the area and chairman of the region until the urge to impart Islamic knowledge and Qiraat grew stronger.

Sensei Toyer Farrath at the dojo

Japanese authorised Branch Chief, Toyer Farrath, was photographed with some students. From left: Farouk Jephta, Hafiz Majedie Abader and Naazim de Maar. J. Gerald and N. Hollander are slightly out of view at the back.



The Malaysian Martial Arts known as Silat was officialy demonstrated to the South African community only during the mid 1990s when the Malaysian government brought a Silat group from Melaka to show us our lost culture.

A member of the Budi Suci Sejati non-contact School.

Silat takes off in Cape Town under Hj Mukhtar. Those who trained directly under Hj Mukhtar are: Tuan M Hilmy Hartley, Nabeel and Faheem Jackson, Yusuf and Muhammad Dawood, Zahid and Zain Richards, Yazeed Waggie and Ierfaan Cassiem. M. G. Hartley is the only student to have trained in Melaka. He was the 1st teacher in Cape town. Tuan M G Hartley introduced Pukulan Melaka and was the first South African to train under Hj Mukhtar in Melaka.  Mogamat Hartly can be reached in the Cape at Tel.: 021 402 6911.

Tuan Haj Mokhtar from Melaka with his team in Cape Town

Then in the month of September and October 2009, the Indonesian Pencak Silat was promoted massively and run on a big scale. Promotions ran through 3 cities, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. According to Moegamat Gielmie Hartley (Hilmy) of Cape Town, it is believed that Pencak Silat was the first martial arts to have existed in the Cape, along with the arrival of Indonesian fighters as prisoners, among them is Syaikh Yusuf Al-Makassar in 16th century. Pentjak Silat has not flourished in the Cape and this is also the opinion of H. Muhammad Henriko, Betawians pencak silat master in Pretoria. According to him, it is not easy to develop Pencak Silat in South Africa.

The Cape Malay Corps in the 1800s

General Janssens enlisted the free Malays to serve as soldiers in 1804 in exchange for a Mosque site. Two Javaansche Artilleries were instituted; one under the command of the Mohamedaansche Veld-Priester, Frans van Bengalen; and a light Javaansche Artillerie on foot under the command of a Frenchman, J. Madlener. They were extremely well trained when they were deployed at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806 and there was agreement that the Cape Muslim Artilleries would have won the day for General Janssens had he not retreated to the Mainland. Many were injured and some killed in the battle. Mamat van de Kaap who was among the injured soldiers later became one of the Imaams of the Long Street Masjid after some community dispute. Their gallantry in battle earned them great praise and respect from their British adversaries.

As for the Battle of the Axe, Abdol Kaliel was the only survivor of the Cape Muslims band on the Eastern Frontier in 1846. Once again, a Mosque at Chiappini Street was granted. After some dispute in the community, land was acquired in Longmarket Street to construct a Masjid. (Achmat Davids: Mosques of the BoKaap)

Panglima (commander) Hilmy fires the cannon dressed in the replica Cape Malay Artillery Corps uniform

The Panglima Hilmy at the Military Tattoo 2009 event with Gloria Madienya of SANDF Medical corps. His outfit, especially the jacket resembles the Javaansche Artillery Corps that worked on canons (lantaka) and he wears the hat (toedong) with a Melayu dagger (kriss) at his side.

Yazeed Waggie (center), Faheem and Nabeel Jackson Rhode

In memory of the Cape Malay Artillery Corps

Muslim Brigade Drummers


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4 Responses to “Silat Fighting Arts”

  1. Waheed said

    is there anywhere in cape town that teaches silat?

  2. ABDULAZIZ said




  3. Deon Johnson said

    I would like to enroll my grankids in Silat classes.
    Are there any clssses offered in the greater Cape Town area?


  4. Llewellyn Abduramaan said

    Is there classes in pta,pls let me know ASAP

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