Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

The Cape Family Research Forum

Posted by tahirfarrath on February 24, 2012


July 26, 2011


In the past two decades, the idea of ‘tracing one’s roots’ has become more of a reality for South Africans previously kept in the dark about their ancestral pasts. Histories previously glossed over or unspoken, and records formerly inaccessible are being (re)visited by South Africans of all walks of life. One way in which this renewed interest in the past – particularly the personal past – is manifested is through genealogical projects. In particular, tracing family trees has offered a concrete way for everyday people to engage with their pasts and to discover their ancestral stories.

While genealogical research is often undertaken by individuals or specific families, there are also community groups fostering this kind of research. One such group in the Western Cape is the Cape Family Research Forum (CFRF), a unique network of family and community historical researchers based on the Cape Flats that is primarily concerned with tracing ‘creole’ genealogies, particularly Cape slave ancestries.

The CFRF was established in 2002 by a group of individuals passionate about archival research, and eager to discuss their work with people facing similar challenges in the field. Almost ten years later, the CFRF is still in operation, meeting regularly and holding a place of prominence in Cape Flats heritage circles and beyond. The group consists of between ten and fifteen core members, who meet on a monthly basis to discuss the progress of the various members’ research. During these meetings they also address requests for assistance put forward to the CFRF by members of the public embarking on family research projects.  Although the group is more than happy to guide people to the relevant archival resources, it stresses that it cannot be commissioned do the actual research for individuals and families.

CFRF chairperson: Shamil Gamildien

CFRF secretary: Mogamat ‘Kammie’ Kamedien


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