Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Archive for March, 2012

Ebrahim Rhoda’s Book on Slavery

Posted by tahirfarrath on March 20, 2012

Slavery Book Gives Rare View (Written by Webmaster)

VOC Webmaster is a consortium of writers both in-house and outsourced

From slavery to citizenship, first edition (2011) as a genuine example of Africana, was published by the author, printed by DPB Printers and Booksellers. The ISBN number is 978-0-620-51394-4. The first edition had a price tag of R60.00 and was virtually sold out. NEWS24

Ebrahim Rhoda signing his newly published book

REVIEW by Dr Francois Verster – From slavery to citizenship: a walk through the history of a Strand community by the enigmatic Mr Ebrahim Rhoda is more than a chronicle of the Strand’s yesteryear – it echoes emotions; it paints pictures, it grabs you: if not by the throat, then definitely by the heart.

The name Rhoda is basically synonymous with the Strand – the Rhodas were there when this area was known by almost forgotten names, such as Mosterd Bay, and Ebrahim is an important figure in the preservation of these memories ; to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (“dedicated to all our forbears”) and to remind the senior members of the extended family/community of why they are where they are now, but also to “… make our younger generation aware of the rich heritage of both Muslim and Christian who were the first permanent settlers of our town.”

Mr Rhoda, a former schoolmaster and avid genealogist, is well-known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Strand area and the intrinsic understanding he has of research on the subject, resultant of years of study as well as practical experience of all facets the community. If anyone is qualified to write a history of the Strand, he is the obvious candidate: well-versed in research techniques, streetwise in the sense that he knows the heartbeat of the Strand, in fact he is part of it since birth.

This is only to be expected of the founder-member of the Cape Family Research Forum and recipient of several accolades for his awareness projects, such as the award presented to him by the Western Cape Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Sport in 2009 for his contribution towards public awareness and the documentation of our heritage resources.

Therefore, to page through this book, to read his words and to view the old monochrome pictures of a time that is forever gone, but of a town that is still alive and vibrant, built on the toil and tears, exultations and achievements of many generations, is like travelling through a memory palace, with nostalgia as your companion and Mr Rhoda as the tour guide.

There is much to learn too, about personalia, about language, customs, places and names, the sporting activities – everything which created the foundation of a community that was born in slavery, a community that never really lost its identity or independence and survived both slavery and apartheid, who endured, struggled and ultimately saw total independence: the liberation of 1994.

Much of the quaint eccentricities and peculiar beauties of the past are gone now (eg: “The Rialto Cinema had been destroyed by fire in 1950s, was rebuilt and finally demolished in 2010”.), as are many of the characters which made the Strand what it was (“… Oom Adriaanse whom I remember had a very big white moustache and he wore a huge Stetson-type hat”), but Mr Rhoda expertly recreated this faded construct like a renovator would restore a classical building to its former splendour. Indeed it has been a privilege to be allowed a view of another time with other values, perspectives and expectations – to feel the spirit of those times as revealed by an actual eye witness.


Posted in vii. Literature of South African Muslims | Leave a Comment »