Ratiep in the Cape
Posted by tahirfarrath on March 26, 2015
(From the Jassiem family collection. The “Ratieb” in Bo Kaap done by the ‘Malay’ Maloon family in their ‘Malay’ Clothing. Original photograph given to the family by I.D Du Plessis, 1939.)
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SAHO : ‘Ratiep’ bench, Wellington 2002 :- A relatively old ‘bank’ or bench initially used by Galiefa Usman Hendricks of the Usmaniah ‘Rifaai’ Jaamah. When he passed away, his stepson, Mogamad Hendricks, and mentor Ghaliefa Mogamad Martin, retrieved the neglected bench from a backyard in Retreat and together formed the Moulanaa Riefaai Jamah in Claremont. Ghaliefa Mahdie. Ghaliefa Mogamad Hendricks eventually moved out to Wellington taking the bench with him. When he passed away in 1993 his youngest son Abdullah inherited the bench. The origins of Ratiep point to the era of Sheikh Abdul Kader of Baghdad whose simple set-up of a sword resting on a cushion was later elaborated in Indonesia to include an ornate ‘bench’ holding many sharpened swords, spikes and pins and decorated with coloured flags. Most sacred is the headboard, inscribed with a sacred prayer in Arabic that is recited by the Ghaliefa before the ritual may begin. Benches seldom survive a century in the townships due to their regular use and woodworms.
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