(History of Muslims in South Africa)
1880 – End of importation of freed slaves
Sporadic shiploads of ex-slaves from Zanzibar continued to arrive at Port Natal until 1880. However, by the end of that year importation of slaves from Zanzibar came to an end.
1899 – Land for Zanzibari Muslims at Kings Rest
Seven Muslim merchants from Durban formed theMohammedan Trust Kings Rest . The Deed of Transfer No 337/1899 shows that the land was officially transferred on March 22, 1899. Soon, thereafter, a small wood and iron masjid was constructed on this site where the Zanzibari community had settled. A madrasah and a cemetery were also provided by the Trust to the Zanzibaris. The first known imam of the Zanzibari masjid was Mustapha Osman who came from the Comoros Islands to Durban in the late 1880s. In 1916 the Juma Masjid Trust, Durban, took control of land, property and total maintenance of the Zanzibari settlement.
At present only the masjid remains on the Zanzibari settlement in Kings Rest. The whole of the Zanzibari community have been uprooted from their first settlement in Kings Rest because the area in which they lived was proclaimed for residence of the White community by the Group Areas Act, enforced by the South African Government. The Zanzibaris were then forced to settle in Chatsworth, Durban, an area proclaimed for the residence of the Indian community.
The Kings Rest Masjid was abandoned for fourteen long years as the doors were shut and the building began to decay. All that remained at the first Zanzibari settlement was the graveyard where the Muslims went to make du’d for their deceased. Themasjid and the cemetery remains under the control of the Juma Masjid Trust [Grey Street Masjid] who pay rates and taxes for the land.
But in 1973 Haji Eghsaan Aysen [d 1992], a tailor by profession, visited the Kings Rest cemetery on`Id day and was disturbed on seeing the masjid abandoned. With the assistance of some friends, Haji Aysen renovated the masjid fully with carpets, wudu facilities, toilets, etc and served as a sincere, dedicated imam of the Kings Rest Masjid until his death.