Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Archive for the ‘8. The Zanzibarian Muslims’ Category

Zanzibarian Muslims: Natal-End of Freed Slaves (1880 – 1900)

Posted by tahirfarrath on March 18, 2010

(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.


Posted in 8. The Zanzibarian Muslims | 15 Comments »

Zanzibarian Muslims: Natal (1873 – 1879)

Posted by tahirfarrath on March 18, 2010

(History of Muslims in South Africa)

1873 – Arrival of the Zanzibaris

The British Consul-General of Zanzibar, John Kerk, suggested in a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, that a temporary arrangement could be made whereby the emancipated slaves from Zanzibar could be brought to Natal and be apprenticed to the White sugar planters. Thus, the first group of freed Zanzibaris arrived at Port Natal [later, Durban] on board H M S Briton from Zanzibar on August 04, 1873. They numbered 113, a large majority of whom were Muslims.

A year later, the H M S Kaff r landed at Port Natal with 81 more freed Zanzibaris.

According to a Government Notice No 142 of 1873 all the freed slaves were to be employed in Public Works. However, owing to intervention on the part of the White settlers, it was decided to divide them equally between Public Works and private individuals as indentured labourers.

These Zanzibaris, being Muslims, erected a wood and iron room to be used for their daily prayers. This room was constructed into a masjid proper in 1899.

1876 – Arrival of more freed slaves from Zanzibar

Another 226 freed slaves arrived at Port Natal from Zanzibar to work in the sugar plantations in Natal owned by White farmers.

Posted in 8. The Zanzibarian Muslims | 1 Comment »