• Thursday, 3 December 2020 / 17 Rabi‘ at-akhir 1442

First 10 Muslim tombs in Cape Town to be declared heritage site

  • Sunday, 22 November 2020

The City of Cape Town said it supports and welcomes the SA Heritage Resources Agency’s (Sahra) intention to declare the first 10 Kramats – tombs referred to as a Circle of Islam – as a National Heritage Site.

The Kramats are located in Macassar, Simon’s Town, Mowbray, Oudekraal, Signal Hill and Constantia.

“We welcome this imminent declaration. The recognition of the cultural significance of the Circle of Tombs is long overdue.

"By declaring the Circle of Tombs a National Heritage Site, we acknowledge the unique legacy associated with the history of Islam in South Africa and the struggle for religious tolerance. Cape Town is home to a diverse, unique and rich culture and every community contributes and adds to this richness.

"Our diversity should be celebrated and honoured. I’m looking forward to the Sahra’s declaration,” said mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

The 10 sites under consideration for this declaration are:

  • Sheikh Yusuf, Macassar.
  • Tuan Dea Koasa and Tuan Ismail Dea Malela, Simon’s Town.
  • Sheikh A bin Muhammad Allraqi, Mowbray.
  • Sayed Moegsien bin Alawie al Aidarus, Mowbray.
  • Sheikh Noorul Mubeen, Oudekraal.
  • Sheikh Mohamed Hassen GhailbieShah, Signal Hill.
  • Tuan Kaape-ti-low, Signal Hill.
  • Abdurahman Matebe Shah, Constantia.
  • Sayed Mahmud, Constantia.
  • Sheikh Abdul Mutalib, Constantia Forest.

Once declared a National Heritage Site, the Circle of Tombs will be protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act – meaning no person may destroy, damage, deface, excavate, alter, remove from its original position, subdivide or change the planning status of any National Heritage Site without a permit from the Sahra.

The Circle of Islam, or Circle of Tombs is formed by the shrines of Islamic Saints, the tombs of the Auliyah (Friends of Allah) and some of SA's most influential spiritual leaders.

The Kramats represent the advent of Islam to southern Africa.