OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE
This is the first in a series of posters that will seek to depict the cultural heritage of Cape Muslims, both to themselves and others, as a testament of the unique and winding journey they have travelled thus far. The poster is a collaboration between the Boorhaanol Movement and Muslim Views, with the former providing the content and the latter seeing to the printing and distribution.
It is often said that while we are products of our past, we should not be prisoners thereof, particularly for a community with such a rich cultural heritage. Eminent historians like Achmat Davids and Robert Shell concur that the rich cultural heritage of Cape Muslims played a pivotal role in establishing Islam’s influential footprint at the southern tip of Africa. The Bo-Kaap area was the cauldron in which many of these cultural linchpins were moulded, thus its status as the premier cultural heritage entity for Cape Muslims is beyond question.
The cosmopolitan demographic it developed which resulted from a fusion of the victims of Anglo-Dutch imperialism on the one hand, and the beneficiaries of industrial development after the abolition of slavery on the other, has clear evidence in Cape Muslim culture today.
But Bo-Kaap’s cultural heritage pre-eminence is also seriously being threatened these days by gentrification, the process of changing its character by the influx of foreign and more affluent residents. It’s a battle for the soul of the Bo-Kaap, a battle we believe every Cape Muslim should actively participate in. As our former President Nelson Mandela taught us, knowledge is your best weapon, and we hope that this poster will contribute to sharpening that weapon, Insha-Allah.