Cuff, Cupido, Damons, Frans, Gelderblom, Hendricks, James, Jantjes, Karelse, King, Matfield, Meyer, Michael, Muller, October, Pieterze, Plaatjes, Riley, Sheard, Swart, Tobias, Van Brissies, Wiggett.
The Minister in charge in this Parish for many of these the years The Revd Thomas Sheard was born in London, in 1824 and was the son of Francis Sheard and his wife, Sarah Wilson Sheard. He married Mary Sarah[maiden surname unknown]who died in 1864.
The Revd. Sheard was ordained as a Deacon in St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town on 24 December 1854, and Priest in St. Saviour's Church, Claremont on 7 June 1857, by the Metropolitan Bishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Robert Gray. He was also a Schoolmaster at Rondebosch in the Cape Colony.
In 1857 he became the Rector in Mossel Bay. Thomas died at "The Parsonage" in Mossel Bay, on 19 November 1871, aged 47 years.
"Usually very gentle and rather reserved, his vehement indignation was roused by anything that he considered a dishonour or slight cast on his Master. … But it was by quiet, patient work and a consistent life that he won the respect and affection of his parishioners."
"Care, time, good common sense, which he possessed in an uncommon degree, were all devoted to those over whom God had placed him. Owing to the gradual growth of the malady which at last brought him to death, his public ministrations were for many months carried on in 'weariness and painfulness;' but neither pain nor weariness could keep him from his work, as long as he could stand or speak …"
His son Robert Sheard who was born in Mossel Bay on 11 November 1849 was also an ordained Minister.
Source + Acknowledgements
(The Church News). [Bishopscourt Archives, Letters of Orders, 1848-1985; Licences to Clergy, 1848-1963, p. 2. The Cape Argus, 17 October 1871, p. 3, col. 5; 28 November 1871, p. 2, col. 5. Death Notice, Cape Archives MOOC 6/9/137, number 7686. The Church News, no. 52 (1 January 1872), p. 6. CF Pascoe, Two Hundred Years of the S.P.G. (1901), p. 893. T Gutsche, The Bishop's Lady (1970), p. 147. RR Langham-Carter, "The Early British Families of Worcester", in Familia, XXIX (1992), no. 1, p. 7.]
Messengers, Watchmen and Stewards by Andries William De Villiers.
Rev. Tiyo Soga, the first of the African race in South Africa to become an ordained minister of the Gospel, was born in 1829, at Gwali, a station of the Glasgow Missionary Society in the Chumie Valley, Cape Province.
His father was one of the chief councillors of Gaika. A polygamist and husband of eight wives and a father of thirty-nine children, and personally a remarkable man. Tiyo’s mother was the principle wife of Soga, and Tiyo was her seventh child. Soga was killed in the war of 1878. His wife became a Christian, and young Tiyo began to attend school in the village, taught by his elder brother Festire. From the village school he was sent to Mr.. William Chalmers who discovered that Tiyo was a bright boy.
In 1844 the United Presbyterian Mission sent him to Lovedale. At Lovedale he slowly but surely crept to the head of all his classes. About 1846 he went to Scotland with Mr. Govan, and continued his studies at Inchinnan, and afterwards at the Glasgow Free Church Normal Seminary. He returned to Africa with the Rev. George Brown. Became an evangelist at Keiskama and at Amatole,. and later returned to Scotland with Mr. Niven about 1850. He entered the Glasgow University in 1851, and in 1852 he began to attend the Theological Hall of the United Presbyterian Church at Edinburgh. He completed his course in 1856, and on leaving, his, fellow-students presented him with a valuable testimonial in books, as a mark of universal respect and esteem. Having passed the final examinations, he was licensed at the end of that year by the United Presbyterian Presbytery of Glasgow to preach the Gospel. The following year he married Miss Janet Burnside in Glasgow.
This lady stood faithfully by her hunband’s side through all the difficulties of his life. The late Rev. Tiyo Soga was the father otf four sons and three daughters. His sons are well known in South Africa. They are Dr. John William Soga, M.D., C.M., Glasgow University, and Mr. Allen Soga, also at Glasgow University, who at one time acted as Assistant Magistrate at St. Marks. The Youngest son, Mr. J. F. Soga, is a M.R.C.V.S. of Dick College, Edinburgh. Tiyo Soga’s eldest daughter died in 1880. The second is engaged in mission work in the Cape Province. The youngest is a music teacher in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Rev. Tiyo Soga returned to South Africa in the year 1857 and proceeded to Peelton, in the district of Kingwilliamstown, a station of the London Missionary Society. Later he moved to Emgwali, where, along with the Rev. R. Johnson, who had been a class-fellow in Edinburgh, he set about reorganising the good work that was broken by the wars of the previous years. Rev. Soga succeeded in converting a very large number of his countrymen. Then came the task of building a church. To do this he visited a number of larger towns to collect funds. He had already preached to many European congregations with great acceptance. In 1860 lie received and accepted an invitation to an audience by H.R.H. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh who was in Cape-town at the time. Rev. Soga travelled extensively in the Cape Province and his work grew wonderfully, but in 1866 he had to cease work for a time on account of ill-health. During his illness he completed his translation of the Pilgrim’s Progress into Xosa. He also composed a number of hymns of great merit, including the famous Lizalis’ idinga lako (Fulfil Thy promise, 0 Lord).
He gradually became worse until he could move about only with the greatest difficulty. In 1868 he rendered most valuable service as one of the Board formed for revising the Xosa Bible, which was translated by the Rev. W. Appleyard. In 1867 the Rev. Tiyo Soga moved from Emgwali to Somerville at the request of the late Chief Kreli and continued there in spite of all difficulties to preach, organise and translate. In 1871 a change for the worse came about as a result of getting thoroughly wet while visiting Chief Mapasa on mission work. He died on the 12th August in the arms of his friend, the Rev. Richard Ross, at the age of 42.
The Rev. Tiyo Soga was neither an enthusiast, a fanatic nor a bigot. He was a true Christian, a thorough gentleman, who died in the service of his Master.
From the many articles that appeared in the Press at the death of the Rev. Tiyo Soga, we can only insert the following two:
“This gentleman-for in the true meaning of the word he was, to all intents and purposes, a perfect gentleman-was a pure-born Kaffir. His father was, and still is, a councillor of Sandile’s tribe, and an avowed heathen, in point of fact, a “Red Kaffir.” His son, however, as a youth, was sent to the Missionary Institution at Lovedale, and there distinguished himself so much by his keen intelligence and his ready aptitude for learning, that he was sent home to Glasgow to prosecute and complete his studies at the University of that place. He went through the full curriculum required in Scotland from candidates for the ministry, and in due time was licensed and ordained as a minister-missionary of the United Presbyterian Church. As a preacher, he was eloquent in speech and keen in thought, and talked with a Scottish accent, as strong as if he had been born on the banks of the Clyde, instead of those of the Chumie. He took a deep interest in everything calculated to advance the civilisation of his countrymen, and did so with a breadth of view and warmth of sympathy, in which mere sectarianism had no part. Among his accomplished works we may mention his translation of the Pilgrim’s Progress into Kaffir, which so high an authority as Mr. Charles Brownlee pronounces to be a perfect masterpiece of easy idiomatic writing. His services as one of the Board of Revisers of the translation of the Bible into Kaffir have been invaluable, and will now be seriously missed. In general conversation and discussion on ordinary topics he was one of the most intelligent and best informed men we ever knew; and many an hour have we spent with him, in which one utterly forgot his nationality ar his colour.”–The Cape Argus.
” The Kaffir youth who six years before left the shores of South Africa, little removed above his Christianised countrymen, having just as much knowledge as fitted him with efficiency to conduct a station school, and just as much power over the English language as enabled him to be a tolerable interpreter to the preacher yet ignorant of the Kaffir language, now returns to his native shores and people, thoroughly educated; an ordained minister of the Gospel, an accredited missionary of the Cross, and with a knowledge of and mastery over the English language which has often surprised those best capable of judging. A wonderful transformation has been wrought during these few years. In him there comes a new power into the Colony and Kaffirland, if the Colony and Kaffirland only recognise and receive it. The mental grasp and the moral capability of the Kaffir race are demonstrated in him. Men cannot despise the Kaffir race as they contemplate him. Without race-pattern or precedent, the first of his people, often strangely alone, surrounded and pressed upon by peculiar difficulties, he has manfully and successfully wrought his way up to the comparatively high level of educated English Christian life-the conquered has become the conqueror.”
” And how was the Rev. Tiyo Soga received when he returned to his native shores and people? Perhaps it was to be expected that in the Colony there should be manifested a great amount of caution and reserve, and that not a little suspicion should be entertained regarding him. Perhaps, too, it was only natural that, with some, special enmity should be aroused, and words of strong indignation used. We can excuse those men and women now who said we had made him specially to order in Scotland, and that he was the finest specimen ever imported of home educational cramming. This was a new thing under the South African sun. The thieving Kaffir, the marauding Kaffir, the irreclaimable Kaffir, a University-educated missionary of the Cross. This was too good to be true. At least men would wait and see. It was a mere experiment, and time alone could tell how it would succeed. Few went to the length of foretelling the time, near at hand, when he would have reverted to the red clay and blanket and all the heathen ways of his people.
” But while there was much of this’ reserve and caution everywhere, and not a little such doubt and suspicion, he was received by all missionaries and by all ministers of the Gospel-with one or two painful exceptions-with open arms and with most joyous hearts. From one end of the Eastern Province to the other there were only a few so-called professing Christians-miserable specimens surely of the disciples of the Nazarene-who did what they could, by indignant word and threat, to keep him out of the pulpits of the churches to which they belonged, and who absented themselves from divine service, because, despite them, he should conduct it.
” To the fine sensitive disposition of Tiyo Soga, to his generous manly nature, all such manifestations were very galling, and very difficult to bear. He had strength of mind and he had charity and forebearance enough to rise above them, and wisdom to make of them new incentives to his life-work.”
The colonists, generally, soon came to know him. He was watched with lynx-eyes everywhere on the frontier. Whenever lie preached or lectured, or addressed, such criticising crowds flocked to hear him as was the experience of no other South African missionary of his day. Nobly he stood this public test. He came out of the fire, in public estimation, purer and stronger than ever before.”-The Journal.
A large number of beauty contests have been held in South Africa since 1910. The most important being those in which the winners are entered in overseas contests.
In 1910, a beauty pageant was held in Cape Town to celebrate the newly formed Union of South Africa. Each province sent a representative that was picked by a prominent man in her region.
The first national beauty contest was organised by the magazine Stage Cinema in 1918. Three women were chosen to star in films based on Rider Haggard's books.
Edna JOYCE was chosen to play the Queen of Sheba in King Solomon's Mines. Mabel MAY and Elise HAMILTON were chosen to play twin sisters in Allan Quatermain.
Many contests held after World War I were mainly fund-raising efforts, often for the Governor-General's fund. In 1925 Mavis ALEXANDER won the Cape Argus Queen of the Gala competition.
The first woman to carry the Miss South Africa title, unofficially, was Winnie COMYNS of Cape Town, who won a national contest organised by the South African Lady's Pictorial in 1926. Blanca Borckenhagen was Queen of the Orange Free State; Ethel Jagger, Queen of the Cape, Gyn Hathorn, Queen of Natal, and Blanca van der Hoven, Queen of the Transvaal.
In 1927, the Cape Town city council banned beauty contest as they felt that they are undignified and not for the good of the city.
In 1930 Molly LAMONT, a dancing teacher from Scottburgh, won the Outspan Film Candidate competition. Her prize was a holiday in England and a film test at Elstree Studios. She went on to act in more than 50 films in England and the USA.
In 1938, the Sunday Express held a Marlene Dietrich look-alike national contest, which was won by Thelma Fairlie of Kensington, Johannesburg. In 1963, Thelma met Marlene Dietrich during her visit to South Africa.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, there were many Wool Queen contests across the country. Local winners went on to regional and provincial contests, from which one girl would become the overall winner. However, the final stage was never reached. Doreen O'Neill was Midlands Wool Queen in 1939, but only four more regional queens were chosen and when World War II broke out, the contest was abandoned.
After the war, the Wool Board partnered with Photo News magazine and Metro Goldwyn Meyer Films to create a national Meet the Stars contest. The winner was to be known as Miss South Africa 1948. Forty-nine finalists spent a week in Johannesburg. General SMUTS, then Prime Minister, crowned Avelyn MACASKILL of Bloemfontein as winner at the Johannesburg City Hall. Her prize included a trip to Hollywood as the guest of MGM, visits to New York, Holland, London, Paris and Canada, and a diamond ring.
A few days before Avelyn's crowning, Stage & Cinema ran a readers' contest which gave the winner an entry in Universal International's Hollywood Beauty Contest. June FULTON of Durban won. Her prize included a six-month film contract and being photographed with film stars.
In 1944 Avelyn MaCASKILL won a beauty pageant. In 1949, Wynona CHEYNEY won a beauty pageant and reigned from 1949 to 1951.
Before the 1950s, most of the larger contests were organised by magazines such as Stage & Cinema, South Africa Pictorial and Outspan, or by newspapers, often in partnership with African Consolidated Theatres. Women submitted a photo and from these photos finalists would be chosen and published. The readers would vote for their favourite.
Beauty contests were racially segretated until the late 1970s. In the 1950s, Drum magazine, aimed at black readers, started running model and beauty contests. Later on a Miss Black South Africa pageant was held. Other popular contests were organised by the Ellerines furniture chain, and football associations.
In 1952, Outspan magazine and African Consolidated Theatres started a contest to find an entrant for the first Miss Universe pageant that year. Catherine HIGGINS, a short-hand typist from Johannesburg, wanted to become an actress. She entered the contest and won, taking her to Long Beach, California, where she was placed 7th and voted by the other contestants as Miss Friendly Spirit.
In 1956, Piet BEUKES, editor of Die Landstem, obtained the right to send a South African representative to the Miss World pageant in London. In 1960, the Miss Universe pageant in Miami Beach, Florida, and the Miss International Beauty pageant in Long Beach, California, also gave Die Landstem the right to enter a South African representative. Die Landstem, in partnership with the Sunday Times, arranged the contests for the Miss World entrant. The Sunday Express was in the partnership to choose the entrant for Miss Universe.
Beauty competitions were held in Margate where Miss Hibiscus was chosen and entered in the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss Hibiscus organisers re-named their title to Miss Protea in 1968.
The first official Miss South Africa contest was held in 1956. This was after the Afrikaans newspaper, Die Landstem, acquired the rights to enter someone in the Miss World pageant in London. Together with the Sunday Times, a South African English newspaper, they organised the first official Miss South Africa contest. It wasn't a pageant yet as entrants only sent in their photos and the newspaper readers voted for their favourites. The finalists' photos were again published and readers selected Miss South Africa. There was no crowning ceremony.
In 1964 and 1965, the selection system changed. The finalists and the winner were selected by the newspapers' editorial staff. In 1966 and 1967 the finalists were still selected by the newspapers, but the winners were selected by the readers.
In 1968, Die Landstem closed down and the Sunday Times took over the contest, bringing in another Afrikaans newspaper, Dagbreek. The selection process in 1968 still saw the finalists selected from photos but the winner was selected by a panel of celebrity judges meeting in Johannesburg.
The selection process changed again in 1970. Regional pageants were held and the regional winners appeared before celebrity judges in Johannesburg. The winner and runner-up were announced at a cocktail party in Johannesburg, after being announced in the newspapers. In 1972, the Miss South Africa contest became a pageant and Stephanie REINECKE was crowned in front of a live audience in the Johannesburg City Hall.
Regional pageants were not held in 1975. The finalists were selected after nationwide auditions. This system remained in place until 1994.
In 1978, the Miss South Africa pageant was opened to all races.
In 1994, Doreen MORRIS, a former M-Net presenter, went into partnership with Sun International to run the Miss South Africa pageant, after Rapport and the Sunday Times withdrew due to political interference from the ANC's Youth League. Sun International took full ownership of the pageant in 2000.
Beauty pageants, especially Miss South Africa, crown came with many opportunities and most of the winners made good use of them. After their reigns, many beauty queens launched busy careers, while others found domestic life pleasing. Here we take a look at what happened to some of them.
In October 1925, a Cape Town newspaper, the Argus, sponsored a beauty contest. Close to 800 contestants entered by sending in their photos which went on public display. On the 14 November the winner was crowned in the Tivoli Theatre in Cape Town.
Mavis ALEXANDER, a school teacher from Montagu won. Her prizes included a cheque for 25 guineas, theatre seats, a camera, a hat, a dress, silk stockings, shoes, an umbrella, lunch for six people for a week, a perm, a one-seater sofa, a watch, dance lessons, and a photo frame for her winning photo. She was also driven around Cape Town in the car which the Prince of Wales had used in Cape Town shortly before the contest.
Mavis later moved to the Strand, where her mother lived. She went back to teaching and spent 26 years teaching at Somerset West Primary. After her mother's death in 1950, she married a life-long friend, Bertie MITTEN. A few years later Bertie passed away. Mavis became involved in charity work and the Methodist church in Strand. In her will she left money to the Rotarary Club. In 1994, the Rotary Anns of the Strand, erected a clock in Beach Road in her memory. A bronze plate has the following inscription: "Tyd vir vrede, time for peace, Ixesha Ngo Xola. A gift to the community from Strand Rotary Anns. In memory of Mavis Mitton. 1994
After her reign, Avelyn went to London where she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for two years. When she returned to Bloemfontein, she married businessman Jannie WESSELS and they had three children. After Jannie's death, she married Ronnie VAN REENEN. They moved to Cape Town in 1983, where they were involved with the Capab Opera Chorus and the Philharmonic Choir. In 1994, they bought an apartment in Spain 's Costa del Sol, and divide their time between Cape Town and Spain. Avelyn enjoys working in her gardens and painting in oils.
Winifred (Winnie) Nora Mary Florence COMYNS married Egmar WESEMANN, but was divorced in 1951.
After returning from her prize trip to California, June met Antony BURTON from London. They got married and had two daughters. The family lived in Portugal for 11 years, where June ran a modelling school. They moved to England, where June died of cancer in 1990. June had acting roles in The Gal Who Took the West (1949) as a dance hall girl, and in Yes Sir That's My Baby (1949) as Mrs. Koslowski.
Catherine Edwina Higgins
Catherine became a successful model in South Africa. She was known for her diamond smile, as she had a diamond embedded in one of her front teeth. She was the daughter of James Arthur HIGGINS and Christopholina Edina VAN RENSBURG (MHG reference 10845/71, her father's death notice). She had an aunt and uncle, Mr and Mrs F.C. TOWNSEND who lived at 86 Moore Street, East London, in 1952. This was her mother's sister. Catherine's uncle on her mother's side, Freddie VAN RENSBURG, was a national professional snooker and billiards champion. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 88.
Now Ingrid DE HAAST, she is a successful glass artist in Somerset West, after starting out as a potter more than 20 years ago. She attended classes in Corning, USA, as well as in Oregon. The former Miss South Africa 1953 also had a role in a Hollywood film. Ingrid was crowned in Johannesburg in May 1953. Her runner-up was Una DE BEER (Miss East London). Ingrid was Miss Salisbury, and was born in East London.
Penny Anne Coelen
Penelope Anne was born in Shepperton, Middlesex, on April 15, 1939, she lived in the Cape, in Witbank, Pretoria, Swaziland, Benoni and Estcourt before the family finally settled in Durban. When she won Miss World in 1958, it was the 8th Miss World pageant and had 22 contestants. Penny was an 18-year-old secretary. After her reign, she tried acting in Hollywood with James GARNER's help, but failed her screen test. After returning to South Africa, she married her first love, Michael REY, whom she met when she was 16. Michael was a suger-cane farmer at Umhlali, outside Durban.
They had five sons – Michael, Jean-Paul, Dominic, Nicholas and Christopher. Penny ran a beauty salon and gave lectures. She used to do promotional work, marketing and sales for American Airlines. In 1991, the ATKV awarded her a Vrou vir Vroue award for her involvement in charity and environmental work. Penny has her own clothing range, and endorsed beauty products. Her hobbies include gardening, painting, and learning languages.
In November 1974, Helen Morgan, Miss UK, was crowned Miss World. Four days later, it was discovered that she was an unmarried mother and the title was passed on to the runner-up, Anneline KRIEL (19). She was born in Witbank on 28 July 1955 to Johannes (Hannes) and Marie. Her father passed away in Pretoria in November 1997. Anneline's siblings are Renette and Ernst. Renette was married to Graham McKENZIE, an Australian cricketer.
Anneline was Joolkoningin at Tukkies. She was Miss Northern Transvaal when she won Miss South Africa. After her Miss World reign she appeared in films (she studied drama at the University of Pretoria), including Someone Like You (1978), alongside Hans STRYDOM; Kill and Kill Again (1981), alongside James RYAN, Bill FLYNN and Ken GAMPU; and Reason to Die, alongside Arnold VOSLOO. She also had a role in the TV series, Ballade van 'n Enkeling. In 1986 she acted in the play, The Marriage Go Round.
In 1976, a scandal erupted when her naked pictures appeared in the Sunday Times. Ray HILLIGEN, a bodybuilder, had taken them while Anneline was sunbathing next to his pool.
Anneline also tried her hand at singing, releasing a record, He took off my romeos, in 1981. At the age of 39, she posed for Playboy magazine, draped in the new South African flag.
When she won Miss World she was dating fellow student Jacques MALAN but the relationship did not stand the strain. A relationship with Richard LORING, the singer, followed. He recorded a song for her, called Sweet Anneline. Another short relationship followed with the wealthy Italian baron and industrialist, Rudolf PARISI. In 1979 she dated Henk PISTORIUS of Johannesburg for awhile. Anneline married three times – first to Sol KERZNER, hotel magnate, in 1980 in the Randburg magistrate's office (they divorced in 1985). On 10 October 1989 she married Philip TUCKER, a show jumper, but they divorced in 1993. They had two children, Tayla and Whitney. On 29 March 1996, she married current husband, Peter BACON (Sun International executive). They live in Cape Town where she is involved with charities such as Child Welfare and the Cancer and Heart Foundations. Her business interests include marketing her clothing range her beauty products and perfumes.
Margaret, born in Woodstock, was 15 when she was discoverd as a model by the then Rapport photographer Bernard JORDAAN. In 1978 she was crowned as Miss RSA. Later that year she won the Miss Universe pageant in Acapulco, Mexico, becoming the first African winner, and the only South African winner to date. Her mother, Dawn, lives in Table View. Her father passed away in 2000. Her sister, Sandy BRONKHORST, lives in Klerksdorp. Sandy was a finalist in the 1976 Miss South Africa pageant.
Margaret married André NEL, son of Kay, in Cape Town on 14 February 1987 at St. George's Cathedral. He is a medical researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles, where the couple have lived since 1989.
Margaret has faced some serious health issues. She had TB as a child. In 1993 she was close to death after suffering an ectopic pregnancy. In January 1995 she gave birth to Brandon. He was christened at St. George's Cathedral in 1996. Margaret had breast cancer in 1998.
She has a degree in psychology from Charleston College in South Carolina. In the early 1990s she took small roles in a TV series, a film and in theatre plays. In 1994 she published a book for aspiring beauty queens, Die wenpad vir modelle en skoonheidskoninginne, published by Human & Rousseau.
She is now a freelance journalist and TV reporter, and a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Margaret often reports for the SABC show, Top Billing. Her articles regularly appear in the You, Huisgenoot and TVPlus magazines.
Later changed her surname to FOSTER and went on to make TV documentaries.
Mitsianna (Mitzi) died in a car accident while driving her sports car in Victory Park, Johannesburg, on 18 June 1973. She was married to David Johannes FOURIE at the time (her death notice: MHG 6664/73).
She died at her home in Sandton in 1992.
Monica became a radio presenter in Durban.
Her father served in the South African Air Force. Her parents retired to Hermanus where they had a restaurant.
She married Bobby VERWEY, the pro golfer.
She was Miss Africa South 1973 and placed in the final 15. In 1976, she entered Miss RSA and came second. Afterwards she went to live in Greece and met Israeli-born Naaman SKOLNIK, a businessman. She converted to Judaism and was married in Israel. They live in Hertzelia Pituach, where Ellen is an Orthodox Jew. (see picture)
It's not everyone that hits the headlines thirty years after their moment of glory, but in the case of former Miss South Africa, Kazeka Somhlahlo (nee Ntantala) this is exactly what happened. BARBARA HOLLANDS recently caught up with her. Kazeka, of Idutywa then but now living in Amalinda, won the Miss South Africa 1970 pageant in Umtata, which was under the auspices of the South African Non-White Cultural Syndicate. Tandiswa BAM of Umtata was second. Kazeka's prize included cosmetics from Elida Gibbs, a bedroom suite, a radio display cabinet and clothing vouchers. The main prize of a trip to the USA was cancelled because the organisers ran out of money. She was a teacher in Idutywa. She endorsed Karoo Cream in magazines. In 1972 she was in a car crash near Willowvale, which left her with facial scars. Kazeka ended up marrying the social worker who was driving that night and they had two children. After marriage she taught in Alice and later worked for an insurance company before joining Zingisa Educational Project where she is still a regional co-ordinator.
In 1977, Liz was the first non-white contestant to place in the Miss South Africa pageant.
Ellen was until recently the wife of Jannie Engelbrecht , former Springbok rugby player and owner of Rust en Vrede. She was Miss Matieland 1962. In 1963 she got engaged to Jannie in Sea Point and they went on to have three children – Jean, Angeline and Judy (married to GRAAFF). They met during her student days at the University of Stellenbosch. Ellen left her studies in 1963 shortly before her wedding, to represent South Africa at the Miss Universe pageant in Miami. Ellen was Miss South West Africa, which made her an automatic finalist in the Miss South Africa contest. The Engelbrecht family was broken up recently when Jannie divorced Ellen, and a court case followed whch involved the farm Rust en Vrede.
Vera married the All Black rugby player, Alan SUTHERLAND. They have a horse stud farm, Somerset, near Mooi River. She has a rose named after her.
Wilma van der Bijl
She was a qualified pharmacist when she won the crown. She married the Greek businessman, Ari TAPANLIS, owner of a toy company. In 1995 Wilma's first child passed away two days after being born.
She married Walter WARD, a doctor, and had a stormy marriage.
Karin married show jumper Errol WUCHERPFENNIG.
She married Willie JOUBERT and they owned a nature reserve near Warmbaths for a while. Her sister, Olivia, was runner-up in Miss South Africa 1990.
Leanne married an Australian cricketer, Mike HAYSMAN.
She converted to Judaism in 1991 before marrying businessman Geoffrey RUBENSTEIN.
She owns a modelling agency in Edenvale. She is the only Miss South Africa to represent another country in the Miss World contest. In 1989, she won the Miss Germany contest as she was of German origin and still had a German passport. In 2002 she was engaged to the Springbok rugby player, James DALTON. Tat same year, a rose was named after her at the Bloemfontein Rose Show.
She married businessman Richard BARKHUIZEN and lived in Knysna.
She has a son and lives in Johannesburg.
Her grandmother was Thelma Fairlie, who was also a beauty queen. Older sister Janine BOTBYL won Miss South Africa 1988, and her sister Leanne was a finalist in 1982. Diana had a role in the horror film Howling IV and the action adventure Captive Rage. While doing a documentary in the Okavango, Diana met Chris Kruger. They were married at the Momba camp. They live in Maun in their safari business.
She has a son and lives in Cape Town. Some of her business ventures included edible underwear and marketing condoms.
Suzette Van der Merwe
She was married to Greg VOGT, but later divorced.
Amy was the first Coloured woman to wear the Miss South Africa crown. Amy married a New Zealander, businessman Leighton CURD. The couple have a son, Thomas. She is involved in educational ventures.
Jacqui was the first black woman to win Miss South Africa. She was nominated by the ANC in the elections but she declined. In 1994 Jacqui appeared in the film, A White Man in Africa, in the role of Hazel, an illiterate rural woman who has a relationship with an Australian diplomat. Today she is involved with human resources and production companies, and serves on the boards of several companies.
Basetsane was a popular beauty queen. She was born and bred in Soweto. After her reign she became a TV presenter. She went on to become a shareholder in Tswelopele, the company that produces Top Billing. She has two older sisters, Lerato and Johanna, and a younger brother, Abbey. Her parents are Philip and Beatrice. She is married to Radio Metro station manager Romeo Khumalo and has a son, Nkosinathi.
Peggy Sue Khumalo
Peggy Sue (21) was Miss South Africa 1996. Five days afer her crowning, it was discovered that she was Peggy Priscilla Erasmus (24) and had changed her name first to Peggy Priscilla Khumalo and subsequently to Nonhlanhla Peggy-Sue Khumalo, as was publised in the Government Gazette on 04 April 1996. She was born in Newcastle on 07 December 1972 to Jumaima Khumalo and James Erasmus, a coloured or white farmworker. She was raised by her white grandmother, Afrikaans-speaking Cornelia Susanna Dunn. She attended Chelmsford, a coloured school in Newcastle, and matriculated from Haythorne High School in Pietermaritzburg. Peggy caused a public outcry when she said that she would slaughter a goat and several cows if she won Miss Universe or Miss World. After establishing her own PR company she went to study further in the UK, where she is a fund manager for Investec.
Kerishnie had an honours degree and planned to open her own pharmacy. She was the first Indian woman to wear the crown. She grew up in Reservoir Hills, Durban, with her parents Amra and Joey, and two siblings. After obtaining a first class Matric, Kerishnie enrolled for a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy, and later a Masters in Pharmacy. During her final year, her father passed away from a heart attack. He was a self-employed businessman and Kerishnie got involved in the family's business interests. In 1997, whilst practicing as a pharmacist, Kerishnie entered the Miss South Africa pageant and won. She participated in both Miss Universe and Miss World. Kerishnie is involved in many business ventures, health research, is a television presenter, producer, master of ceremonies and public speaker. She helped secure funding for the building of 12 community health clinics, and played a key role in getting the Chatsworth Youth Centre up. She is also director of her own company, KJN and Associates, a consultancy facilitating corporate social investment projects.
Now a TV presenter, businesswoman and speaker, Jo-Ann was 19 when she won Miss South Africa in 2000. She started presenting the magazine programme Pasella in the same year, and joined Top Billing in June 2005. She speaks English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Jo-Ann was head-girl at Hottentots Holland High School in 1998. She graduated from Stellenbosch University with a B.Comm (Law) degree. In July 2002, Jo-Ann participated in the Celebrity Big Brother reality TV show to raise R2 000 000 for five children's charities. She finished in second place. She has her own communications company.
Heather has a Bachelors in Commerce from the University of Kwazulu-Natal. She became a fund manager and joined a prominent asset management firm working as an investment consultant. In 1994 she won the South Africa Junior Equitation championships. Her brother was instrumental in exposing canned lion hunting.
One of Sonia Raciti's dreams is to release her own CD. She was a member of the National Youth Choir for three years, having started singing at 13. Sonia, from Estcourt, studied for a higher diploma in education at Edgewood College of Education.
Miss South Africa 2003 was rcently marred to Jeff. Khanyisile Mbau. She was a part-time model from Pretoria. Joan speaks five languages: English, Afrikaans, Northern Sotho, Tswana, and Zulu. After completing a PR diploma, she started her own PR agency.
Claudia was a second-year top law student at the University of Pretoria when she entered the Miss South Africa pageant. She has two sisters, Anica and Nicola. Her father Irmin is an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and mom Linda looked after the family home in Pretoria East. Claudia attended Pretoria Girls High and was a finalist in a model search competition in Matric. She spent two months in Italy and finished Matric through correspondence while modelling. Claudia could not represent the country at Miss World in Sanya, China, as it was held on the same night as the Miss South Africa finals in Sun City. Her runner-up, Dhiveja Sundrun, was sent in her place.
She represented South Africa at the Miss World pageant in 2005. Dhiveja was a fifth-year University of Cape Town medical student. She lives in Gardens, Cape Town. The Miss World competition was the third pageant she'd entered. Her first one was Rapport's Miss Cape Peninsula in 2004, which gave her automatic entry into the Miss South Africa pageant. She's appeared in TV ads and fashion catalogues, and was a TV presenter. Her father Dayalan is an orthodontist and mom Veena is a former teacher.
South Africans in the Miss World pageant
Miss South Africa has done well in the Miss World pageant, with Penny (1958) and Anneline (1974) taking the top prize.
Politics got involved and from 1978 to 1991, Miss South Africa was barred from Miss World. In 1970 a non-white South African was chosen to compete in Miss World and was given the title of Miss Africa South. This continued until South Africa was expelled from Miss World after the 1977 pageant.
In 1975, Vera JOHNS was not allowed to take part in the Miss World as she did not meet the pageant's residency requirements. She had been Miss Rhodesia in 1972 and had not lived in South Africa for 5 years. Her first runner-up, Crystal Cooper, refused to enter Miss World unless she was awarded the Miss South Africa title and prizes.
The second runner-up, Rhoda Rademeyer, competed at Miss World 1975 and was finished in the top 15. In 1976, the presence of a black Miss Africa South and a white Miss South Africa, caused 9 countries to withdraw their contestants in protest against South Africa's apartheid system. In 1977 ten countries withdrew in protest against the presence of a white Miss South Africa. After 1977, Miss World organizers did not accept South African contestants until 1991, with the end of apartheid. Diana TILDEN-DAVIES represented South Africa at the 1991 Miss World contest, ending the ban.
From 1992 to 1995, and 2001, the pageant was held at Sun City, South Africa. In 2002, Vanessa CARREIRA boycotted the pageant which was held in Nigeria, in protest against the Amina Lawal affair. Claire Sabbagha, runner-up, was sent as a replacement when the pageant moved to London. This led to confusion as the Miss World organisers said that at 25, Claire was too old. Karen Lourens (19), Miss Junior Africa, of Roodepoort, was also sent in as a replacement but after two days she was sent home without being allowed to participate.
1957: Adele KRUGER, third
1958: Penelope Anne COELEN won the title
1959: Moya MEAKER, semi-finalist
1960: Denise MUIR, third
1961: Yvonne Brenda HULLEY, semi-finalist
1962: Yvonne Maryann FICKER, fourth
1963: Louise CROUS
1964: Vedra Karamitas
1965: Carrol Adele Davis
1966: Joan (Johanna) CARTER, semi-finalist
1967: Disa DUIVESTEIN, semi-finalist
1968: Mitsianna (Mitzi) Stander
1969: Linda Meryl COLLET, sixth
1970: Pearl Gladys JANSEN (Miss Africa South), second, and Jillian Elizabeth JESSUP (Miss South Africa) fifth
1971: Monica FAIRALL, semi-finalist, and Gaily Ryan (Miss Africa South)
1972: Stephanie Elizabeth REINECKE, semi-finalist, and Cynthia Shange (Miss Africa South)
1973: Shelley LATHAM (Miss South Africa), fifth, and Ellen PETERS (Miss Africa South), semi-finalist
1974: Anneline KRIEL won the tile, and Evelyn Peggy WILLIAMS (Miss Africa South), semi-finalist
1975: Rhoda RADEMEYER, semi-finalist, and Lydia Gloria Johnstone (Miss Africa South)
1976: Veronica Rozette Kuki Matsepe (Miss Africa South) and Lynn Massyn
1977: Vanessa Wannenburg (Miss South Africa)
1991: Diana TILDEN-DAVIS, third
1992: Amy KLEINHANS, fifth
1993: Palesa Jacqueline (Jacqui) MOFOKENG, second
1994: Basetsane Julia MAKGALEMELE, second
1995: Bernalee DANIEL, semi-finalist
1996: Peggy-Sue KHUMALO, semi-finalist
1997: Jessica MOTAUNG, third
1998: Kerishnie NAICKER, fifth
1999: Sonia RACITI, third
2000: Heather Joy HAMILTON
2001: Jo-Ann Cindy STRAUSS, semi-finalist
2002: Boycotted the pageant in Nigeria, but then joined in London
2003: Cindy Nell
2004: Joan Kwena Ramagoshi
2005: Dhiveja Sundrum, semi-finalist
The Miss Universe pageant has been held annually since 1952. It was started by the Californian clothing company Pacific Mills to showcase its Catalina swimwear brand. In 1996 Donald Trump acquired ownership of the pageant. Various beauty contests had the right to send a South African representative to Miss Universe.
In 1952 the winner of the Miss South Africa (Universe) contest represented South Africa. In May 1952, Catherine HIGGINS, Miss Johannesburg, represented South Africa. Her runners-up were Jean BROWNLEE (Miss Cape Town), Stella COUTTS (Miss Durban) and Helena VAN DER LINDE (Miss East London). In 1953 the winner of Miss Golden Jubilee competed in Miss Universe.
From 1960 until 1967, the South African representative for Miss Universe was elected at the Hibiscus Queen contest in Margate. The contest existed prior to 1960 and still continues today. From 1969 to 1974 South Africa did not take part in the Miss Universe pageant. In 1975, Rapport, an Afrikaans newspaper, acquired the rights to send a representative to the Miss Universe pageant. They sponsored the Miss RSA regional pageant and the winner went to Miss Universe. Gail Anthony was selected to represent South Africa in 1975. In 1978 the Miss RSA pageant became a national pageant. Jenny KAY, Miss RSA 1980, did not compete at Miss Universe 1980 in Seoul as the Korean government did not recognise the government of South Africa and refused to grant her a visa.
In 1982 the newspaper changed the name Miss RSA to Miss South Africa. This followed after a dispute about the national title and international participation. In 1982 and 1984, the dispute led to two beauty pageants – each sponsored by a Sunday paper – Rapport, and the Sunday Times, an English paper. Rapport argued that as the only pageant to have entry to an international pageant, their winner should be known as Miss South Africa. This is why there are two Miss South Africas in 1982 and 1984. In 1985, the newspapers agreed to join forces and one Miss South Africa pageant was held.
Miss South Africa did not compete in Miss Universe from 1985 to 1994. In 1985, Andrea Steltzer was not allowed to compete in the pageant. Andrea went on to become Miss Germany 1988 and was a semi-finalist in the 1989 Miss Universe pageant. As Miss Germany 1988 she was not allowed to enter Miss World because of her South African background.
In 1995, South Africa was again allowed to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. A new title, Miss Universe South Africa, was created but was discontinued after the 1997 pageant, as the Miss South Africa organisation acquired the right to send their winner to the Miss Universe pageant. Miss South Africa now represents South Africa in both international pageants.
1952: Catherine Edwina Higgins, semi-finalist
1953: Ingrid Rita Mills, semi-finalist
1954-1959: no entry
1960: Nicolette Joan Caras
1961: Marina Christelis
1962: Lynette Gamble
1963: Ellen Leibenberg, semi-finalist
1964: Gail Robinson
1965: Veronika Edelgarda Hilda Prigge, semi-finalist
1966: Lynn Carol De Jager
1967: Windley Ballenden
1968: Monica Fairall
1969-1974: no entry
1975: Gail Anthony
1976: Cynthia Classen
1977: Glynis Dorothea Fester
1978: Margaret Gardiner, winner
1979: Veronika Wilson, semi-finalist and 2nd runner-up for Best National Costume
1980: no entry
1981: Daniela Di Paolo
1982: Odette Octavia Scrooby
1983: Leanne Beverly Hosking
1984: Leticia Snyman, runner-up
1985: Andrea Steltzer did not compete
1986-1994: no entry
1995: Augustine Masilela, semi-finalist
1996: Carol Anne Becker
1997: Mbali Gasa
1998: Kerishnie Naicker, semi-finalist
1999: Sonia Raciti, third
2000: Heather Joy Hamilton, semi-finalist
2001: Jo-Ann Cindy Strauss
2002: Vanessa Do Ceu Carreira
2003: Cindy Nell, third
2004: Joan Ramagoshi
Miss Africa South
The Miss Africa South competition, for non-white women, was first organised in 1970, with the winner taking part in the Miss World pageant.
1970: Pearl Jansen
1971: Gaily Ryan
1972: Cynthia Shange
1973: Ellen Peters
1974: Evelyn Williams
1975: Lydia Johnstone
Miss International Beauty Winners:
1960 Nona Sheriff
1961 Dina Robbertse
1962 Aletta Strydom
1963 Madie Claassen
1964 Lorraine Mason
1965 Dianne Webster
1966 Dawn Duff-Gray
1967 Mary Macdonald
Generations – A South African genealogy newsletter, Vol. 3, Iss. 19
Written by Anne Lehmkuhl
Born in Worcester, 28 December 1880 and died in Cape Town, 12 April 1947. Physician, poet and author, Louis was the fourth child of Christiaan Friedrich Leipoldt (Died: 11 November 1911), a Rhenish missionary and N.G. Kerk minister, and his wife Anna Meta Christiana Esselen (Died: 24 December 1903), the daughter of the Rev. Louis F. Esselen, a Rhenish missionary of Worcester, in whose home in Adderley Street Leipoldt was born and where he lived with his parents until he was four years old. His maternal grandfather gave Leipoldt his first lessons in reading and writing, guided his general education and exerted great influence on him during his formative years. His paternal grandfather, J. G. Lepoldt, was a Rhenish missionary at Ebenhaezer on the Olifants River and at Wuppertal. Leipoldt’s father was also a missionary, first in Sumatra and from 1879 at Worcester. In 1883, however, he became an N.G. Kerk minister and settled in 1884 at Clanwilliam in the N.G. parsonage in Park Street.The relationship existing among the members of the Leipoldt family was not a happy one, while Leipoldt’s relations with his mother were decidedly unhappy. However, he held his father in high esteem and greatly respected him.
An intellectually gifted child, Leipoldt received an exceptionally good grounding at home in the natural sciences, history, geography, languages (Greek, Latin, French), literature and Eastern religious conceptions. His father had an extensive library and gave Leipoldt informal instruction and guided him towards independent study by teaching him to consult source material and to solve problems on his own. This laid the foundation for his independent trend of thought in later years. His curiosity and spirit of investigation also manifested themselves in later life in his diversity of interests apart from literature: in education, the supernatural, in politics, psychology, philosophy, history, botany and in the culinary art. Even as a child his general knowledge was exceptional.
Leipoldt’s three home languages were English, German and Dutch. As a child he was able to read the language of the Malays. At a very early age he read a great deal, evinced a thirst for knowledge, a great capacity for work and an astonishing memory. He read the works of Dante, Bunyan, Milton, Racine and Scott, and before he was ten years old he knew long passages from the works of some of these authors. English became the language he used for journalism, while his poetry, prose and plays were written mainly in Afrikaans, although he began by writing his poetry in English.
Leipoldt’s childhood days were not happy. As his mother prevented his association with other children, he led a very lonely life in Clanwilliam. He remained at home until he had passed his matriculation examination. Two trips to Cape Town (1886 and 1890) made a deep impression on him. Although he attested to his unhappy life right to the end, nevertheless some of his poems reveal the intense joy which as a child he experienced in nature.
As an artist Leipoldt developed at an early age. His father encouraged him to read literary works and made him write essays which he criticized. This encouraged the artistic qualities dormant in him. From his sixth year he corresponded with his grandfather Esselen and this first conscious setting down of his observations trained him in the art of writing. Because of his loneliness he, even before his eighth year, created imaginary playmates in his writings. Throughout his life he continued to converse with himself in his poems, especially in his “Slampamperliedjies” (vagabond songs).
As the age of eight he wrote a tragedy inspired by Van Limburg Brouwer’s Akbar. Between the ages of ten and twelve he earned his first money with stories, which were published in the London Boy’s Own Paper and The Cape Argus, as well as with journalistic literature in The Cape Times, Cape Monthly Magazine and Scientific African. His creative and journalistic work during these early days was thus combined. At the age of fourteen he became a reporter for The Cape Times in the North-Western Cape. During these early years he also furnished news items for Johannesburg and Bloemfontein newspapers. He was helped with his poetry by an English minister, the Rev. C. D. Roberts, who also wrote poetry.
Leipoldt’s love for botany was awakened early in his life. In his twelfth year he met the well-known German botanist Rudolph Schlechter collecting plants in the veld outside Clanwilliam. Schlechter invited Leipoldt to accompany him on his trip by ox-waggon to Namaqualand. He later also became friendly with other well-known botanists such as Peter MacOwan, Harry Bolus and Rudolph Marloth.
Journalism was Leipoldt’s first profession. In 1896 he wrote to The Cape Times on the colour question, which gave rise to a violent controversy and F. S. Malan the editor of Ons Land devoted a leader to it. In 1898 Leipoldt published a number of sketches on Clanwilliam in the Cape Industrial Magazine. He also matriculated in that year. As the life in Clanwilliam was too confining for his budding genius, he moved to the Cape where he became a journalist for De Kolonist. Before his twentieth year he was already a contributor to several leading newspapers abroad. When the Second Anglo-Boer War broke out Leipoldt was unable to reconcile himself with the pro-Rhodes sentiment of De Kolonist and Het Dagblad and became the Dutch correspondent for the pro-Boer newspaper the South African News, which sent him to the North-eastern front. He also wrote communiques on the war for overseas newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian and Daily Express (England), Het Nieuws van de Dag en De Telegraaf (Holland), Petit Bleu (Belgium), the Hamburger Neueste Nachrichten (Germany), the Chicago Record and the Boston Post (U.S.A.). During the war Leipoldt travelled about a great deal in the Cape Colony as a shorthand recorder for the circuit court, and in 1900-01 he attended the court sessions dealing with Cape rebels. During this period he wrote a number of poems which appeared later in his first volume of poetry, such as ‘Oom Gert vertel’, which originated in Dordrecht in 1901, based on incidents related to him by an old man shortly after the engagement at Labuschagnesnek. His first published verses were war poems which appeared during the war in English in the pro-Boer New Age. In 1900 he published two sketches ‘De Rebel’ and in 1901 ‘Bambinellino’ in the Dutch art publication Elesevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift . They were written in Dutch but with an Afrikaans dialogue. It was the first belletristic contribution by an Afrikaans author to a Dutch paper. ‘De Rebel’ was the forerunner of the poem ‘Oom Gert Vertel’.
At the end of 1899 the editor of the South African News was imprisoned under martial law and the nineteen-year-old Leipoldt became editor until October 1901, when the paper was temporarily suspended under martial law. Leipoldt refused an offer from a Rhodesian newspaper and in 1902 went abroad. He travelled through Holland, Belgium, France and Spain as a reporter for the Manchester Guardian. In 1903 he enrolled at Guy’s Hospital, London, as a medical student but continued with his journalism, writing for English and American papers. In addition he attended lectures on law, and on occasion he travelled to the Netherlands to interview Pres. S. J. P. Kruger in Utrecht on behalf of the British press. In 1904 he became the editor of Sir Henry Burdett’s The Hospital, travelling to Europe and America to collect in-formation about hospitals. He also edited School Hygiene, the official publication of British school physicians.
In 1907 Leipoldt completed his medical studies, being awarded the gold medal for surgery as well as for medicine. He became a houseman at Guy’s hospital and furthered his studies in orthopaedics and children’s diseases in Berlin, Bologna, Vienna and Graz. In 1909 he went on a six-month luxury yachting excursion along the coast of America as personal physician to the eleven-year old son of the millionaire press-magnate, Joseph Pulitzer. In the U.S.A. he visited orthopaedic centres. In 1909 he received the F.R.C.S. in London and again travelled to France, Italy, West Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1909 his first book appeared: The ideal graduate study institution: what Germany has done (London, 1909). Between 1910 -11 he was attached to the large children’s hospital in Chelsea, London, and to the German hospital at Dalston. At this time he published his first book on nutrition and diet: Common sense dietetics (London, 1911), an adaptation of which he issued a quarter of a century later entitled The belly-book or diner’s guide (London, 1936).
He became a school doctor, first in south London and then in Hampstead, and in this capacity he frequently travelled to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and the U.S.A. In January 1912 for health reasons he accepted the post of ship’s doctor in the Ulysses, on its voyage from England to the Dutch East-Indies, where he visited Java, Sumatra and Borneo. In June 1912 he returned, resumed his work in Hampstead and wrote a manual entitled The school nurse: her duties and responsibilities (London, 1912). While in London Leipoldt studied for and obtained various diplomas in cookery. Throughout his life he was interested in the culinary art and is known for his Kos vir die kenner (Cape Town, 1933). During the war in the Balkans (1912 -13) he again acted as war correspondent, for the allies, the Bulgarians, Roumanians, Servians and Greeks in their struggle against Turkey, but as a physician he on occasion even tended wounded Turks and as a mark of gratitude the University of Constantinople conferred an honorary degree on him.
Leipoldt’s poetical talent flourished during the years that he spent overseas, but as a poet he still felt the indelible effect of the Second Anglo-Boer War. In 1910 his friend J. J. Smith helped him in London with the editing of his first volume of poems, Oom Gert vertel en ander gedigte (Cape Town, 1911). It consisted of poems which dated from 1896 and is one of the most important volumes of early Afrikaans poetry. Together with J. F. Celliers and Totius (J. D. du Toit), whose volumes of poems appeared more or less simultaneously, he became known as one of the ‘Driemanskap’. The poems included in Leipoldt’s first volume are written in a magnificent colloquial Afrikaans bearing the characteristic Afrikaans and South African stamp; the volume has also some of the finest Afrikaans war poems. The poem which also furnishes the title of the volume is a dramatic monologue and Oom Gert is regarded as the first vital character in Afrikaans literature. This volume also contains brilliant nature poems and illustrates Leipoldt’s interest in the child, both in his role as a physician and later as a foster father.
Leipoldt in his role of the child’s friend reveals himself at an early stage in his other literary works. One of his most attractive stories entitled ‘Die weeskindjie wat ‘n moeder wou hê’, appeared in 1914 in Die Brandwag.
In 1914 Leipoldt returned to South Africa, and in April of the same year he became chief medical inspector of schools in the Transvaal, the first post of its kind in South Africa. When the First World War broke out in August, Gen. Louis Botha commandeered him for service in the Department of Defence. Later on he accompanied Botha as his personal physician, but in June 1915 he resumed his duties as school medical inspector.
In the meanwhile Leipoldt continued his work as a creative artist, and in this year revealed his ability as a dramatist. His first published play, Die Laspos, a one-act play which appeared on 25 May 1919 in Die Brandwag, was followed in 1920 by his second volume of poems Dingaansdag (Pretoria, 1920) which did not attain the high standard of the first. It dealt with the Great Trek and the Afrikaner nation during the First World War and the Rebellion. In his first volume the poet had sympathised and associated himself with the suffering and fortunes of his people, but in the new volume his political sentiments had undergone a change. Shortly afterwards a third volume of poems entitled Uit drie wêrelddele was published in Cape Town in 1923, and these poems were a great improvement on those of the previous volume. Some of them were written in England and others in the East Indies. Three of the best known poems in this volume are ‘By die vlei’, ‘Die man met die helm’, and ‘Grys-blou butte’, depicting a lonely man advanced in years. In ‘Droom en doen’ Leipoldt endeavours to forget the Second Anglo-Boer War and sallies forth to meet a new future. The poet who was so indignant about the war in Oom Gert vertel en ander gedigte now sought conciliation. He also revealed a strong cosmopolitan outlook.
Leipoldt evinced a strong interest in the East, its religion, customs, inhabitants and scenery, as is illustrated by his journey to the Orient (1912) and his poems on the East Uit Drie wêrelddele and Uit my Oosterse dagboek (Cape Town, 1932). His art was permeated by his interest in the exotic, the strange and extraordinary, the supernatural, the problem of death, the here-after, and in abnormal and deviate characters. Whereas Leipoldt had always been a man of sober, sound judgement in the scientific field, in journalism and in his everyday relationship with people, in the sphere of art he tended to be swayed by emotion.
In 1916 he assisted with the medical inspection of schools in Natal and in 1919 in the Cape. As a medical inspector of schools he did much for school tours, school holiday camps and convalescent homes for ailing children. His love of teaching was not only clearly discernible in his medical work but also came to the fore in various writings, such as Praatjies met die oumense (Pretoria, 1918), in which he proffered a miscellany of advice to parents on educational, medical and other topics. In 1919 Leipoldt and Dr Anne Cleaver established a school clinic in Johannesburg, the first of its kind in South Africa, and in the following year he published Die Afrikaanse kind in siekte en gesondheid (Cape Town, 1920). Among his best-known books for children are the educational Praatjies met die kinders (Pretoria, 1920), Stories vir kinders (Cape Town, 1922) en Kampstories (Pretoria, 1923), which appeared at a time when there was comparatively little in the way of Afrikaans reading matter for children.
During the time that Leipoldt was living in Pretoria in the capacity of medical inspector of schools he was also a regular contributor to Die Brandwag . He edited the Transvaal Medical Times and published poems and popular science articles in periodicals and newspapers such as De Goede Hoop, Ons Moedertaal, Die Boervrou, Die Volkstem and Die Huisgenoot. In Pretoria he became friendly with Dr F. V. Engelenburg, the editor of De Volkstem. In 1922 Leipoldt joined the editorial staff of the newspaper and in 1923 became its assistant-editor. However, he could not agree with Gustav S. Preller who succeeded Engelenburg in 1924 and was dismissed in 1925, butLeipoldt continued to write the column ‘Oom Gert se diwigasies’ for the paper until 9 December 1931.
In the early twenties Leipoldt published his greatest dramatic work entitled Die heks (Cape Town, 1923), which he had commenced writing in English during the years 1910-11 while in London. It was rewritten in Afrikaans in 1914 prior to his return to South Africa and he continued working on it until it was published in 1923. Even today it is regarded as one of the most important Afrikaans dramatic works and established Leipoldt as one of the pioneers in this field.
In the 1924 general election he stood as a candidate for the South African Party in the Wonderboom constituency, but was defeated. In April 1925 he again moved to Cape Town to set up practice as a child specialist, and spent some of his happiest years there until his death. Leipoldt cherished a deep affection for Cape Town with its scenic beauty and historical associations with the past.
Leipoldt opened his home ‘Arbury’ in Kenilworth to underprivileged boys who resided with him as his foster children. He legally adopted one boy, Jeffrey Leipoldt. In 1928 he accompanied a group of school children on a two-month holiday tour to England.
In Cape Town Leipoldt wrote medical articles for The Cape Argus. In 1926 he became secretary of the Medical Council of South Africa and editor of the South African Medical Journal, and also acted as a part-time lecturer on children’s diseases at the University of Cape Town (1926 -39). In 1939 he became part-time secretary of the South African Medical Council, travelled throughout the country and attended congresses and meetings. In 1934 an honorary D.Litt. degree was conferred on him by the University of the Witwatersrand.
From the thirties onwards Leipoldt showed a growing interest in his literary work, and these years proved particularly rewarding for him as an artist. Die laaste aand (Cape Town, 1930) was the first Afrikaans play ever written in verse form, although he had begun working on it as early as 1915. It is one of his best works, for which together with Die heks he was awarded the Hertzog prize in 1944. Die Bergtragedie (Cape Town, 1932), a long poem on which he had begun working before 1900 (originally in English), is not of a high standard although Leipoldt considered it good. A volume of poems entitled Skoonheidstroos (Cape Town, 1932), appeared at this time and included poems written during the period 1923-32. This work was also awarded the Hertzog prize and contains a number of Leipoldt’s loveliest poems, such as ‘n Kersnaggebed’, although it never achieved the heights attained by Oom Gert vertel en ander gedigte. At the beginning of the thirties a number of less successful works appeared: Afgode (1931), Die Kwaksalwer (1931) and Onrus (1931). Apart from these dramatic works Leipoldt also published three one-act plays: Jannie (1919), ‘n Vergissing (1927) en Die byl (1950).
His prose works were chiefly a product of the thirties. The first to appear was Waar spoke speel (Cape Town, 1927); it was followed by Wat agter lê en ander verhale (Cape Town, 1930); a long psychological novel: Die donker huis (Cape Town, 1931); and a lengthy historical novel set in the period shortly after the Great Trek: Galgsalmander (Cape Town, 1932). Die moord op Muizenberg (Cape Town, 1932) is a detective novel. Die rooi rotte (Cape Town, 1932) is a book of short stories. Uit my oorsese dagboek (Cape Town, 1932) is an absorbing travel book. Die verbrande lyk (Cape Town, 1934) is another detective story. Die dwergvroutjie (Cape Town, 1937), is a psychological story and was originally written in English. Bushveld doctor (London, 1937) is a well-written autobiography. This was followed in 1939 by Die Moord in die bosveld (Cape Town, 1939). In his prose works, which consist mainly of murder and detective stories, Leipoldt’s preoccupation with the abnormal in psychology, and with the supernatural and the mysterious comes to the fore. His prose works never attain tLeipoldthe heights achieved in his plays and poetry, yet he possesses a flowing and absorbing narrative style; and although it was small, he undoubtedly had a share in the development of Afrikaans prose. During these years he also wrote stories for children: Paddastories vir die peetkind (1934), Die wonderlike klok, Die mossie wat wou ryk word (1931) en Die goue eier (1937). He also published popular science fiction for children as exemplified in As die natuur gesels (two volumes, Cape Town, 1928, 1931).
Apart from his creative work during the thirties he published a number of works such as Medicine and faith (London, 1935) and various historical works based on secondary source material: firstly, Jan van Riebeeck: a biographical study (London, 1936), of which a German translation also appeared : Holland gründet die Kapkolonie: Jan van Riebeeck Leben and Werke (Leipzig, 1937). There is also an Afrikaans version entitled Jan van Riebeeck: die grondlegger van ‘n blanke Suid-Afrika (Cape Town, 1938). Leipoldt had begun to collect the material for his biography as early as 1896. The most significant facts about the Voortrekkers were summarised by him for young people in Die groot trek (Cape Town, 1938), which coincided with the Voortrekker centenary. During the Huguenot jubilee year he also published Die Hugenote (Cape Town, 1939). After his period of office as secretary of the South African Medical Council and editor of the council’s journal had ended in 1944, he devoted himself mainly to journalism and to acquiring information for a biography on Pres. S. J. P. Kruger which he had begun in 1906 but never completed. In his poetry and plays Leipoldt also showed an interest in historical characters such as Wolraad Woltemade, Pieter Gijsbert Noodt and other figures like De Lesseps and Multatuli.
When the Second World War broke out Leipoldt favoured South African participation. He wrote sonnets on the war for The Cape Times, the Forum, Die Volkstem, en De Stoep, a Curacao newspaper.
Leipoldt died shortly after the war of a heart complaint caused by rheumatic fever which he had contracted at the age of seven. The casket containing his ashes was interred at the entrance of a cave surrounded by boulders in the rocky country of the Pakhuispas near Clanwilliam, that countryside which he had loved so deeply, a short distance from the Clanwilliam-Calvinia road near Kliphuis. It is a picturesque part of the country where he roamed as a child. After his death three volumes of his poems were published: Die moormansgat en ander verhalende en natuurverse (Cape Town, 1948); Gesëende skaduwees (Cape Town, 1949) which contained poems written during the period 1910 to 1947; and The ballad of Dick King and other poems (Cape Town, 1949), Leipoldt’s only volume of English poems. This contains verses written at the time of the Second World War and also older poems, some even dating from his youth. They appeared under the name Pheidippides, a pseudonym whichLeipoldt had used in newspapers when publishing his English poems on the Second World War.
After Leipoldt’s death, 300 years of Cape Wine (Cape Town, 1952) and Polfyntjies vir die proe (Cape Town, 1963) also appeared, compiled from particularly absorbing articles written under the pseudonym K. A. it. Bonade in Die Huisgenoot (1942-7). His valuable collection of cookery books and his manuscripts of recipes are in the S.A. Library, Cape Town.
The University of Cape Town has a valuable and comprehensive collection of Leipoldt’s letters, manuscripts and journalistic work, as well as books which he donated to the library, such as the comparatively unknown poems which he wrote for the University of Cape Town Quarterly in the thirties.
Biographical information written by Leipoldtand published in Die Huisgenoot, include ‘Clanwilliam: herinneringe aan ‘n ou dorpie’ (5 November 1926), ‘Eerste skoffies’ (1 December 1933), ‘Oor my eie werk’ (6 December 1940), ‘Jeugherinneringe’ (9 May 1947) and ‘My jubileumjaar’ (17 January 1947). His ‘Outobiografiese fragment’ appeared post-humously in Standpunte (18 December 1950). He never succeeded in carrying out his resolution to write an autobiography.
Leipoldt’s literary output constitutes only a part of his rich, versatile life, and yet it represents one of his greatest contributions to South Africa. Remarkably diverse in nature, his works include articles on popular science, journalistic work, translations, and numerous volumes of poetry, plays, novels, short stories and travel reminiscences. The quality of his work is not uniform and his poems frequently lack finish; nevertheless he is still one of the greatest Afrikaans poets and dramatists.
Leipoldt, who from childhood had received a strongly English-orientated education, enjoyed moving in English circles and during his later years spent most of his time among the English-speaking section. As a poet, although he wrote typically Afrikaans poetry and transformed the then unmoulded literary Afrikaans of the early twenties into an elevated medium for poetry, later he tended to ridicule the Afrikaner, the typically Afrikaans characteristics, and the Afrikaans language which he had employed so skillfully as a writer. He even spoke disparagingly of his war poems, describing them as a product of youthful immaturity. He had always been opposed to the Afrikaans-Calvinistic viewpoint, although he frequently employed Christian sentiments in his poems and was without difficulty able to identify himself with the aspirations of the Afrikaner. The English press devoted a good deal of space to Leipoldt in their columns at the time of his death; nevertheless, his passing was felt most keenly by the Afrikaans-speaking section and his memory remains indelibly imprinted among the Afrikaner people. There are two facets discernible in Leipoldt’s character: on the one hand his astounding versatility, his ability to contend with a number of interests simultaneously, and on the other the picture of a person of many conflicting emotions.
Although Leipoldt confessed to being lonely, he had a wide and influential circle of friends and acquaintances, including Gen. J. C. Smuts, Dr Engelenburg, Prof. P. D. Hahn, John X. Merriman, the Roman Catholic priest F. C. Kolbe, Prof. P. MacOwan, Dr Rudolph Marloth, Marcus Viljoen and Dr Harry Bolus. It was Dr. Bolus who encouraged Leipoldt’s love of nature, made him conscious of the beauty of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and provided him with financial backing when he went overseas in 1902. Abroad Leipoldt made the acquaintance of Pres. S. J. P. Kruger, Dr W. J. Leyds and Ramsay Macdonald. Leipoldt also numbered Cecil John Rhodes and a few prominent women among his acquaintances. Although he never married and on occasion made odd pronouncements about women and also wrote little love poetry, he was known for his conspicuous gallantry towards ladies and there are agreeable female characters in his poetry, in “Die heks” and in “Van Noot se laaste aand”.
In his poetry Leipoldt created an impression of strong individualism and detachedness, yet he contrived to serve his fellowmen in public life in many spheres: as a physician, as a journalist and as a lover of children.
There is a statue of Leipoldt in plaster of Paris by Florencio Cuairan in the Jagger Library of the Cape Town University, and one in bronze in the public library, Clanwilliam, and in the Medical Centre, Wale Street, Cape Town. Photographs taken at different stages in his life appear in Burgers (infra).
Source: Dictionary of South African Biography (Volume II)
Image: Cape Town Archives
Born in Harlingerode, Brunswick, Germany on 7th May 1803 and died in Rosebank, Cape, 28th February 1905), merchant, artist and musician, was the youngest son of Cornelius (von) Landsberg (1765-1843) who emigrated from Brunswick because of political oppression after the fall of Napoleon. With his wife, Elisabeth Knoblanch (1763-1857), and his children he arrived on 8 August 1818, after a voyage of eleven months and settled in Cape Town as a watchmaker. According to family tradition the Landsberg’s originated from royalty and owned a German castle built by Count Hero in 976. From 1415 to 1798 the castle was the seat of the Bernese governors. In 1803 it was awarded to the canton of Aargau and at present belongs to the city of Lenzburg. Family correspondence in the Potchefstroom Museum tends to discredit this tradition.
Soon after his arrival at the Cape L. joined trading ventures to the interior. By the early 1820s he had become a snuff manufacturer (‘Landsberg’s snuff’ is still used) and by 1831 was registered as a retailer in Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, where the firm still exists. His business soon expanded to embrace tobacco and cigars, medicines, and later, wines and spirits. By the end of the century Landsberg travellers were known throughout South Africa.
As a young man he taught drawing and music at the Tot Nut van’t Algemeen school from 1847 to 1851, and at the South African College. In 1870 he still had his studio at 17 Roeland Street. He was a co-founder of the Cape Musical Society, playing first violin in its orchestra. Of his 200 works as an artist, some seventy-five, including sculptured heads of his grandparents, were presented to the Potchefstroom Museum by a grandson, August D’Astre. ‘The Magi’, a large painting, was removed from the Mowbray town hall, Cape Town, after repeated mutilation by vandals and, so far, has not been traced. A lithography of his painting of Brandvlei Baths, near Worcester, is included in Poortermans, while the Potchefstroom Museum has a number of Landsberg’s original paintings.
His European scenes were developed from sketches perhaps made during his visit to Europe in 1864, or, in the case of earlier ones, were painted from memory. Of his Cape scenes (some are in water-colours) good examples are ‘Farmstead at Worcester, 1847′; ‘Storm at the Cape, 1865′; ‘Washerwomen in Platteklip, 1882′; and ‘A rugby match on the Camp Ground, 1888′.
His larger works are either Biblical or historical, being realistic and minutely detailed. Cape characters such as Hottentot women, Bantu and piccanins appear in his ‘Christ addressing the people’ and ‘The last trump’. The large ‘ Battle between Germani and Romans’ is full of action and human expression. His men and women are muscular and often ruggedly Semitic-featured. His ‘Moses with the ten Commandments’ was presented to the Cape Parliament in 1883. The Africana Museum, Johannesburg, possesses a large painting (44½ inches by 66½ inches) of the battle of Amajuba, done in 1881, and Personality contains coloured reproductions of four brilliant pieces: ‘Gibraltar’, ‘Frederick the Great of Prussia’, ‘Arrival of Julius Caesar on the British coast’ (showing the fierce struggle in the water), and the peaceful ‘Camp ground, Rondebosch’. Mrs Thora Botha, a descendant, owns the painting of the Tugela River (1823), in which his sister was drowned.
Otto lived moderately and was a devout Unitarian. He remained an active walker and horse-man, an excellent raconteur, and was in his hundredth year strong enough to play the violin and to start a painting, ‘The Creation’.
His profits were invested in bonds on farms and by 1880 he was able to hand his business over to his grandson, Julius Otto Jeppe, and retire in comfort to Vredenburg, Rosebank.
He died at almost 102 years, possibly the last South African to have seen Napoleon en route for Russia in 1812. After one of the largest funerals seen in Cape Town, he was buried on 2nd March 1905 in St Peter’s Cemetery, Mowbray. His first wife was Maria Jacoba de Jongh (1809 -10 March 1861); his second wife, Catherine Matchell (1840 -30 April 1911), accompanied him, in 1864, on his only visit to Europe. One of Otto’s sons was Ernst Landsberg, M.L.C. for the western divisions in the Cape Parliament (1864 -68). Of the thirteen children of his first marriage only two daughters, Julia Elizabeth D’Astre and Sophia Theresa Henrietta Lithman, survived him; they and the children of a deceased daughter, Maria Jacoba Carolina Jeppo (first wife of Hermann Jeppe), and his widow became the main heirs of his estate, which amounted to over £95 000. Bequests also went to some servants, and to churches of all denominations. There are portraits of Landsberg in the Potchefstroom Museum (they include a photograph of him at the age of 100 years) and (infra) in The Veld and The Cape Argus.
Source: Dictionary of South African Biography
Image Source: SA Standard Encyclopaedia – Hottentot Girl, by Otto Landsberg, in the Potchefstroom Museum
An excerpt from the thesis “British Policy Towards the Malays at the Cape of Good Hope 1795-1850)
By Ghamim Harris B.A. (UCT) M.A. (U. W. Wash.)
The building of mosques was one of the most important activities of the Malay community at the Cape of Good Hope. Very few accounts, except that of Rochlin (1), have been written to examine this aspect of the development of Islam at the Cape. In recent years an excellent attempt was made by Bradlow and Cairns, on the Muslims at the Cape, with information on the Auwal mosque, (2) which other contemporary writers (3) have ignored.
There is no documentary evidence that an attempt was made to build a mosque before 1790. There is evidence that the Muslims at the Cape made an attempt to build a Mosque in the late 1790′s. The invasion by the British in 1795 and the Dutch defense of the Cape gave the Muslims the opportunity to enlist the support of the governing authorities to grant them permission to build a mosque. The Dutch authorities before 1750 did not condone the spread of Islam; they were only interested in converting slaves to Christianity. However, this all change with the publication of Van der Parra’s Plakaat, or Code of Laws (4); the Dutch followed more tolerable attitude towards Muslims at the Cape and in the East Indies. This action may have fostered the development of a positive attitude towards Muslim community in Cape Town.
The Malays had always held their religious services in prayer rooms set aside in the houses of imams. They now saw a changed attitude, which may lead to the building of a mosque.
The first literary reference to any kind of mosque was made by Thunberg:
On the 20th of June (1772), the Javanese here celebrated their new year. For this purpose they had decorated an apartment in a house with carpets, that covered the ceilings, walls and floor, At some distance from the furthest wall an altar was raised, from the middle of which a pillar rose up to the ceiling, covered with narrow slips of quilt paper and gilt alternately; from above, downwards ran a kind of lace between the projecting edges. At the base of this pillar were placed bottles with nosegays stuck in them. Before the altar lay a cushion, and on this a large book. The women, who were still standing or sitting near the door, were neatly dressed, and the men wore nightgowns of silk or cotton. Frankincense was burned. The men sat crosslegged on the floor, dispersed all over the room. Several yellow wax candles were all lighted up. Many of the assembly had fans, which they found very useful for cooling themselves in the great heat necessarily produced by the assemblage of a great number of people in such a small place. Two priests were distinguished by a small conical cap from the rest, who wore handkerchiefs tied about their heads in the form of a turban. About eight in the evening the service commenced when they began to sing, loud and soft alternately, sometimes the priest read out of a great book that lay on the cushion before him.
I observed them reading after the Oriental manner, from right to left, and imagined it to be the Alcoran they were reading, the Javanese being mostly Mohamedans. Between the singing and reading, coffee was served up in cups, and the principal man of the congregation at intervals accompanied their singing on the violin. I understood afterwards that this was a Prince from Java (5) , who had opposed the interest of the Dutch East India Company, and for that reason had been brought from his native country to the Cape, where he lives at the Company’s expense. (6)
Writing about the same time as Thunberg was at the Cape, George Forster, wrote of the Malays that: “A few of them follow the Mohommedan (sic) rite, and weekly meet in a private house belonging to a free Mohommedan, in order to read, or rather chant several prayers and chapters of the Koran.” (7)
The above two quotes support earlier testimony that Malays owned property and that the Dutch had become more tolerant after 1750. The Dutch tolerated the practice of Islam, while denying official recognition. In an earlier chapter it was pointed out that some plakaats were not really enforced, although they remained on the statute books.
The free Malays obtained the right to own land. Not necessarily because of changes in the legal system, but de facto, by the purchase of property, this was legally registered in the name of the owner. This is an acknowledgement that they had the right to purchase and own real estate. Moodie mentions many Black Free Burghers who owned considerable property. (8)
Since many of the Free Blacks were Malays, it is logical that many Malays owned real estate. In a footnote Moodie observed, “The opinion that the right of Burghership was an exclusive privilege of the Whites, seems to have no foundation in law, …” (9) Another early writer, who visited the Cape in 1799, Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, wrote “… among them I met many pious Mussulmans, several of who possessed considerable property.” (10) The records at the Deeds Office in Cape Town, supports the fact that many Malays owned property in the central and upper part of the Cape Town during the first two decades of the administration of the British Government at the Cape of Good Hope.
On the other hand, according to Commissioner de Mist (11) and Theal’s commentaries on the administration of the Batavian Republic, (12) the Malays did not enjoy the freedom to worship in public. Public worship also included the right to build a mosque and to use it as a public place of worship. For the liberal de Mist, imbued with the spirit of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” of the French Revolution, there was far too much opposition on the Council of Policy for him to extend freedom of religion to anyone, other than the members of the Dutch Reformed and the Lutheran Churches. The Batavian government at the Cape of Good Hope was not in control long enough to enforce their liberal ideas nor did they have the support of the majority of the white inhabitants.
In the late 1790′s some Muslims, among them Tuan Guru (Imam Abdullah Kadi Abdussalaam), and Frans van Bengal petitioned the British authorities for a mosque site, but were refused. Barrow wrote, “… The Malay Mohomedans (sic), being refused a church performed their public service in the stone quarries at the head of the town. (13)” This statement by Barrow has not been corroborated by any other documentary evidence.
A statement by Samuel Hudson, who was chief clerk of the customs, confirmed the fact that permission was granted to build a mosque. Samuel Hudson was a keen observer of events and gives a graphic description of the people, their attitudes and events at the Cape during in the period from 1798 to 1800.
The heads of them (Muslims) have petitioned the government and obtained permission to erect a church or mosque for celebrating their public worship, so that in a few months we shall see a temple dedicated to Allah and the Mohametan religion openly professed. (14)
Theal stated that The Muslims petitioned General Janssen for a mosque site. This was granted because of the impending war against Britain. Although permission was granted for the building of a mosque, the actual building did not begin, because of the invasion and occupation of the Cape by the British. Later the Muslims building on this strength again petitioned the new British Governor Sir George Yonge to build a mosque. This was their petition:
To His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir George Yonge, Baronet, and Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, one of His Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council, Governor and Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Castle, Town and Settlement of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and the Territories and Dependencies thereof, and Ordinary and Vice Admiral of the same.
The most humble Petition of the inhabitants of Cape Town professing the Mohometan faith:
The aforesaid humble Petitioners beg permission to approach your Excellency with all possible humility, and to represent to your Excellency that they labour under the greatest distress of mind by having no place of worship in which they may pay their adoration to God, conformably to the principles of their religion. They assure themselves your Excellency will admit nothing conduces so much to the good order of Society as a due observance of religious worship, and though they trust it will be allowed them that few enormities have been committed by the persons subject to your Majesty’s Government who profess their faith, yet they believe their being by your Excellency’s paternal indulgence furnished with the means of regular worship, that the manners and morality of their brethren will be greatly improved, and that they will thereby become more valuable members of society. They therefore implore your Excellency to grant then a little spot of unoccupied land of the dimensions of one hundred and fifty squareroods whereon to erect at their own expense a small temple to be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. Your Excellency knows that the form of the religion requires frequent ablutions from whence it is indispensable that their mosque should be contiguous to water. A suitable spot is situated at some distance above the premises of General Vanderleur, and they humbly conceive there will be no objections to their little temple being there placed. They throw themselves at your Excellency’s feet, and beseech you to their humble and pious solicitations, and if your Excellency is pleased to give a favourable ear to their Petition they will by their conduct demonstrate they are not unworthy of your Excellency’s indulgence and protection.
And your Excellency’s humble petitioners will as in duty bound ever pray, etc., etc., etc.
Signed by “Frans van Bengal,” for himself and the rest of the inhabitants professing the Mohametan faith. (16)
The petition was signed by Frans van Bengalen in Arabic.
The request was approved by the Governor Sir George Yonge on January 31, 1800. Sir George wrote over the petition in his handwriting, “Approved.” ‘That was pending a report being prepared by the Proper Officer regarding the land described in the petition. Signed: ‘in G.W. Yonge, Government House, Jan’y 31 1800.’
On February 1, 1800, the Colonial Secretary, Andrew Barnard, wrote to the President and Members of the Burgher Senate:
Castle Cape of Good Hope
1 February 1800
Mr. President and Members of the Burgher Senate:
I am commanded by His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief to send you the enclosed petition from the Mohametan (sic) inhabitants of this place requesting that a piece of ground may be granted them for the purpose of erecting a place of worship thereon. His Excellency therefore desires that you will depute two of your members to examine the ground and report thereon if it may be granted without injury to the public or any individual.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant, Signed A. Barnard. (17)
Unfortunately there is no record that the Burgher Senate inspected the ground or sent the Governor a report either approving or disapproving the request. Opposition by members of the Burgher Senate may have been responsible that the Muslims did not receive permission to proceed with the building of a mosque. By that time the Batavian Republic had taken over the Cape under General Janssens.
During the Batavian period form1803 to 1806, the Malays again petitioned for permission to build a mosque. Janssens true to his liberal attitude readily agreed. The Batavian administrators had a greater sense of tolerance than the Dutch East India Company officials towards the Malays, but they were also realists since they needed the assistance of the Malays to defend the Cape against the British. The mosque site was granted, on the condition that the Malays commit themselves to defend the Cape militarily (18). Janssens thereupon formed the Malay Artillery. The officers trained them to be a very efficient fighting force. However, before Janssens could execute this promise, the British occupied the Cape in 1806. The Malay Artillery fought bravely to resist the invaders that General Baird with no hesitation confirmed the promise made by Janssens. Theal noted:
The Mohamedan religion was never prohibited in South Africa, though during the government of the East India Company people of that creed were obliged to worship either in the open air or in private houses. Permission to build a mosque, which was granted without hesitation, and a commencement was about to be made when the colony was conquered by the English. General Baird confirmed the privilege granted by his predecessor, and very shortly there was a mosque in Cape Town. Another was build during the government of Lord Charles Somerset. (19)
The initial mosque may have been built in the stone quarry. This is located near Chiappini and Castle Streets. Little evidence remains of this mosque. This mosque could have been a temporary building. Since no land was granted to the Muslims to build a mosque, Somerset had noted later that the governor had the right to grant citizenship and to issue land grants to any person or group of people. Somerset granted the Malays permission to build a mosque. This mosque was the Auwal Mosque. Unfortunately this led to a disagreement in the Malay community regarding the leadership or the appointment of an imam at this mosque.
Tuan Guru (Imam Abdullah) died in 1807. His death resulted in a major dispute within the Malay community. According to letters written to the editor of the South African Commercial Advertiser, Tuan Guru did not want Jan van Boughies to succeed him as Imam.
Cape Town, 17th Feb., 1836.
Sir, – I present you my best compliments, hoping that you will hearken to my prayer. Sir, I have seen in the paper that they published, that my father, Imaum Abdulla, did not raise Achmat, who is Imaum now. I can assure you Sir, that my father called Imaum Achmat in, and made him promise that he would take care of me and of my brother, according to my late father’s wish; and therefore I wish to state to you the truth if I am called upon for the circumstance: but, Sir, you do not think it is pleasant for me to hear these uncomfortable circumstances. I can assure you, that my father having given the situations over to Imaum Achmat, so he acted according to my father Imaum Abdulla’s wish: and I can assure you that since my father’s death, Imaum Achmat treated us two as his own children; in fact, he could not have done better towards us; and may I wish that he may live twenty years longer in this world, for his is like a father and mother to me; my whole power is from him. Sir, I beg leave to say, also, that it is my place to stand at the head of all, because I had to promise my own father Imaum Abdulla, that we were not to stand before we were of the age of 40 years: but, Sir, because I am not studied through the books, therefore I gave it over to Imaum Achmat until I shall be able to take his place. And I can assure you that none of the others ever assisted me since my father’s death – neither Abdul Wassa, nor Jan of Bougies; as for Manzoor, I don’t count him at all – he is nothing.
And I wish, Sir, that the Almighty God will never change my heart from that church, or from Imaum Achmat, and May I wish that no one will bury me but Imaum Achmat, and myself had to promise my brother, on his dying bed, (my emphasis) never to leave Imaum Achmat, and that Imaum Achmat is to teach me exactly like my own brother. And therefore I shall stay with him as long as I live, please God that he may see me on the righteousness of the world. Honored Sir, may I pray of you that you will do justice to me and to Imaum Achmat, and may I hope that you will see into the case, whether it is justice. And may I pray to the Almighty God that your heart will be good enough to do what you can for me and my father Imaum Achmat.
I am Sir, your most obedient servant.
Prince Abdul Roove. (20)
This is the first evidence of a major split in the Malay community. Although most services were previously conducted in the houses owned by the Free Malays, before the building of the first mosque, some services were still conducted by other imams in their own homes. Many mosques were built at the death, of an imam, because the congregation could not agree on a successor, or if a successor was chosen an opposition faction would break away to form their own group and build a mosque. There is evidence in the Cape Archives of two major civil cases questioning the right of certain persons to be imams. (21)
PALM TREE MOSQUE or Langar:
This split in the Malay communtiy occured in 1807. Jan van Bhougies and Frans van Bengal broke away from Guru’s congregation to form a new congregation.
Since Tuan Guru stated quite clearly, according to Prince Abdul Roove’s the letter to the editor of the South African Commercial Advertiser, that he did not want Frans van Bengal as the imam of his congregation.
The free Malay community in Cape Town was growing rapidly in Cpe Town and numbered 1,130 in 1806. (22) By 1811 the number of Muslims would have been as high as 1,500, not counting the slaves. It is quite obvious that one mosque would have been too small to meet the needs of all the Muslims.
In 1811 the land on which the Auwal Mosque is located was donated to Tuan Guru’s congregation for the building of the first mosque.
Immediately after the death of Tuan Guru Jan van Boughies and Frans van Bengal (Frank) purchased the house in Long Street and took legal transfer of the property on November 30, 1807. The upper floor of the two-storey house was converted into a large prayer hall or langar. (23)
This was the first time that a house was converted for use as a mosque, since imams formerly used rooms in their homes, which was set aside as a prayer room. Because this house was located in “die Lange Straat,” houses that were later converted as mosques were called, “Langar.”
This has been the popular interpretation of the origin of the term. However, subsequent research discovered a much more plausible explanation of the use of the term “langar” at the Cape to describe places of worship which were not mosques. The Encyclopedia of Islam provides the following description.
In the Dutch Indies, two kinds of mosques have to be distinguised, the mosque for the Friday service (Jumah) – these alone were called mosque (masagijid, also mistjid) – and simple houses of prayer. This second category is found all over the country, especially in smaller villages and owes its origin to private initiative and partly to public efforts; they have native names (langar [Javan], tajug [Sum], surau [Malay]). The langar, or whatever it may be called, of the village, is a centre at which the salat (prayers) can be performed, but it also serves other purposes of general interest. The upkeep of the building is the affair of the community and in particular one of the tasks of the religious official of the village. The upkeep of the other langars, erected by private individuals , is left to them. The building stands on its own site and is maintained by the founder or his descendants. The owner, cannot, refuse admission to strangers who desire to use it for salat or as shelter for the night. Such private chapels are always found near Mohammadan seminaries (Jav. passantren). We sometimes find that these langars are endowned as as wakf (Jav wakap). The village langar on the other hand has a more public character.
The Mosques, i.e. the masjid djami, are found in larger places usually in those which are also centres of administration. Their erection and maintenance is regarded as a duty of the Muslim community. (24)
In 1811 Burchell noted that, “The Malays have also a house dedicated and supported by them. This latter building is nothing more than a private dwelling house converted to that use.” (25) This information refers to the house of Jan van Bougies and Frans van Bengal in Long Street. In 1811 Frans van Bengal left Cape Town permanently and made Jan van Bhougies the sole owner and imam of the mosque in Long Street. This house was then transferred to the sole ownership of Jan van Bhougies. (26)
Although the legend on the door of the house that is home to the Palm Tree Mosque says 1777, that date refers to when the house was built, not when it became a mosque or a langar.
One has to consider Jan and Frans visionaries and persons committed to the religion and their principles. They were aware of that the population was growing and and that the Malay community did not have the financial resources to build a mosque, so they literally put their money where their mouths were.
Frans van Bengalen was involved in the military when he assisted the Dutch against the British. He was the Javaansche Veld Priester in the “Auxillarie Artillerie.” We know that he witnessed the translation of Tuan Guru’s will from the Arabic (Malayu written in Arabic characters) to Nederlands. The original will was copied, by hand, in the presence of Frans van Bengalen on May 2, 1807. The other witnesses to this signature, was a person by the name of Watermeyer and the other witnesses were Enche Abdul Malik and Enche Abdul Wasing. (27)
Frans van Bengal was called a “Field Priest” in the street directories of Cape Town. He was an important personality at the Cape Malay community. He, together with the French officer, Madlener, led the Javanese artillery at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806. The other mention of Frans was in the records when he requested to manumit his slave, February 1789. (28)
Frans was one of those industrious slaves, who worked hard to accumulate his savings. By dint of good behaviour and determination and hard honest work to free him from the drudgery of slavery he bargained with his master for a price for his freedom. He was determined to raise the agreed amount of money, which he did and thus paid for his freedom. He continued with this attitude by raising more money, to become a fruit dealer and a fish seller. A few years later he purchased two slaves and a boat and furnished his house as those of other free Malays.
During this time slaves were apprenticed by their masters to become tradesmen. After they became qualified they were hired out to bring in a share of their labour to their masters. They were allowed to keep a portion for themselves. In this way many slaves were able to purchase their freedom.
Frans made it clear to his slaves that should one of them decide to embrace Islam, then that slave would be manumitted. He also made a condition with them that if they serve him faithfully over a specified period they would be freed and given sufficient money to start their own businesses. He was an honest man who kept his word. When the slave did not serve him faithfully, he was told, he would be sold. Several slaves received their liberty from him in this way. Business was good for Frans, and when the English took over the Cape in 1795 he was held in high esteem by the captains at the station, who recommended him as an honest person, who received work for several thousand rix-dollars at a time. Because of his stature as a respectable and honest businessman he made friends amongst the influential people of the Colony, like Admiral Sir Roger Curtis. He had become rich and deserved his honest gains. He was also instrumental in helping the Muslim community receive a grant of land on Lion’s Rump as a cemetery. Frans was often seen, when he was free from his numerous business endeavours using his leisure time working with his slaves building a wall around this cemetery to keep out the cattle that was always grazing at this sacred spot.
He intended to leave the Cape and had thus made over all his property to his wife and adopted children, and was determined to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca and to visit the grave of the Prophet Muhammad (O.W.B.P.) He had made several applications to captains of ships going to the east but have not been successful, until later in 1811, when he sold his half share in the Long Street Mosque to Jan van Bhougies and left the Cape permanently.
He married Mariam. At the time of their marriage, which happened sometime during the 1770′s? The name would have been Nederlands with an appelation “van de Kaap”. They had one son.
Frans’ name first appeared in the records when he manumitted his slave Februarij in 1789. He also signed the petition to Governor Janssens in 1794 for a mosque site, before the British occupied the Cape. He lived at 21 Longmarket Street, before he moved to Long Street.
Frans van Bengalen’s partner in the purchase of the Palm Tree Mosque was Jan van Boughies or rather, Enche Rajap Boughies. His will stated that he was a free man and his wife, Samida van de Kaap, a free woman. He was another one of those persons of whom there are many legends generated in oral history and void of documentary evidence. Jan van Bhougies was not White. The appellation “van Bhougies” was used because he came from Bhougies, in the East Indies.
The opinion that he was white was because his house was the first house in Long Street to have had a prayer room set aside as a mosque. Jan van Bougies owned this house at a time when Malays weren’t generally allowed to own land. Jan van Bougies was the only other person, besides, Tuan Guru, in South Africa to have transcribed the Quran from memory. The last page of the Quran, written in Malayu with the Arabic script, indicated that his monumental task was completed after Assar on the 14th day of Jamaadiel Thani (29) in the year of 1218 A.H. (30) of the Prophet (O.W.B.P.) (31) by Enche Rajab Bougies (Jan van Bougies), son of Jafaar Abu Nya Yakiem. The Quran (32) was passed on to Imam Mammat, (33) who was the successor of Jan van Bougies (Jan van Batavia).
The date corresponds to approximately September 30th 1803 A.D and the translation was made by Hajjie Achmat Brown.
Jan van Bhougies died in 1845, at the age of 112. This age must have been according to the Islamic calendar. This was quite an achievement to live to such a ripe old age. His will made in 1811 he described himself as a free person. He was at that time a man of property who accumulated enough money to have a half share in the purchase of the Long Street property, of which he later assumed full ownership. In 1848 his wife, Samida van de Kaap made her will in which she stipulated that the house in Long Street, used by her late husband, Jan van Bhougies, as a Mohammedan church should be left to the then priest, Maamat van de Kaap, elders, and deacons of the Church of Jan van Bhougies. After their deaths it shall not be sold, pawned or rebuilt, and it will remain the sole property of the Mohammedan congregation under the name of The Church of Jan van Bhougies. Jan van Bhougies also owned a house at 19 Long Street, which was worth £300 at that time. This is quite a princely sum of money in 1845. The administration of his estate was ordered by the Supreme Court. The file on his estate was closed on 11th July 1872.
Samida’s will transferred the property in Long Street, which housed the Church of Jan van Bhougies to Maamat, who was the sole survivor of all the persons named in the will, and who was then the imam.
Samida’s will led to a protracted civil case which, commenced on February 26th 1866, when the case of Ismail and others, Imams, Gatieps and Bilals of the said church came before Justice J. Bell.
“Mammat, the priest who was a member of the corps, was wounded in the battle.” (34) He died at the age of 104 in 1864. His obituary, in a local newspaper, said: “He was much respected by the Malay population, and deservedly so, having led a good life, and devoted his services to the cause of his religious calling with credit to himself and satisfaction to those with whom he came into contact.” The age is most probably according to the Islamic calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar he would be over 100 years old. He was listed in the street directories of Cape Town between 1811 and 1834 as a fisherman.
When the Javanese artillery was formed in 1804, Imam Maamat served under Madlener and Frans van Bengal, at the Battle of Blaauwberg. He died at the age of 104 in 1864 and his obituary, in a local newspaper, said: “He was much respected by the Malay population, and deservedly so, having led a good life, and devoted his services to the cause of his religious calling with credit to himself and satisfaction to those with whom he came into contact.” (35) He was listed in the street directories of Cape Town between 1811 and 1834 as a fisherman.
In 1862 Mahmat executed a deed, based on the will, appointing the defendants to be the imam, Gatieps and Bilals of the Church of Jan van Bhougies. However, he gave himself the right to dismiss any of those persons and appoint others in their stead. He also stated that the house should be transferred to those persons who were last mentioned in this deed and who were still living. Mamaat died in 1864. Between the transfer in 1861 and Maamat’s death, the plaintiffs, left the congregation, because of a dispute with Imam Maamat. According to the evidence the defendant, Ismail, performed all the duties of the Imam, because Imam Maamat was not able to perform those duties due to infirmity. He performed these duties with the full consent and support of the congregation.
The court held that Imam Maamat did not have the power to make the appointments by deed. Under the circumstances they were entitled to be held as duly appointed officers of the church and would be entitled to hold the premises in trust for the congregation. The plaintiffs also, did not lose their rights when they left the church to avoid confrontation with Imam Maamat, and were still entitled to join the service and the congregation at any time they desired. The judge also stated the both custom and law was proved that the senior Gatiep would succeed the deceased as imam. Lastly there is no provision in law or in custom that the imam has the sole right to appoint anyone to succeed him as imam.
The dispute in the mosque occurred when Gatiep with the greatest seniority, Hajjie Danie, returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca and started a campaign to change the manner in which the services were to be conducted. He obtained the key to the mosque and immediately excluded Imam Maamat from the mosque. Imam Maamat took legal action against Danie and others to re-instate him as imam and to have the keys return to him. This action resulted in Imam Maamat being return to his position as imam, which restored his control over the congregation. Danie and his congregation left the Mosque of Jan van Bhougies to establish their own “langar” in a private house. Maamat executed a second deed appointing Ismail as his successor and confirmed the other defendants in their previous positions as Gatieps and Bilals. Danie was the next senior Gatiep and Ismail was the Gatiep next in succession. This action effectively prevented Danie from again usurping the role as imam.
He died intestate, only a death noticed was filed. The death notice was filed on March 27, 1871. On March 27, 1871 an edict was published for a meeting to be held on May 9, 1871 regarding the Estate Late Imam Maamat. On June 9, 1871 the minutes of the meeting indicated that Letters of Administration was granted to Gatiep Moliat as Executive Dative with Kaliel Gafieldien, Mishal Kalieldeen, William Humphrey and Arthur Crowley as sureties. The liquidation account was filed on July 15, 1872.
Saartjie van de Kaap, the wife of Imam Achmat, who was one of Tuan’s Guru’s Ghateebs (36) donated the land in Dorp Street (Wallenberg) to build the Owal Mosque.
In 1811 Imam Achmat and Prince Abdul Raouf took over a three lot parcel of land on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets to build a mosque.(37) The site was owned by Saartjie van de Kaap. Her name indicates she was born at the Cape, because slaves were given names in that manner during the early reign of the D.E.I.C. The property was given to the Muslim community in perpetuity. She was the first female Malay land-owner in Cape Town. She gave the land as a gift to the Muslim community for the building of a mosque. The mosque (38) and a house were built on this site. The house was to serve as a rectory for the imam. Another house was added later on the site; on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets. Imam Achmat in his evidence, given to the Governor in 1825, confirmed the existence of this mosque. (39) The Auwal Mosque is regarded as the first mosque built in Cape Town. At this time it was not called the Auwal Mosque, it was called the Buitengracht Mosque. This mosque was built before 1814. General Craig gave the Malays permission to build this mosque. Contrary to popular opinion, and the date on the minaret, that the mosque was built in 1840, it was built earlier before 1814. It was built for Tuan Guru’s son, Abdul Raouf. However, Imam Abdul Raouf did not immediately assume leadership of the congregation. He only became imam on reaching the age of 40. (40) Imam Achmat was not to become imam after Guru’s death. However, he did become imam before Abdul Raouf reached the age of 40.
The land on which the Owal (Auwal) mosque is located and the adjoining house, is still registered in the name of Saartjie van de Kaap according to the records at the Deeds Office in Cape Town. The above property was first registered in the name of Saartjie van de Kaap on 13th February, 1809.
The properties were originally registered in the names of Douw Steyn. On December 16, 1777 they were transferred from the Estate of Douw Steyn to Jan Minnie, who later transferred the properties to Coenraad Frederick Faasen on September 30, 1784. Faasen transferred it ten years later to Coridon of Bengal on September 26, 1794. He appears to be the first Free Black owner of the property and may have set a trend for the acquisition of nearby properties by Muslims. Cathryn, also a Free Black, inherited the properties from her husband and on his death, became the sole owner of the property. Although Saartjie van de Kaap was already married to Imam Achmat the property was transferred to Saartjie in her maiden name. This didn’t make a real difference since Muslim marriages were not legally recognized. On February 13, 1809 Cathryn transferred the property to her daughter Saartjie van de Kaap.
Saartjie van de Kaap was an independent and strong willed lady who was able to run a household, raise seven children and run her own business at the same time. She has much to be admired when one considers the period during which she lived. The African Court Calendar and Almanac of 1811 listed her as owner of the Preserved Fruit Shop at 2 Boom Steeg. She also listed her as washerwoman at 28 Buitengracht Street. Another listing shows her as the owner of a retail shop at 20 Keerom Street. Her husband, Imam Achmet van Bengalen was listed as a Malay priest living at 42 Dorp Street. In 1821 she was listed as a seamstress at 2 Spin Steeg. Imam Achmet was listed in 1830 at 40 Dorp Street. The information indicates a lady with varied interests and business who was quite an entrepreneur for her day. It could have meant she owned these businesses at different periods, since that the family address was consistent with the location near the Owal Mosque in Dorp Street.
There still exists a belief that Saartjie van de Kaap was White. This was because of the official government position that only Whites or baptized Free Blacks could own property, both Cathryn and Coridon of Bengal were neither, although they still acquired freehold rights and became the registered owners of the property. Both Saartjie and Coridon were Muslims. They were able to purchase the properties and had it registered in their names. The information of the street directories indicate she was a woman with strong business acumen and was continually exploring new business opportunities. This act may have been responsible for her being thought of as a White person. It is rather unfortunate that the oral history and the myths surrounding the acquisition of these sites are not supported by documentary evidence. The other myth is the site was taken over by the Muslim congregation as early as 1794, when Coridon of Bengal bought this site.
Saartjie van de Kaap left the properties in her Estate to the Muslim community to be used as a mosque “as long as the government of the colony should tolerate the practice of the Mohammadan religion.”
She was blessed and fortunate to witness the building of a mosque on that site during her lifetime. According to Saartjie’s will there were four daughters, Noran, Somila, Jumie, and Rosieda and three sons, Mochamat (Muhammad), Hamien and Sadiek. Hamiem became an imam later. He was one of the signatories of a petition to Governor regarding the Khalifa.
It is interesting to note that many Muslims, whose last names was their father’s first name, thus Mochamat became Mochamat Achmat, born 1837, who in turn was the father of Gamja Mochamat Achmat, who died in 1915. This also follows the Islamic tradition but leaves out the “Ibn” (son of appellation). The other problem that one faces with the names of these individuals is that the White clerks who recorded there names on official documents had no idea how to spell them and would write the name as it it sounded to them. Another reason was the standard of literacy of these Muslims. They were not literate in Nederlands or in English so that they had to make a cross on official documents and were not always able to verify the correct information contained in those documents. The majority of them who left estates and wills, signed their names in Arabic, but had to trust their attorneys that they would implement their wishes correctly.
The following letters give a further insight into the problems of the Muslims community regarding the Imam at the Owal mosque.
I fall at your feet and entreat your forgiveness for thus intruding on your time, but I feel it my duty to add a few words. I can declare that Prince Emaum Abdulla, when he became weak, made Rujaap Emaum; who did not live long, at his death Prince Emaum Abdulla made Abdulalim, Emaum. I can also declare that before the death of this Prince, he sent for Achmat, and fully explained to him our Laws and Regulations, which Achmat swore to follow and never alter, it was also the wishes of this Prince – that Achmat would assist Abdulalim in performing his duties, this Emaum being very weak, and that Achmat would not leave him so long as he lived, which orders Achmat observed, until Emaum Abdulalim’s death. At the death of Emaum Abdulalim Serrdeen became Emaum; and at his death Achmat became Emaum. Before the death of the Prince Emaum Abdulla, he said to me and many other of his scholars – that it was his wish that we should all go to Achmat, and remain with him, and he would instruct and direct us in all things necessary which I did, and still remain with him.
This letter was signed by Abdolbazier. Similar information was contained in another letter written by Abdol Barick. (42)
I declare that when I was a scholar of Prince Emaum Abdulla, there was no church for our religion but afterwards there were so many Islams in the Cape that it was necessary to have a church; so Prince Imaum Abdulla made a church of the house of Achmat, which still stands; the second (Imam after) of Prince Imaum Abdulla was Rujaap, and I was a scholar of the Prince E. Abdulla. About this time Emaum Rujaap died; at which period Prince Emaum Abdulla made Abdulalim, Emaum; and me Clerk. It was Emaum Abdulalim’s wishes, that after his death Sourdeen should become Emaum, which took place; and I became under Priester, and Achmat was second of Emaum Sourdeen; so that at his death Achmat was Emaum. All I have to add is that from that time until now, I have never had reason of complain of our regulations. My prayers and supplications are for the welfare of our country and King, and I constantly offer up my prayers that the Almighty may shower down his blessings and prosperity on our Emaum, and all the worthy gentlemen of our Government.
I remain with respect, Honored Gentlemen,
Your humble servant,
In 1825 Imam Medien declared that there were two large mosques and five smaller ones in Cape Town. (44) The smaller ones would most probably be houses with prayer rooms. Imam Achmat confirmed this and added further:
I have officiated for many years, and for the last three I have been high priest. My predecessor, who died about three years ago, was the first to have been allowed to officiate and build a place of worship in Dorpstreet, where I reside. General Craig permitted him to erect it, and allowed the exercise of the Mohametan worship. This had not been permitted by the old Dutch government, but General Janssens gave authority for when the Dutch resumed the government, and when he enlisted the free Malays to serve as soldiers.
What number of places of worship has been erected? -
We have two regular ones that are acknowledged; the other is in Long-street. There was originally but one. The second was erected by a man named Jan; in consequence of a separation, he is not acknowledged by us. There are many persons who officiate as priests and instruct the people but they are not authorized to do so.
What number of people attend your mosque? –
About 50 attend every Friday, and there may be from 80-90 who belong to the mosque. There is no room for their families to attend. (45)
Imam Achmat states quite clearly that there were two established mosques in Cape Town; The Owal Mosque in Dorp Street and the mosque in Long Street. The latter one he states quite clearly was established because all split in the Malay community. It is also implied he would like to be responsible for “acknowledging” mosques and imams, hence his self-styled title, “high priest.” One can also infer from Imam Achmat’s statement that the first mosque, built in the quarry was not recognized as a mosque. He states clearly that the first mosque was the one in Dorp Street.
The Rev. John Campbell, who visited the Cape, wrote a description of the Jumah prayers held on Friday February 11, 1814 in the Auwal mosque.
On Friday, the 11th February, I visited a Mohametan (sic) mosque. The place was small; the floor was covered with green baize, on which sat about a hundred men, chiefly slaves, Malays and Madagascars. All of them wore clean white robes, made in the fashion of shirts, and white pantaloons, with white cotton cloths spread before them, on which they prostrated themselves. They sat in rows, extending from one side of the room to the other. There were six priests, wearing elegant turbans, a chair having three steps up to it, stood at the east end of the place, which had a canopy supported by posts, resembling the tester of a bed without trimmings. Before this chair stood two priests, who chanted something, I suppose in the Malay language, in the chorus of which the people joined. At one part of it the priests held their ears between the finger and the thumb of each hand, continuing to chant, sometimes turning the right elbow upwards and the left downwards, and then the reverse. After this form was ended, one of the priests covered his head and face with a white veil, holding in his hand a long black staff with a silver head, and advanced in front of the chair. When the other had chanted a little, he mounted a step, making a dead halt; after a second chanting he mounted the second step, and in the same way the third, when he sat down upon the chair. He descended in the same manner.
The people were frequently, during this form, prostrating themselves in their ranks as regularly as soldiers exercising. A corpulent priest then standing in the corner, near the chair with his face to the wall, repeated something in a very serious singing manner, when the people appeared particularly solemn; after which the service concluded. (46)
Further confirmation was the statement by Campbell was the statement, “… holding in his hand a long black staff with a silver head …” This “staff” was Tuan Guru’s tonka. The tonka is a staff which the imam holds in his hand during the sermon (khutbah). The silver head is the identification mark of Tuan Guru. Since Campbell visited the mosque in 1814, is clear evidence that the mosque was completed before 1814.
In 1822 William Wilberforce Bird noted that the Malays met in private houses and rooms. It appears that this civil servant was not aware that there were two mosques in Cape Town. It is strange that such a well known civil servant was not aware of the Auwal Mosque was built, so that in 1822 it went unmentioned in an account.
The Malays, who are supposed to amount to nearly three thousand, carry on their devotion in rooms and halls fitted up for the purpose and occasionally in the stone quarries near the town. One of their Imams is said to be a learned man, well versed in the Hebrew and Arabic tongues, and in Al Coran, which he chants with taste and devotion. It must be acknowledged with shame and sorrow, that Mohametanism makes great progress amongst the lower orders at the Cape. But where there is the greatest zeal, there will be the most effect. (47)
Bird clears up a very important point, that in spite of building the Auwal Mosque, the stone quarry continued to be used as a place of assembly and a place for prayer. It could also be because the original mosque was still there, and he simply thought the quarry was used as an “open air” assembly.
Tuan’s Guru’s sons, Abdul Raouf and Abdul Rakiep followed their father, but were only able to become imams when they reached 40. A person by the name of Isaac Muntar who appeared as a witness in this civil action in the civil action of Achmat Sadick and Others vs. Abdul Rakiep or Ragiep, August 28 to September 2, 1873; stated that Imam Abdul Roove was the first imam, although Imam Achmat van Bengalen was the imam but had the step aside when Imam Abdul Roove reach the age of majority (40 years). Witnesses also mentioned that Imam Abdul Rakiep was imam at the same time as his brother. Both of them became imams at the Auwal Mosque.
The court case, Achmat Sadick and Others vs. Abdul Rakiep verified this information, but it calls the mosque in dispute, the Buitengracht Mosque. The civil action was brought by the youngest son of Imam Achmat and Saartje van de Kaap, Achmat Sadick against Tuan Guru’s grandson, Abdul Rakiep, the son of Imam Abdul Roove. The plaintiffs, Achmat Sadick and Others, wanted to evict the Imam Abdul Rakiep, because he had become a Hanafee, since he was taught by Abu Bakr Effendi. Although Imam Abdul Rakiep was awarded the judgment with cost and thus won the civil suit. One could say he won the battle but lost the war, because he actually lost the role of imam of that mosque. The descendants of Tuan Guru moved to the Mosque in Main Road, Claremont, while the Achmat family resumed their roles as imams of the Owal Mosque. This was evidence in the book by Bradlow and Cairns on the family of Imam Achmat. Imam Mochamat Achmat’s will stated that he appointed his son, Amienodien Gamja imam at the “Mohammedan Church” corner of Dorp and Buitengracht Streets. The inference is that the present house on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets was a later addition.
The mosque that was called in the civil case, the “Buitengracht Mosque” and the Nurul Islam Mosque, located at 134 Buitengracht Street is not the same mosque. The following information will help to explain the history of the two mosques. The land on which the Owal Mosque is located is designated as Erf #2839. This parcel of land was transferred to Coridon van Bengal on September 26, 1794, and was later transferred from the Estate late Coridon van Bengal to Saartjie van de Kaap on February 3, 1809. Coridon was Saartjie’s father. The other lot, which is Erf # 2840 was transferred from Cathryn van de Kaap, the mother of Saartjie van de Kaap, to Saartjie van de Kaap on December 6, 1811. The mosque site is still in the name of Saartjie van De Kaap, when I examined the records at the Deeds Office in Cape Town. The other lot, Erf #2840, was owned by Achmat van Bengalen. That lot was on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets.
In the 1873 court case , Sedick vs Rakiep (Tuan Guru’s grandson) the Owal Mosque was referred to as the Buitengracht Street Mosque. The mosque at that time was located on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets.
The present Buitengracht Street mosque is Erf # 2797. (48) The Erf #2797 was transferred by JHM Isleb to Jassar Mohamed Saadien in 1905. Erf #2797 was subidivided into Erf #2797 (Lot B) and Erf # 2796. Erf #2797 or Lot B was later transferred from Jassar Mohamed Saadien to the Nurul Islam Congregation on September 30, 1912. On November 2 1928 The Noorel Islam Congregation sold that lot to Imam Gabebodien Hartley. On June 6, 1939 the property was transferred by Imam Gabebodien Hartley to the Trustees of the British Nizan of Afghanistan Society. This mosque is today called the Nurul Islam mosque. The records of the Deeds office show conclusively that the mosque could only have been built after 1912, when it was transferred to the Nurul Islam Congregation.
The Bulding of the Second Mosque
After the emancipation of the slaves there was a definite spurt in the growth of Islam. This led to further efforts to build another mosque in Cape Town. This mosque was built about 1850 in Chiappini Street.
Mayson describes a visit to the mosque in 1854:
There is only one mosque in Cape Town. This large, substantial but plain and unminaretted edifice has lately been erected with the concurrence and favoured by the patronage of the municipal authorities: with an implied guarantee that it was to be used by the Mohametans in common, irrespective of their misunderstandings. It is occupied by one section of them only. A smaller mosque was used before the present one was built; before its erection the Malays performed their religious services in the adjacent stone quarries. There are about twelve chapels or mosjids, for daily service, in the houses of superior priest. Each of these, as well as the mosque, contains a painted and arched recess at the end opposite the entrance, indicating the direction of Mecca; and is scrupulously clean. (49)
This description applies to the second mosque built in Cape Town. This mosque is the Jamia Mosque, located on the corner of Chiappini and Castle Streets, constructed about or before 1850.
This mosque site was granted by the British authorities in co-operation and exchange for their support in the border War of 1846 against the Xhosas. A description of their participation was given in an earlier chapter. Queen Victoria made good her promise of the mosque site as well as the rights to the land area in Faure, near the site of Sheik Joseph’s grave. The mosque site was originally owned by the Municipality of Cape Town and transferred to Imam Abdul Wahab in 1857. The two sites were granted in freehold to the Muslim community under the trusteeship of Imam Abdul Wahab. This mosque, because of the grant of the British authorities, had the British Coat of Arms above the Mighrab (or niche), and is the only one that had the feathers of the Prince of Wales above the mimbar (altar). For this reason the Jamia Mosque was sometimes called the Queen Victoria Mosque. (50) The first imam was Imam Abdulbazier, who was only Imam for a few months. He was succeeded by Imam Abdul Wahab in 1852.
This was the same mosque which Lady Duff Gordon visited on Friday, March 21, 1862.
I had just come from prayer, at the Mosque in Chiappini Street, on the outskirts of the town. A most striking site. A large room like the country ballroom with glass chandeliers, carpeted with a common carpet, all but a space at the entrance, railed off for shoes; the Caaba and pulpit at one end; over the niche, a crescent painted; and over the entrance door a crescent, an Arabic inscription and the royal arms of England! A fat jolly Mollah looked amazed as I ascended the steps; but when I touched my forehead and said ‘Salaam, Aleikoom,’ he laughed and said, ‘Salaam, Salaam,’ come in, come in! The faithful poured in, all neatly dressed in their loose drab trousers, blue jackets, and red handkerchiefs on their heads; they left their wooden clogs in company with my shoes, and proceeded, as it appeared to strip. Off with jackets, waistcoats, and trousers, with the dexterity of a pantomime transformation; the red handkerchief was replaced by a white skull-cap, and a long large white shirt and full white drawers flowed around them. How it had all been stuffed into the trim jacket and trousers, one could not conceive. Gay sashes and scarves were pulled out of a little bundle in a clean silk handkerchief and a towel served as prayer-carpet. In a moment the whole scene was as oriental as if the Hansom cab I had come in existed no more. Women suckled their children, and boys played among the clogs and shoes, all the time, and I sat on the floor in a remote corner. The chanting was very fine, and the whole ceremony decorous and solemn. It lasted an hour; then the little heaps of garments were put on, and the congregation dispersed, each man first laying a penny on a curious little old Dutch-looking, heavy ironbound chest, which stood in the middle of the room. (51)
In my interview with Imam M. Nacerodien in 1976 he stated that the mimbar and the tonga were the original ones that were used when the mosque opened in 1857. He claimed that the mosque was opened on November 9, 1857. He stated that this statement would be verified by an article in the Cape Argus of November 9, 1957, when they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Jameah Mosque. Unfortunately I have not been able to verify these dates and the information.
The mosques in Cape Town were built in the same styles as the mosques in the East or in other Islamic countries. One reason for this could be the cost of building a mosque and the financial state of the Muslims. In 1861 an article on “Islam at the Cape” which appeared in the Cape Monthly Magazine, an unknown observer gives the following description about the Muslims of Cape Town:
Their mosques are assimulated externally as near as may be, to the style of Christian churches of the locality, and have precisely the appearance of the ‘Bethel’ of some English country place designed by the village carpenter. These structures are called, even by the Dutch, ‘Islamsche Kerk’, and we all remember that the priests, although they were probably put up to it, as a political manoeuvre, did actually petition the Colonial Parliament for a share of the sums voted for Ecclesiastical purposes.
The original building gave the appearance of a church. The only explanation I can offer for this is that the architect or the draughtsman was familiar with the appearance of a church and had never seen mosque.
A few years later a fourth mosque was built in Claremont. This mosque was built about 1855 (53) the site was donated by a Slamdien for the building of a mosque. A member of Abdul Raouf’s family became the imam at this mosque, and the trustee of the mosque was to be the imam at the Auwal Mosque in Dorp Street. Tuan Guru’s family became imams at this mosque. Their involvement at the Owal Mosque may have ended with the court case of Sedick vs Rakiep.
The evidence of the civil case, Sadick Achmet and Others vs. Abdol Rakiep indicated there was no Hanafee Mosque at the Cape by 1873. The Hanafee congregation decided to build a mosque. On December 12, 1881 Erf #2627 in Long Street was transferred from John Coenraad Wicht to the Moslem Sect Aghanaf. This mosque was completed shortly after it was acquired.
This has been an attempt to delineate the efforts to build mosques in Cape Town to serve the large and growing Muslim population during the administration of the British Government. Starting from a negative attitude in 1797 and developing towards a positive position, with the granting of the first mosque site in 1806. This grant acknowledged the Malays as an integral part of the population and de facto, their right to practice their own religion. Whether it was in fact an open admission of freedom of religion, which it appears to be, or it was an attempt to show the judicious and humanitarian attitude of the British authorities, is not clear. The development of Islam continued to grow and foster, and although it was a common policy of the British to grant church sites for all denominations, the Malays decided to apply for sites to ensure that this privilege applied to them as well. In spite of Theal’s assertion that another site was granted during the rule of Somerset, I have been unable to find any evidence of a mosque built during his administration. On the other hand, it may refer to the site of the Auwal Mosque. This site was not granted by Somerset, but he may have given them permission to build the mosque.
The last two sites were definitely an attempt by the British to offer the Malays complete freedom to practice their religion. British policies during this period seemed to have been more liberal, and definitely a positive reaction to a previous negative position as far as the administrations of various governors, and the Colonial Office, were concerned.
1. S.A. Rochlin, “The First Mosque at the Cape,” South African Journal of Science, XXXIII (March, 1937) pp 1100-1105.
2. F.R. Bradlow and M. Cairns, The Early Cape Muslims, (Cape Town: Balkema 1978)
3. I.D. du Plessis, “The Cape Malays, (Cape Town: Balkema, 1972)
4. Roos, The Plakaat Books of the Cape.
5. Tuan Guru
6. Charles Peter Thunberg, Travels in Europe, Africa and Asia Made Between the Years 1770 and 1779. 4 vols. (London: Richardson, Cornhill and Egerton, 1796) I, pp. 132-4.
7. George Forster, A Voyage Round the World. pp. 60-61.
8. Moodie, The Record.
10. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, Travels in Asia, Africa and Europe, I, p. 68.
11. De Mist, Memorandum.
12. Records, V, p. 120.
13. John Barrow, An Account of Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa in the Years 1797 and 1798. (London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1801) p. 427.
14. Cape Archives A602/9, Book No. 9, Hudson S.E., Manuscript Diary
16. Cape Archives, BO/154, Item 17, Incoming letter
17. Cape Archives, BO/154, item 236, Covering letter
18. It was because of this commitment that the Malays were formed into the Javanese or Malay Artillery, as it has been indicated in an earlier chapter.
19. George M. Theal, The History of South Africa Since 1795, (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1915) 5 vols. I, p. 4190.
20. South African Commercial Advertiser, February 27, 1836. The letter by Prince Abdul Raouf is printed in full.
21. Achmat Zadick and Others vs. Abdul Ragiep, August 28, 1873. and the civil case of Mahmat vs. Danie, 1866
22. George M. Theal, The History of South Africa Since 1795, (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1915) 5 vols. I, p. 419-420
23. This was called the Palm Tree Mosque (also known as the church of Jan van Bhougies). It was called a langar since it was located in the “Lange Straat” or Long Street. See another explanation in this chapter.
24. “Encyclopedia of Islam,” E.J. Brill, (London: 1913)
25. Burchell, Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, p. 55.
26. The information was obtained from records at the Deeds Office in Cape Town. The transfer took place on October 25, 1811. The house was later transferred from Frans van Bengal to Jan van Bhougies.
27. The will was written in Malayu using the Arabic script. It was witnessed by Frans van Bengalen on May 2, 1807.
28. Leibrandt, Requesten, p. 463.
29. The sixth month of the Islamic calendar
30. It is approximately September 30th 1803.
31. O.W.B.P. On Whom Be Praised refers to the Prophet Muhamad. Whenever his name is mention, a Muslim would say O.W.B.P.
32. This Qur’an is currently in the possession of my brother Imam Yaseen Harris. It was passed from Jan van Bhoughies to Imam Mammat. It was owned by my grandfather Hajjie Mohummad Ghanief Harries and then my father Imam Sulaiman Harris. We were fortunately to find a person who was able to translate the Malay, Hajjie Ahmad Brown.
33. He was appointed Imam after the death of Jan van Bhougies at the Palm Street Mosque.
34. Eric Aspeling, pp. 16-17. Maximilien Kollisch, pp. 36-37.
36. Assistant imams
37. This mosque was called “The Auwal Mosque.”
38. The building of this mosque on the corner of Buitengracht and Dorp Streets has caused some confusion., since the court records of Sadick Achmat and Others vs. Abdul Ragiep of August 28, 1873, refers to this mosque as the Buitengracht Mosque, whereas it was actually the Dorp Street Mosque or Owal Mosque,. The Nurul Islam Mosque in Buitengracht was not the one referred to in the court case. This latter mosque site was only transferred to the Nurul Islam congregation in 1905.
39. British Parliamentary Papers #50 of 1835, pp. 207-210.
40. South African Commercial Advertiser, February 27, 1836. The letter by Prince Abdul Roove is printed in full in this chapter.
41. South African Commercial Advertiser. February 27, 1836.
43. Ibid. Similar letters were published from Imam Achmat, Achtardeen and Hagt.
44. British Parliamentary Papers #50 of 1835, pp. 207-210.
45. British Parliamentary Papers, #50 of 1835, pp. 207-210.
46. John Campbell Travels in South Africa, (London: Flagg and Gould, 1816), pp. 327-328.
47. W.W. Bird, The State of the Cape of Good Hope in 1822. p. 68
48. Erf #2797 This lot was first transferred by deed of transfer # 160 on 28th June 1811. This land was transferred 24th October 1905 by JHM Isleb to Jassar Mohamed Saadien. Part of this lot was then sold (Lot B) and became Erf # 2796 by JM Saadien on 30th September 1912 to the Noorel Islam Congregation of Cape Town. Erf # 2796 was then sold on 2nd November 1928 by the Noorel Islam Congregation to Gabebodien Hartley. He then sold it on 6th June 1939 to the Trustees of the British Mizan of Afghanistan Society.
49. John Schofield Mayson, The Malays of Cape Town, (Manchester: John Galt, 1861), pp. 21-22.
50. Mayson, p. 32.
51. Dorothy Fairbridge, ed. , Letters From the Cape by Lady Duff Gordon, (London: Oxford University Press, 1927).
52. Mayson, p. 32.