At the heart of the Bo-Kaap is a new hub that aims to teach visitors about the culture and traditions of Cape Malay Muslims from the cradle to the grave.
The newly opened Bo-Kaap Cultural Hub exhibition promises visitors and tourists a full experience of the Bo-Kaap magic, with a glimpse of the unique customs and traditions of the area.
This is an initiative by the Boorhaanol Islam Movement, a community based organisation that has been combining religious educational initiatives with socio-economic upliftment programmes in the area for over 50 years.
Curator Masturah Adams said the cultural hub aims to look at how they can become self-sufficient and raise funds for the many initiatives that they run.
“What one experiences in this hub is from the time the child is born, how we live as the Cape Malay Muslim community, the culture and the different ceremonies that takes place throughout the years and our very own language,” she said.
Ms Adams said Cape Muslims have always had their own language but they have become “Arabised, Indianised and westernised” and through this hub, they want to get back to their roots.
“This is to ensure we know where we come from and we know who we are from and that we are not going through an identity crisis,” she said.
Ms Adams said they’ve lost some of their unique words. “For example, for janazah (a Muslim funeral prayer, part of the Islamic funeral ritual) we used to say Kiefiat. That is the original language of Cape Malay.
“We are starting to lose that and the next generation is not even aware of some of those traditional words,” she said.
She said a lot of people visiting the area always focused on the architecture of the area and they want to give them more than that.
“We’ve been told by many tourists that they love the area and they always want to come back but there’s nothing to come back to besides the drive/walk-though around the area,” she said.
She said they hope to reach out to as many people as possible to educate them about their lifestyle as Cape Muslim and how they live daily.
“The richness and the colourfulness in this room, is really our lifestyle,” she said.
Ms Adams said the community has been showcased internationally yet there is no actual benefit to the Bo-Kaap other than the frustration of having buses parking all over the place.
“We hope the tour operators will include this hub as part of their package and itinerary. It is about an hour tour and we would really like to get support on this initiative,” she said.
The hub will also offer tasting sessions to visitors depending on what they want, with food ranging from what is served on the birth of a child, to Ramadaan and Eid.
“This is to ensure that they experience the lifestyle and taste and Cape Malay cuisine which is consistent with the experience,” she said.
The hub is open from 9am to 5pm every day. The entry free is R50 for adults and R20 for children. The organisation also offers group bookings. For more information, contact Masturah Adams on 083 286 2480.