Religious Tourism

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Mosques and Kramats
Kramats and mosques are an important part of South African heritage as they represent the second oldest religion introduced to the country. The first Muslims brought to the cape arrived as Malay slaves, who practiced their faith in secret until the early 19th century. Prisoners who were fighting for freedom in the Dutch East Indies were also brought to the Cape. They included teachers of Islam. Some of these holy men were of noble birth and those who died were buried in shrines known as Kramats or Mazaars, of which there are about 30 in and around Cape Town. Kramats in South Africa can be found from Muizenberg to Mowbray, with four on signal hill alone. The most visited by pilgrims is that of Sheikh Yusuf of Macassar in the dunes near Macassar Beach. He was the first to read from the holy Koran in South Africa, and is regarded as the father of local Islam. Other important Kramats are those of the last Malaccan sultan, Sheikh Abdurahman Matebe Shahnat, at the gates to Klein Constantia and of Sheikh Sayed Abdurahman Maturu of Jafet on Robben Island. Islam now has a substantial following, with most of the mosques in South Africa located in the Western Cape, Johannesburg and Durban. The Jumah mosque in Durban is the largest in the Southern hemisphere. Built in 1927, its architecture is a mix of Islamic and colonial styles. Another interesting mosque is the palm tree mosque, in central Cape Town, in the only surviving 18th century house built by Carel Lodewijk Schot. The Juma Masjid Mosque in Grey Street in Durban, the oldest and largest mosque in the southern hemisphere, is another prime example of religious buildings in South Africa. The mosque is a fusion of strong union-period vernacular style and Islamic decorations. There is a bridge on the roof of the mosque that extends to the nearby girls' school, and the girls use the roof as a playground on weekdays. The Mosque is in the commercial centre of Durban so pick up a traditional bunny chow to munch on while you gander at the architecture.

Embassy News
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts a working dinner for the South African members of SA-Saudi Business Council Pretoria, March 30, 2010. The Ambassador of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques in South Africa, Mr. Mohamed bin Mahmoud Al Ali hosted a working dinner for the South African members of the South African - Saudi Business Council. The dinner was attended by the executive chairman of the South African members Dr. Igbal Surve and all the other members. The working dinner was held to exchange views on how to advance the business relations between the two countries and to prepare for the forthcoming visit to South Africa by a delegation of Saudi businessmen. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes His Eminence Imam Al-Haram during his visit to the Republic of South Africa Pretoria, March 2, 2010. The Ambassador of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques in South Africa, Mr. Mohamed bin Mahmoud Al Ali hosted a luncheon on honour of His Eminence Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Ali Al-Gamdi who visited South Africa to interact with the South African Muslim community and to enhance the objectives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in consolidating the ties with the Muslim communities through out the world. The luncheon was attended by leading figures of the Muslim community in South Africa and staff members of the Arabic and Islamic diplomatic missions. Sheikh Dr. Khalid bin Ali Al-Gamdi also visited the cities of Cape Town and Durban where he met with the Muslim communities. Ambassador of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques hosts a dinner in honor of Deputy President of Marketing and Media in the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities Pretoria, February 24, 2010. The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Mohamed bin Mahmoud Al Ali hosted a dinner party on honour of Mr. Abdullah bin Sulman Al-Johani, Deputy President in charge of Marketing...
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