Ramadan in Cape Town, South Africa – Live correspondence!

Ramadan in Cape Town, South Africa – Live correspondence!
bo-kaap-mosque  Ramadan in Cape Town, South Africa - Live correspondence! bo kaap mosque

One of the most picturesque quarters of a beautiful city is Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap. Once known as the Malay Quarter, the area was in fact the home of a predominately Muslim population drawn from many quarters of the eastern world, and imported to The Cape predominately as slaves or bonded workers during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Ramadaan in Cape Town is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. In this blessed month, community spirit is heightened and the love we have for our neighbours and each other is more visible. Our busy lives slows down to revive the beautiful cultures taught to us by our elders.

Children from as young as 5 or 6 are excited to join in on the fasting experience. Homes are cleaned and painted in Shabaan in preparation. Freezers are stocked up with delicious savouries like samosa, pies, pizzas and other yummy goodies so that we don’t spend too much time in the holy month preparing it.

Ramadaan this year is in Winter in South Africa so our hours are from 6-30 am till about 6pm. In summertime the hours extend from 4am till 8am and this becomes very difficult for the little ones especially when the heat levels rise. The average middle class home is not equipped with air conditioning so we rely on fans to keep is cool due to the high cost of electricity.

During Ramadaan the masjid is buzzing with activity especially around iftaar time. The men come to the masjid to break their fast and bring along a plate of the goodies prepared at home, to share with others. The most prominent culture which is dying out is the sharing of food with neighbours. You send a plate of savouries or special treats to the neighbour who returns it with food.  Everyone has a huge variety of food on the table. WIth the focus on healty eating in our communities and cancer scares, many people have abandoned traditional oily fatty Ramadaan dishes and stuck to their usual healthy diets. So the act of sharing is now gone. Instead some people would send a box of dates to loved ones for the month.

Shops, Schools, Work hours however, all remain the same. But our constitution accomodates every culture and religion, Muslims get the day off for Eid.

The children are treated like royalty in Ramadaan. They can choose and request what they wish to eat. mom makes it. We usually buy them a daily treat for their fasting efforts. And at the end of Ramadaan they get a big gift.

Ghodeejah will be fasting half day till 1pm and then she gets a sandwich and glass of milk or water. then she will continue fasting till iftaar. she still needs to get used to the feeling of being hungry. its scary for kids they not used to it and their instincts are telling them they need to meet that need. so inshallah its her first year and im taking it slow.

*This article is posted on behalf of Sister Fahmieda Barends who is 34 yrs old and is of Indian descent.  Born and raised in Western Cape. She has an undergraduate degree in Commerce IT from the University of Cape Town.  Currently a full time mom of 4 children (9,7,5,3) and has been married for 11 years.

Dr. Rizalina Bahari

A trained GP turned stay at home mum to 2 young kids.Currently based in Jeddah.I did my medical training in Ireland. Loves experimenting with healthy recipes ,baking,reading,travelling. Challenging myself to keep fit & healthy and learn Quranic Arabic!

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