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Title: Islamic architecture in the Cape South Africa, 1794-2013
Author: Hirsch, Phoebe
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9766
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis documents how Islamic architecture developed from the first known 'masjid' in the Cape in 1794, to masjids that are now able to take their place with masjids recognised throughout the present day Muslim world, 2013. Cape masjids resulted from the Dutch needing a hallway station to serve the rich spice trade of the East. This was founded at the Cape, and to be able to establish this midway post, Muslim enslaved people were brought in to execute the needed labour. These Muslims had little or no conception of any architecture but simply needed a place to gather together for communal prayers. Islam and Muslims are inseparable and Islamic architecture exists because of Islam, which in the Cape evolved from very simple gathering together in the open air, progressing to rooms in houses which developed gradually into the form of masjids known today. There are also kramats, (burial places for esteemed persons who were fundamental in the establishment of Islam in the Cape). Sixty-six (66) masjids, and twelve (12) kramats in the Cape Town area are documented, with the socio-historical background of each, thereby giving a broad ethnographic context to the people within this community, showing that these constrained people with shared religious interests developed very differently from other Muslim communities and hence so did their architecture. Cape Islamic architecture varies greatly, and presently even reverts to a very simple edifice like a shipping container, showing that all these edifices serve the same religious purpose.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral