Yusuf Fisher, (aka boeta Yusuf) is once of Cape Town Community radio stations favourite presenters and one of the first presenters at the Voice of the Cape Radio. Known for his warm, friendly manner of speaking, Boeta yusuf is associated with his popular weekend program "The Golden Oldies" where he entertains the aged with nostalgic tunes and topics.
This time, boeta Yusuf found himself speaking to a panel of sports people. Nabeel & Faheem (aka the Jackson bro's) were in studio last Night between 10PM - 11PM speaking about one of their passions, Seni Silat - malay martial arts. A special guest by the name of Ammaar Delarey, was interviewed telephonically and brought his experiences in silat into the homes of thousands of Capetonians, and others across the world.
Ammaar, a 16 year old junior Silat instructor residing in Bosmont, johannesburg explained how he became a martial arts instructor in the AZHAR Seni Beladiri Silat school at such a young age. Assuming the leadership role of Instructor testifies to the confindence and trust in him by his teacher Ka' Jojo, who trained Ammaar for a full 10 months. Ammaar was thrown into the deep end when asked to continue teaching what he has learnt, when Ka' Jojo had to return to indonesia at the end of 2010. Until this day, Ka Jojo is unable to return to South Africa due to inconsistancies with VISA issues on the part of the South African embassy in Jakarta.
"Teaching silat in itself is a learning process, and it is an honour and privelage for me to teach the art", explained Ammaar. As one of the first students of Ka' Jojo Prihardjono, an east javanese Silat coach. Ammaar has proven himself worthy to be chosen to represent South Africa for the first time at the International Silat World Championship in 2010 held in Jakarta. He competed in the 'tanding' category, which is the silat sport / sparring aspect. He stresses that his participation was merely to gain experience amongst world reknown competitors in the sport. "So you went there to merely get a beating", jokes boeta Yusuf Fisher.
No Pain, no gain! is the spirit that Ammaar will take with him when he travels to Indonesia for his second time. In December this year, he will be given intensive training in Silat teaching methodology, Massage, Jury training and of course martial arts for 1 month before returning to South Africa. A heavy Amaanah (duty) lies on his shoulders as he is now responsible for further developing 20-30 of his students in the art of Silat.
Back home, the PSSPM (Persatuan Seni Silat Pukulan Melaka) silat school continues to promote the silat heritage. "Why should anyone learn Silat" asks Boeta Yusuf. Apart from the apparent health & fitness benefits, our silat is an art close to home for muslims, as we learn how to connect our hearts and bodies when doing Silat. All our sessions begin with invocations to Allah requesting His blessing and drawing strength from Him " says Faheem. Nabeel has started Silat training for the young and old at the Maitland community hall on the corner of patton and coronation roads. "Training starts at 9AM and ends 11:30AM, every saturday morning", says Nabeel.
***The Azhar silat school in Johannesburg was founded in South Africa by Indonesian Businessman Sariat Arifia, who ran an import-export business in Johannesburg. Ka Jojo, was then brought to south africa in 2009 to train interested youth in the art, and since then, the school grew from a few to a few hundred. More can be read about Azhar Seni beladiri ... www.nvpermai.com
After a short and sweet month of Ramadhan, the Maitland Youth Movement has initiated the Silat classes on Saturday 10 Sept 2011. Abang Nabeel, silat coach, has initially started the silat training at the venue 2 months prior to Ramadhan. The Maitland area is seen by many as unsafe and is home to many vagrants, drug smugglers and dodgy persons. The youth needs continuous guidance from responsible people in the area, hence the formation of the Muslim youth Movement.
Mr Junaid Anthony, leader of the Maitland Youth Movement, invited the pukulan melaka silat team to demonstrate the art to the youth. Shortly thereafter, classes were started and training took off in order to provide the youth with healthy and positive activities. Unfortunately, many students did not turn up for the training due to transport issues. the other challenge faced is that the venue was not always secure on a weekly basis, which caused a setback for consistent training. This issue has now been sorted so that students can attend weekly training in a safe enviroment.
As the leader of the MYM, Mr Anthony himself has signed up for silat training, along with a few others. PSSPM (persatuan seni silat pukulan melaka) will hopefully continue to grow and assist in making a difference in the community, inshaAllah.
Cape Town, a world on its own, and a place where the ocean breeze is shared by its multiracial community. This is the place where great things happenned. Colonised by the Dutch and British, its inhabitants have freed themselves from the shackles of slavery, apartheid and oppression. More than 300 years have passed since the malays from Indonesia has established the greatest religion of all times on Cape Towns soil. Islam is shared by all races in South Africa, and it is still a growing religion chosen by many people worldwide against all odds.
Historians and critics can say what they like, but the spirit of the malays has been preserved as many people in Cape Town who find themselves in the predicament of uncertainty about their genealogy are now curiously digging up old documents, heirlooms, and archival records tracing back their roots to the asian lands. One thing that stands out is the fact that not many Capetonians have a direct and pure lineage to Indonesia or Malaysia. It is a blessing in disguise that some familes have Eurasian genealogy. Islam has brought about the intermixing and intermarrying amongst many malay families. In other cases, intermixing of bloodlines were due to more gruesome factors like the rape of slaves by European slave masters.
It is a very peculiar fact that Pencak Silat , the art of war of the malays has vanished completely in practice and writing from Cape Malay Culture. An old Keris (malay dagger with a wavy blade) can be found at the District Six Museum in Cape Town, showing evidence that there were definitely some malay people who had access and knowledge of the art. The Rakiep family, who are direct descendants of Tuan Guru imam Abdullah bin Qadi Abdussalam still has some weaponry which belonged to the great Wali upon his arrival as a political exile to the Cape by the Dutch in the 1700's.
Whether you are malay, indian, caucasian, black, chinese or bengalese, Silat today is practiced by all and many even as far as the UK and USA. A challenge now rests on the malays of Cape Town to connect and revisit their heritage which has been lost many years ago due to the political climate at the time. Silat can be enjoyed by young and old, and by anyone from any religion or culture. Lets celebrate our heritage by sharing it.
Perhaps all thats left of Silat in Cape Town is the phrase "EK SLAT VIR JOU!!!"
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