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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