Port Elizabeth, – The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Cape Town stated that the ulema of Indonesia had an important role in establishing the foundation and early spread of Islam in South Africa.
The team from the Indonesian Consulate General in Cape Town visited the burial area of the Indonesian ulema located in Port Elizabeth. They discussed with the Head of the Cape Malay Community, Yusuf Agherdien.
According to a press statement from the Indonesian Consulate General in Cape Town on Wednesday, the tomb area contains dozens of graves with tombstones carved in Jawi Arabic script. One of the tombstones translated by Askolani, a santri from Pekalongan who was in Port Elizabeth, reads:
“Abu Raffie bin Maulana Ngobaa Jawi from Banten returned to Rahmatullah at the age of 78 years and 6 months from two Wednesday night trips during Isha month of Rabiul at the end of Hijriyah in 1277 Hijriyah.”
Yusuf Agherdien requested the support of the Indonesian Consulate General in Cape Town in preserving the grave of an Indonesian cleric in Port Elizaberth. He will also propose to the local government that the burial area is designated as South Africa’s national heritage.
If it is designated as a national heritage, Yusuf hopes that the original tombstone can be placed in the museum and made a replica for the burial area.
Not far from the tomb area is the Strand Street Mosque which is the first mosque in Port Elizabeth which was completed in June 1866.
The mosque is a waqf from the house of Abu Salie Nabie, an Indonesian cleric who is Abu Raffi’s brother.
The tomb in the Port Elizabeth area and the Strand Street mosque are evidence that Indonesian clerics had an important role in the early spread of Islam in South Africa. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)