Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Kramat of Shaykh Yusuf of Macassar

Shaykh Yusuf was born at Macassar in 1626. He was also known as Abadin Tadia Tjoessoep. He was of noble birth, a maternal nephew of King Biset of Goa. He studied in Arabia under the tutelage of several pious teachers.

When Shaykh Yusuf arrives at the Cape, on the Voetboeg, he was royally welcomed by Governor Simon van de Stel. His Indonesian background necessitated that he and his 49 followers be settled well away from Cape Town. They were housed on the farm Zandvliet, near the mouth of  the Eeste River, in the general area now called Macassar. He received an allowance of 12rix dollars from the Cape authorities for support of himself and his party. At Zandvliet Shaykh Yusuf’s settlement soon became a sanctuary for fugitive slaves. It was here that the first cohesive Muslim community in S.A. was established. The first settlement of Muslims in South Africa was a vibrant one, despite its isolation. It was from here that the message of Islam was disseminated to the slave community living in Cape Town. When Shaykh Yusuf died on 23 May 1699, he was buried on the hill overlooking Macassar at Faure. A shrine was constructed over his grave. Over the years this shrine has been rebuilt and renewed. Today it remains a place of pilgrimage.

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