n Journal for Islamic Studies - Manifestations of African Islam : a case study of African Muslims in Kwa-Nobuhle Township in the Eastern Cape

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7062



Early in 2003, African Muslims in Uitenhage's township Kwa-Nobuhle learnt that Muslim women led by Sheikh Nceba Salamntu, then the Imam of the New Brighton Mosque, in Port Elizabeth, participated in a burial process, entering right into the graveyard itself; a hitherto proscribed exercise. The resultant discomfort felt by the community in Kwa-Nobuhle, on the one hand, and excitement on the other, form the basis of discussion in this article. The article reveals that not only were these African Muslim women uneasy about the restriction imposed upon them until then, but were experiencing tensions in reconciling African culture with Islam. The proscription of music, regarded as haram (forbidden) by some Muslims, on one hand, and being one of the central features in African culture, on the other, caused tensions. The dominance of Arabic - the scriptural language shared by Muslims worldwide - in religious instructions and prayers, in a non-Arabic speaking environment, caused alienation for the township's African Muslim women.

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