Constantia’s revered circle of shrines
In the leafy suburb of Constantia and nearby areas, Richard Holmes discovers a little-known corner of the Cape’s history
The green dome stands stark against the bare boughs of the oak trees. In the stream below, water gushes along, and the pastures of the far bank are lush with winter grass. The place is surrounded by some of the most expensive real estate Cape Town has to offer, and is bordered by the clipped vineyards of Klein Constantia — perhaps an unlikely location for the grave of Sheikh Abdurahman Matebe Shah. It’s also a very long way from his homeland of West Sumatra.
Shah’s resting place reflects just one piece of the story of how Islam came to our shores. And, unsurprisingly for SA, it’s a story that starts with forced removals.