I remember the first time that I went to the Faure Kramat. I was just five years old and my grandmother, Salama Simons Ragham, was excited to take me there for the religious experience.
I had this image in my mind that I was going to a very holy place in order to make dua for my sins and ask the Almighty for forgiveness.
My salaah top was ingepak and my skuitjie koefiyahtjie was vasgenaal op my kop.
My grandmother had arthritis and half the time could not walk from her room to the toilet at home.
However, at the kramat (burial place for a saintly Muslim) for some reason my granny wanted to make her way up the steps that led to the tomb of Sheikh Yusuf al-Macassari.
I was there just to assist her as she struggled to lift her legs.
The dedication showed by my grandma to get to the top on that day made it clear to me that the kramat is a holy place.
It was the place where the followers of Sheikh Yusuf of Macassar used to come and gather at his feet and listen to him recite the Qur’an and share his knowledge, and this mostly took place over Easter weekend when the slaves had free time.
Last year the kramat was unfortunately closed due to water restrictions, but this year the Cape Malay community will be able to visit again.
The kramat festival is organised by the local community, and there are stalls, a fun run/walk, touch rugby matches, a toutrek competition, and sometimes also an Easter egg hunt.
In addition, in the mosque, they will hold talks, ghadats and Qur’an recitals as the aim is spiritual upliftment.
There’s also a camping site and mense usually camp out next to the kali (river) from the Thursday night until Easter Monday.
In fact, some people have already started to set up their tents, so the excitement to return to the kramat this year is high.
The kramat nowadays is more about the entertainment and the singkring and, for me, there is nothing wrong with that.
People go there to relax and enjoy themselves, and to get a mixture of culture and religion.
Yes, it’s no longer like it was in my grandmother’s day where the focus was the visit to the holy man, but it still is a good halaal gathering.
The entertainment mostly takes place in the campsite and breaks are taken when the call to prayer sounds at the nearby mosque.
The kramat is also the place where the quarrels and differences between the Malay Choir teams and klopse manne are set aside.
At night, they gather around the fire to sing, and then it doesn’t matter which team you are from; you join in singing the Nederlandsliedjies and ghoemaliedjies into the early hours of the morning.
There is no nitpicking about tone or diction or intonation; they keep it authentic and the sound and feel of this music evokes great memories of our forefathers and a time toe kinnes nog kinnes was.
The big rule at the kramat festival is that no pop music is allowed on stage, so this is an opportunity for our comedians to shine and also for our quasida groups to showcase their talent.
This festival and camp out are great ways for parents to teach their children and teens about our Cape Malay culture and Muslim religion in a healthy environment.
With that said, things evolve and sometimes it grows into what the next generation requires, or they shape it themselves, and so has the kramat.
Let us continue to support this fundraiser for the kramat community who has taken it upon themselves to keep the great sheikh’s burial place spotless, and alive with the sound of Islam.
To our Christian readers, may you have a blessed Easter.