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Kramat of Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah
Constantia, Western Cape



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Alt: 83m

On the 24th January 1667, the ship the Polsbroek left Batavia and arrived at the Cape on the 13th of May 1668, with three prisoners in chains captured after the defeat at the Castle of Soeroesang in 1667. One of them was incarcerated on Robben Island, while the other two were banished to the Company's forest at Constantia.

Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah, the last of the Malaccan Sultans, was one of the two. He was regarded as Orange Cayen, a title which means 'man of power and influence'; and viewed as particularly dangerous to the interest of the Company.

In 1667, after a fierce battle, Soeroersang fell. The Sultan, Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah, and his two religious advisors, were captured. His execution would have made him a martyr, and thus an inspiration to his people to continue the war. The three were thus banished to the Cape becoming the first political exiles here. Oral history relates that Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe Shah soon befriended the slave population he met at Constantia, teaching them of the spot, near the river, where he took his ablutions, meditated and said his prayers. His shrine is at the gateway to Klein Constantia. It was contained in a wooden shack quaintly situated amongst the trees, adjacent to a stream of running water. Visiting the shrine was unique experience. One felt as if one was in the living presence of history, standing in a sacred spot filled with a spiritualism. The place had a serene atmosphere of tranquility. In the process of erecting the shrine, a beautiful edifice, designed by one of Cape Town's leading architects, Gawie FAGAN, and constructed by The Cape Mazaar (Kramat) Society some of the trees were sacrificed.

(Muslim Directory)