Ancient Ottoman name remembered in Cape Town
Sayyid Ebubekir al-Emcedi, an Ottoman Turk assigned to teach Islamic studies and resolve religious and social problems among Malay Muslims in Cape Town more than one century ago, is still remembered by South African Muslims who gave his name to a 134-year-old cricket team that continues to carry the legacy of the Ottoman. A founder of boys' and girls' schools to teach Islam, Ebubekir Efendi made efforts to build the Hamidiye Mosque in the heart of Cape Town, which still exists today. Emcedi's descendants still live in Cape Town and have a guest house, the Ottoman Lodge, where they welcomed me graciously. Fatıma Efendi, a fifth-generation descendant of Ebubekir Efendi, said that the family has preserved every document and materials regarding their family lineage, emphasizing that they still view themselves as Turks and have very good relations with the locals. Local Muslims have strong ties with Ebubekir Efendi's descendants to this day and regard the Ottoman Efendi as a saint. Cape Town has a population of 3.5 million, 1 million of whom are Muslim. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has provided extensive assistance to the team, renovating training facilities and the Hamidiye Mosque, in coordination with Muslim locals. TIKA has also repaired the local Muslim cemetery where Ebubekir Efendi's tomb still exists. Ottoman Cricket Team chairman, Rydwaun Salie, said that, "We love Turkey and its people and will continue to give life to Ebubekir Efendi's heritage."
Cape Town is a tourist destination that combines natural beauties with historic sites. On one side of Cape Town is the Atlantic Ocean while the other side abuts Table Mountain and the Indian Ocean. The Cape of Good Hope was originally named the Cape of Storms in 1488 by Dias. Later, Portugal's King John II renamed it because of the optimism it created as the new sea route to India and the East. African penguins, known as jackass penguins, live in the waters of South Africa. With its Dutch influence, the city is famous for its botanic parks. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was the world's first botanical garden established to preserve the country's unique indigenous plant life. It is also easy to take a quick safari tour at the Aquila Private Game Reserve, without losing time to see the Big Five game animals. The city is very warm to Muslim tourists as well and aspires to become a halal tourism destination. Restaurants generally serve halal food. Cape Town is a city of tolerance, offering natural beauties as well as a glimpse at colonial history.
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