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22 December 2022
Prof Najma Moosa, UWC Faculty of Law Senior Professor, gave a spellbinding presentation on her book on Sunday, 20 November 2022
The “Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar Book Launch Steering Committee” hosted the author, Prof Najma Moosa, of the UWC Faculty of Law, who gave a spellbinding presentation on her book on Sunday, 20 November 2022. 

In 2021 Prof Najma Moosa wrote a book on Shaykh Yusuf.  It is titled:

Moosa, N. (2021). The Mystery of the Apostasy of Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar’s Alleged Grandchildren: The Children of the Rajah of Tambora. Shaykh Shahid Esau: KamPress, Cape Town. Published May 2021.

The “Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar Book Launch Steering Committee” hosted the author, Prof Najma Moosa, of the UWC Faculty of Law, who gave a spellbinding presentation on her book on Sunday, 20 November 2022. 
Prof Moosa was aware of strong reactions by archival researchers to her central argument about the alleged biological daughter and therefore, the alleged grandchildren of Shaykh Yusuf at the Cape. Her presentation was therefore also a formal and respectful response to claims of her critics that her conclusions are drawn from flawed arguments. Her presentation can be viewed below:

The Book Launch Event ceremony was held at the Islamia Auditorium Hall in Imam Haron Road, Lansdowne from 3h00pm until 5h00 pm.  In her book, she ruptures the existing colonial narrative with an alternative one through a decolonial lens so that every reader is compelled to look afresh at the internal evidence and archival researchers have to weigh up again the generally accepted interpretations in the light of this groundbreaking alternative narrative

Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar is unarguably one of the most revered and prominent figures in the history of Islam in South Africa. Long before he stepped onto the shores of the Cape in 1694, he was already considered a resistance leader par excellence by his countrymen, and a major obstacle to the colonial aspirations of the Dutch in Southeast Asia. Despite the brief time span of five years that he was exiled to the Cape before his death and burial at the landmark Faure Kramat in Macassar, he continued to inspire and lead the local and international Muslim community in their spiritual and communal identity.

In this scholarly work, the author attempts to dispel the centuries-old colonially perpetuated Orientalist myth and stigma around the Muslim children of his alleged biological daughter and the Rajah of Tambora who apostasised by converting to Christianity at the Cape, an allegation that was to taint the history and legacy of the eminent Shaykh Yusuf of Makassar.  She offers an alternative view and concludes that it cannot be proven that it was Shaykh Yusuf’s grandchildren who converted to Christianity. 

Although it is a scholarly work based on primary and secondary sources, with a comprehensive and detailed overview of historical facts, evidence and assumptions at the author's disposal, the book is ultimately written with the general reader within the Cape community in mind. It is a riveting story of the trials and tribulations of our forefathers and foremothers in the face of adversity, uprooted from kin and homeland, and thriving with resilience despite facing adversity and oppression. It is through the courage of these giants such as Shaykh Yusuf al-Makassari and his descendants, that we thrive as a vibrant Muslim community at the tip of Africa.

The late Moulana Taha Karaan congratulated Prof Moosa on her scholarly publication by saying that “on behalf of Islam, Muslims at the Cape, our much-maligned history, and our august forebears: shukran, thank you, and may Allah accept this yeoman service, and bless the long overdue eradication of this taint.”

Prof Aslam Fataar, from Stellenbosch University, in his book review highlights that “[t]he author accessed a wide range of primary and secondary sources across three continents.  The book has a single concern: to offer an alternative view on whether Shaykh Yusuf's grandchildren converted to Christianity.  The author comes to the conclusion that, in all probability that this was NOT the case. This is a plausible conclusion…The book reads like an extended court case presentation, that is, one line of argument supporting the author’s conclusions… I am convinced the book should have been published by an academic publisher.” Prof Fataar concludes that “[a]ll in all, this is a meticulously researched book. The account is plausible. I applaud the author for her solid attempt at filling a lacuna in Cape Muslim historiography.” 

The book is written as a sadaqah jariyaah (continuous charity) for the benefit of the community. The money from book sales will go towards deserving young students who want to do further research on South African Muslim heritage and need bursaries to do so.

Please tell your family and friends about it or buy it as gift for them. The book is already published and still available at a special reduced price of R100.  The discounted price is affordable so that it can be accessible to everyone and not just for a few specialists in this field.


Radio Interviews:

Radio 786: Review of The Arts Prof Najma Moosa A Book Review - 13 November 2022