Cape Town on Foot: From the Slave Lodge to Bo-Kaap
Palm Tree mosque
Stop here and look at the small, flat-roofed humble building on your left. This is the country’s second oldest mosque and dates back to 1807. It's known as the Palm Tree Mosque or the Jan van Boegies Mosque.
Jan van Boegies was from south-western Sulawesi, in Indonesia. He arrived as a slave in the late 1700s. A free woman named Salia van Macassar, bought him. This event was a turning point in Jan's life; Salia and Jan fell in love and married according to Muslim rites. But their life together was brief as Salia passed away soon after their marriage. Jan then married 15-year old Sameda van de Kaap, also a free woman. They lived at the Long Street property where Jan had already established a prayer room, known as a langar.
Jan’s cantankerous nature had caused him to break away from the town’s first mosque, the Auwal Mosque. But he exhibited compassion by apparently spending vast sums on purchasing slaves with the sole intention of setting them free.
Jan and Sameda remained childless and Jan died in 1846 at the age of 112. Sameda pledged the building, then known as the church of Jan van Boeghies, to the Muhammadan community of this town in her will.
Now, turn to face the street. Cross over Long Street, turn right and start walking back towards the Hanafee Mosque.