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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Aesthetics of Muslim public and community formations in Cape Town: observations of an anthropologist
Author:Alhourani, Ala Rabiha
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Geographic terms:South Africa
urban life
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/23323256.2015.1052825
Abstract:This paper explores the implications of the arrival of Muslim Somali immigrants for the emergence of other Muslim communities in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa. The ethnography unpacks the complexity and diversity of Somali identity formation, their culturally distinct politics of aesthetics in performances of Muslim-ness, and how they form community. Further, the paper focuses on the mass celebration of 'Mawlid Al-Nabi' (the celebration of Prophet Mohammad's birthday) in Cape Town. This celebration reveals an emergent Muslim urbanity and public performances of Muslim-ness that signify the integration of the religious and the secular, and the various ways in which Muslims position themselves within the 'multicultural' context of contemporary South Africa. The paper examines the sense of citizenship and multiple belongings that Muslims have to their respective cultural localities (such as Malays, Somali, Indian, African and White), to an imagined Muslim community in Cape Town, to the South African nation, but also to a Muslim transnational 'Ummah'. The paper explains that performance of Muslim-ness is partially influenced by, and embodies, distinct cultural localities of Muslims. Conversely, it appears to draw on aesthetics of Islam, which embody a symbolic enactment of sensorial religious sacredness, which is common, shared and performed by the culturally diverse transnational Muslim 'Ummah'. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]