Old Muslim cemetery on track to open in September

New pathways have been laid out in the old Stegman Road cemetery in anticipation of its reopening in September.

The old Stegman Road cemetery in Claremont will soon be reopened for the Muslim community to bury their loved ones.

Last year February, the City of Cape Town gave approval for the cemetery to reopen for burials after it had been closed for more than a century (“Stegman Road cemetery planning can go ahead,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, February 25, 2021).

The Stegman Road cemetery is an extension of the historic Al Jaamia Mosque, which was declared a provincial heritage site by the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in 2019.

The mosque’s chairperson, Nazeem Jamie, says this is a historic moment for all Muslims of the Cape. “It symbolises a revival, renewal and enlivening of an era of Muslim burials after a century of dormancy. This re-opening embeds our existence and long history in Claremont, Harfield Village and Newlands.”

In order for the 2500m² cemetery to reopen, the Moslem Community Claremont Trust appointed an interim executive to do a feasibility study, survey the site and assess infrastructure needs.

Mr Jamie says the pathway layout was finalised as part of the design phase over a year ago.

“The actual labour commenced with the appointment of a land surveyor who pegged all the pathways, together with landscaping consideration such as water points from a borehole in March this year.”

The next phase will be to pave the pathways.

Zahied Banderker, the cemetery’s project manager, says the work took the mosque’s heritage into consideration. “The interim executive, led by the elderly mosque congregation, shared their wisdom of what the cemetery can be.”

Paving the pathways will make the cemetery wheelchair friendly for the elderly in the community, he says.

There are also plans to establish a ghusl, a facility for the ritual washing and shrouding of the deceased, on site at the mosque.

Mr Jamie says the improvements would not have been possible without generous support from the congregation. “We are truly blessed to have a very generous and supportive congregation who has rallied behind the calls by our local Imam, Moulanaa Abdullah Forbes.”

He says the mosque wants to raise another R300 000 to finish the paving so that the cemetery can open at the beginning of September. Email info@stegmanroadmasjid.co.za or call the mosque 064 682 2208 if you would like to help with the project.

The pathways leading to burial plots at the graveyard.