Sheik Yusuf arrives at the Cape of Good Hope

Wednesday, 31 March 1694

Sheik Yusuf, Islamic leader and brother of the sultan of Macassar, who was banished to the Cape, arrived on board De Voetboog with his family and retinue, forty-nine people altogether. He was housed on the Dutch East India Company's (DEIC) expense on the farm Zandvliet, just outside Cape Town, to minimise any influence he might exert on the DEIC's slaves, who were mostly of East Indian origin.

The plan failed. Zandvliet became a place of pilgrimage for Muslim people in South Africa. He died in 1699, but after more than three centuries his memory still lives on. Although there were already some Muslims at the Cape before the arrival of Yusuf, he is regarded as the founder of Islamic faith at the Cape. The Muslim community, to whom he had provided guidance, faith and hope, flourishes in South Africa today.

The name "Zandvliet" disappeared many years ago, when the area was renamed "Macassar", in honour of Sheikh Yusuf's place of birth.

• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 11, p. 567.
• SAHO, Sheik Yusuf, from South African History Online, [online], Available at [Accessed: 12 March 2014]

Last updated : 31-Mar-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011