Palm Tree Mosque

The entrance to the Palm Tree Mosque. Photo courtesy of Frames-of-Mind

spiritual reatreat in the heart of the city

Tucked in among restaurants, clubs and stores in Cape Town’s fashionable Long Street is one of the city’s most enduring and historical spiritual spaces: the Palm Tree Mosque.

Situated in the oldest substantially unchanged building in Long Street, in a converted house on the corner of Leeuwen Street, the Palm Tree Mosque is South Africa’s second-oldest Muslim place of worship.

It was established as a mosque in the early 19th century after the property was bought in 1807 by freed slaves Jan van Boughies and Frans van Bengalen, who had broken away from the Auwal Mosque, situated a block away in Dorp Street and which is also still in operation today.

spot the palm tree

When Van Boughies died, at the ripe old age of 112, he left the property to his widow, Samida, but stipulated that the property continue to be operated as a mosque. 

The garden in front of the mosque, which boasted a pair of palm trees, is long gone but one of the trees remains, testament to the mosque’s unusual name and a clear indicator of its position in Long Street.

 

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