A number of Muslim holy men and princes were exiled from the East Indies by the Dutch during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and brought to the Cape, where some became revered as auliyah or Muslim saints. The kramats, of which there are nearly two dozen in the province, are their burial sites, shrines and places of pilgrimage. The Signal Hill kramat is a shrine to Mohamed Gasan Galbie Shah, a follower of Sheik Yusuf, a Sufi scholar, who was deported to the Cape in 1694 with a 49-strong retinue. According to tradition, he conducted Muslim prayer meetings in private homes and slave quarters, becoming the founder of Islam in South Africa. Sheik Yusuf‘s kramat on the Cape Flats is said to be one of a sacred circle of six kramats, including one on Robben Island, that protect Cape Town from natural disasters.

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