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Cape Malay

Cape Malays
Kaapse Maleiers
Melayu Cape
Cape Muslims
Total population
(200,000)
Regions with significant populations
 South Africa
Western Cape, Gauteng
Languages
Currently: Afrikaans, South African English
Formerly: Malay until 19th century, Dutch.
Religion
Majority: Sunni Islam
Minority: Atheist, Agnostic, Christianity, Irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Javanese, Malays, Indians, Africans, Malagasy, Cape Dutch, Dutch, Cape Coloureds, Bugis

Cape Malays (Afrikaans: Kaapse Maleiers, Malay: Melayu Cape) are an ethnic group or community in South Africa. The name is derived from the former Province of the Cape of Good Hope of South Africa and the people originally from Maritime Southeast Asia, mostly from Netherlands East-Indies (present-day Indonesia) a Dutch colony for several centuries, and Dutch Malacca, which the Dutch held from 1641 – 1824. The community's earliest members were enslaved Javanese transported by the Dutch East India Company. They were followed by slaves from various other Southeast Asian regions, and political dissidents and Muslim religious leaders who opposed the Dutch presence in what is now Indonesia and were sent into exile. Malays also have significant South Asian (Indian) slave ancestry. Starting in 1654, these resistors were imprisoned or exiled in South Africa by the Dutch East India Company, which founded and used what is now Cape Town as a resupply station for ships travelling between Europe and Asia. They were the group that first introduced Islam to South Africa.

The Cape Malay identity can be considered the product of a set of histories and communities as much as it is a definition of an ethnic group. Since many Cape Malay people have found their Muslim identity to be more salient than their "Malay" ancestry, people in one situation have been described as "Cape Malay", or "Malays" and in another as Cape Muslim by people both inside and outside of the community. Also, over time, the original Indonesian slaves intermarried with various other groups, including other slaves from South and Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and native African groups.


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