Cape Town - As part of Heritage Month commemorations, the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery has appealed to the community to stop the neglect at cemeteries by visiting and assisting with the upkeep of graves.
The event commemorating the cemetery’s heritage was held on the grounds in Browning Street, Observatory, yesterday with members of the Muslim Cemetery Board (MCM), Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Security SA, Islamic Burial Council and the Cape Mazaar Society in attendance.
Mowbray Cemetery board member Shameemah Salie said the event was the first of its kind for the cemetery.
Salie encouraged the community to get involved and find out how they can assist.
“If you don’t come back and if you don’t visit the graveyard regularly, you are going to sit with a situation of sunken graves or graves disappearing. We’ve seen tombstones fall into graves. In terms of the by-laws, it is the responsibility of Mowbray kabrastan or the Cemetery Board to make sure the areas around the graves are clean, but ultimately, looking after a particular grave is our responsibility as the family,” said Salie.
Board chairperson Faizel Sayed said the 1886 institution was undergoing a number of significant upgrades. The northern border hall was raised; surveillance strengthened with additional security cameras; new gates added; around 30 trees removed; drainage system fitted; and the development of software to manage cemetery records.
“This means data will be captured at the front desk on to an electronic system and a cloud system when your deceased passes away. We will geotag graves so this means that if your family comes 10 years down the line, they’ll be able to go to a screen in the cemetery and it’ll show you where the grave is,” said Sayed.
The cemetery is in the process of adding an area where deceased bodies can be cleansed (ghusl) according to Islamic customs, only the second to be fitted at a cemetery in the country.
Muslim Judicial Council second-deputy president Shaykh Riad Fataar said: “Heritage is inheritance, we inherited this and that is why the Muslim Judicial Council will always praise our forefathers.”
Trees were planted to mark the occasion.