How lockdown affects Ramadaan for South African Muslims

Published Apr 22, 2020


CAPE TOWN- Ramadaan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar where Muslims from around the world fast and use the time for prayer and reflection.

The holy month is more than just abstaining from food but it is also about giving charity, prayer, reading the Quran, and sharing as a community.

However this year, South Africans along with their Muslim brothers and sisters across the globe will celebrate Ramadaan under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The holy month is scheduled to commence on April 24 0r 25 dependent on the sighting of the moon.


South African Muslim culture comes with many unique traditions that will be missed this year.

Sighting of the moon - this is the first of many traditions where people would go out to the beaches or gather in various spots in their city to sight the moon before announcing the first day of Ramadaan.

Iftaar - people would generally gather with their families to eat and break the daily fast together, this won’t be possible. In Cape Town specifically, there's a tradition called Boeka in Bo-Kaap, where tourists and communities from the broader Cape community would eat in the streets of together.

Sharing cookies - children would be sent to each of their neighbours to share a plate which is filled with delicious cookies, pies, samosas or koesisters.

Oppie berg -(on the mountain) it’s the half-way mark of the month and people would say they have reached the summit “Oppie berg”. This is the fifteenth night of Ramadaan which Muslims would celebrate by making boeber (a sweet milk-based drink) and Capetonians would call ‘boeber aand’.

Eid-al-Fitr - after the sighting of the moon, Muslims would celebrate Eid which marks the end of a successful month of fasting and worship. Everyone would spend the day moving to their various family and friends’ homes eating, and children would walk the streets collecting money.

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