Sometimes an interesting question is asked. ‘Which Cemetery is the most venerable in South Africa?’ Not so easy to answer as one may think. There are some strong contenders but the Tana Baru in the Bo-Kaap, the oldest Muslim Cemetery in Cape Town, can certainly stake a very credible claim. This is the only historical cemetery in South Africa of which an informative book has been written, The History of the Tana Baru, by Achmat Davids.
In the article below Lesley T Townsend takes a brief look at the history and architectural style of the Bo-Kaap as well as the major restoration project that took place in the early 1970s. The article appeared in the 1975 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation, today the Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA). Thank you to the University of Pretoria for giving us permission to publish.