This chapter examines the ambiguities that exist in the ways in which Cape Town’s Indian Ocean heritage is publically perceived and how this is presented in museums, exhibitions and monuments. It argues that this is a reflection of Cape Town’s ambiguous political and cultural position within the ‘new South Africa’. The chapter focuses on two case studies, one on the representation of Islam, the other on that of slavery. In the case of Islam a strong invented tradition produced the racial and cultural category of ‘Malay’ in the apartheid era, a tradition that presented Islam as an exotic import from the Dutch East Indies brought by aristocratic exiles and religious leaders, but neglecting the role played by slaves and others within the town. Public commemoration of slavery in museums and monuments has only emerged since the advent of democracy in 1994, its aim being to depict its diverse geographical and cultural Indian Ocean roots more broadly. However, the association of slavery with Islam and Southeast Asia remains strong, and a broader Indian Ocean, and especially African, context is contested.