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Xavier Luffin

Abstract

The former great European colonial empires had incorporated soldiers recruited in their colonies into their armies. Several Arab authors from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Morocco remember them through their novels and short stories, giving us an interesting perception of the “Other”: strangers brought into the Arab world by other strangers. They also represent different negative faces of the colonial period: the exploitation of the indigenous population, the dilemma of Muslims forced to fight their brothers . . .

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Gerald Stell, Xavier Luffin and Muttaqin Rakiep

In the context of the White and Christian-dominated Afrikaans language movements, followed by apartheid, little attention has been paid to an Afrikaans literary variety used among Muslim Cape Coloureds, a group often referred to as ‘Cape Malays’. Descending mainly from Asian slaves brought by the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC, Dutch East India Company), and bearing the marks of cohabitation with non-Asian populations at the Cape, the Cape Malays at an early stage developed a distinct religious culture through their adherence to Islam, as well as a distinct Cape Dutch linguistic identity through their connections with the Dutch East Indies and the Islamic world. These cultural idiosyncrasies found expression in a local literature, religious and (more rarely) secular, using as a medium a variety of Cape Dutch/Afrikaans written either in the Arabic alphabet or in the Roman alphabet.