Achmat Davids places the Cape Muslims on the South African linguistic map
AbstractSouth Africa’s Cape Muslim religious leaders creatively contributed towards the formation of Afrikaans linguistics, an issue that
the South African academia seemed to have ignored and overlooked. By the beginning of the 20th century, the literary output
of these religious leaders developed to form a unique genre of literature; a genre that is popularly referred to as “Arabic-
Afrikaans” within the South African linguistic circles. Achmat Davids (1939–98), who may be regarded as the doyen of “Cape
Islamic Studies,” was among a handful of scholars who devoted much of his time to study carefully this type of literature. As a
consequence of his labour, he produced one of the most significant contemporary works in South African linguistics. This review
essay reflects upon the importance of Davids’ path-breaking and invaluable study, which was recently co-edited by Hein Willemse
and Suleman E. Dangor. Keywords: Achmat Davids (1939–98), Afrikaans linguistics, Arabic-Afrikaans, Cape Muslims, South
African linguistics, South African social history.
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