Memons in South Africa

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Memons in South Africa form a prosperous Muslim subgroup in that country's Indian community and are largely descended from Memons from Kathiawar who immigrated from India in the late 19th century/early 20th century.[1] Villages and towns that South African Memons originated from include Porbander, Bhanvad, Ranavav and Jodiya.

Memons were converted to Islam by the aulad of Hadrath Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Memons played a major role in the promotion of Islam in South Africa, and there have been rivalries for the management of local mosques between Memons and Surtis, who are Gujarati-speaking Sunni Muslims.[2] This is primarily due to the different 'Maslak' (path) tablighis mainly Surti, and Sufi who are mainly Memon although they are far less prominent than they were in the past.[citation needed]

Although the Memoni language (called the Memon language in South Africa) is not widely spoken by younger Memons in South Africa, South African Memons continue to maintain a strong (although slowly eroding) Memon identity. Already, few younger Memons are aware of the towns where their ancestors came from.[citation needed] Although the early Memons practiced endogamy (marrying within their social group, including ancestral village), intermarriage between Memon groups and other Sunni Muslims is now widely accepted, mirroring a similar integration among Gujarati Hindu groups from Surat and Shauarashtra.[3]

Memon organisations in South Africa include the Memon Association of South Africa (formerly the 'Memon Association of the Transvaal'), the Southern African Memon Foundation and the Natal Memon Jamaat.[4]


  1. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (2016-11-03), "Rethinking Muslim Identity in Sri Lanka", Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities, Oxford University Press, pp. 54–77, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624378.003.0003, ISBN 978-0-19-062437-8, retrieved 2022-05-26
  2. ^ Roberts, Mary Lucy (1999). Immigrant Language Maintenance and Shift in the Gujarati, Dutch and Samoan Communities of Wellington (Thesis). Victoria University of Wellington Library. doi:10.26686/wgtn.16970086.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-09-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)