To gain insight into the rich history of the Cape Malay and Muslim society that once resided in Simons Town, this Heritage museum is the perfect place. During Apartheid when the Nationalist Government declared Simons Town a White Group Area on 1 September 1967, Simons Town had already been declared the winter anchorage of the Dutch East India Company.
By 1975, the Amlay family along with 7000 other non-white residents were forcibly removed from their homes in the name of the Group Areas Act. The Amlay house had been built in 1858 and they were the first original owners to return to Simons Town in 1995. When apartheid ended, Zainab “Patty” Davidson submitted a land restitution claim in attempts to reclaim the properties her family once owned. As luck would have it, the navy who had occupied the house in their absence had left it vacant and homeless people now squatted in it. She was given the option to rent it from the Department of Public Works until the claim was complete. One she moved back with her husband, they found the seven-bedroomed house too big for just the two of them and dreamed of opening a museum here.
Together with the Noorul Islam Historical Society she received training on running a museum and opened it in 1998 and received many contributions from former residents and friends in the form of photographs and newspaper clippings. Within these rooms you’ll find Bridal and Hadj outfits, photographs dating back to the 1800’s of weddings, life in Simons Town, Pilgrimage to Mecca, a traditional celebration tea room, old cooking utensils, bridal room with all the decorations including a trousseau and handwritten kitaabs. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday and on Sundays by appointment only.
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+ Simons Town Heritage Museum
Amlay House, King George’s Way, Simons Town, False Bay, Western Cape
Tel: +27 (0)21 786-2302