Doopmal is a Cape Malay baby naming ceremony during which Muslim priests bless the child and family, the community gathers to feast on Kolwadjib rose water-infused rice cakes, and everyone congregates to congratulate the parents.

Did you know?

After the birth of a baby, a Muslim father intones the call to prayer in the infants ear.

Cape Malay people are the descendants of 17th and 18th century exiled dissidents and slaves brought to the Cape from the Dutch East Indies.

In the period since their arrival in South Africa, their descendents have modified and adapted their traditions and culture to suit the African environment in which they live. Cape Malay cuisine (which blends the best of Africa, Asia and Europe) is recognised world wide as one of the world's great fusion food genres.

Almost all Cape Malay people have retained the adherence of the Muslim faith of their ancestors. A Cape Malay Doopmal ceremony is a naming celebration that takes place on the seventh day after the birth of a baby. A sheep is purchased and sacrificed to Allah in order to ensure that the child is protected. The meat is distributed to the poor and needy in the broader community.

At the Doopmal, the baby is dressed in a Medora scarf such as pilgrims returning from Mecca wear. The Imam gives the baby a taste of dates or honey as a symbol of the sweetness of life and prayers are said to ensure the child's health and happiness. A delicious Doopmal tea is laid out in which traditional biscuits and cakes, including Kolwadjib rose water-infused rice cakes, are served.

Such community occasions are usually not open to outsiders but those interested in Cape Malay cuisine should explore the traditional Cape Malay restaurants in the Bo-Kaap district of Cape Town.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Andulela Experience
Tel: +27 (0)21 790 2592
Fax: +27 (0)21 790 2599
Email: info@andulela.com

How to get here

The centre of the Cape Malay community is found in the Bo-Kaap district of Cape Town.

Tours to do

Andulela offers a range of gastronomic tours of the Bo-Kaap district in Cape Town, including hands on cooking classes.

Get around

Self-drive is best. Alternatively make use of a local guide, tour operator or hire a taxi to drive you around.

What to pack

South Africa can be extremely hot so sunscreen and a hat are recommended, no matter what the season.

Where to stay

Cape Town has a wide range of accommodation, from budget to luxury, including boutique hotels, B&Bs and backpacker lodges.