About Muslim women today

  • Location: Bo-Kaap Museum
  • From: June 1, 2011
About Muslim women today

An exhibition About Muslim women today opens on 9 August at the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum. The museum focuses on the history of the Bo-Kaap as well as the social history of Islam at the Cape.

About Muslim women today explores the everyday lives of Muslim women living in surrounding areas of Cape Town. The project aim has been to give Muslim women a space to take control of the way in which they are portrayed. The content was developed through a consultative process of a workshop, planning meetings and individual contributions. Resulting from this process ten women were selected and interviewed. Although all ten are Muslim, the exhibition explores the idea of multi-facetted individuals and includes aspects of their lives that are not exclusive to being Muslim. 

The women were selected in an informal manner. They were either part of the group that participated in planning the exhibition or known to a member of that group. All the women are active in the the public sphere. Some are career-focused while others are deeply involved in work in their communities. A few managed to combine a career with community involvement. 

The interviews sought to highlight themes about identity and social issues, rather than provide detailed personal histories. Their photographs were taken either at work or at home. In addition to these, photographs from the women’s family albums have been incorporated into the exhibition. The result is an exhibition that focuses both on the private and public spheres. They variously face gender barriers at work and home, deal with social problems in their neighbourhoods and struggle with religious concerns in an imperfect world. 

Also part of the exhibition is a video on a few selected Muslim women produced by Munier Parker, film maker who lives in the Bo-Kaap.

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