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[citation needed] Villages and towns that South African Memons originated from include Porbander, Bhanvad, Ranavav and Jodiya.

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[citation needed]. This is primarily due to the different 'Maslak' (path) Deobandi mainly Surti, and Barelvi mainly Memon, although these are far less prominent than they were in the past[citation needed].

Although the Memoni language 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 even aware of the different towns from which their ancestors came[citation needed]. Although the early Memons practiced endogamy (marrying within their social group, including ancestral village), intermarriage between different Memon groups and other Sunni Muslims is now widely accepted, mirroring a similar integration among Gujarati Hindu groups from Surat and Shauarashtra.[1]

Memon organisations in South Africa include the Memon Association of South Africa (formerly the Memon Association of the Transvaal), The Southern African Memon Foundation (www.samemonfoundation.org) and the Natal Memon Jamaat.[1]

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