Destinations Southern Africa

What is Ramadan in South Africa Like?

Ramadan muslims south africa
Written by Teresa Mwangi

What is Ramadan South Africa like? Also, did you know that Mzansi has the largest Muslim population in the Southern Hemisphere?

Religious history estimates that around 2.5% of South Africa’s total population is Muslim. A majority of them reside in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Muslim history in South Africa even gets better with the fact that Auwal Mosque, the first and oldest mosque built in 1794 still stands in Cape Town.

Muslim political exiles from Indonesia established the mosque which is now a national monument and a symbol of the country’s diverse cultural heritage. With it came the Malay community, with a unique Muslim tradition of using ‘gesang’. Gesang refers to the art of musical storytelling with improvised songs and verses in Afrikaans and Malay.

Every generation gets lessons on this and there is no better way to witness it all than with Ramadan South Africa; Cape Town in particular.

What is Ramadan in South Africa?

Ramadan South Africa

South Africa Ramadan. Photo/MVSlim

Ramadan is the Holy month for those who profess Muslim faith across the world and falls into the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting, self-reflection, forgiveness, love, kindness and charity characterize this auspicious month. Fasting is mandatory for every Muslim with exception of young children, and the old who could be ailing.

Ramadan South Africa is always a cocktail of experiences bringing together diverse communities and cultures.

How Long is Ramadan in South Africa?

A 30-day period of fasting observed from dawn to sunset marks Ramadan in Mzansi just like in every other part of the world. These 30 days of fasting are for prayers, reflection and charity.

South African Muslims often break their fast (iftar) with popular Muslim/Arabian foods such as samosas, dates and a variety of other dishes from diverse cultural backgrounds. Some of them include Malay curries and Indian biryanis so popular in South Africa.

Another phenomenal fact about Ramadan South Africa is that mosques across the country hold nightly prayers, known as taraweeh. Many communities come together for iftar and suhoor (the pre-dawn meal). In some areas, there are even Ramadan markets where people shop for festive decorations and traditional foods.

Throughout the month, charitable giving dominates the Holy Months in line with Islam dictates of free giving. Individuals and organizations donate food, money, and other resources to the less privileged as a part of community building.

Was The Moon Sighted For Ramadan 2023 Cape Town?

Moon sighting in Cape Town puts the official start of the Holy Month at March 23.  Sighting the moon sighting is a longstanding traditional method used to determine the start of Ramadan. It involves physically observing the first crescent of the new moon after the 29th day of the previous lunar month.

A designated moon sighting committee made up of religious scholars and experts scan the skies for the first sighting of the new moon in Mzansi. Once the sighting they confirm the sighting, they announce the start of Ramadan South Africa to all Muslim communities.

How Long Do Muslims Fast In South Africa?

Muslims in South Africa and other places in the world fast for a minimum 11 hours and a maximum of 12 hours. The essence of fasting during Ramadan for Muslims is to achieve spiritual renewal and strengthen their faith. It is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on self-discipline, self-control, and self-reflection.

You do not eat, drink or indulge in any other physical pleasures from dawn to sunset. This practice encourages empathy and compassion and also purifies one’s soul which is a step towards strengthening one’s relationship with God. Ramadan South Africa has, for years now, preached about the importance of this.

Where is Eid al Fitr 2023?

eid al fitr ramadan

Ramadan. Photo/The Citizen

Eid al Fitr 2023 marks a religious weekend of four days in the Islamic calendar. It will be held in UAE this year. Ideally, it marks the end of Ramadan South Africa – globally too. Eid celebration involves family and friends, who congregate for a special player before feasting on various foods such as goat meat, rice, dates and many other confectionaries.

Most importantly, this celebration marks generosity as Muslims share with the poor as a sign of compassion.


Ramadan South Africa is always lit in a spiritual way. There is so much to learn from this Holy Month. Islam teachings always teach about forgiveness, compassion and self- purity.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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