Halim Gençoğlu

Keywords: African Studies, Ottoman Empire, South Africa, National Archives, Cape of Good Hope, Ottoman Historiography

Abstract

National Archives of South Africa (NASA) contain remarkable materials regarding the historical relationship between Turkey and Southern Africa, a fact sometimes overlooked by Turkish scholars. The archival documents particularly provide insightful information with regard to Ottoman traces in Sub-saharan Africa and the establishment of Ottoman relations with states such as Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Comoros, Mozambique and South Africa, the fi rst of which dates back to 1853. Commercial relations began with the import of Angora goats and Turkish Tobacco to South Africa, while the religious links between South African Muslim and Ottoman Caliphate gained more popularity in the region after the second half of the nineteenth century, with the arrival of the Ottoman theologian Abu Bakr Eff endi to the Cape Colony on the 16th of January 1863, and the establishment of his Theological schools for Muslim males and females. As for diplomatic links, the Ottoman Consul- Generals Ohannes Bey and Mehmet Remzi Bey strengthened the relations between two countries. Detailed correspondences between Turkey and South Africa have been recorded and are available in the National Archives of South Africa. These important archival materials have yet to be woven into historical accounts about cross-national links by Turkish scholars. This paper attempts to highlight the importance of archival sources in South African National Archives for Ottoman historiography