The three hundred years old Cape Malay Diasporic communities in South Africa has become a very important asset in building the relationship between South Africa and Malaysia in contemporary global affairs. In the era of globalization, liberalization and internationalization, understanding the multifaceted aspects of the importance of Diaspora is very crucial as it becomes one of the most vital tool for soft power.
It was only after 1990 that Malays in South Africa re-established the linkages with Malaysia which were broken many years ago. Among the other factors (trade and investment) that set Malaysia apart from other Asian investors in South Africa was due to its significant soft power exercises. The first section of this paper will discuss in brief the definitions of Soft power as conceptualized by Joseph Nye in the 1990's.
The next section will take into account the debates surrounding the notion of ‘Malay ness’ or Malay identities within the respective communities by using three variables- identity, culture and religion. The paper intends to take a close look at the South Africa’s Cape Malays diaspora contributions to Malaysia’s soft power towards South Africa and demonstrate how they have strengthened their bonds over the past decade. Lastly, the paper will be ended by discussing the challenges and drawbacks of Malaysian government.