350 Years of Islam in South Africa: Part 12

In the Name of Almighty Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful


1959 Orient Islamic State-Aided School

In 1942 the Orient Islamic Educational Institute was founded for the purpose of

advancement of Islamic education and particularly for establishing schools of

higher education in Durban. The Institute purchased three acres of land just below

the Botanic Gardens in Durban. Unfortunately, anti-Indian agitation by the racist

Whites against Indians "penetrating" borders of White residential areas forced the

trustees of the Institute to give up this idea.

Towards the end of 1942, the Institute purchased 80 acres of land on the Bluff in

Durban and plans were drawn for school buildings but on the eve of the foundation

laying ceremony by the Minister of Interior, some Durban City Councillors [all

Whites] and a few members of Parliament [all Whites], once again, agitated against

an Indian school to be built on the borders of a White residential area.

The racist White residents of the area became so prejudiced that the Institute had to

abandon the project. The matter became so tense that even Prime Minister General

Christian Smuts, became concerned and requested the Durban City Council to

provide a suitable site to the Orient Islamic Institute for the construction of an

Indian School.

Thus it was only in 1955, after thirteen long years and much negotiations, that the

Durban City Council offered 3.7 acres at Curries Fountain, less than a kilometer

away from the Botanical Gardens in exchange for the 80 acres of the Institute's land

at the Bluff. Having no other options, the Institute was forced to accept the offer.

The school was opened on January 19th, 1959.

1959 As-Salaam Educational Institute

The Islamic Propagation Centre of Durban headed by Ahmed Deedat and Goolam

Hoosen Vanker established the Islamic Mission training school, As-Salaam, near

Braemer, on a 75 acre land, valued at Five Thousand Pounds Sterling donated by

the S.I.Kadwa family of Umzinto, in 1959; the foundation stone was laid by Mrs.

Amina Tahir King, wife of former Reverend Rashid Tahir King, the first paid D'ai in

Natal.

From 1974 to 1978 the Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa took full control of

education and activities at As-Salaam. Since 1978 the As-Salaam Committee

consisting of Muslim health care personnel have been catering for both secular and

religious education at As-Salaam together with other Islamic activities. As-Salaam

has many non-Muslim African students also attending the school.

1959 Tabligh Jama'at

At an Ijtima held on August 2nd, 1934 at Mewat, India, some 107 Muslims attended

under the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas [1885-1944] and pledged what,

reduced to writing, could be described as the initial constitution of the Tabligh

Jama'at.

The Tabligh Jama'at has established points of contact at centres in various parts of

the world. In South Africa, annual international Ijtima takes place at different towns

and cities which is attended by several thousands of Muslims.

1960 Muslim Population

According to the South African Government's Bureau of Statistics, the Muslim

population of South Africa was as follows in 1960:-

Whites not made available

Coloureds 93,256

Asians 98,490

Blacks 4,626

_______

Total = 196,372

1960 Hospital Welfare and Muslim

Educational Movement.

During the early 1960's, in Cape Town, members of the Muslim Educational

Movement and the Hospital Welfare Society merged to form the Hospital Welfare

and Muslim Educational Movement. This was largely due to the close working

relationship which existed between the two organizations and their common

working goals. Today the Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational Movement

supervises all the Halal Kitchens at major Peninsula hospitals in the Cape, namely,

Groote Schuur, Somerset, Conradie, G.F.Jooste, Woodstock, Mowbray, Maternity,

Peninsula Maternity, Lentegeur, Brooklyn Chest and Tygerberg Hospitals.

The movement launched its first bursary programme in 1972. From 1978 to 1987, it

distributed more than R120,000.00 to needy and deserving students for furthering

their education. Since 1987 the administration of the Langa Madrasah in Cape Town

has come under the wing of the Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational

Movement.

1960 Publication of Muslim News.

Muslim News, "Southern Africa's only Muslim newspaper" in the sixties, began its

fortnightly publication from Athlone, Cape Town, with a circulation of 10,000

copies daily. The policy was spelt out in its first editorial: "Muslim News is a noncommercial

journal, run by an Editorial Board, and therefore, entirely independent.

Muslim News will publish material of interest to and for the enlightenment of

Muslims without fear or favour. Muslim News will seek guidance from the Holy

Qur'an and the Sunnah."

From its humble beginning, the newspaper grew to acquire an international

reputation. Because of the paper's stand against the South African Government's

Apartheid policy, the newspaper faced much harassment from the Security Branch

and other State authorities. Over the years several editions were declared

"undesirable" by the State and in 1980 a record number of nine editions were

banned. In 1986 after more than 25 years' publication, Muslim News ceased

publication.

Among those associated with the newspaper were Imam Abdullah Haron who was

most brutally murdered while under detention. The official State version was that

he simply "died" in prison while being detained. A. Kays, who succeeded Imam

Haron as editor, was banned for five years and was forced to resign from Muslim

News. Rashid Sayed, Gulzar Khan and Abdul Qayyum Sayed, all detained without

trial at one time or another for writing against the Government and its policies.

Then from September 1986, Muslim Views filled the void created by the closing of

Muslim News.

1961 Zanzibaris Classified "Other Asiatics".

According to a proclamation in the Government Gazette of May 26th, 1966, "Other

Asians" are "persons generally accepted as Zanzibari Arabs [also called Zanzibaris

or Kiwas] or people whose national home is in any country in Asia except, India,

China, or Pakistan. "Other Asian" forms part of the ethnic grouping under the race

group "coloured" as defined by the Population Registration Act of 1950.

The Zanzibaris were first classified by the South African Government as "Freed

Slaves", then "Bantu", then "Coloureds" and finally by the Race Classification

Proclamation No 6620 of 1961, the Zanzibaris living in South Africa were classified

as "Other Asiatics", although they have always had their roots in the African

Continent.

1961 Call of Islam

On May 7th, 1961 Muslims gathered in the City Hall of Cape Town to launch the

Call of Islam, an umbrella body, of different Muslim organisations with the aims of

opposing the Group

Areas Act. The organisation was founded by Imam Abdullah Haron.

1962 Zanzibaris settled in Chatsworth

Being classified as "Other Asiatics", the Zanzibari Muslims were forced to move

from Kings Rest as this area was proclaimed for the residence of the White

community under the Group Areas Act No. 77 of 1957. They were then settled in

Unit 2 of Chatsworth, Durban.

At the beginning, some Indian residents of Chatsworth objected to the Zanzibaris

being settled in an Indian area but eventually the Indian community as a whole

accepted to live side by side with the Zanzibaris.

1962 Lenasia Muslim Association

The Lenasia Muslim Association [LMA] was founded in 1962. It had a humble

beginning when it catered for a mere 30 Madrasah children with one teacher

earning a R30.00 [Thirty Rand] per month. LMA today (1993) runs a Madrasah

programme which caters for more than 3,500 children in the Lenasia area. The

Association maintains two religious-cum-secular nursery schools, five Masaajid

[Rainbow Valley Masjid, Masjid-e-Nur, Masjid-us-Siddique, Masjid-e-Bilal and

Honeysuckle Masjid], and three educational centres at its headquarters in Lenasia.

1992 marked the 30th anniversary of LMA's service to the Muslim community of

Lenasia, Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. The LMA is also involved in

providing religious education to handicapped children at JISWA and the School for

Hard Hearing. In 1992 the Association had a student role of over 3,500, a staff of 170

and a salary bill in excess of R100,000.00 [One hundred Thousand Rand] per month.

 

Abdul Hamid Lachporia

 

Sources:

(1) "The Mosques of Bo-Kaap"

A social history of Islam at the Cape 1980

by Achmat Davids

Director of Social Services

Muslim Assembly (Cape).

(2) "History of Muslims in South Africa"

A Chronology 1993.

by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida


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