By Al Qalam Correspondent
AWQAF South Africa, in partnership with Turkish NGO Diyanet Vakfi performed Qurbani in six neighbouring states, 16 underprivileged communities across Southern Africa and at the Royal House of Mandela (Mvezo Great Place) located in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.
During Awqaf’s #Share the Care Qurbani 2019 programme, over 250 cows and sheep was slaughtered and the meat was distributed to 18 000 underprivileged families. Some of the recipients only eat meat once a year during Qurbani.
This year, Awqaf SA marked a moment of enormous historical significance and cultural sharing. On the invitation of Chief Zwelivelile Mandela, Qurbani was held at the Royal House of Mandela at Mvezo Komkhulu, Nelson Mandela’s Birthplace, near Mthatha.
The Awqaf SA #Share the Care Qurbani Waqf project is a means of building social cohesion and empowerment within the township communities across Southern Africa.
An Awqaf SA delegation, headed by its Chairman of Trustees Haroon Kalla, and its CEO Zeinoul Abedien Cajee and Deputy CEO Mickaeel Collier, witnessed this historic event as well as representatives from the Muslim Judicial Council and imams and Muslim leaders from various indigenous township communities.
“This marks an occasion where communities that have been historically divided by the urban-rural geography of apartheid, was brought together via the Qurbani. We see this as an opportunity to share what is human, and what is mutually compassionate.
“It is also an opportunity to reflect on what we have in common in faith and culture. What is so beautiful is that there are so many striking resonances between Islam and traditional African culture. For example, the circumcision, the ritual washing of the deceased, burial in a certain direction and the ceremonial importance and method of sacrifice, are just a few that come to mind.” said Haroon Kalla.
Kalla added that what lay behind this was the communal notion of humanity that has been weaved into all world cultures since time immemorial. He said the Qurbani also gave Awqaf the chance to show that Islam was primarily about mercy and compassion.
“We traveled to Mvezo Great Place as honoured guests expressing unity in our diversity, but embracing our commonalities and realising that as South Africans we all beat with the same heart,” he said.
Awqaf CEO, Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, said meat was distributed at “Qurbani ceremonies” held in the Gauteng area, such as Jabulani, Eldorado Park, Protea Glen (Soweto), Lenasia, Finetown, Ennerdale, Poorjie, Evaton and Vlakfontein. In addition, the charity also hosted Qurbani programmes in Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Tongaat in KwaZulu Natal.
He said Qurbani programme was also extended to neighbouring states such as Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Angola.
“We also would like to thank our partner organisations: Diyanet Turkey, the Muslim Judicial Council, SANZAF, the Gauteng Muslim Shura Council, the BSU Youth Organisation and the local communities for selflessly working alongside our teams to execute this Qurbani,” he said.
“We note with pride that Turkey has been listed as the most charitable nation in 2018 with nearly $8.1 billion, equating to almost 30% of all international humanitarian aid dwarfing the United States of America’s contribution of $6.68 billion., Germany $2.98 billion and the U.K $2.52 billion.
“The solidarity that the people of Turkey, under the leadership of President Erdogan, had shown to Southern Africa is unprecedented. Currently, Turkey is beset with the challenges of an attempted state capture that resulted in the deadly coup attempt by the terrorist entity FETO and external pressures of the regional conflicts. As Awqaf SA and fellow South Africans we stand with the people of Turkey in this fight.
“We pray for the further success and stability of Turkey and for the continued strengthening of positive relations between our great countries,” Cajee added.