13 July 2024

His focus would be to actively promote trade, tourism, and education between the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles and South Africa. Al-Qalam spoke to him.

Professor Mohseen Ebrahim of Durban is passionate to see his exotic island nation, the Seychelles, grow exponentially in terms of trade, education and tourism.

Last week, this unassuming man was appointed Honorary Consul of the Seychelles by the island’s President, Danny Faure, in Durban. The appointment was endorsed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“I am humbled to be given this honour to serve the island of Seychelles,” the country of my birth’, Professor Ebrahim told Al-Qalam in an interview.

Professor Ebrahim lectures at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is Senior Professor at REGENT Business School in Durban.

The Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation has issued him with an Identity Card which accords him diplomatic immunity and other privileges.

He is tasked to promote tourism, trade and education between Seychelles and South Africa.

Professor Ebrahim was born in Seychelles and in 1970, upon completing his `O level’ studies, he proceeded to Karachi, Pakistan, where enrolled at the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies and was awarded the Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Islamic Studies (1975) and then proceeded to Cairo, Egypt where he received his Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree from Al-Azhar University (1977). He then obtained M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in Religion and Islamic Studies respectively from Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.

He is widely published in the field of Islam and Bioethics and has delivered papers at Bioethics Conferences in several countries. In 2016, he published Muslims in Seychelles: A Historical Appraisal of Their Legacy which was highly publicised in Seychelles.

Asked what his other duties would be as “Honorary Consul,” Professor Ebrahim told Al Qalam that he plans to compile a data base of Seychellois community residing in Durban; to promote the welfare of and provide consular services to the Seychellois community  living in Durban; to provide information on passport and other issues of interest based on current regulations; to foster trade and investment as well as tourism between Seychelles and Durban and to facilitate educational exchanges between Seychelles and Durban.

Do South African Muslim tourists have many options in terms of halaal foods, hotels, mosques etc in Seychelles?

“There may not be a variety of halaal foods available in restaurants on the islands, but the local people are much aware that Muslims eat only halaal foods and thus they can even advise you where you can eat.

“Most of the top hotels do serve halaal foods and we can say that they are halaal-friendly, since alcohol is also served.  There are self catering chalets on Mahe Island owned by Muslims as well as on the island of Praslin.

“There are two Masjids on the Mahe Island. On the island of Praslin, there is a Musalla and one can ask about it to the local people and you will be directed to where it is,” Professor Ebrahim said.

Al-Qalam pointed out to him that Seychelles – unlike Mauritius – was a painfully expensive holiday destination for South African visitors, especially for entire families, Professor Ebrahim said he was aware of this, and had raised this issue with the role-players of the Diplomatic Conference that he attended in Seychelles in October 2018 – although he doubts there would be any dramatic changes in the lowering of hotel and airfare prices in the near future.

Flight time to Seychelles is a mere four and half hours.

The Consulate of the Republic of Seychelles in Durban is located at 35 Samora Machel Street. They can be contacted on Landline number: 031-826 7353 and Cell: 079 7513 718.

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