Nabeela Vadwalla | 15 July 2016
The larger percentage of the African continent has been introduced to Islam as a religion over the last 1400 years. Many continental communities embraced the belief system and in many instances absorbed the culture, language and system of those who brought the new way of life.
History has noted how Arab traders were among the first to bring Islam as far south in the continent as the Limpopo River. For some reason, be it colonial expansion or simply a lack of drive, Islam did not manage to penetrate into the further regions of modern day South Africa until the Malay slaves arrived at the Cape some 300 years ago.
But a renewed effort is being made to introduce the broader South African population to the religion in recent years. Struggling against the media portrayal of Muslims as blood thirsty and hell bent on destroying everyone else, Muslims have been able to convey their message and many people have entered the faith from across the various racial, tribal and societal divides in South Africa.
On Saturday, 23 July 2016, a first of its kind event has been scheduled to take place in Nkandla, Kwazulu-Natal. The infamous town associated recently to the plus R250 million rand presidential scandal, will witness the the Zulu King, His Majesty, King Zwelethini and his followers officially introduced to the religion.
The event, organised and hosted by Muslim scholars from the Mkhize family who form an important part of the Zulu royal household, will also be attended by Shaykh Ibrahim Baye Haiba, tribal authorities, tribal Indunas, mayors and municipal councillors, Muslim scholars from Africa and religious leaders from other faith groups.
Spokesperson and organiser, Moulana Abbas Mkhize told Salaamedia, that preparations for the mass event are underway. The event is expected to be attended by Muslims and non-Muslim from all over South Africa.
“Arrangements and preparations are in full swing for the Nkandla event. There are two aspects, the general public and the Muslim public are expected to come down and attend this event…Interest in the Muslim community is growing significantly. We are calling upon sponsorship for busses, ideally we want each town to sponsor buses for their communities,” said Moulana Abbas.
“We appeal to the entire Muslim community to attend. Each masjid can provide a car and sponsor a bus for enough members of the community to reach this event. It will have a significant impact on the King, Chiefs and donors attending. They will see indigenous communities attend in numbers and that will have an impact on them,” he added.
Separate ladies and men’s facilities will be provided at the event, which will be held in two large schools, with added marquees erected. Moulana Abbas also invited the Muslims of South Africa to also attend the Friday Jumuah prayers and stay overnight in Nkandla for the main event on Saturday. Accommodation and food has been provided for all those who will be attending.
“Those who want to be part of the worship on Friday are to come with their own bedding, for the elderly we do have bedding and anyone that needs special arrangements we have made arrangements for them. People will be opening their homes and the communities are very excited about it,” related Moulana Abbas.