13 May 2018 | Salaamedia Correspondent
Unlike the Northern Hemisphere this year, Ramadan in the south is more excruciating as it comes in winter. The cold season needs one to keep warm. It however presents Southerners with more tests for their faith and commitment to the purpose of Ramadan and the overall drive to be a better Muslim and person.
The sacrifice becomes more fulfilling and the rewards abundant, literally and spiritually. Yesterday on a chilly Saturday morning, Africa Muslim Agency launched its Ramadan for the year 2018 under the theme #RememberingAfrica at Al- Furqaan Islamic Centre in Finetown, south of Johannesburg. It was a jam packed affair, with people from all corners of Gauteng, members of the community, local high school learners, representatives of various organizations, media, as well as the students and management of the centre at the venue. And Salaamedia was there to witness the historic day.
The proceedings of the day were directed by the regional director of Africa Muslims Agency, Haffiz Hassan Choonara. Naturally, the opening was recitation from the portion of the Holy Qura’n by Ali Junior Ali, a 17 year old in-house learner at the centre. Al- Furqaan Centre is home to 11 learners and many Gap year learners (Matriculation correspondents).
Taking a tour around the centre evoked a sense of pride in the manner in which these the learners are cared for. One would wish that all learners had the opportunity to learn and reside at such a cool and tranquil environment.
In his opening address, Choonara narrated his experience in the past few weeks in Malawi as they were together with Ponty Moletsane, Salaamedia’s Station Manager who embarked on a long journey to deliver charitable items as well as witness an official opening of wells erected in the villages deep in unreachable corners of Malawi. “One learnt to appreciate their country. In Tahaliya, close to Lake Malawi, people escorted our cars in ululation and dance upon arrival. This reception lasted for longer than one and half kilometres. This showed the level of appreciation”.
It is estimated that more than 80% of Malawi’s population depends on subsistence farming. It is even worse in areas with scarcity of running and flowing water sources. “In some areas where we drilled boreholes, they were travelling as far as 4 kilometres to the nearest source of water before,” said Hassan Choonara. “It was really heartbreaking to witness the poverty there”.
Back at the launch ceremony, a gift was presented to the centre by Moulana Yousef from Kliptown, Soweto. It was two murals that were made by the apprentices at the skills development centre in Kliptown.
After the presentation of the murals came one of the Africa Muslims Agency long term partners, the South African Youth Development Foundation. SAYDEF as it is affectionately represented by Sheik Daud. Their centre assists more than 20 orphaned and poor families with food and sanitary parcels as well as academic assistance in and around their community of Fordsburg.
“We have patrons coming to register their needs way before Ramadan” he said. “This shows that people have faith in Allah and His servants”. Among many other partners of AMA were benefactors like Tshwaranang Community Development Organization. This is a Finetown-based Non-Profit Organization that focuses on home-based care for the downtrodden and sick.