By Humairaa Mayet
One must go out looking for the truth. That is an essential quality of any journalist. – Faizal Dawjee
Today’s #TributeToMuslimBroadcastersSA segment on Salaamedia featured veteran journalist, Faizal Dawjee.
In 1985, Dawjee was studying Arabic in Saudi Arabia and during his June summer break, he took the decision to pursue journalism. He caught a flight to Rawalpindi, Pakistan and from there he travelled to Peshawar, where he made contact with a group of mujahidin who assisted him as he journeyed into Afghanistan. He spent a month at one of the major camps on the southeast border of Afghanistan, keeping a handwritten record of everything that he witnessed and taking photographs with a film camera. Only once he returned to Pakistan was he able to send his findings to Al-Qalam newspaper in Durban.
From 1986-1989, during the height of the conflict between the apartheid government and the opposition, Dawjee served as the editor of the Al-Qalam newspaper.
He proceeded to cover the first Gulf War in 1991 from Mosul in Iraq and then went on to cover the war in Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1992. He witnessed first-hand the massacre and slaughter of many Muslims during the government-mandated ethnic cleansing. Dawjee spent 1993 in Sarajevo, and wrote for various newspapers during that time, including Al-Qalam, the Sunday Times, and a London-based Arabic publication. Around the world, interest grew regarding the happenings in Yugoslavia, and Dawjee appeared on many radio stations to report his observations. Among those were SABC, 702, and even a French community radio station where he gave an eight-hour interview about all that he had witnessed covering the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Balkans.
“There are no limits to human depravity,” said Dawjee, as he reflected on the “terrifying” events he had witnessed during his time as a journalist. He expressed how grateful he was that the apartheid government and opposition forces had opted for peaceful negotiations instead of violence and brutality.
The #TributeToMuslimBroadcastersSA segment on Salaamedia is an exclusive Ramadan broadcast on our platform, inspired by the late Ebrahim Gangat who was well known for his broadcasting talent.
Watch the full interview here: