An interest in truth and justice

2008-07-11 00:00

WHat is your connection with The Witness and to Pietermaritzburg?

In primary school my teacher asked us to read a daily news-paper to improve our English. As I am a second-generation South African and grew up in a household where the main language was not English, The Witness went a long way towards the improvement of my English.

Where were you born, where did you grow up? What’s your educational background?

I was born in the old Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg as there was no hospital in Richmond. My primary schooling was in Richmond. For my secondary schooling, I travelled to Pietermaritzburg every day. In my primary schooling years, I memorised the Qu’ran under the guidance of my uncle Yusuf. After matriculating at Woodlands Secondary, I went to India and embarked on theological studies. Unfortunately I could not complete them due to ill health, which necessitated my returning home after six years.

How do you spend your days?

I am a teacher. I am currently studying towards completing a programme in education. I also try to engage in various social and community upliftment

programmes.

Do you write letters to other newspapers? Why do you choose The Witness?

I do write to other news-papers occasionally but The

Witness is the main medium through which I express my views. I have a high regard for The Witness as it published articles on truth and justice during the repressive years of

Nationalist Party rule.

How do you receive your news about current South African affairs?

I read many daily news-papers, journals, magazines and whatever material I can lay my hands on.

Do you have any other passions or interests?

I am very concerned about the decay in society, especially among the youth, and find the scourge of drug abuse, appalling behaviour and indifferent attitude towards religion disturbing and worrying. I am passionate about reviving the youth and encouraging them to follow the “straight path”.

What do you think is the value of letter writing? What inspires you to write letters?

Being a Muslim the Qu’ran and Sunnah (practices of Prophet Muhamed, PBUH) are my guides. They determine my outlook on life, justice, tyranny, oppression, truth and falsehood. It is therefore incumbent upon me not to remain silent or

inactive when needs be.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the media directly affects our lives, influences our opinions and penetrates our subconscious. Through letter-writing we can express our complaints, lobby for a cause, present a viewpoint, negate myths and serve as an antidote to the less than objective and/or balanced media coverage of events. The more I read the more questions I have and over the years I have realised that some of the mass media are presenting half-truths and distortions. This inspires me to do research and write letters.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing South Africa today?

I share the concerns of most people with regard to crime, poverty, HIV/Aids and unemployment. However, I think the biggest challenge facing South Africa today is that white-collar crime, bribery and corruption must be tackled and rooted out.

Your age, marital status, children and occupation?

I am in my early 40s, married with three children.

What do you believe has been your best letter?

I have written letters on various subjects affecting different aspects of social, political and religious matters which I consider to be important.

Do you get any feedback as a result of your letters?

Yes, I do get feedback on my letters, most of it positive, sometimes negative and on the rare occasion, abusive.

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