Imam Haron’s memory lives on

2019-09-17 06:00
Attending the opening of the exhibition were, from left, Michael Janse van Rensburg, Cassiem Khan, Brent Walters, Shamela Shamis, Fatiema Haron Masoet and Mxolisi Dhlamuka. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

Attending the opening of the exhibition were, from left, Michael Janse van Rensburg, Cassiem Khan, Brent Walters, Shamela Shamis, Fatiema Haron Masoet and Mxolisi Dhlamuka. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

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Friends, family and followers of Imam Abdullah Haron gathered at Dulcie September civic centre at the launch of an exhibition commemorating his life.

The launch, which was a collaborative initiative between the provincial department of cultural affairs and sport and the Imam Haron Foundation, took place on Thursday 12 September.

Haron was a Muslim cleric and an activist during the apartheid era.

He was killed in police detention in September 1969, leaving behind his wife, Ghaliema, and their young children.

At the opening of the exhibition speakers hailed him as a man who was a peacemaker and one who did not only advocate for the rights of Muslim people, but for people in general.

The Imam Haron Foundation seeks to keep the conversation going about inequality. The foundation drives dialogue through community projects that involve youth and women by using tools such as the arts and sport.

According to the foundation’s national coordinator, Cassiem Khan, the exhibition is about keeping Haron’s memory alive and to also spread the message of justice.

Khan described Haron as a man of peace. He said if Haron was still alive today, he would not have been pleased with all that is happening in the country.

He made special mention of the recent murders of women in Cape Town.

“If he would wake up tomorrow I would ask him, ‘have we done enough in transforming society and in breaking down racial and political challenges?’,” he explained.

Brent Walters, head of the department of cultural affairs and sport in the Western Cape, said they are proud to be associated with the exhibition.

He said Haron sacrificed a great deal for the people of Cape Town.

“As conditions in the country deteriorated, Haron became more outspoken and actively participated in protests as an Imam and ‘umfundisi’ (priest),” he said.

Haron’s wife, who is reportedly quite frail, was not present at the opening, but his daughters were there to share the memories of their father.

His eldest daughter who is based in London, Shamela Shanis, said she was taken aback by the love and support shown by the people to her father. “I am amazed, I have just seen the exhibition and I am overwhelmed. I need time to take it all in.”

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