Nahklistan feeds 85 000 needy communities

2019-06-18 06:00
Members of Nahklistan busy with cooking the food in the 169 pots in Rylands Estate.

Members of Nahklistan busy with cooking the food in the 169 pots in Rylands Estate.

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Hundreds of people came to witness the cooking of 169 pots of food by the organisation Nahklistan, the night before Eidul Fitr on Wednesday 5 June at Callies Rugby Field in Noll Avenue, Rylands Estate.

It was a phenomenal experience to see how 4.5t of meat, 3.7t of rice, 3t of potatoes and 2t of onions together with spices were cooked on a wood fire.

A total of 300 volunteers assisted with the cooking of the food and they have all been with the organisation for years, with a few new ones joining every year for the past 35 years.

Shukoor Mowzer of Athlone established the organisation in 1984, and this year more than 85 000 less fortunate people in the province enjoyed a cooked meal on the eve of Eidul Fitr.

“Shukoor and two friends realised that in the Athlone area where they were living, some of their community members did not have food for Eid celebrations and this is how Nakhlistan was born.

“He used two of his mother’s small pots to cook the food and the two pots were cooked with donations from family and friends. On Tuesday 4 June, 35 years later we cooked 169 pots with a volume of 130 liters,” said Fatima Allie, spokesperson for the organisation.

Nakhlistan is a Persian word which means oasis and sustenance, and that is why the organisation chose the name.

“Ramadan is about caring and sharing and the Eidul Fitr Feeding Scheme is our flagship activity because Nakhilstan grows with the community and we are now able to provide more services like cooking at the Islamic new year and during the month of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

“We also have operational soup kitchens in Bonteheuwel and Valhalla Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays and distributes blankets during the cold winter months,” she said.

Nakhlistan pioneered the cooking of these huge pots of food on a wood fire and even though it is Muslim-based, it caters for all the needy in the Western Cape, no matter which religious or cultural background that people may belong to.

“Muslims are obliged to pay alms to the needy, and during the month of Ramadan, when Muslim’s fast from before sunrise to after sunset. Nakhlistan is that vehicle to distribute these alms via food parcels and cooking big pots of Aknie, an aromatic meat, potatoes and rice dish.

The smell of the burning wood, the steam and aroma from the huge pots, is a sight to behold.

“We have a burial service that services the community on the day of a funeral of Janaazah. We distribute soup and blankets during the cold winter months.

“In 2020 we will cook 175 pots (130 litres) of food. The donations we receive during the month of Ramadan pays the suppliers for the meat, rice and other ingredients. We use one supplier per product to ensure consistency of each other of Aknie. On Monday 9 September (10th of Muharram) we will again hand out food. Nakhlistan receives packed food parcels from donors that we distribute to Bridgetown, Bonteheuwel, Valhalla Park, Sandvlei, Ocean View, Woodstock, Goodwood and Pollsmore Prisons, Langa, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Kensington, Garden Village Macassar, Masiphumelela, Porterville, to name a few. We are a team of six volunteers and are based in Rylands Estate,” she said.

According to Allie they are cooking these pots to assist the needy in all of these communities. “We are taught from a young age that to feed a needy person is so rewarding and a narration from our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is that the best of man is he who is most beneficial to humanity. To cook one pot takes between four to five hours depending on the wind and rain”.

For more information on the organisation and their services contact Fatima Allie on 082 066 3353.


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