Lansdowne residents and followers of the slain community activist and Muslim cleric Imam Haron gathered at Islamia College on Wednesday 25 September for Haron’s 12th memorial lecture. The lecture was organised by Imam Abdullah Haron Education Trust (IAHET), established in 2005.According to Mogamad Allie, the secretary of the trust, prominent speakers are invited each year to address attendees on topics related to their field of work.Haron was murdered whilst in police detention in September 1969. He left behind his wife Ghaliema and their three young children.The lecture is held annually to preserve Haron’s memory.A foundation, named after him, was also established to advocate social justice and equality for people from all walks of life. The foundation collaborates with community organisations, such as art groups, and holds engagement events to make people aware of and think about different issues. The speaker at this year memorial lecture was Prof Eric Atmore, adjunct associate professor of social development at the University of Cape Town and director and founder of the Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD) in Claremont. He spoke on early childhood development and how it can be a strategy to eradicate poverty and inequality in South Africa.In his speech, Atmore described Haron as a man who was taken from the community at the prime of his life.“This righteous man was a threat to the racist and powerful, minority elite. He worked among the poorest communities of Cape Town and was centrally involved in the political activities of the liberation organisations during these ‘brutally repressive times’ as Prof Aslam Fataar describes this time,” he said. He also spoke about how Haron was loved by many people from areas such as Nyanga, Langa and Gugulethu. He said when he sees Haron’s paintings, it becomes clear that he was a leader of the masses.He also spoke briefly about IAHET. According to him, it was established to promote Haron’s vision of empowering marginalised groups and individuals through education.He said the trust is one of many initiatives which will play a role in changing the story of the suffering of the young people in South Africa.“The education trust has chosen to build on Imam’s legacy to create a better world for young children, a world in which young children are free from poverty, inequality and injustice,” he said.He urged the attendees to play their part in creating a better and safer environment for the young ones. He described poverty as the enemy and said the lack of early childhood development programmes is alarming.“If we do not make children a priority, if politicians only kiss children at election time, then in the words of Oliver Tambo: ‘A nation which does not value its children does not deserve its future,’ ” he said.