Celebrating Our Muslim Heritage and Identity on National Heritage Day

As South Africans celebrate Heritage Day on 24 September, we reflect on the sacrifices, struggles and contributions made by all in bringing about an era of freedom, liberation and democracy in our beautiful country.

This commemoration of Heritage Day provides us with an opportunity to once again pay tribute to the legacy of the pioneers of Islam in South Africa. We remember and reflect on their precious contributions and selfless sacrifices in the pursuit of freedom, liberation, tolerance and justice.

Although our forefathers were faced with many adversities including colonialism, apartheid and many other injustices, Islam thrived and flourished in the country. Not only were our forefathers able to overcome such challenges, but they also played active and fundamental roles in establishing the democratic state in which we live today.

We owe so much to the dedication and commitment of those early South African Muslims who held on to their faith and continued to trust in Allah (SWT) during difficult times.

Today, Muslims in the Cape possess a uniquely African identity unlike no other minority group living in South Africa. Our rich legacy is a reminder that the Muslim community should continue efforts to alleviate poverty, protect those that cannot defend themselves and continue the pursuit of a harmonized and peaceful society for all. After all, we live in a country with many diverse cultures, traditions and people and we, therefore, must embrace and stay true to what Islam teaches us and what it means to be a Muslim.

It is with this in mind that the Macassar Islamic Society, Nurul Latief Jamaah and the Sandvlei Muslim Jamaahs have united to launch the Shaykh Yusuf Al Makassari Islamic Council (SYAMIC) with the support of the MJC (SA). This important council aims to strategically address the challenges faced by the greater Macassar, Sandvlei and Khayelitsha areas. They will formally launch their organization at their Heritage Day Celebration on Monday, 24 September 2018. The organization is elated to receive the Deputy Director General of the ANC, Ms Jessie Duarte at this event.

Furthermore, the MJC also supports the Bo-Kaap Heritage Festival scheduled for Monday, 24 September. The Bo-kaap has a rich Islamic history that includes the first mosque to be established in South Africa as well as the first cemetery, The Tana Baru Cemetery.

The MJC also wishes to encourage young Muslims to gain as much knowledge and information on the history of Islam and the valuable and proud heritage our community possesses.

We pray that Allah (SWT) grant all Muslims around the world the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed upon the Muslims of South Africa, Insha-Allah.