Muslims have been part of the struggle for human rights and freedom since their arrival on the shores of South Africa in the early 17th century. We recall the revered names of Tuan Guru, Shaykh Yusuf, Hadjie Matarim and others (May Allah be pleased with them) who made the ultimate sacrifice against Dutch and British colonizers and slave masters. During the apartheid era, several more Muslim names come to the fore: Imam Abdullah Haron, Ahmed Timol, Sulmin “Babla” Saloojee, Dr Haffejee and many others.
Today there are many veterans in our midst who gave selflessly to the struggle for universal human rights, freedom, and service to the community.
On behalf of the Community and well wishers, Awqaf SA is initiating and facilitating the honouring of all those persons. In so doing, Awqaf SA is launching a Community Leaders Waqf (Endowment Fund) with subfunds that will be named in honour of our brothers, sisters, and compatriots, both past and present. It is envisaged that these endowment funds will benefit especially previously disadvantaged South Africans in their quest for social justice and a better education.
The first of these funds will be in honor of Dr Rashid Ahmed Mahmood (RAM) (76) & Mrs Sara Salojee for their contribution. A commemorative biography of Dr Salojee has also been undertaken by Awqaf SA and was published in 2010. (copies are available on order from Awqaf SA).
Dr RAM, and always with the unstinting support of his wife, lifelong partner, and companion, Sara, gave selflessly to the anti apartheid struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa . Dr Salojee was arrested together with several other member of the community during the Tricameral Parliament protests in the 1980s and was placed under house arrest for several years. He also played a leading role in the United Democratic Front alongside Trevor Manuel, Allan Boesak and others. As a community member he served and still serves on several organisations including the Lenasia Muslim Association, JISS, Central Islamic Trust, Suliman Nana Memorial Trust, South African Hajj & Umrah Council, Islamic Council of South Africa, the Islamic Marriages Committee of the SA Law Commission, and Awqaf SA. He served as a Member of the Gauteng Legislature and also served chairperson of the Health Portfolio Committee in the Legislature. He is a member of the Religious Affairs Committee of the ANC.
Dr Salojee’s early schooling was at the “Mias Farm” boarding school in Midrand and then later at the Johannesburg Indian High School . He also actively participated in soccer, table-tennis, bridge, and cricket in the Nylstroom and Kliprivier dorpies. He has a son and a daughter.
As Muslims in South Africa , we are proud of the legacies that our leaders and forebears leave and left behind. We are proud of them as outstanding role models. We are proud of their selfless contributions. We are proud of them for the leadership that they gave and are still giving. Throughout the country they have left great infrastructure of masjids, schools, madressahs, and organisations that we have inherited and that we benefit from. They participated in the struggle for freedom and justice. They gave their lives. They sacrificed their families and comforts. Indeed, we have been the beneficiaries of those legacies. Our children and future generations will also be beneficiaries. Now we have a greater responsibility: not only should the legacy be safeguarded but also to ensure that they be continued and are further developed. How are we going to do that? We should never forget the Ihsaan of those that have done good to us and to humanity. Their names will be forever etched in Allah’s timeless records, and lest we forget, in the memorials, such as the Community Leaders Waqf, that we establish. Let us never forget the struggles, sacrifices, torture, slavery, and incarceration that our leaders and forbears endured for us.
Today it is our turn. Today we have to make sacrifices for the multitudes of poor and suffering. Today we have to contribute to the development of our own communities as well as those around us. Today we have a greater responsibility.
We call on the business community, professionals, workers, housewives, and home executives to contribute towards the Community Leaders Waqf as a token of our Ihsaan and appreciation. Where will this fund be invested? The fund will be invested largely into income earning property. What will the income be used for? The income streams out of the investments will be used to fund a variety of community development, poverty alleviation and humanitarian projects including scholarships and bursaries, maths, science, and literacy upgrade; and cataract and dialysis projects. The beneficiaries of these projects will be largely the poor and needy from all communities.