Art contest to honour Imam Abdullah Haron
Tuesday marked the day Haron, a co-founder and editor of the Muslim News newspaper was taken into custody by the apartheid regime in 1969.
He was murdered 123 days later while in detention at the notorious Caledon Square Police Station in Buitenkant Street. The Muslim News was fiercely anti-apartheid and was banned several times and its offices raided by the Security Branch.
On Tuesday, Cassiem Khan, co- ordinator of the Imam Haron Foundation, said the art competition by the SA Foundation of Islamic Art (Safia)-themed “Imam Haron - Transcending Barriers, Attaining Social Justice” was one of several events “indicating the various ways that Imam Haron influenced the community”. The events would be held until September 27, the day Haron was killed. Khan said events included a chess tournament at the Islamia Complex in Imam Haron Road in Lansdowne on June 15, a Youth Day quiz on June 16 at Alexander Sinton High School in Athlone and a tribute concert at ArtsCape on July 19.
There would also be a special religious ceremony in honour of the imam’s widow, 93-year-old Galiema Haron, at the Claremont Main Road Mosque on August 4 and a Sevens rugby tournament in August at the City and Suburban Park Stadium where thousands of mourners attended the imam’s funeral in 1969. Khan saidl the events were “to encourage greater public participation during the 123 days.” He urged all South Africans to use the time to learn more about Imam Haron and his Struggle, and to use social media to “spread social justice messages, specifically memories of Imam Haron and all Struggle heroes.”
As part of yesterday’s launch of the, #123Days campaign, the Imam Haron Foundation invited various community and faith leaders to gather at the Old Granary Building in Buitenkant Street. In 2016, the building underwent refurbishment, and since last December it houses a permanent installation in honour of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Afterwards there was a march to the Central Police Station where the participants prayed and the group was encouraged to call out to the justice minister to reopen the inquest into Imam Haron’s death.
It was on the same spot that the imam’s then 13-year-old son Muhammed stood to call out, inquiring after his father’s health, Muhammed Haron returned to the spot yesterday and also spoke at the launch of the #123Days campaign at the Castle of Good Hope. Khan said that during Heritage Month in September, a number of places of historical significance to the Imam would officially be declared Heritage sites, and that was also when Safia would announce the winners of the art competition.
Details about the art competition can be found on the Safia website: www.safia.org.za.@MwangiGithahu