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Imam Haron grave site, mosque given heritage status

Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol, Nkosinathi Biko, son of Steve Biko, and Muhammed Haron, son of Imam Abdullah Haron, pay homage at his grave site. Photo: Supplied

Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol, Nkosinathi Biko, son of Steve Biko, and Muhammed Haron, son of Imam Abdullah Haron, pay homage at his grave site. Photo: Supplied

Published Sep 10, 2019


Cape Town – The grave site of anti-apartheid icon Imam Abdullah Haron and his mosque in Stegman Road, Claremont, have been declared heritage sites.

Heritage Western Cape (HWC) said this was decided at a special meeting yesterday.

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This after an eight-month process, initiated by the Imam Haron Foundation, calling for the declaration.

The Imam was buried at the front of the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery at 10 Browning Road on September 29, 1969, and Al-Jamia Masjid in Stegman Road, Claremont, was his base of

operations for 15 years.

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Imam Haron Foundation co-

ordinator Cassiem Khan said the foundation believed that this was a great stepping stone for its future work on memory.

“Present at the declaration was Muhammed Badr Hassen Parker. He was 16 years old at the time and upon request of his late father he arranged for Imam Haron to be buried in this easily accessible prime space demarcated for their family. The security police were in the graveyard having dug a grave for Imam Haron in an obscure place.

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‘‘It’s an honour for the family and the people of Cape Town that through this declaration the grave site will officially be in the records of the City as a heritage site,” Khan said.

“This mosque was the base of operations for Imam Haron for 15 years. It was here where he showed what it meant to transcend political, religious and racial barriers.

“The mosque is more than 100 years old, but the 15 years with Imam Haron at the helm was its golden era. We hope that the mosque and the grave site will next be considered for national heritage status and placed on the liberation route,” Khan said.

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HWC chief executive Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka said the declaration of the grave site and the Al-Jamia Mosque meant that these sites were now part of the “National Estate of South Africa”.

“As part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of his assassination, HWC has taken a decision to protect his grave and the Al-Jamia Mosque as provincial heritage sites.

“They are now recognised as important historical and heritage landmarks. These sites add to the contribution of the Western Cape to the resistance and liberation history of South Africa,” Dlamuka said.

“Imam Abdullah Haron is remembered for having been involved in the liberation Struggle in order to bring about change and social justice in South Africa.”

Khan said the foundation had also identified other sites for declaration, including the Maitland police station, City and Suburban Rugby Stadium, Imam Haron’s last home in Repulse Road and his home in Claremont, from which the Group Areas Act evicted his family.

“We’ve learnt a lot and wish to play a greater role in heritage declaration of spaces, particularly related to faith and the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid era. We would like to share our experiences with other families and individuals,” Khan said.

Cape Times

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