Tributes for District Six activist Shahied Ajam
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Cape Town - Tributes have flooded in for community activist Shahied Ajam, 62, who died on Saturday after a heart attack. He was the chairperson of the District Six Working Committee.
Its spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said: “Shahied was one of the great humanitarian leaders of our city, and a man who will go down in history as the visionary who brought tangible restitution and hope to the people of District Six.”
Shamiel Hoosain, who worked closely with Ajam, described him as a brother.
“Shahied was my mentor, father, friend. The District Six Working Committee was built on integrity because that was what he stood for. This was not an easy job. He was a man of morals and scruples, under difficult circumstances. I salute and thank him.”
Ajam was born in District Six in 1958, and was forcibly removed with his family at the age of 16. He spent a large part of his adult life in Namibia where his three daughters still live. He began his District Six work in earnest in his early fifties and worked mostly without earning a salary. Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said she was saddened by his death.
“It is especially tragic that Shahied will not see this come to fruition, having contributed so tirelessly for this cause,” Didiza said.
Ajam is survived by his widow Waggieda Ajam, daughters Najma, Shakira and Nadia Ajam (all in Namibia), mother Shariefa Kamaldien, siblings Shudley, Adam, Ebrahiema, Kashief and Faldiela, step-children Najma, Wassiema and Sharief, and five grandchildren.