First Turkish li­brary in south­ern hemi­sphere

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

In­sti­tute (YEE) in Jo­han­nes­burg is get­ting ready to open the first Turkish li­brary in the south­ern hemi­sphere hon­or­ing Ebubekir Efendi, an Is­lamic scholar of the Ot­toman Em­pire

The first and only Turkish li­brary in the south­ern hemi­sphere hon­or­ing Ebubekir Efendi, who was sent to the Cape of Good Hope to in­tro­duce Is­lam dur­ing the reign of Sul­tan Ab­dülaziz, will be opened by the Jo­han­nes­burg Yunus Emre In­sti­tute (YEE).

Speak­ing to Anadolu Agency (AA) about the li­brary, South African Jo­han­nes­burg YEE co­or­di­na­tor Gökhan Kahra­man dis­cussed the pur­pose of the in­sti­tu­tion, ex­plain­ing that they want to strengthen the cul­tural relations be­tween the two coun­tries and also pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion for stu­dents who want to study the Turkey’s lan­guage and cul­ture.

Ex­plain­ing that there is great in­ter­est in the Turkish lan­guage and cul­ture in the re­gion, the


co­or­di­na­tor said that they have pre­vi­ously sent the bright­est stu­dents from their Turkish Chil­dren’s Club to Turkey for sum­mer school.

While de­tail­ing the cul­tural events hosted by the or­ga­ni­za­tion, Kahra­man said South Africans have shown great in­ter­est in tra­di­tional arts, in­clud­ing cal­lig­ra­phy.

He also said that they try to con­trib­ute to all of the Turkish schol­ar­ships in co­op­er­a­tion with the Pres­i­dency for Turks Abroad and Re­lated Com­mu­ni­ties (YTB).

“We have al­ready given ex­ten­sive in­for­ma­tion about Turkish schol­ar­ship pro­grams to uni­ver­si­ties, aca­demics, high schools and re­search cen­ters. We ex­pect a high num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions from South Africa this year,” Kahra­man said.

He also said they pre­pared an aca­demic book that de­tails Turkish con­tri­bu­tions to South Africa and South Africans’ con­tri­bu­tions to Turkey, and that they plan to pub­lish it in English and in lo­cal lan­guages in the near fu­ture.

High­light­ing they are plan­ning to in­tro­duce nearly 4,000 books in Turkish, English and var­i­ous lo­cal lan­guages, Kahra­man said that Turkish cul­ture will never be for­got­ten in lit­er­a­ture or his­tory in these re­gions.

“Our his­tor­i­cal im­pact started with the ar­rival of Ebubekir Efendi to Cape Town on Jan. 13, 1863. The YEE is try­ing to con­tinue his work in a sense. We are al­ways think­ing up ways to con­trib­ute to it,” he said.

The schol­arly her­itage left by Ebubekir Efendi, who was sent to the Cape of Good Hope in 1863 to teach Is­lam and to solve the re­li­gious and so­cial con­tro­ver­sies of Mus­lims in the pe­riod of Sul­tan Ab­dülaziz, is still go­ing strong. The ef­fects of Ebubekir Efendi’s per­sonal work is also seen in the present, as well. For in­stance, his cat­e­chism “Beyanü’d-Din,” which he wrote in a lo­cal African di­alect, is con­sid­ered one of the ear­li­est texts writ­ten in an African lan­guage, and the book was also the first re­li­gious text ever writ­ten in this lan­guage.

He opened the first Is­lamic girls’ school in South Africa called the Ot­toman The­ol­ogy School and built mosques in Cape Town, Kim­ber­ley, Dur­ban and Port El­iz­a­beth.

The de­scen­dants of the scholar, who played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the Ot­toman Em­pire’s re­li­gious ser­vices in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, have con­tin­ued to live in the South Africa for five gen­er­a­tions.

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