Kholvad 100 years marked

Post - - News - FAKIR HASSEN

THE fore­sight in pri­ori­tis­ing ed­u­ca­tion by the first In­dian South African set­tlers from the district of Kholvad, in the state of Gu­jarat in In­dia, was marked with cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions in Jo­han­nes­burg on Sun­day.

The Madressa An­ju­man Is­lamia of Kholvad (MAIK) was started by those who came to South Africa in search of a bet­ter life to en­sure re­li­gious ethos in ed­u­ca­tion. A pri­mary school es­tab­lished in 1914 has since mush­roomed into a mas­sive ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem cater­ing for stu­dents at all lev­els, fully funded even to­day by MAIK.

To start off the project then, mem­bers ral­lied and raised £100 which they in­vested in buy­ing property.

This seed cap­i­tal has grown to an as­set base of R36 mil­lion to­day in var­i­ous parts of South Africa.

MAIK chair­man, Moosa Jeena, said al­though the ini­tial fo­cus was on ed­u­ca­tion in their an­ces­tral vil­lage in In­dia, the pi­o­neers of MAIK also turned their at­ten­tion to the lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem by award­ing scholarships and bur­saries to at­tend ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in South Africa.

“More than 3 000 lo­cal stu­dents have been as­sisted in the past 50 years,” said Jeena, who him­self was a re­cip­i­ent of a bur­sary from MAIK many years ago.

MAIK also es­tab­lished hos­tel fa­cil­i­ties in Jo­han­nes­burg for chil­dren from coun­try towns where there were no high school fa­cil­i­ties for them in the apartheid era.

Al­though there are no ac­cu­rate fig­ures avail­able, the Kholvad com­mu­nity in South Africa is es­ti­mated to be be­tween 20 000 and 30 000. This is the largest out­side In­dia.

Most are pro­fes­sion­als in di­verse fields and in busi­ness.

Due to ca­pac­ity con­straints of the venue for the cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions, only 2 500 people could at­tend. This in­cluded guests from sev­eral over­seas coun­tries, while other sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tions abroad de­liv­ered live mes­sages of good­will, via video con­fer­enc­ing.

But the Kholvad com­mu­nity was not only about sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion, sev­eral guest speak­ers em­pha­sised. Kholvad House in cen­tral Jo­han­nes­burg had also served as a fo­cal point for vet­er­ans of the free­dom strug­gle such as Nel­son Man­dela, Wal­ter Sisulu, Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Ahmed Kathrada, with meet­ings be­ing held there of­ten.

Mem­bers of the Kholvad com­mu­nity such as Babla Saloo­jee and Ahmed Ti­mol, who were mur­dered by se­cu­rity forces while fight­ing apartheid, were ac­knowl­edged along­side many oth­ers.

Madressa An­ju­man Is­lamia of Kholvad chair­man, Moosa Jeena, and his ex­ec­u­tive team mem­bers handed out roses and gifts to all the women, among them Rox­anna Ca­jee and Farida Saloo­jee.

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