From the book: History of Muslims in South Africa by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida

1960 Muslim Population

According to South African Government statistics the Muslim population of South Africa was as follows:
Whites not mentioned
Coloureds 93256
Asians 98490
Blacks 4626
Total 196372

1960 Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational Movement* 94

During the early '60s, in Cape Town, members of the Muslim Educational Klovement and the Hospital Welfare Society merged to form the Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational Movement. This was largely due to the close working relationship, which existed between the two organisations and their common working goals.

Today, the Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational Movement supervises all the halal kitchens at major Peninsula hospitals in the Cape, namely, Groote Schuur, Somerset. Conradie. G P Jooste, Woodstock, Mowbray Maternity, Peninsula Maternity, Lentegeur, Brooklyn Chest and Tygerberg Hospitals.

The Movement launched its first bursary programme in 1972. From 1978 to 1987, it distributed more than Rand 120 000 to needy and deserving students for furthering their education.

Following are the distribution statistics:
Year Amount allocated Recipients Number qualified
1978 Rand 3 695 27 08
1979 Rand 4500 11 06
1980 Rand 6500 19 06
1981 Rand 7 800 23 13
1982 Rand 14000 37 14
1983 Rand 16 075 36 19
1984 Rand 13 200 16 12
1985 Rand 12 950 22 18
1986 Rand 16 000 13 10
1987 Rand 27 000 32 14

Since 1987 the administration of the Langa Madrasah in Cape Town has come under the wing of the Hospital Welfare and Muslim Educational Movement.

1960 Publication of Muslim News 95

Muslim News, "Southern Africa's only Muslim newspaper" in the sixtees, began its fortnightly publication from Athlone, Cape Town, with a circulation of 10 000 copies. The policy was spelt out in its first editorial:

'Muslim News is a non-commercial journal, run by an Editorial Board, and therefore, entirely independent. Muslim News will publish material of interest to and for the enlightenment of Muslims without fear or favour. Muslim News will seek guidance from the holy Qur'an and the Sunnah". From its humble beginning, the newspaper grew to acquire an international reputation.

On the front page of its initial publication, the Muslim Views which succeeded Muslim News, after the latter's closure, says:

"When the first issue [Muslim News] was published by Muhammad Zubair Sayed on December 16, 1960 it marked the birth of a truly national newspaper/or the Muslims of this country.

Because of the Muslim News' stand against the South African Government's apartheid policy, the newspaper faced much harassment from the Security Branch and other State authorities. Over the years several editions were declared "undesirable" by the State and in 1980 a record number of nine editions had been banned. In 1986, after more than 25 years' publication, Muslim News ceased publication. Among those associated with the newspaper were Imam Abdullah Huron who "died" in prison while being detained; A Kays, who succeeded Imam Haron as editor, was banned for five years and was forced to resign from Muslim News; Raslud Sayed, Gulzar Khan and Abdul Qayyum Sayed, all detained without trial at one time or another for writing against the Government or Government policies.

Then from September 1986, Muslim Views filled the void created by the closing of Muslim News. Muslim Views is at present in its fourth year of publication with 25 000 copies printed fortnightly.

1961 Zanzibaris Classified "Other Asiatics"

According to a proclamation in the Government Gazette of May 26, 1966, "Other Asians" are "persons generally accepted as Zanzibari Arabs [also called Zanzibaris or Kiwas] or people whose national home is in any country in Asia except, India, China or Pakistan". "Other Asian" forms part of the ethnic grouping under the broad race group "coloured" as defined by the Population Registration Act of 1950. The Zanzibaris were first classified by the South African Government as "Freed Slaves", then "Bantu", then "Coloureds" and finally by the Race Classification Proclamation No 6620 of 1961,-the Zanzibaris living in South Africa were classified as "Other Asiatics", although they have always had their roots in the African continent.

1961 Call of Islam

On May 07. 1961 Muslims gathered in the City Hall of Cape Town to launch the Call of Islam, an umbrella body, of different Muslim organisa­tions with the aims of opposing the Group Areas Act The organisation was founded by hnap 'Abdullah Haron.

1962 Zanzibaris settled in Chatsworth

Being classified as "Other Asiatics", the Zanzibari Muslims were forced to move from Kings Rest a$ this area was proclaimed for the residence of the White community under the Group Areas Act No 77 of 1957. They were then settled in 'Unit 2 of Chatsworth, Durban. At the beginning, some Indian residents of Chatsworth objected to the Zanzibaris being settled in an Indian area but eventually the Indian community as a whole accepted to live side by side with the Zanzibaris.

1962 Lenasia Muslim Association

The Lanasia Muslim Association [LMA] was founded in 1962. It had a humble beginning when it catered for a mere 30 madrasah children with one teacher earning Rand 30 per month. LMA today runs a madrasah programme which caters for more than 3 500 children in the Lenasia area. The Association maintains two religious-cum-secular nursery schools, five masajid [Rainbow Valley Masjid, Masjid-e-Nur, Masjid-us-Siddique, Masjid-e-Bilal and Honeysuckle Masjid], and three educational centres at its headquarters in Lenasia.

1992 marked the 30th anniversary of LMA's service to the Muslim community of Lenasia, Johannesburg, and the surrounding areas. The LMA is also involved in providing religious education to handicapped children at JISWA and the School for Hard Hearing. In 1992 the Association had a student roll of over 3 500, a staff of 170 and a salary bill in excess of Rand 100 000 per month.

1963 Muslim Judicial Council [Natal] 96

The Muslim community of Natal formed their own Muslim Judicial Council [Natal] with the objective of attending to manifold problems of the community in the province. Some of the matters this Council handled included marriage, divorce, inheritance, waqfand other religious and social matters. The Council as far as possible endeavoured to settle disputes between Muslim individuals and families without either party taking recourse to the Courts.

The Jami'atui 'Ularna' Natal which played a prominent role in establishing the Council assured the Muslim community that all solutions to problems would be settled according to Islamic Law, the Shan'ah. Nine 'ulama' were appointed to the Council, which was divided into four zones:

  • *Northern Natal: Mufti Maulana Mohammed CassimSema;
  • * Pietermaritzburg and Districts: Maulana Ahmed Desai, Maulana Goolam Mohammed Salot, Maulana Mohammed Yusufand Maulana Subhanallah;
  • * Durban and District and South Coast: Maulana Abdul Haq Omarjee, Maulana Loot, Maulana Aboo Baker Khatib, Maulana Abdul Qader and Mau­lana Abdur Rahman Ansari;
  • *North Coast: Maulana Ahmed Sabaat and Maulana Adam Yusuf Bhayat.

1963 Department of Arabic, Urdu and Persian at the University of Durban-Westville 97

With the establishment of the University College for Indians in Durban [now University of Durban-Westville] in 1963, Arabic was introduced as a subject at the request of the Muslim community. The Arabic Study Circle of Durban presented a memorandum to the Rector, Professor S P CMivier, manifesting the importance and need of the Arabic language to Muslims.

Dr Yusuf Zablith [M.D., Istanbul] initiated Arabic classes from March 1963 to June 1966 on a part-time basis at the Orient Islamic School, Centenary Road, Durban. From July 1966 Dr G R Smith of the University of London was appointed as a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department on a full-time basis; he resigned in 1969 upon the expiry of his contract. Dr ' Harold Spencer from Edinburgh University then took over as Head of the Department from September 1970 to September 1976. In October 1976 the University appointed Dr Syed Habibul Haq Nadvi [Ph D, Harvard] as Professor and Head of the Department of Arabic, Urdu and Persian at the University of Durban-Westville. Other staff members are Mahmud Dawood and Dr Ayoob Jadwat [Arabic], and Maulana Ahmad Khalil Aziz and Ismail Mahomed [Urdu]. Maulana Muhammad Ali Khan is the senior laboratory assistant in the Department.


  • 1. Arabic Studies, annual journal; volume 16 in 1992.
  • 2. Fikr-o-Fan, 1990.
  • 3. Unified Madrasah Syllabus for South African Madaris, 1986.

1966 Boorhanol Recreational Movement 98

The Boorhanol Islam Masjid was constructed in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, by the Boorhanol Recreational Movement. The specific aim of the Movement was to improve the quality of life of the people residing in Bo-Kaap. The co-ordinator of the Movement is Achmat Davids. Over the years the Movement has organised recreational activities [scouts, guides, karate, table tennis], educational programmes [typing, accountancy, school subject tutorials, dress making and designing classes, home economics and a full-day nursery school]. All the activities of the Movement have been Islamically oriented. The Movement conducts madrasah classes for adults and children in the afternoons and evenings, and also provides assistance to the poor and needy together with bursaries to university and technikon students.

The Islamic character of the Movement impels the organisation to extend its hand of friendship to non-Muslim communities of the area. In doing so, the Boorhanol Islam Recreational Movement practices 'an open door' policy whereby the services of the Movement are open to all races, irrespective of religion.

1967 Muslim Assembly [Cape]

In 1964 Dr Hoosen Kotwal mooted the idea of establishing the Muslim Assembly at the Green Point track. Despite opposition, the Muslim Assembly was launched in 1967, attracting many professional Muslims in Cape Town, some of whom were former members of the Cape Muslim Youth Movement. The Muslim Assembly is playing an important role in the field of Islamic education and welfare.

1967 Construction of 'Zanzibar;' Masjid, Chatsworth

The Juma Masjid Chatsworth, also known as the 'Zanzibari' Masjid, was constructed in Unit 2, Chatsworth. The Jama Masjid Trust of the Grey Street Masjid of Durban undertook responsibility for construction of the masjidaad its finances. Hafiz Sulayman [d 1972] was the first imam of the masjid.

1968 Majlisush Shura al-Islami

The Majlisush Shura al-lslam? was founded in 1968 by the Muslim Judicial Council of the Cape in order to cater for the religious, intellectual, educational, social and economic upliftment of the Muslims. It was then represented by over 60 Muslim organisations and tomo/m/ committees. In the beginning Shura depended on affiliated masajid committees and Muslim organisations to achieve its objectives.

Today, the Shura's base is expanded in order to allow Muslim individuals to join the organisation.

1968 1400th anniversary of the Qur'an celebration"

The 14th Centennial Qur'anic Council celebrated Children's Day on Friday, April 12, 1968 at the sports stadium. Curries Fountain, in Durban. Over 20 000 Muslim children, their parents and teachers attended. An appropriate song [Ya Allahu, yS Allah...] written by Goolam Hoosen E Vanker and sung by Ismau GanT and party was rendered on this occasion. The unique aspect of this celebration was the fact that for the first time Muslim children felt the vibrating impact of identity in belonging to the brotherhood of Islam. The celebration began in the morning outside the Grey Street Masjid in Durban where the Durban Muslim Brigade and the Overport Muslim Brigade led the procession, followed by some twenty Muslim schools and madaris carrying banners of Muslim countries and dressed in colourful costumes of Muslim States. The procession marched along Grey Street, into Alice Street, turning into Warwick Avenue and finally into Curries Fountain, Durban.

Jumu'ah salah was performed on the sportsfield at Curries Fountain. The greater part of organising, planning and publicity was done by the members of the Arabic Study Circle. The Fourteen Hundredth Anniversary Celebration of the Qur'an was the brain-child of G H E Vanker, Secretary of the Islamic Propagation Centre.

The entire ceremony at Curries Fountain was filmed [8 mm] by Dr R A Karrim of Clairwood, Durban, and the IPCI has transferred it on video for easy use.

1969 R K Khan Hospital, Chatsworth 100

As at June 30, 1942 the R K Khan Hospital and Dispensary Trust had conducted three clinics in Durban: at Clairwood, Sea Cow Lake and Somtseu Road. The assets of the Trust then stood at £43 741.0.0d pounds sterling and it was determined that a hospital be built. In March 1969 the R K Khan Hospital in Durban was officially opened. The cost of the 500-bed hospial was Rand 400 million of which the R K Khan Trust contributed Rand 400 000. Advocate R K [Abdul Rahim Abdul Karim] Khan was born in Bombay on March 24, 1874. He was Bar-at-Law, a member of Lincoln's Inn and was brought to Durban by M K Gandhi when he returned to South Africa with his wife and family in 1907. R K Khan was a joint­secretary of the Natal Indian Congress for several years. Before his death in Durban on October 08, 1923 he had arranged for the bequeathal of his entire estate valued at Rand 80 000 to the Indian Medical Relief in South Africa. R K Khan's worthy contribution made it possible for the R K Khan Hospital to come into being.

The R K Khan Hospital in Chatsworth, Durban, has training facilities for doctors, nurses and medical research projects, and stands today as a permanent monument to humanitarian quality of this man.

1969 Cape Muslim Students Association 101

The Cape Muslim Students Association [CMSA] was established in Cape Town in 1969. The CMSA, thereafter, mooted the idea of establishing a Muslim Students Association of South Africa representing students on a national level. Thus the Muslim Students Association of South Africa was founded five years later in 1974.