The life of Imam Haron celebrated

Imam Abdullah Haron and his wife, Galiema Haron, with their children, Shamela and Muhammad.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the killing in police detention of Imam Abdullah Haron.

The children and grandchildren of Imam Haron decided to commemorate this event by inviting supporters and family members to establish the Imam Haron 50th Commemoration Committee (IH50thCC).

The IH50thCC presents the multi-faceted legacy of this great leader who was born in Newlands.

He was active on the sports field, he supported the arts, he was involved in continuous education, and had close collaboration with people from various faiths and political persuasions.

He transcended the barriers of race, thereby undermining, the apartheid government through a broad and inclusive approach.

One of the goals of the committee is to organise events to inform and educate the public about the life and legacy of Imam Haron, though it also needs to be inclusive that new audiences should be reached and events must include all those killed in apartheid police custody and specifically those held under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act.

In February next year, the Imam Haron family intend to apply for the re-opening of the inquest into the murder of Imam Haron.

They will do this in the presence of Judge Seraj Desai, Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners (TRC) Yasmin Sooka and Mary Burton and a wide range of
dignitaries from the faith-based, political, sport and educational spheres.

The Imam Haron Foundation notes that there was a public display of collective support for the Haron family from the families of victims of apartheid crimes who were demanding justice.

IH50thCC committee members have researched the life of Imam Haron. They sought to give voice to individuals who knew him as associates, students, family members and fellow activists. And they have found a powerful, rich legacy.

All this information will be used to produce a book at the end of the year.

There were various events this year that helped commemorate the life of Imam Haron. They included the Spice Mecca Ramadhan Expo, held at the Castle of Good Hope on the Freedom Day weekend in April; a dedicated Khutbah, a photographic exhibition, and Freedom Awards to struggle veterans and to families of apartheid-crimes victims.

A mobile exhibition was launched in September at the Dulcie September Civic Centre in Athlone which celebrated the life of Imam Haron.

On September 27, the Al-Jaamia Masjid in Claremont, where Imam Haron served, and his gravesite in Mowbray were both given a Heritage Western Cape plaque, identifying them as provincial heritage sites.

The widow, Galiema Haron, 93, was buried in the same grave as her husband on Sunday September 29, exactly 50 after he was buried.

If there is a quotation that captures, the relevance of Imam Haron in our times, then it is from Bonteheuwel community leader Henriette Abrahams, who said that we do not need the army in our townships to deal with gang violence, we need an army of Imam Harons.

The late Imam Haron and Galiema Haron are survived by their children, Shamela Shamis, 68, Professor Muhammad Haron, 63, and Fatiema Haron Masoet, 56, as well as 10 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.