“It’s a brand new era”, said CEO of Spice Mecca, Shreef Abbas in announcing the 2018 Ramadaan For All Exhibition on VOC this week. The famous home-grown spice company has re-branded its successful Ramadaan expo held annually and VOC has been announced as the media partner for the event. The religious and cultural event will take place at the Castle of Good Hope from Friday 4th May to Sunday 6th May 2018.
“An event of this nature and magnitude must be truly inclusive of the entire community. That’s why we have decided to rebrand and change the name,” said Abbas.
“We don’t look at issues such as race, culture or ethnicity. We are going beyond everything that separates us. Because truly we are citizens of the city and this country and we have a common humanity.”
With humble beginnings as a souk for Ramadan shopping, the exhibition has grown to evolve into an event that focuses on community development and reconciliation, intercultural and religious engagement and youth development.
“There is one central facet as Muslims – and that is our Shahada. We believe that we need to bring all Muslims and people from other faiths together. This event is about profiling Islam and showing how we do things,” said Abbas.
With this in mind, one of the main aspects of the exhibition is the recitation of the Quran and communal prayer of Jumuah.
This year’s event will once again open with the Maqam of the Quran and will feature Shaykh Dr Ahmed Naina from Egypt, perhaps one of the top scholars of Qur’an and recitation alive today. The programme line up will include the crème de la crème of South African huffath and nasheed groups. Last year, a record number of 25 000 people attended the exhibition, particularly on the day of Jumuah.
Last year’s event was historic as it was the first time that Jumuah salah was performed at the Castle of Good Hope and was led by the deputy mufti of Palestine, Shaykh Ibrahim Khalil. A symbol of colonialism and oppression, it was at the Castle that many of the forebears of Islam were incarcerated in its dungeons. Last year’s mass prayer was therefore significant in its symbolism. There are hopes that the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein will attend this year.
The launch of the Ramadan For All exhibition will take place at Masjidul Quds on the evening of Thursday 3 May with a mass thikr to be attended by Shaykh Naina and some of the Cape’s top ulema and thikr jamaahs.
Another interesting feature will be showcasing of the Quran of Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Kadi Abdus Salaam, well known as Tuan Guru, which is currently on display at the first mosque in South Africa, the Auwal Masjid in Dorp Street Bokaap. Spice Mecca is partnering with the Al Ihlaas Library to put the replica of this Quran on display.
In terms of its community outreach, Spice Mecca has partnered with many organisations such as the prestigious Jam Eyyatul Qurra Hafith School and the International Peace University of South Africa (IPSA). This year, IPSA will again host the Annual Wasatiyah Conference, which will bring together thought leaders on topics related to Islam. Interested participants can register on IPSA’s portal once details are available.
Another ground-breaking project is the Participant Project, guided by the curators of the Soni art studio. An Arts and Culture domain was added to the exhibition last year for beautiful art and calligraphy pieces to be viewed. Here workshops were facilitated for youth to be trained in art and calligraphy.
“This year is a new era for our event and for South Africa as a whole, so let us connect with our South African-ness. I’ve asked the coordinators of this project to construct a work of art and if it’s a Quranic inscription, but to do it with a South Africa feel,” added Abbas.
Giving back to the community is a defining aspect of the Ramadaan exhibition. This year, Spice Mecca will again celebrate community legends for their recognizable impact on their communities and society as a whole.
The organisers have reconfigured the main aspects of the exhibition such as the marquee and the food court. The aim here is to make the event accessible and comfortable for people to navigate. The event coordinators have promised more space for vendors and 150 spaces have been earmarked for traders.
Anyone interested in booking a stall can Salama on 0733196337 or contact Spice Mecca on 021 692 1288. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea of the Ramadan exhibition has been premised on the souk and the Spice Mecca Pavillion, the main hub of activity.
The biggest draw card here will be the Spice Mecca Cook Easy Lifestyle show, where Spice Mecca co-owner Shamiela Abbas will showcase her culinary prowess. Spice Mecca has promised a more interactive cooking exhibition where members of the public will be invited to participate.
Up until 2pm on Friday 4th May, entrance will be free to the public.
Abbas concluded that the exhibition has become more than just a Ramadaan shopping experience, but rather one focused on the spiritual preparation for Ramadaan.
“Let’s inaugurate and celebrate this beautiful month of Ramadan. We hope to see everyone at the Castle of Good Hope and the thikr at Masjidul Quds in the presence of the great scholars of the Quran locally and those from the Hareem of Al Aqsa, InshaAllah.”
VOC and ITV will broadcast live from the Ramadaan For All Exhibition. VOC