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50 years since Imam Haron’s arrest

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Tuesday 28th May will mark 50 years since the fateful day of Imam Abdullah Haron’s arrest, which set in motion a chain of events that changed the course of history.  On 28 May 1969, the scholar and political activist was arrested at his home and held incommunicado for 123 days at various police stations. It was at the Caledon Square Police station, now the Cape Town Central Police Station, where he was interrogated, beaten and tortured, until his death on the 27th September 1969.

This year, the Imam Haron 50th year Commemoration Committee has planned a 123 day campaign to mark the 50 years since his arrest and ultimate death. The Foundation has invited various community and faith leaders for a special event at the Old Granary to mark this day. The family and friends of Imam Haron will proceed to the Caledon Square Police station, for a prayer at the pavement from where his 13-year-old son and members of the community use to call out to him, enquiring about his condition.

This symbolic act of gathering at the same spot allows the community to call out to the Minister of Justice to reopen the inquest. The group will then walk towards the Castle of Good Hope at the same area that served as the gallows during colonial times.  Acclaimed artist, Haroon Gunn-Salie is expected to reveal details of his upcoming interactive public art display.

The upcoming events are of an educational, religious, political, cultural and sporting nature indicating the various ways that Imam Haron influenced the community. These events will be held over the 123 Day period in which Imam Haron was imprisoned.

The immediate events for the month of June will be a Youth Day Quiz on Sunday 16 June where local schools are participating at Alexander Sinton High School. On the 15 June in collaboration with Chess Western Cape a Chess tournament will be held at the Islamia Complex on Imam Haron Road. A Tribute Concert at the ArtsCape on the 19 July 2019. A special religious ceremony will be held in honour of the wife of Imam Haron, 93 year Galiema Haron at the Claremont Main Road Mosque on the 4 th August.

A sevens rugbytournament is planned for late August with Western Cape Rugby at the City and Suburban Park Stadium where the funeral of Imam Haron was held 50 years ago.

September is heritage month and the places of historical significance for Imam Haron will be officially declared Heritage sites. The annual Imam Haron Memorial Lecture is organised by the Imam Haron Education Trust and a play on the life of Imam Haron will be performed at the Joseph Stone Auditorium.

During the week of 16-20 September a photographic exhibition will be on display at the Athlone Civic Center in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture. The South African Foundation for Islamic Art – SAFIA will announce the winners of the Art Competition – themed Imam Haron – Transcending Barriers, Attaining Social Justice. A Cricket Tournament on the 25th September, organised by Western Cape Cricket.

The culmination of the events will take place at City Park Stadium on the 29th September, the location of imam Haron’s janazah.

The Foundation has encouraged greater public participation during this period and call on all who use social media to use their platforms for this purpose. Tweet using the Hashtag #Imam123Days for all your social justice messages and specifically how you remember Imam Haron and all struggle heroes. Post pictures on your Instagram accounts.

To find out more details about the initiative, email Cassiemkhan9@gmail.com for further details.


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