Preparations for the third annual Mass Mawlid celebrations are in full swing ahead of this weekend’s showpiece event, according to Mawlid SA spokesperson, Nabeweyah Malick. Thousands of Muslims from all walks of life are expected to gather at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday, to pay recognition to the birth and life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
With spirits high amongst the organizing team, Malick said there was a general feeling that the project would be ‘something out of the ordinary’, that would likely go to the heart of every Muslim and non-Muslim in attendance.
“You can see and feel that when you sit with all the volunteers and people who are coming on board and saying ‘what can we do?’. We want to show the world that Cape Town loves the Prophet Muhammad (SAW),” she explained.
From an organizational perspective, Mawlid SA has had numerous volunteers assist with the planning and preparations for the event. As of Friday morning, she noted that all logistics were on track, with international guests already swarming into the city.
The commemoration comes at a difficult time for the global Muslim population, as anti-Islamic sentiments continue to grow by the day. The event comes barely two weeks after radical gunman stormed the offices of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, taking the lives of several of the magazines employees. The attack was purported to be in retaliation for a series of controversial cartoons of the Prophet released by the magazine. The incident has raised debate over the limits of freedom of speech, as well as the acceptability of such caricatures. In response and defiance of the shocking attack, Charlie Hebdo this week released another image of the Prophet, further stoking tensions.
Malick said the Mawlid came at a particularly important and crucial time for the Muslim community, when there were several outside influences attempting to degrade and humiliate the religion.
“Because of this there is a lot of interest from international media wanting to cover the Mawlid on Sunday. Inshallah as South Africans, Capetonians, and people who have committed their lives and time to this love we have for our Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we hope that we will have a beautiful day,” she said.
The Mass Mawlid is to be held for the first time this year at the Athlone Stadium, having been shifted from the Greenpoint track to bring the event “closer to the heart of the people”.
“We are hoping that inshallah that, true to our South African and Cape Town reputation, on Sunday we will see our community coming out with their hearts just filled with love for our Prophet Muhammad (SAW),” she said.
Transport to the stadium will be provided at several masajid across the city. Busses are scheduled to depart for the venue at around 1:30PM, with gates expected to open promptly at 2PM.For more information on transportation, you may visit the website http://mawlidsa.org. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)
Attached is the program for Sunday’s event: