The Islamic Unity Convention (IUC) will commemorate the anniversary of the tragic passing of anti-Apartheid struggle icon, Imam Abdullah Haron, by hosting a special programme in his honor on Saturday afternoon. Considered one of the most prominent scholars of his day, Haron was well-known for his strong opposition to the Apartheid government of the time. He was arrested in May 1969, and was kept in police detention until September of that year. He was tortured during his time in custody, eventually succumbing to his injuries on the 27th September. Saturday will mark the 45th anniversary of his tragic death.
According to IUC deputy chairperson, Mogammad De Vries, Haron’s death continued to remain a contentious issue throughout the Apartheid era. Despite his death certificate and subsequent reports indicating that he was beaten, suffering severe bruises and head injuries, the police had remained firm in their stance that the scholar had fallen down a flight of stairs.
“Imam Haron fought the oppressors, and he fought for the oppressed. We know him as such, and he lost his life by not giving in to the Apartheid regime at the time,” he said.
The programme comes barely a week after Haron was posthumously awarded a doctorate by the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He was also posthumously awarded the Order of Luthuli in Gold earlier this year, considered the country’s highest honour.
De Vries said they would not only look to commemorate Imam Haron as a martyr, but also 11 other individuals who had suffered similar oppression at the hands of the Apartheid government. Of those, three were still alive. This included Haron’s wife, Galiema Haron, former ANC Womens League head, Winnie Mandela, and Veronica Sobukwe, the wife of former PAC leader Robert Sobukwe. The first two had confirmed their attendance, whilst the latter would be represented by family members.
De Vries was hopeful that the event would be well attended by the community, and that people would come out to listen to the stories of the individuals being commemorated.
The programme will take place at 3pm at the Ned Doman High School hall, Althone. The event is open to all to attend. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)