Matroosberg Samurai Karate, a local karate club, will be hosting a mass interfaith iftaar on 17th June. While the event is being hosted to assist the needy within the community, the iftaar will also promote the development of interfaith tolerance and the cementing of relationships.
Sensei of the dojo, Pastor David Windvogel, says the dojo was established to improve the structures of the community and to encourage children to grow into proud citizens.
“We deliberately picked the area, extension 13 Belhar, because of the poverty in the area and tried to reach those who would normally end up in a life of gangsterism.”
While the dojo showed evidence of improving the mentality of youth, he said that members have progressed in competitions.
“They started winning gold, starting joining provincial teams, and in three consecutive years made the national squad,” Windvogel continued.
This year, members of the dojo will represent South Africa in the World Championship in Germany from 19-22 July. In preparation for the tournament, the competitors have been following a strict training regimen.
Member of the dojo, Shaykh Kaashief Damon said that his relationship with the dojo was spurred on by the level of poverty in the community, in which parents of members struggle to afford the dojo’s minimum monthly dojo fee of R50.
“When it comes to grading and the champs we need money to accommodate the members, so we said that we can do it – it is possible!”
‘Our children lack discipline’
The pastor, who began his career in the sport at the tender age of seven, said that the sport has developed within him a sense of discipline with which he frames his day to day duties.
“Karate teaches you discipline – everything that you start you have to finish. When you are disciplined in karate, you are never late, you train when you don’t feel like it, and even when you don’t feel well you continue to push yourself,” Windvogel continued.
Damon, whose relationship with the dojo began in 2012 with the enrolment of his children, explained that the discipline taught within the sport is an invaluable trait to have.
“Every aspect of religion speaks about taqwa (discipline) and to have self-constraint, which is lacking in this community.”
‘We need to develop interfaith relations’
In light of their religious differences, the two religious leaders say that their relationship grew organically and described the growth of their friendship as a “pleasant journey.”
“Our idea was to help children, to rebuild communities, to rebuild relationships, and in the process we got to know each other,” Windvogel noted.
“We want to break the walls down, the masjid al-Nabawi never had walls, and because of the walls currently in existence people cannot hold hands and find a common ground. We come from close communities – my great gran mother was a Christian woman,” Damon explained.
Organisers are, therefore, inviting all community members and corporates to contribute a minimum of R150 towards one needy individual or to sponsor a table.
“The money will not only be used to feed them, but it will also be used to fill a grocery hampers that can feed them for about two weeks.”
The event takes place on Friday 17 June at Belhar Civic Centre, Bloulelie Crescent, Old Belhar at 6pm.
For information, contact Pastor Windvogel on 071 422 2988, Shaykh Damon 0731588 377, Zainab 0736734141, or (021) 952-7786.