Waves of pink were seen across Masjidul Quds in Gatesville today as thousands of ladies came through adorning pink hijab to show solidarity to Voice of the Cape pink hijab drive programme. The event was a huge success as an enthusiastic crowd absorbed the atmosphere that aimed to inspire and uplift.
The crowd was welcomed by VOC presenter Ayesha Laatoe who kept them in awe with her bubbly personality. Sharing the MC role was another one of VOC’s presenters Gouwa Soloman. VOC programming manager Mishka Daries addressed the crowd as well engaging them to turn to the person next to them and to tell them what was grateful for. This activity proved to be encouraging as we saw strangers sharing their feelings as well embracing someone for telling them what they are grateful for.
The various stall holders had a variety of delicacies and products to purchase. There were leather bags, cupcakes, savouries and a range of goodies to indulge in. Many of the ladies flocked to get their mammograms and the iridology screenings done.
Pink Hijab Day was founded in South Africa by Humaira Jassat. It is based on a global initiative founded in 2004 in the U.S. state of Missouri by a group of high schools students, led by Hend El-Buri.
Jassat was delighted to be in Cape Town for the second time to celebrate PHD. Addressing the women, she explained how she got into starting the project in South Africa.
“I am from the Azaadville community in Johannesburg. In the community many of the women started to be diagnosed with breast cancer. However no one really spoke about it and when a family member of mine was diagnosed I knew I had to do something,” she revealed.
She added that this year she in fact did not feel like celebrating PHD after a close family member lost her battle with cancer.
“It was so devastating when I lost my husband’s aunt because I lived by the fact that cancer is not a death sentence…I felt like I had been lied to. I said I was not going to accept it and I was not going to do PHD this year. This was until her husband and daughter sat me down and told me that cancer was a death sentence,” Jassat said.
It was after speaking to her uncle and his daughter that Jassat realised that her aunt fought cancer for so many years which made her see that it was not a death sentence.
“I decided that this year’s PHD will be dedicated to her,” she concluded.
Esmarie Dreyer from the Rondebosch Medical Centre also addressed the crowd. She spoke about physiotherapy after being treated for cancer. Dreyer was also a cancer survivor. She had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Her talk was aimed at motivating the crowd on what exercise was necessary after treatment. She concluded her talk with an inspirational quote by Ruth Gordan which is “Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.”
Doctor Nafisa Khan from the Islamic Medical Association spoke about the early signs of breast cancer, risk factors & screening protocol.
Adeliah Jacobs from Pink Drive had their mammography van on standby at the event and encouraged the crowd to go to their local day hospital to get tested. She also encouraged them to get the mammography programme active in their area. They are based at 39 Belgravia Road Athlone and urged the community to support their initiative.
Najmuniesa Solomon, a life coach and social worker, provided the audience with the tools to cope if diagnosed with cancer. The audience also heard from cancer survivor Rayghana Cassiem who is an educator and shared some educational points from her perspective.
Kauthar Roomaney who is a cancer survivor wowed the crowd with her speech relating her battle to her family support as well her drive to help other cancer patients. Her father, Imraan joined her on the platform speaking about how to cope if your child has been diagnosed with cancer. Imraan is also the director of Muslim Hands.
An absolute crowd shocker happened when a 7 year old girl, dressed in a sparkly pink hijab was called to the stage. She was probably the youngest cancer survivor present there. Azra Saval was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain and after treatment has been much better.
Daries said she was “blown away” by the numbers of women who attended the event this year.
“We definitely had a bigger crowd because women filled up the upstairs section as well. From the initial responses we have received, todays Pink Hijab Day was inspiring, uplifting and has helped many woman realise the importance of their health and their worth.”
The atmosphere was set to educate, empower and embrace the reality of life. The crowd engaged and learnt that as women they have everything to be grateful for and the one who we owe our gratitude to is our Creator. VOC (Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed)