South Africa’s Muslim media fraternity has lost one of its most famous voices – Ebrahim Gangat. The veteran radio broadcaster passed away on Sunday night, following his recent battle with cancer. Affectionately known as ‘Ebrahim Bhai’, Gangat’s death will leave a huge void in the Muslim media industry, to which he has contributed for over twenty years.
Gangat found his feet at the Radio Islam in Lenasia where he quickly gained a following and began to shape the airwaves of community radio. After the launch of the satellite platform Channel Islam International (CII Radio), Gangat cemented his radio persona as the host of the breakfast show for many years. He also took many young journalists and presenters under his wing, many of them who have made huge strides in mainstream media.
Gangat’s swansong was at Salaamedia, where he was the presenter of the morning show for the past few years. It was here that he was able to do what he truly loved – giving a voice to humanitarian issues and pressing challenges facing the Muslim ummah.
“He stood out head and shoulders above the rest. He was fearless, unassuming and never shied away from the truth. The hard interviews he conducted over the years bear testimony to this. But he still remained simple and humble despite the situation and the circumstances. Ebrahim Gangat was a true humanitarian who sincerely cared about the oppressed, the destitute and downtrodden. The plight of the poor and the suffering of humanity was close to his heart. It pained him to see the suffering in the world and was bold enough to stand up in the face of injustice,” said his colleague and close friend Inayet Wadee.
Gangat was able to easily give shape to the platform’s commitment to blend news with a distinct humanitarian role designed to make Muslim media a formidable leader in the upliftment of poor, downtrodden and marginalized people, said media commentator Iqbal Jassat.
“His ability to transcend the limitations of boundaries by engaging in robust interviews with key people from Pakistan to Palestine and from Bosnia to Britain and bringing to life crucial international events affecting lives of Muslims around the world, will stand out as his profound legacy,” added Jassat.
“Whether it was breaking news on issues with huge impact on Muslims in South Africa and around the world, or complex accounts of events unfolding, Ebrahim Gangat had his finger on the pulse.”
Jassat said Gangat’s distinguished career may have been cut short by his illness and untimely death, but his legacy as a formidable interviewer backed up by sound research will live on.
“His unique style, booming voice and jolly personality endeared him to all he encountered. Ebrahim Gangat on radio was not merely a career in journalism, but a mission with purpose. Fearless and tough but with unmatched modesty and sincerity, his will be a tough act to follow.
Journalist and researcher Ebrahim Moosa, who worked with Gangat at CII, said he had truly found his passion in radio.
“This was a calling and about da’wah. It was about sharing the message of Allah SWT and the deen of the Prophet (saw) and making us understand society’s problems,” he said.
Radio Islam’s programme manager Maulana Sulaimaan Ravat said his death was a huge lost to the broadcasting industry.
“His contribution to Muslim media is legendary and many that came after him were actually following in his footsteps, he had set the benchmark. He was very passionate about the plight of Muslims who were suffering in various parts of the world.”
According to Radio Islam producer Ejaz Khan, who had worked with Gangat for 5 years at CII Radio, he could relate to anyone on any level.
“Some of the biggest interview scoops as a radio producer I got as his producer of the morning show Sabahul Khair. He always thanked me for my efforts. He was always bubbly and would love talking local football, English premiership and current affairs,” he recalled.
“Our roads went in different directions, but we still remained in Islamic media. He is a huge loss for Salaamedia and the entire Islamic media industry. A giant of radio has passed on.”
We make dua that he be granted Janaah-tul-Firdous and be forgiven for any shortcomings, Ameen.
May Allah SWT grant his family, friends and colleagues sabrun-Jameel, Ameen. VOC