The encompassing spirit of Ramadaan was palpable in Mother City over the weekend as thousands of Capetonians attended the Spice Mecca Ramadaan For All Exhibition. This year’s event was a roaring success, with thousands of local making a beeline to the Castle of Good Hope over the three days. Organisers estimate that they exceeded their target in terms of visitors to the exhibition. While the event drew a mainly Muslim crowd, the event embraced many people of different backgrounds and faiths.
The exhibition was organised to herald the month of Ramadaan and to break down barriers of race, religion and culture. The festival also promoted local small businesses and provided an opportunity for the community to bond with local entrepreneurs while being entertained.
While the usual corn-in-a-cup, braai stalls and burger joints experienced snake-like queues, the hot weather boded well for the ice-cream, waffle and mocktail vendors, who also saw huge volumes. As is a staple at any festival, young children got their hands on candyfloss, popcorn, slushies and other delicacies. Many visitors praised the wide array of shopping stalls and of course, the sublime food on offer.
“The food was divine. The atmosphere is amazing,” said 25-year-old Yumna Toefy.
“The food smells delicious. You get the aromas from a mile away. Everything looks amazing,” said Katherine Roman from Observatory.
“This event has been such a success. The organisers have outdone themselves,” said 72 year old Nafeesa Damon.
For many elderly, had a wonderful social atmosphere. In the food-court, there was plenty of salaams and hugs as old friends and relatives reunited.
“Meeting my old friends was wonderful,” said 68-year-old Mogammat Nacerodien.
“I came with my grandparents and they knew every second person. So for more, it was a beautiful thing to see,” added 21-year-old Dayaan Isaacs.
Spice Mecca CEO Shreef Abbas said the response from the public had exceeded all their expectations. He thanked his committed and hard-working team for stepping up to the plate and delivering on each and very plan – no matter the obstacles.
“We have to thank our Creator for allowing us to take the Ramadaan For All, which started two years ago, to a different level. We can only thank our Allah SWT for placing bakarah in our lives. We are just so grateful,” said Abbas.
Abbas conceded that one of the many challenges facing the event was the shortage in parking and the cobble stoned walkways of the Castle, which were an impediment to the elderly, disabled and women with babies. Following the closure of the event last night, the team will hold a debriefing meeting this weekend.
Shamilah Abbas, the creative genius behind Spice Mecca’s Cook Easy Lifestyle show, drew huge numbers to the Spice Mecca auditorium over the weekend. The exhibition concludes a busy few months for Shamilah who recently launched her first cook book, My Passport: A Culinary Journey, which soared is sales. Shamilah proved to be a real celebrity at the event as food-enthusiasts got their books signed and many clamoured to take a photo with her.
“Everyone used to ask me when I would be releasing a book and finally I did. People came in droves alhamdullilah. So now I want everyone to take the book off their shelf and use it, as it is so simple.”
The aficionado thanked her entire cooking team but paid special recognition to the main man in her life, who she says pushed her to finally write the book.
“I need to say shukran to Shreef. He worked single-mindedly and tirelessly. Many times, he would be sitting up in the middle of the night jotting down notes with his fountain pen. This is his commitment to the community,” she said.
Spice Mecca has issued a heartfelt thanks to all their sponsors and exhibitors who supported the event. VOC