In a bid to reach out to African communities, an organization known as African Mosques will re-launch what has been dubbed the Shahada Festival in Pretoria this weekend. The Shahadah Festival is an initiative of African Mosques NPC in collaboration with the Jumua Mosque of Cape Town.
The Shahada Festival is preceded by gatherings and visits to the African Townships by a team made up of local Muslims of African roots that speak the dominant languages besides English accompanied by other Muslims of various races and backgrounds. The team arranges encounters at houses and mosques, inviting people to eat and to find out about Islam. At every gathering there is a time for debate and Q&A and at the end an invitation to Islam and to the Shahada Festival event.
“We, the Muslims of South Africa, have a responsibility and an obligation to pass on the message of Islam to all the people of this land. Particularly important, because of their numbers and because of their historic suppression and marginalization is the indigenous black population,” says African Mosque director Abdalhasib Castiñeira
The Shahada Festival concludes with a large gathering in Pretoria, on Saturday 27th, at 11 am, where men and women who want to become Muslims will share a morning of joy and celebration with Muslims, as people queue to say the shahada in front of Muslim witness and then partake in a meal.
After the Shahada Festival, the local Muslim communities will take on the care, teaching and support to the new Muslims, “individual by individual, community by community, town by town”, says co-ordinator Jahaangir Harris.
“We bussed in 800 people from different locations to the venue and 100 men became Muslim in 2005.”
Harris added: “During the second festival in 2010 in Kwazulu Natal, we had 450 people who came to the event and 65 of those became Muslim.”
Harris has been doing dawah work for 20 years but said that he hopes it will move to other parts of South Africa as well as the world.
The next Shahadah Festival takes place at the Kit Kat convention Centre in Pretoria West, from 11am until 14:30pm. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)