Organisers of the Spice Mecca Ramadaan For All Exhibition have described this year’s event as a roaring success, following three days of bumper crowds. The exhibition which had transformed the historical Castle of Good Hope from a bastion of colonialism to a Ramadan inspired exhibition was the perfect venue, as visitors from all walks of life were given some insight into Islamic cultures and traditions. From what started out as a place where local exhibitors had sold items required for the holy month of Ramadan, it has grown into an event that focuses on community development and religious engagement.
Spice Mecca CEO Shreef Abbas, CEO said they attempted to neutralise barriers and to bring all Muslims and non-Muslims toegether in the spirit of Ramadan. The event had a non-sectarian approach, while the exhibition demonstrated that Ramadan has value for all Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“The event had been blessed by having our opening with the Maqam of the Quran, by one of the top scholars of the Qur’an, Shaykh Dr Ahmed Naina from Egypt, and a jumuah is the historical castle. We had about 30 000 people attend the exhibition this year. That for me was magnificent as 25% the people who attended was of other faith and religions. It was an exclusive environment of peace, harmony and security,” said Abbas.
There was a showcase of the Qur’an of Tuan Guru. Abass said that the event hoped to honour and keep the teachings of Tuan Guru, who arrived in the Cape of Good Hope in 1780. The famous opened one of the first Muslim schools in the Cape that was open to people of all background.
Abass said he received positive feedback from visitors who were moved by the sermon on the importance Al-Aqsa Mosque by Sheikh Majid Mafarjeh, which is the third holiest site in Islam. The Friday evening started the cultural aspect where the crowd was entertained with beautiful nasheeds.
“We had entertainment where you can listen to music with a halal aspect, which was very nice. The Saturday topped it with the community legend awards, to the icons and for me the highlight was that we award two people from the townships. They have done excellent work in the community, vary often we give awards to people who are in high ranks, but we forget about those doing the ground work,” explained Abbas.
On Saturday, the International Peace College South Africa (IPCSA) held their 8th Annual Wasatiyyah Symposium. Thy application of Islamic Law in the South African Context, particularly around the Muslim Marriages Bill as a case study, was discussed.
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel made a remarkable speech on unity in diversity, which was in line with the theme of Ramadan for all.
“We have invoked the spirt of Tuan Guru and that is the spirit we want to bring back into the community. We can extend the barriers of race, culture, religion and gender Alhamdulillah,” he said.
VOC News spoke to a few exhibition goers, who took advantage of the great shopping deals and relaxing with their families in the outdoor space.
“Everything was a favourite. Nothing was pricey and the food was excellent. I am not a takeaway person but the food was awesome. I met so many friends and family. My daughter in-law was saying I know everyone here,” said Aleweya Abaderr who is from Kenwyn.
“The vibe was fantastic. It was entertaining and engaging,” said Nadeema Taliep.”