Braving wintery conditions at Sea Points iconic Three Anchor Bay, the Muslim community came out in there thousands in the hopes of catching just a brief glimpse of the new moon that would indicate the end of Ramadan. Despite the air of excitement and anticipation, bad weather conditions meant that Capetonians would have to be reliant on information from other parts of the country.
This year’s event featured an even stronger sense of unity amongst the community, particularly in light of recent events in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian flags and shirts were in abundance, with many walking around with banners of support for those affected by the conflict in Gaza. Four individuals, heavily dressed in Palestinian attire, stood against the ocean front railings waving flags as a notable crowd gathered to take photos.
Speaking to VOC News, many people hailed the sense of togetherness at Sunday’s event, describing it as an amazing experience.
Husband and wife duo, Ali and Wiedaad Gamied, said the moon sighting had become an important tradition in their family.
“We do it every single year, and it a chance for us to come out as a family and experience this. What is important is that we involve our children in this tradition, because if we don’t, it will die out completely,” said Wiedaad Gamied.
Despite its billing as an event for the more senior members of the community, there was particularly massive youth attendance at the event.
“Every year we come out to feel the vibe, and enjoy this feeling of togetherness. It really means a lot, because we are all Muslims, and it is the one time of the year where all Muslims come together, we make salaah together, we eat together, and break our fast together,” said friends Shakirah and Gayaat.
One community member by the name of Ridaah, made special mention of the crisis in Gaza, saying the Muslim community had really come out to show their support for the Palestinian people.
“”A lot of light is being put on it, which is good, because people need to be made aware of what is happening there,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of the youth attending such events.
“I think it is important for youth to be involved in this, because for the next generation, if the older people are not there, who is going to do it?” he said.
There was also proof that, no matter how old you are there’s still a first time for everything. Islamic educator Sheikh Adiel Hatas, said it was the most appropriate time for him to experience the moon sighting for the first time.
“This is supposed to be one of the major events in a person’s life, especially in Cape Town where it is a tradition. What if Allah takes me away and I haven’t had the opportunity to experience this, so I want to be here,” he said.
He described the atmosphere as ‘absolutely breathtaking’, comparing it to his experience of undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage.
“This reminds me of Mina, of all the Muslims, the feeling of brotherhood, camaraderie, and unity. This is absolutely fantastic,” he exclaimed.
When the announcement was eventually made, after a lengthy deliberation by the Crescent Observers Society (COS), many in the crowd struggled to hold back their emotions. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)