In the midst of intense planning for Ramadan, VOC management and staff took some time out to relax and unwind on Thursday evening, in celebrating one year since the station moved to its own independent frequency 91.3 FM. The milestone was marked with a dinner and thikr at the Barron’s Estate in Phillipi.
Upon the launch of the frequency last year, VOC made history by being the first radio station in the country to complete a 5-day Khatam al-Quran live on air. That initiative took place with the help of some of the top ulema in Cape Town and was concluded at the Auwal masjid in Bo-Kaap, where the community joined in on the festivities.
Speaking at the event, VOC’s Board of Management chairperson Achmat Jacobs, reflected on the growth of the station, saying that not only had VOC brought the athaan and message of Islam into the homes of listeners, but had also strived to give back to the community over the past 20 years.
“This years Ramadan will also be a special occasion, as it marks 20 years since VOC has occupied the local airwaves, bringing the athaan live into the homes of every Muslim in the Cape. As the first Muslim station in South Africa, we have grown from strength to strength since then,” he said.
VOC programme Manager Mishka Darries took the opportunity to honour the late stalwart Munadia Karaan, who passed away earlier this year. She expressed her gratitude at having the honour of launching the new frequency alongside Karaan last year and dedicated the thikr to her and all other deceased.
Apart from the one year anniversary of the launch of the 91.3 fm frequency, VOC will also be celebrating its 20th Ramadan on the airwaves, which also coincides with its 15th annual Ahlan wa Sahlan outreach programme. The initiative sees the station facilitate a collective khatam with the community each week, at a different masajid in underprivileged communities. As part of the initiative, VOC also distributes aid to the destitute within the community.
According to Ahlan wa Sahlan coordinator, Ebrahim Arnold, the organisers were looking to get VOC listeners more involved in the programme during this years Ramadan. As a result, the station would provide a recitation list that listeners could print out and tick off when they, a family member or friend completed a juz. Once the list was complete, listeners could send the completed list back to the station.
“We will put it up on the website soon and the listener will appoint a coordinator to ensure the khatam is completed. They can then send the list back to the VOC,” he explained.
“If we do this every single week, we can then get to the masjid that has been designated for the Ahlan Wa Sahlan programme, and you can join us there to complete the khatam,” he said.
Arnold also urged community members to bring along non-perishable items to the designated masajid where the programmes are to be held, which will then be distributed to the poor at a later date. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)