Shortly after 9am, residents lined the street with musallahs (prayer mats) as cops closed the road and aunties walked around handing out freshly fried koeksisters and samoosas.
The Hatamul Qur’an event, hosted by Moulana Sameeg Norodien and Sheikh Salieg Isaacs, is part of an ongoing upliftment project undertaken by the two community leaders “to take back the streets” from skollies.
During Ramadaan, the two men organised several gatherings aimed at bringing calm to the community, including holding mass thikrs (devotional prayers) on Thursday nights at gang hotspots.
Since June, about 500 residents meet at a gang hotspot after sunset every Thursday where Muslims and Christians pray together and share a meal.
This was done to help quell gang violence in the area and has been lauded by local cops.
Yesterday morning residents and huffath (people who have memorised the Qur’an) from across the Cape Flats came to Manenberg to participate in the mass recital which was broadcast live on Voice of the Cape radio and held in partnership with the South African Qur’an Association.
Norodien explains: “Normally the recitals are held inside the mosque but as part of the ongoing upliftment project for Manenberg we decided to host it in the street just like we do with the weekly thikrs and the boekas (breaking the fast) at Ramadaan. We want to create a space where the community can come together and help rebuild the moral fibre of Manenberg which has been destroyed by gangsters and drugs.”
Among some of highlights was a recital by Ibrahim Abrahams who recently became a hafiz. The Grade 8 pupil from Sautul Qur’an School in Sherwood Park was honoured at a ceremony on Friday night for memorising the entire Arabic Qur’an at just 14 years old.
The guest speakers at the event included world-renowned hafiz Sheikh Abduragmaan Sadien, and radio personality Moulana Dawood Sampson.
Resident Adeelah Arendse says events like these are bringing change to Manenberg.
“You can really see the change especially with the thikrs. Every Thursday we all just give what we can (to eat) and it’s so lekker to see Muslims and Christians enjoying their streets together. And you can see the difference with the gang violence, which has become less.”
Now residents are gearing up to host the inaugural Manenberg 5km Fun Run on Sunday, starting at 8am from Downeville Primary School. Adults pay R20 while scholars pay R10.