Archives

A regularly updated collection of historical records and  from the Africa Federation archives.

MARHUM HAJI ABDULLA KHIMJI AND MARHUM MOHAMED ABDULLA KHIMJI OF DAR ES SALAAM

Haji Abdulla Khimji was born in Kera, Kutch, India and migrated to Africa at a young age. Our community in Pangani and Tanga area vividly remember the generosity and leadership of Haji Saheb. During the heydays of Pangani, he commanded deep respect with the German Government authorities.
 
He was a resident of Dar es Salaam for many years. Due to his public services and integrity, the Tanganyika British Governor, Sir Cameron appointed him as Asian community representative in the Legislative Assembly.
 
Marhum’s wife Kulsumbai established Madressa and recited majalis in Kutchi. They had two sons Mohamed and Gulamali and seven daughters: Zainab Hussein Dharamsi, Maryam Gulamali Remtulla Manji, Shirin Gulamali Abdulrasul, Sakina M K Mithani, Fatma Janmohamed Dhirani, Zehra Akberali Mohamedtaki Kanji and Amina Gulamabbas Mohamedtaki Kanji. 

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A UNIQUE OCCASION OF THE NEW MOSQUE AND IMAMBARA FOR SONGEA

The opening ceremony of new Mosque and Imambara was done with great fanfare on 24 Zilhaj 1384 (April 1964). The mosque and Imambara were constructed through generous donation from the families of Marhum Ladhabhai Dinani and Marhum Jadavji Dhanji. The Honorary Secretary of Songea Jamaat, Alhaj Fidahussein Haji Mohamed Khaki spoke on this occasion. He said the community had finally been able to fulfill the need for these institutions, after having settled in Songea 35 to 40 years ago.

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Chronicle of Moshi KSI Jamaat



Brief information about Moshi Town, Coffee & Sugar Plantations:

 
Moshi town in the Kilimanjaro region with a population of about 200,000 is about 59 Sq. kilometers situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, which is 19,341 feet above sea level. Moshi is the coffee producing centre of the country. All around the town and on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, there are vast plantations of coffee. Moshi is one the cleanest and growing towns in Tanzania, with well-maintained roads and greenery in the town with bursting business outlets and fresh vegetables and fruit markets.

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The Genesis of World Federation – Part 2

A Personal Reflection of an Inspiring Journey

By: Hasnain Walji (Former Secretary General, Vice President and President 1978 – 2003)
 
‘Let me begin at the beginning. The concept of the World Federation dawned upon us by the events in Uganda.’ So began Marhum Mulla Asgherali M. M. Jaffer’s inaugural address at the First Constitutional Conference. (First page of the minutes, on page 4 below) Interestingly, of the three-day Constitutional Conference, almost a day was spent on a noteworthy debate. “To call ourselves Khoja or not - that was the question” Hours of passionate discussions took place on the merits of identity, closed membership and the scope of service.
 
The seasoned African delegation, joined by similarly pragmatic UK delegates leaned towards keeping it within the Khoja, while the enlightened North American delegation wanted to open it to the entire Shia world.

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The Genesis of World Federation – Part 1
A Personal Reflection of an Inspiring Journey

 

By: Hasnain Walji (Former Secretary General, Vice President and President 1978 – 2003)
 
The official date of the establishment of the World Federation is October 15 1976. However, the genesis is almost a year prior when In October 1975, a delegation from Africa sat down with some elders from Uganda and a group of young Khoja accountants and lawyers on the red carpet of the Hammersmith Imambargah in London.
 
As the Assistant Secretary of London Jamaat, along with the then Mukhi Saheb Anverbhai Jagani and Anverbhai Pirbhai, our duty, on that dull and damp October day, was to ensure that the delegation were suitably nourished, Khoja style, with steaming hot chai and samosas. As we poured them endless cups of tea, amidst the smoke from Rothmans Cigarettes, I overheard this motley group ponderously reflecting on the predicaments our Community had found itself in the wake of the 1972 Uganda Exodus. Over a thousand souls had now scattered across the globe trying to make a new life in these faraway places. Apart for London and Peterborough, most communities in UK and North America were yet to establish Jamaats and Imambargahs. Yet the Community spirit was strong as mumineen roiled out carpets from the trunks of their cars to sit in rented warehouses, basements or any place that would give them an opportunity and be spiritually uplifted through the recital of Dua e Kumail on Thursday nights. For living in city or town without a Jamaat, a Khoja individual was like a fish out of water and these small gatherings became the oasis of spirituality in the new land we found ourselves.

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Marhum Mulla Kermalli Alibhai - Dar es Salaam

 
One of the well-known amongst the community workers of the Dar es Salaam Jamaat was Marhum Mulla Kermalli Alibhai.
 
He will be remembered for his youthful enthusiasm and zeal in serving the community. In spite of his age, he was very active and would carry out duties that would put young people to shame.

He was born in Hadiyana, Kathiawar, India on 24 March 1889 and migrated to Africa at the age of 16. He was well known for his business acumen and he used this expertise in Jamaat matters taking good care of financial resources of the Jamaat.

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The Journey of Mulla Abdulla Karim Surti from India to Madagascar Island

Mulla Abdulla Karim Surti was born in India in 1862. He was the father of the famous Mulla Yusufali Abdulla of East Africa. He was also the nephew of the famous merchant who was known as the champion of the poor, Murrabbi Sheriff Jiwa Surti. Mulla Abdulla got married in Ahmedabad.
 
In 1900 he travelled to Madagascar with his uncle Murrabbi Sheriff.  He worked at his uncle’s branches at Diego Suarez, Nosibe and Analalava for a total period of 5 years. After the death of his wife, he went to India in 1904 for his second marriage.

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Daring and Adventurous Journey to East Africa – A brief Profile of Alhaj Remtulla Kassam Gulamali from Cutch Mundra, India


  

Remtulla Kassam Gulamali Bhagat was born in 1864 in Mundra, Cutch, India. In 1879, he and his brother Haji travelled to Pangani by dhow. The two brothers operated a partnership for two years. Remtulla decided to travel to Mogadishu, Somalia where he operated a business for five years. Finding no success in business, he moved to Merca, Somalia in 1886. At Merca, the business flourished very well and in a short period his concern became famous throughout the coast of East Africa.

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A HISTORICAL CHRONICLE

THE FIRST EVER KHOJA SHIA ITHNA-ASHERI CONFERENCE HELD IN CUTCH MUNDRA IN INDIA IN 1933


Since severing the umbilical cord with the mainstream Aga Khani Khojas which propounded Nizari Ismaili faith, the new splinter group of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris in India were busily engaged in several fronts to identify, consolidate, and strengthen the infant community. The rivalry and confrontation between original and splinter group was rampant, occasionally violent and very often showed its ugly head in social mercantile activities of both the communities. The first pressing task of the leader of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri community was to establish and widen network of Jamaats and with it Mosques, Imambarghas, and Madrassahs had to be acquired or built. To an acceptable degree this was achieved between 1880 and 1933. Under this climate the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri community labored with a dream: to establish a federation that would unite the community. This was the vision of Seth Dawood Haji Nasser who created the Cutch Federation but due to the War, it was still-born and picked up its root in Africa where it flourished progressively. 

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OUR COMMUNITY IN JINJA, UGANDA

After a long sea journey from India, Nasserbhai Pardhan arrived in Zanzibar in 1900. He lived there for four years followed by 18 months in Pemba and 18 months in Tanganyika before opening a shop at Changamwe, a suburb of Mombasa. After spending four months at Changamwe, he travelled to Kisumu by train and onwards to Jinja by boat.
 
In 1908 Jinja was a very small town. The houses were of two types, those made of iron sheets and those made of mud with thatched roofs. Our community members who had shops in Jinja were Walji Bhanji, Haji Merali, Abdulla Nathoo and Juma Muman. Nasser Pardhan joined in the employment of Haji Merali. Another employee was Suleman Esmail. Mohamed Manek was an employee of a famous entrepreneur Alidina Visram. Our community consisted of 7 families. 
 
Abdulla Nathoo had constructed a special room made of iron sheets in the compound of his house to be used for majlis. A famous Sunni Aalim Molvi Abdulla Shah used to recite majlis. Haji Tamachi Turk, a famous Sunni brother who had very friendly and cordial relations with our members used to sponsor nyaz and majlis. The Nyaz on 12th Muharram was regularly sponsored by him. His departure from Jinja in 1958 resulted in changes in our regular programme. There were four Bohra families who were close to our community. The nyaz on 9th Muharram was regularly sponsored by a Bohra community member Abdulhussein Kadarbhai. After 1958, the Bohra community started having their own programmes due to increase in their population.

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MARHUM JANAB GULAMHUSSEIN MOHAMED VALLI DHARSI (JANAB SALSABIL) REMEMBERED


The late Gulamhusein Mohamed Valli Dharsi who later became famous by the use of the pen-name of “SALSABIL” was the eldest son of Mohamed Valli Dharsi and was born in Zanzibar in 1887. He was brought up by Janab Saleh Hassan, his maternal grandfather. After finishing his studies, he joined his father’s booming textile business, together with his two younger brothers Habib and Kassamali.

Mohamedbhai Valli Dharsi passed away in Zanzibar in 1923 after returning to Zanzibar from Ziyarat in Iraq, Gulamhuseinbhai and his two younger brothers managed their father’s business until 1930 when it was wound up.

Gulamhuseinbhai received his early education at Sir Euan Smith Madressa, (a famous Gujarati and English educational institution in Zanzibar, renamed Haile Selassie School after the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964). With his vast studies he could speak Urdu, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Arabic and Kiswahili. His fondness for reading and writing was remarkable. He soon built up his own private library which, at the time of his demise consisted of some 2000 (two thousand) books which included some rare and valuable collections in English, Gujarati, Urdu, and Arabic. His private Library also contained several important literary and classical works which he had won as prizes in school competitions.

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