Archives

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

DOWN THE MEMORY LANE

CRATER (ADEN) – YEMEN JAMAAT


Aden Jamaat was an active Jamaat with a population of about 1,000 heads before the crisis erupted. Aden was British Crown Colony from 1937 to 1963, and being an extension of British India, the British Indian rupee was the currency of Aden until shortly after India gained independence in 1947. In 1951, the rupee was replaced by the East African shilling which was at par with the shilling sterling, later in 1965; the East Africa currency was replaced with South Arabian dinar, later became South Yemeni dinar. 

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MURABBI SHERMOHAMED SAJAN

An exciting story of ambition, migration, struggle, success, tragedy, and legacy.

The family of Sajan Somji was prominent in the city of Nangalpur, Kutch, India. Sajan was well known as a successful and honest businessman with qualities of humility, generosity, community service, and leadership. He was born in 1852. His first son was born in 1870 and was named Shermohamed (Sher). Even as a teenager, Sher displayed exceptional leadership qualities and was the head of the Ismaili youths of Nangalpur.

Sajan and Sher travelled to Zanzibar from Mumbai via Oman. From Zanzibar they first went to Pangani and then to Arusha on foot with a party of 25 people. They had to carry food stuff and gifts to tribal leaders for permission to march ahead. The gifts which they gave out include items like beads, cigarettes, matches, candles, etc.

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AFED SOLIDARITY DAY CHARITY WALK IN PERSPECTIVE

Sunday the 7th July 2013 was a cold day but the 49 participants, young and old braved the cold weather of Arusha, simply out of love and devotion towards the noble cause of participating in the AFED Solidarity Day Charity Walk, also this was the first of its kind in the history of the Arusha Jamaat, and it is always a privilege to be counted as the pioneers.

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DEDICATED SERVICES OF OUR MULYANIS (ZAKIRAS)

When our forefathers landed on the Eastern shores of Africa, they settled in the towns like Lamu, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam, Bagamoyo and Kilwa, among others, some of them ventured into the interior and decided to live in small settlements and villages. At that time, we did not have Mulyanis or Zakiras from India or Pakistan to cater for the needs of the women of our Community. Many of our own ladies came forward to cater for the women folk by reciting the Majalis and carry out functions necessary for the spiritual needs of the women of the Community.

The dedicated Mulyanis did great work of reading and studying the Majlis books in Urdu and delivering in simple language to our women folk. They also translated the Majlis and delivered them in Kutchi and Gujarati. They performed these religious duties on honorary basis. Through generations, these Mulyanis trained the younger among them and to date we continue to benefit from these highly dedicated Mulyanis, who continue in the service of our Aimma A.S. and the Community.

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Hussein Day – Prominent Observance Event Fading Away

The tradition of holding Hussein Day started in 1940’s in Zanzibar, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. The aim was to propagate the message of Tragedy of Karbala and the mission of Imam Hussein (A.S.) to the general masses. The venues selected were always outside our Imambarghas where maximum participation of the general public is achieved.

In Zanzibar the first Hussein Day was held in Victoria Garden under an ad-hoc committee appointed by the Jamaat. The Hussein Day was attended by high government officials, diplomats, non-Muslims and Muslims of all denominations. The speakers were mostly outsiders who presented their views about the Kerbela tragedy. This was a unique way of propagating the message of Imam Hussein (A.S.) outside the community. In Zanzibar the chief guest was always the Sultan of Zanzibar. The popular venue was Portuguese Fort at Forodhani which exists till today.

In Mombasa the venue was Ithna Asheri Sports Club, organized by Ithna Asheri Young Mens` Union. In 1952, the Governor of Kenya, Sir Phillip Hitchell was the chief guest. Many dignitaries attended the program. Hussein Day used to be a very important annual event.

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SPEECH DELIVERED BY MR. N. M. NASSER, PRESIDENT OF THE RECEPTION COMMITTEE OF KSI JAMAAT OF DAR ES SALAAM

Mister President, Councillors and Delegates,

My Jamaat is grateful to the Supreme Council for having convened the 6th Conference Meeting of the Federation of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaats of Africa, on its invitation, in Dar-es-Salaam, as the Conference under the hospitality of my Jamaat.
 
Therefore, with a feeling of great indebtedness, I on behalf of my Jamaat welcome you, Mr. President, Councillors and Delegates to Dar-es-Salaam, a haven of Peace, and I assure you the name this town bears is far from being a misnomer.
 
While the cool sea-breeze here is plenty and beyond exhaustion, it is only fair that I should caution you at the mischievous trick the breeze might play in lullabying even an anxious and forceful prospective speaker to a sound sleep complaint at gusts of cool sea-breeze in the hot climate will not be entertained.
 

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DRAMA IN HAJI MOHAMMED JAFFER BOARDING HOUSE
 (NOW ALMUNTAZIR ISLAMIC SEMINARY)


Haji Mohammed Jaffer Boarding House – United Nations Road, Dar Es Salaam

In the year 1960 Dar es Salaam Jamaat hosted the Africa Federation Supreme Council meeting. The president of the reception committee Murrabi N. M. Nasser delivered the speech to welcome the President, Councilors and Delegates for the Supreme Council Session. To honor the Councilors, Delegates and community members, boarding house organized a drama. The drama was in three in episodes of which the 1st episode was poetries, 2nd was Drama named Sikandar-e-Azam - ”Alexander the great” and 3rd episode was about Akhlaq.

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KHOJA SHIA ITHNA-ASHERIES IN LAMU AND MOMBASA, 1870-1930
BY ZAHIR BHALOO

PART FOUR

Dharamsi Khatau: A Pioneer and Merchant Prince

From interviews with Akberali A. Khatau



Dharamsi Khatau
(from A.A. Khatau)

My grandfather Dharamsi Khatau was born in Nagalpur, Kutch in 1865. He had four brothers Jivraj Khatau, Manji Khatau, Kassim Khatau and Killu Khatau. Yes it’s the same “shaheed” Killu Khatau, the student of Mulla Qader Husayn Saheb who was martyred in Bombay. After the death of Killu in 1878, my grandfather left Bombay in 1880 with his father and mother along with the wife of Killu Khatau and Killu’s daughters. The journey to Mombasa by dhow took about a month. On the way Khatau Nanjani, my great-grandfather saddened by the death of Killu passed away. He was lowered into the sea with full honours.

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KHOJA SHIA ITHNA- ASHERIS IN LAMU AND MOMBASA, 1870- 1930
BY ZAHIR BHALLOO

Part one of four parts 

Author’s Note:
 
A chance meeting outside Fort Jesus, Mombasa, with Cynthia Salvadori, author of the remarkable three volumes We Came in Dhows, was what first inspired me to record stories and anecdotes about Ithna-Asheri pioneers at the turn of the century. Cynthia was fortunate enough to interview late Hussein Abdalla Jaffer and late Gulamali G.A. Datoo; scions of two pioneer Ithna-Asheri families of Mombasa. I decided to carry on where she left off and began to interview as many old members of the community as I could. Of course I never intended to nor indeed was it possible to record every story. The few I did are published here along with historical notes, photographs and newspaper clippings.

Ramadan 1429/September 2008

 Mombasa, Kenya

Lamu- In about 1870, Dewji Jamal, a rich Ithna-Asheri merchant of Bombay and Zanzibar established a branch of his company Dewji Jamal & Co in Lamu which was then the chief port of Kenya. Besides this solitary venture there is no record of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris on the island until 1880. The period 1880-1890 witnessed a large number of Ithna-asheri arrivals in Lamu. Most of the new arrivals came from Kutch or Kathiawad but some also came from older Khoja settlements along the East African coast like Bagamoyo, Zanzibar and Kilwa.
 
When they arrived most were already “Ithna-Asheri” and it is likely that only a very small number of Khojas actually seceded in Lamu. Late Hussein Abdalla Jaffer, a great-grandson of Dewji Jamal remembers that while his grandfather Jaffer Dewji was in Lamu he often used to help Ismaili Khojas and invite them for religious majlises (discourses). After sometime a number of them left the Jamatkhana and joined the Ithna-Asheris. (From an interview with Hassan Ali M. Jaffer.)

 

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MEMORIES OF TULEAR JAMAAT - MADAGASCAR


Jamaat Group Photograph in first mosque built in Tulear - Year 1920

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MARHUM MOHAMMADALI LADHA DAMJI OF KIGOMA

Mohammadali bhai was born in Ujiji-Kigoma in the year 1915. After his primary education he went to Zanzibar for his secondary education. In Zanzibar he stayed with his uncle Jaffer Ladak Mullani, he also learnt Quran and Dinyat from Maaalim Raza Rashid Nathani. Zanzibar was well known for its high standard in religious and secular education.

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