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

Remembering our Heroes…
Abul Ghuraba (Father of the Needy)


Haji Gulamabbas was born in Mombasa in 1919, had a formal education for only two years. However with perseverance, he acquired enough knowledge to be able to fluently read, write and speak Guajarati and English and was at ease whilst conversing in Urdu and Kiswahili. He also showed deep interest in religious education and developed close friendship with Mulla Mohamed Jaffer (father of Alhaj Mulla Asghar) and Haji Alibhai M. Gulamhusein (a teacher at Hussain at night School).

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Migration and new beginnings, multiple languages, histories and identities are not exceptional in human lives but are in fact a defining feature of world societies and I believe, the Khojas are no exception.

Recently the ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY-LONDON  had organized an Exhibition Pavilion themed “Making Home” Exiles -The Ugandan Asians the story caught my fancy. 

The exhibition explores the history and life of Ugandan Asians, a journey of more than 100 years characterized by migration, displacement and new beginnings in the U.K.

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A tribute to Ebrahimbhai by Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi, Chairman of AFED:

A Leader of Great Wisdom, Intellect and of farsighted Vision, he was a Devoted, Selfless and Sincere Social Worker of the Community.

eb2The sadness of the news of the sudden passing away of Al Hajj Ebrahim Hussein Sheriff Dewji on 9th January, 1964 in Zanzibar at a young age while in the position of the Chairmanship of AFED still echoes up to this day in the minds of many who knew him, it was a moment of great sadness and shock across the Shia Ithna-Asheri community in Africa, and beyond its borders. As I read through in the Africa Federation Samachar of May, 1964, the accolades and tributes written by various leaders, friends and others from within and outside our community following his sudden death, I realize how great, humble and eminent this young devotee of the community was. He lived a short life but left magnificent and indelible footprints on the path of the history of our community in Africa and in the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaats of Africa.

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Late Maalim Mohsin Mohamedhussein Rajabali Alidina


Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un

"Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say: 'Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return'. (Sura Al-Baqarah 2:156).

It was on Friday, 9th August 2013 (1st Shawwal 1434 AH) on the day of Eid ul-Fitr, as we entered the Dar es Salaam Mosque, the voice of Professor Mohsin Alidina, popularly known by the title of Maalim, a familiar voice coming from the inner self echoed throughout the mosque while he was reciting "Dua-e-Nudba", one could feel the poignant serene of the surrounding as people started to assemble in the Mosque for Salatul-Eid Happy on one hand for the Eid celebrations and sad on the other hand to bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadhan.

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Alhaj Aunali Yusufali Salehmohamed, born in Zanzibar, Tanzania where he started his social services at a very young age, first as a volunteer of Hujjatul Islam Jamaat. He was involved in community sports activities and served as a treasurer of Ithna Asheri Gymkhana and was also a Troop Leader of Ithna Asheri Boy Scouts in Zanzibar. He was a cricket enthusiast and was an official scorer of the Zanzibar Ithna-Asheri Cricket Team for many years. He was always in the forefront and vocal to protest whenever he realizes a player was unjustly victimized on the cricket ground, he was a great supporter of our Cricket Team in Zanzibar.

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Fidahussein Habib Rhemtulla Kara – (FHR)

A Legendary Cricketer


FHR was born in Dar es Salaam on 2nd November, 1920.  He began his sports career in 1934 from school days with cricket and volleyball as his favorites. Besides being extra brilliant and exceptional cricketer, he excelled in volleyball playing for Ithnasheri Sports Club-Dar es Salaam whom he led successfully from 1943 to 1952, and helped the club to clinch most of trophies and honors in the local tournaments. He ruled the court with his accurate smashes putting the opposite teams in disarray.

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yusuf_karim_2Yusuf Ahmed Karim was born on 2nd February 1935 in Mumbai, India. He moved to Mombasa when he was 2 years old. He married Nargis bai, daughter of Mohamed Abdalla Khimji of Dar es Salaam in 1960. They were blessed with three children, all boys. The elder son is Aarif, second born is Aasif and the youngest son is Altaf. He owned a sports shop, known as Karims Stationery and Sports House in Mombasa, Kenya.

He was a well known and a great sportsman in our community, his great sporting achievements has been etched in the memory forever, some of his most memorable sporting achievements to have left a mark in the sporting history of our community is briefly mentioned here below:

Sadly, on 18th March 2009, at the age of 74, Yusuf Karim passed away. Let us remember him and all the past sportsmen and the sports officials of our community with Sura-e-Fateha.

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ali_nathoo_1In the history of Khoja Shia Ithna-asheri in East Africa and the people of Zanzibar in general, Haji Ali Nathoo name shall always be remembered, not only as one among the most successful merchants and traders of the time but also as a selfless and devoted leader of the Community and a Philanthropist. He was born in Cutch-Nagalpur, India in 1871 and migrated to Zanzibar in 1886 at the age of 15 years.

Haji Ali Nathoo served as the President of Khoja Shia Ithna-asheri Kuwwatul Islam Jamaat Zanzibar for 28 years. By his generosity and love of the community, he financed the entire building of the first floor of Kuwwatul Islam Jamaat Imambargha in Zanzibar (also known as Junni Masjid).

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Marhoom Maalim Kassamali Chandoo – Tribute
Two anecdotes
Hassan Ali M. Jaffer, Mombasa.

A teacher is known by the footprint left behind.  This extraordinary footprint is sometimes in the mind. Rarely is it made on the soul.

I had the privilege to know marhum Maalim Kassamali Chandoo. As a tribute to his memory, I wish to recall two incidents.

Qom experience

tribute_1aIn 1997, while on a visit to Qom with my four grandchildren from the USA and Canada, we went over to see Maalim at his residence in Qom.

When he learned that we had earlier been for Umra before coming to Iran, he asked the boys to explain what 'Saee' – running between Safa and Marva seven times - was about.

The boys explained that it was in remembrance of Bibi Hajra as she ran around in search of water for her son Ismail that the ritual of 'Saee' has become an obligatory part of the Haj and Umra ritual.

The word 'Saee' in Arabic means to strive. "So what is so great about it?" asked Maalim. "As kids, have you never woken up your mothers in the middle of the night asking for water? And have not your mothers patiently got out of their beds to fetch water for you? Is it not natural for any mother to comfort her child? Confronted with a similar situation like that of Bibi Hajra, would not your mothers also gone through similar experience? What is the difference? Why has Allah immortalized only the act of the mother of Hazrat Ismail as part of the Hajj ritual?"

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alhaj_mohamedraza_datooMarhum Alhaj Mohamedraza Ahmed Datoo hailed from Zanzibar. He was a qualified teacher by profession and had BSc in Mathematics and Dip.Ed. (Oxon) and as such, he was an Educationalist in his own right. He was a well-read personality with a wealth of experience in Madaris and our community in general.

Those who knew him will vouch for his sincere concerns and foresight about driving the community vehicle in accordance with the needs of our time. In 1968, as a young man who had just graduated from Oxford University in the UK and returned home after teaching for three years in a grammar school in Bournemouth, he spoke about the need for introducing Majalis in English and overhauling the contents of Majalis preached from our Mimbers.  This happened during the Hussein Day program held in Dar es Salaam. With his efforts and others, the first Majlis in English in East Africa was recited by none other than Marhum Mulla Asgherali M M Jaffer in Nairobi in the seventies.

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In 1902 Haji Gulamali Jivan left India by sea voyage for Mombasa where he put up at Haji Walji Bhanji residence for 22 days, he then left by steamer for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika, the country was ruled by the Germans. Our community population was a good number compared with out towns. The Dar es Salaam Imambargha was constructed of iron corrugated sheets. During those days Dar-es –Salam was a very small town surrounded by thick forest. Every now and then some wild animals would appear in town area to attack the domestic animals.

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