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


 Haji Fazul Cassam Chenai was born in Surat, India on 15th July 1877. Since his father Cassam Hirdjee used to trade in Chinese goods the Nawab (Prince) of Surat used to address him with the nickname Chenai which soon became a family name.

The family of Chenai is among the foremost and well known families of our community which first settled in Madagascar. Fazulbhai had a close relationship with the Nawab of Surat and due to Fazulbhai’s extrovert and amiable nature their relationship developed resulting in joint holiday and hunting trips.

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Mohamedali G. R. Hansraj of Soroti, Uganda

“He had a passion and thrived in the service to Humanity”

Mohamedalibhai was born on 10th June 1923 in Soroti, Uganda. After completing his basic education in Soroti he joined in Allidina Visram High School in Mombasa. In 1940 he joined his father's business, married in 1942, and then went to Mbale to open a branch of his father's business.

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 Nurmohamed Kalyan travelled to the Island of Zanzibar from India in 1880 at the age of 10. He had two brothers Esmail Kalyan and Sachedina Kalyan. The Kalyan family is one of the first families to settle in East Africa. After 10 years in Zanzibar, the family moved to Kenya.
Murrabbi Abdulhussein was born in Zanzibar in 1901. He obtained his primary school education in Zanzibar and moved to Mombasa in 1913. After two years in Mombasa, he established the famous A H Nurmohamed & Co Ltd. which later had several branches in East Africa.

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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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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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