Kung fu world champion, M J Li, also known as Muhammad Junaid Chafeker, is on a mission to pay it forward and launched his Ramadaan winter journey at the Al Masjiduth Thanie mosque in Rocklands on Friday May 26.
Mr Chafeker, who is also the South African Grandstyle Tai Chi champion, launched the campaign during jumu’ah prayers last Friday and told congregants about how he trained throughout Ramadaan and never neglected his religion for a world title.
During the campaign, the three-time gold medallist will visit 30 mosques in 30 days.
Muslims across the country started their annual fast on Saturday May 27.
“The campaign was conceptualised during my visits to 25 schools earlier this year, where I observed widespread poverty. During the campaign, I will also work closely with various NGOs and churches.”
In addition to this, he will nominate a needy family who he will meet and hand over basic essentials the family will need during the month of Ramadaan.
“In some areas, ready-made food will be prepared and a few families will be fed. This campaign is for the most part community driven and generated and also not confined to a specific denomination. While I am in an area or at a mosque, people or congregants are encouraged to contribute to the campaign, by donating in cash or kind,” Mr Chafeker said.
Mr Chafeker will also try to live stream his arrivals at the various mosques through his YouTube channel: The Journey TV Show and upload content to various social media platforms.
He said throughout his 23-year career, he trained for up to seven hours a day, while fasting and then went on to compete in championships. “The people around me could not believe that I could fast and compete. They felt that I was putting myself at a disadvantage. However, I view it as a tiny sacrifice, as there are people who experience hunger and poverty every day,” he said.
Mr Chafeker grew up in Mitchell’s Plain and started practising kung fu at the Al Masjiduth Thanie mosque when he was a boy.
“I fondly remember my time at Seaview Primary School in Rocklands. I lived in the area for seven years and I remember how my teacher would cook us a pot of soup and not include meat so that we could all enjoy the meal.”
Mr Chafeker said during the campaign he would visit Mandalay, Goodwood, Portland, Delft and Paarl among others. “I will be joined by my wife Salma and son Saifullah and nothing is going to deter us as a family from doing good. May the Almighty bless us all during this holy month. Our intention is so weighty and I want to urge people to contribute anything they can afford,” he said.
His wife, Salma, who converted from Catholicism to Islam several years ago, said her decision was based on the fact that she was always searching for something more. “Islam is not just a religion; it is a lifestyle,” she added.
MJ Li will host the Western Cape Schools kung fu tournament, junior and senior divisions on Saturday August 5, at 9am, at the Rocklands High School Hall.
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081 711 1211.