Tracing the history of Mitchell’s Plain Islamic Trust

The Mitchells Plain Islamic Society Executive Commitee of 1982 are, back, from left, Ebrahim Carelse, Omar Abrahams, Abubakr Solomons, Shaheen Sampson, Abubakr George and Fuad Alexander; and in front, from left, are Ekeraam Gamiet, Shafiek Behardien, Moosa Aysen, Ismail Latief, Jamaloodien Buttons and Ismail January.

It was at a meeting held on Sunday September 5 1976 at the Visitors’ Centre in Westridge, and attended by Hadji Moegamat Allie Charles, Aziz Adams, Rannie Adams, Cassiem Davids, Armien Harris, Ebrahim Riley, Yassiem Croy, and Achmat Waggie – all of whom have since passed on – as well as Moosa Aysen, Ebrahim Carelse, Ismail Latief, Abdul Waggie (junior) and Ismail Sulaiman, that the organisation that was to become the Mitchell’s Plain Islamic Trust, was started.

When the Westridge Islamic Society was launched, there were 41 families in the Westridge area and a women’s league was formed under the leadership of Rabia Arendse.

The then City council offered the Islamic Society four plots of land at R2 each – in Rocklands, Westridge, Portland and Lentegeur – with the Westridge Islamic Society subsequently expanding its reach and changing its name to the Mitchell’s Plain Islamic Society.

The Westridge Mosque was completed and officially opened on February 28 1982. The Rocklands Mosque was completed, with the official opening taking place on April 1 1983.

The Beacon Valley Mosque was completed three years later and opened on November 9 1986.

Nazeem Moosa was the architect of the Westridge, Rocklands and Beacon Valley mosques, with Sedick Saban appointed project leader on the Westridge and Rocklands projects, and Yusuf Hamsa the project leader for the Beacon Valley construction.

The Portland Mosque was completed and officially opened on April 17 1988, having been design-ed by architect Mujahied Gamiet, and the project overseen by Abubakr George.

Other projects completed in-clude the Eastridge Mosque, Ieg-laasi Nieyah Education Centre, Burial Society Head Office, Madrassa Tul Nafie, Darul Hikma Education Centre, Tafelsig Madrassa, Heinz Park Mosque, Northwood Mosque, Salaamudeen Mosque, Lentegeur West Mosque, Montrose Park Mosque and a prayer room in Rocklands.

Many artisans helped to build the mosques and most of the funding came from business people from the former Transvaal (Gauteng), the former Natal (now Kwa-Zulu- Natal) as well as the Western Cape.

“We also had many religious leaders assist us,” the Trust said.

“Other Muslim organisations have also built schools and mosques in the area, and Mitchell’s Plain now has more than 20 mosques, two Muslim primary schools, one Muslim high school, two education centres, two burial societies and a welfare office.”

In 2011, the Mitchell’s Plain Islamic Society became the Mit-chell’s Plain Islamic Trust with seven permanent trustees and a board of governors. The chairman of the Trust is Yusuf Khan and the chairman of the board of governors is Moegamat Hendricks.