On Sunday September 5 1976 a few Muslim men had a meeting at the Visitors’ Centre in Westridge to form a society.
Present at the meeting were 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, Abdul Waggie (junior) and Ismail Sulaiman.
The name of the society was decided on and the Westridge Islamic Society was launched. At the time 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 designed by architect Mujahied Gamiet, and the project overseen by Abubakr George.
Other projects completed include the Eastridge Mosque, Ieglaasi 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.
We were blessed with many artisans who helped to build our mosques and most of our funds come from business people from the former Transvaal (Gauteng), the former Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) as well as the Western Cape.
We also had many religious leaders assist us. 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 Mitchell’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.