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UWC to honour Imam Haron with honorary doctorate

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The University of the Western Cape (UWC) are set to honour the late Imam Abdullah Haron, by posthumously awarding the former struggle veteran with an honorary doctorate on Wednesday evening.

A well known anti-apartheid activist, Haron was considered one of the most prominent local scholars of the day, and was strong in opposing the injustices of the apartheid government. He died whilst in police custody in September 1969.

Fatima Haron Masoet, the late imam’s daughter, said her family were truly humbled by the honour, especially since it came in the same year Haron was posthumously awarded the Order of the Luthuli in gold, considered one of the country’s highest honors. The award was issued in recognition for his contribution to raising awareness to political injustices during the Apartheid era.

“We are truly humbled, and words can’t describe how we feel at this point in time,” she said.

She said there was a mixture of satisfaction that his contributions were being recognized, but also a sense of anger because the late imam was not able to personally receive the doctorate.

The recognition from UWC comes in light of the 45th anniversary of Haron’s tragic passing. Haron-Masoet said it was a historic moment for the university to celebrate ‘the legacy and life of a hero to a nation’.

“He tried to live an exemplary life through just living simply, and understanding and believing in the human rights situation,” she said.

Although grateful for the honour, Haron-Masoet said it was vital that the contributions of such individuals were recognized whilst they were still alive.

“We need to recognize people today for what they do, and not wait for them to pass on before we recognize them,” she said.

She also expressed gratitude to the individuals who had played a pivotal role in bringing about this ‘remarkable and historic moment’. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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1 comment

  1. It is surely a blessing that Imam Haron is remembered and honoured by so many in post-Apartheid South Africa. I do hope that many of those who now walk in the shadow f the martyr remember that it is people in Qibla who kept his memory alive. In fact, the Qibla people and those who carried his name at every meeting and march, with banners and stickers were accused of making cheap political capital out of the name of the martyr. Most Muslims did not want to associate with Imam Haron’s memory. It invited trouble from the state because you got teargas in your eyes and throat or a baton on your body if you were lucky. Otherwise you ended up in prison. Pamplets, posters, stickers and banners were banned as soon as they reached the public. Many masajid, in fact most of them, also banned the Qibla bulletin on Imam Haron or anything to do with the struggle. Yes Imam the martyrs are alive says the Quran. You saw those who walked in your footsteps and those who, some elegantly and others rather clumsily, sidestepped your path. They took a beating or two over the years. Today those people are forgotten and marginalised. But Imam Haron, you know whose hearts were beating with yours. Many should hang their heads in shame because they emerged after Apartheid had ended. To claim your mantle. Yes Imam, why do they say that which they did not do?

    For those who have been marginalised if you want to know here they are, just continue searching where the people are organising. The struggle is continuing. You will find them there. They are still doing the work that Imam had done. The work of a martyr is never complete. For justice always lives precariously.

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