The holy month of Ramadaan reminds and reinforces the values of self-sacrifice, kindness and charity for many in South Africa, and Muslims in particular.
It is in this spirit that every year, after the end of the month of fasting, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and individuals in the larger Muslim community help the poor and needy on Eid.
The South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) this week accelerated what they refer to as Operation Fitrah. The main objective of the operation is to ensure that every Muslim is free of want on the auspicious day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
SANZAF’s Bridgetown and Mitchells Plain offices were buzzing with activity, as marquees were set up and truckloads of groceries delivered.
These groceries were packed into hampers and distributed to 23 000 families in need across the Western Cape before the end of Ramadaan. The hampers included fresh produce, as well as canned goods.
At a national level, SANZAF aims to replicate this effort and bring joy and a hearty meal to 26 000 families on the day of Eid as part of Operation Fitrah.
Another annual event of note is a mass cooking effort, held by the NGO Nakhlistan. For the last 35 years, the organisation has had 300 volunteers get together and cook food for thousands of people all over the Western Cape.
The event this year was attended by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Last night I joined Nakhlistan which has been cooking food on the eve of Eid ul Fitr for 35yrs to feed the needy on #Eid. Today they-along with the community of Rylands and many other Muslim members around the world& here at home-will feed millions of people in celebration of Eid pic.twitter.com/7kpNEo8LgH
— Premier Alan Winde (@alanwinde) June 5, 2019
Nakhlistan has its origins in 1984, when Shukoor Mowzer and two friends realised that some of their community members in Athlone, Cape Town, did not have food for Eid celebrations. They decided to cook two pots of food, using donations from family and friends.
Three-and-a-half decades later, Nakhlistan have cooked up 169 pots of akhni, each with a capacity of 130 litres, to feed more than 85 000 of the less fortunate in the province.