Self-Empowerment: Paarl (1861)
Posted by tahirfarrath on February 10, 2010
(History of Muslims in South Africa)
A piece of land, originally purchased by Jakoef du Toit in 1861, was resold to “The Church Wardens, Malay Church, Paarl” for £25 Sterling, in whose favour transfer of the two erven was passed on November 08, 1887. The Muslim community began to consolidate after the emancipation of the slaves. The Breda Street Masjid was the first to be built in Paarl in 1888. Shortly thereafter, the Nurul Islamia Masjid was also built in the centre of the town. For almost a century these two masajid provided the nucleus round which the activities of the Muslims of Paarl revolved. At present these masajid lie in a somewhat abandoned state owing to the effect of the notorious Group Areas Act of the 1960s which caused the Muslim community to be scattered about the outlying areas of Paarl.
In 1917 a single rectangular hall was built on the second erf as a madrasah. In 1923 the building was renovated and used as a Government-Aided Mission School. A full-time Arabic teacher was employed whose salary was paid by the Cape Provincial Administration. His sponsorship by the Administration was terminated in 1931. Thereafter, part-time khaifas [religious teachers] were employed at the school by the community. The Muslim Mission School was closed when the community was affected [by being scattered] to outlying areas by the Group Areas Act. At the schools in the new residential areas no consideration was afforded for the provision Islamic education. Instead, Christian National Education, with a bias towards `Coloured’ schools was propagated and continues so to date.
In 1926 an imposing minaret, widely regarded as an architectural master piece, and extensive renovations to the main hall of the masjid were completed. Another masjid was built in Waterkant Street by a separate jama`dt.
However, in 1980 work began on the establishment of Mahdul Islamic Institute. A year later the first phase of the project was completed, at a cost of Rand 300 000. The centre includes a masjid, madrasah classrooms, kindergarten as well as facilities for community activities. Imam Rafiq Nackerdien was appointed as Imam of the Masjidin 1987, succeeding Shaikh Abdul Moutie Moerat who resigned, on account of ill health, after having served the Paarl Muslim community for 31 long years.
In 1982 the Paarl Muslim Jamaah opened the doors of its premises to pupils seeking after-school madrasah education with one full-time and three part-time religious instructors.