Archives

A regularly updated collection of historical records and  from the Africa Federation archives.

In the early history of the KSI Community in East Africa
  

  Walji Bhanji (1869-1932)

Walji Bhanji, Khakoo Bhanji and Karim Bhanji lived in Mundra, India. After the death of his brother Khaku, Walji married Khaku’s widow Kesarbai. Walji, his wife and his step-son and nephew Suleman Khaku left Malia, India for Mombasa in 1898. Walji was 30 years old while Suleman was 9. After arriving at Mombasa, they stayed at Ladhabhai Kanji. In 1897, Walji’s brother Karim Bhanji had travelled to Zanzibar where he worked at Alidina Kanji. 
 
At Mombasa, Walji started a small shop selling tobacco, match boxes and other small items. In 1899, a railway line started being built from Kilindini to Nairobi. Walji was the first Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri to move to Nairobi in 1900. He started a small shop in a tent in Nairobi. In 1902, he started a shop in Nakuru and later on opened three branches in Uganda. Business in Uganda flourished very well. When he was in Nairobi the railway line had not reached Nairobi and goods from Mombasa had to be offloaded at Makundi from where they used to be carried by donkeys to Nairobi.

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Hasham bhai Ebrahim Mamdani  
Moshi, Tanzania
The early Pioneers of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris to Africa

Hashambhai Ebrahim Mamdani was born in Changa Chela, Jamnagar, India in 1882.

He migrated to Zanzibar where he worked for about 2 years and then travelled to Pangani where he joined in the employment of Hajibhai Khakoo for 6 years. Then he joined Ladhubhai Lalji in Pangani for one year and later moved to Moshi. The area where Moshi is currently situated was desolate woodland. He migrated to German Moshi which is now known as Old Moshi. He and his brother Esmail were the first Ithnaasheris to settle in this area. After the establishment of British rule, the new Moshi town started being populated. Later, Shermohamedbhai Sajan and Mohamedbhai Ebrahim joined them in Moshi.
 
Hashambhai opened a shop dealing with clothing and grocery provisions at Machame. After 7 years in Machame he moved to new Moshi. Later, he opened a shop in Arusha and ran it for 5 years.
 
In 1919, he went to India where he stayed for two months and returned to Moshi. Hashambhai is currently retired and regularly takes part in Namaz and Majalis. He has three sons, all of whom are involved in transport business.
 
The current population of Khoja Shia Ithnaasheris in Moshi is 344 (1960).
 
Source: AF Trade Directory 1960

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Memories of the past

Hussein Day in Dar-es-Salaam organized by
Ithna-Asheri Union Volunteer Corps (IUVC) in the year 1979


Photograph taken after the program at the terrace of the Imambargha

From Left to Right: Sheikh Ishaq Najafi, Chairman of Hindu Mandal Community, Mohsin bhai Kayzar of Bohora Community, Maulana Safdar Jalali, Molvi Ali-Mohammad Dewji, Sayeed Karar Hussein, Zakir from India who came to recite majlises in Dar es Salaam during Ashra-e-Zainabiya.
 
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12th November 2016 (11th Safar 1438 AH)

AL- BUQUIRE CRICKET TOURNAMENT AT VICTORIA GARDEN ZANZIBAR – 1928


The Zanzibar Ithna-Asheri Team

Sitting Left to right: Maalim Mohamedjaffer Rashid Nathani (Maalim Mia), Golo Mgongoni, Sherali Meghji (Sherali Ndege), M. D. Kermali, Maalim Raza Rashid Nathani, Ali Daud, Agha Abdulhussein Shushtari

Standing left to right: G. Kermali (Kabana), Gulamhussein Rehmtulla (Chacha Gulu), Hashnu Dawood, Habib Bachoo Ismail, Bachulo Dawood.
Al Buquire Cup was donated by a gentleman from Goan Community in Zanzibar.

Anecdote:
Alhaj Mohammed Jaffer Rashid Nathani, became popular by his nickname - Maalim Mia when he scored a century in one of the Cricket matches in Zanzibar. Mia in Kiswahili meaning Hundred.  Maalim Mia was a good cricketer and also a dedicated teacher at School Faize (Madressah) of Zanzibar. A number of students from School Faize still remember Maalim for his deep knowledge in religious studies, i.e. Aqaid, Fiqh, Akhlaq and the Holy Qur’an and, he also had good understanding of languages including Urdu, Farsi and Arabic.
 
History Record:
In 1926 British Navy H.M.S. Pegasus anchored at Zanzibar Port. Cricket Match was played between H.M.S. Pegasus Navy personnel and Zanzibar Government National team – The Zanzibar Eleven.  Three players who played in the team were from our Community, Sherali Meghji, A. G. Versi and Y. G. Versi. This was recorded in official Government Gazette of Zanzibar.
 
None of the above people in the photographs are alive, they have transcended from this temporary world to a permanent abode. Let us remember them with Sura-e-Fateha for the maghferat of their souls.
 
Photograph courtesy of Br. Murtaza Jivraj (Kerbala)
 
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21st October 2016 (19th Muharram 1438 AH)


REMEMBERING MULLA QADIR HUSAIN SAHIB KARBALAI

 
Mulla Qadir Husain - The man who was responsible to have guided us to the right path of the Ithna-Asheri Faith.
 
Birth & Death:
Birth: 1842 in Madras, India
Death: 1902
 
Mulla Qadir Sahib was from his young age very much interested in Islamic studies and started a madrasah for children in Bombay (now Mumbai).
 
Turning point in the history of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheris:
His passion for Islamic studies took him to Karbala where he was a student of Ayatullah Zaynul Abideen Mazandarani for a couple of years.
 
In 1873 Haji Devjibhai Jamal the philanthropist went to Iraq and requested Ayatullah Mazandarani for an Aalim. He selected Mulla Qadir for the important task. This was a turning point in the history of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheris.

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DOWN THE MEMORY LANE PHOTOGRAPH

ZANZIBAR KSI KUWWAT UL ISLAM JAMAAT IMAMBARGHA YEAR 1966

Below is the photograph of the Jamaat officials and volunteers taken during the Opening Ceremony of the new Zarih of Imam Hussain [AS] (seen here in the background) which was mounted on the Mimber at the KSI Kuwwatul Islam Jamaat Imambargha, the full cost of the Zarih was donated by Marhum Mohamed Baker Mohamedtaki, famously known as Master Baker of Zanzibar.


Please let us remember the past leaders of our community, volunteers, including women volunteers who have served the Jamaats in different capacities and all the Marhumeens who are no longer with us today with Sura-e-Fateha.

May Allah (SWT) grant them Maghferat and place their souls in the proximity of the fourteen infallibles (Masumeen) Alayhi Salaam, Ameen.
 
SECRETARIAT
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27th September, 2016 (25th Zilhajj 1437 AH)

DOWN THE MEMORY LANE PHOTOGRAPH

ZANZIBAR KSI HUJJAT UL ISLAM JAMAAT OFFICIALS, PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN IN THE IMAMBARGHA – YEAR 1965/6


Let us remember the past leaders, volunteers, including women volunteers who have served the Jamaats in different capacities and all the Marhumeens who are no longer with us today with Sura-e-Fateha. May Allah (SWT) grant them Maghferat and place their souls in the proximity of the fourteen infallibles (Masumeen) Alayhi Salaam, Ameen.
 
SECRETARIAT
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26th September, 2016 (24th Zilhajj 1437 AH)

MEHFILE MUHIBBANE HUSSEIN (A.S.) IN ZANZIBAR,
ALSO KNOWN AS ‘MEHFILE PRIVATE”

A common feature among many of the early Khoja community members has been their love of Imam Hussein (AS). Khoja would travel from India and Zanzibar to Iraq for pilgrimage to Najaf and Karbala. While in India and in Africa, they would also organise and participate in the Majlis commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husein.
 
It is recorded that after their settlement in Mumbai in 1842, Aga Khan I and Aga Khan II would arrange Majlis of Imam Husein at their Mumbai residence “with great pomp."
(++1)
 
Until the latter half of the nineteenth century, members of the Khoja community, despite their diverse leanings towards the Satpanthi, Nizari Ismail, Sunni and Shia Ithna-Asheri beliefs functioned as one united Khoja community - operating from a common Jamaat Khana.
 
The three-way split among the once united Khoja community took place in 1862 when the first group professing to be Sunni separated. From 1873 onwards, another group professing to practice the Shia Ithna-Asheri faith separated. Thus three distinct Khoja communities to be known as Khoja Ismaili, Khoja Sunni and Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaats emerged. 

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JUMA BHAI HAJI – A PHILANTHROPIST, A PATRON WITH A FAR-SIGHTED VISION

Murrabbi Haji Juma Bhai Haji’s simple living and dressing style would deceive anyone into believing that he is owner and director of one of the major business entity in Tanganyika, called Messrs Juma Haji & Co Ltd.

Murrabbi Juma Bhai Haji was born in Lalpur, Kathiawad, India in 1890. He married Jena Bai, Mohammed son of Ebrahim Haji was his adopted son.

After completing primary education, he travelled to Dar es Salaam at the age of 18 and worked in a clothing shop of his uncle.

In 1910, he started his own business selling clothes. In 1921, he opened branches at Kindu and Albertsville in Congo.

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About our community in Kasongo – DRC (Congo)

This is narrated by Br Nazarali Hussein, resident of Kasongo, Congo. He was born in 1903. He lost his father when he was a toddler of 15 months. His upbringing was in difficult conditions. He studied in classrooms with dirt floors and completed Class 4 Gujarati primary in the village school in India. His mother died in 1918. In 1919 at the age of 16, he then travelled to Africa with his cousin’s brother in law.

After arriving in Africa, he joined the employment of Amarsi Mawji in Kigoma. The salary was fixed at Rs 600 for 2 years, food and accommodation being provided by the employer. After 11 months, he left his job and went to Tabora where he started a business with Merali Rawji, himself as a minor partner.

His brother Dinmohamed who lived in Madagascar went to India to get married and then moved to Tabora. Due to his brother not having command of local language, he advised him to work with him. Nazarali decided to quit the partnership and started a joint business with his brother in Ujiji. They ran the business for one year but due to limited capital, the business did not progress well. Br Dinmohamed decided to join the employment of Ebrahim Haji & Brothers at Alberstville, Congo. After working for one year, Dinmohamed returned to Madagascar.

Meanwhile, Br Nazarali joined in the employment of Br Ladha Damji at the salary of Rs 450 per year. The manager was Mulla Mohamedali Moloo. After working for four months, his employer was very pleased with him and made him the manager. Upon completion of the one year contract, he renewed his contract and increased his salary to Rs 600 for the second year and Rs 2000 for the third year. After completion of 3 years, he opened his own shop in Ujiji in 1925.

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Seen here in the photograph is Hon. Mayor Alhaj Juma Swedi, Deputy Mayor Salum Juma Karwani, Town Director, Town Engineer, Health Officer and Councillors.

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