Raising awareness to the concept of helping others can create a pleasant snowballing effect. Showing compassion to others brings back the belief in others that one really can make a difference and sets a spark to others to emulate.
There are individuals who have set an example in serving others selflessly, combining their key skills and utilizing their individual strengths to the best of their ability. One such personality is Alhaj Anverali Habib Sheriff Manekia.
Alhaj Anverali was born in Kilwa, Tanzania on 1st September 1937. Both his parents Late Habib Sheriff Manekia and Late Kanize Zahra Manekia were born and raised in Kilwa too.
He is the third of five siblings: Husseinali and Marhum Amirali Manekia and two younger sisters Shirin Khalfan and Marhuma Zainab Fazel Kermali. A close-knit family, they were all taught to serve the community from a tender age to which they happily obliged to. Upon completing his secondary school in 1955, Anverali bhai joined the family business and later married Late Khairunnisa Fazel Kermali from Lindi, Tanzania in 1962. They were blessed with four sons: Mohsin, Shabbir, Sibtain and Aliraza.
Anverali bhai along with his parents, siblings and their families, then moved to Dar es Salaam in 1968 where they ran a successful textile business. Alongside his wife Khairunnisa bai who became his greatest support, they ensured all their children were educated in the best of schools even if it came at the cost of straining themselves financially. Both parents worked equally hard and in no time Anverali bhai fulfilled his dream of educating his children and raising his boys as independent and chivalrous men. As time flew, each of his sons got married and soon after, they ventured into various businesses.
His passion for education shone through his selfless acts for the community for he knew too well, that access to good schooling could shape a child’s future and so he strove towards his goal.
His day would begin by rising just before the crack of dawn. He would first go to the mosque for Fajr prayers and swimming in the ocean with his friends at 7 a.m. He was a regular member of Dar es Salaam Swimming Club. He was also a frequent dua reciter at the masjid. He would then set off to work, calling affluent businessmen and going to their workplaces throughout the day, trying to convince them to donate towards educating young adults who could not afford to study abroad.
He was one of the members for the fund-raising for ZAKMEF scheme under Africa Federation in memory of Late Zulfikar Khimji, for higher education loan scheme for students from our community to study abroad. Overtime, he played pivotal role in collecting funds for ZAKMEF, brightening the future of the youths of our community. He possessed good communication skills, and with that, he could persuade several people towards donating for the cause, gifting them a sleek ball pen or a pack of dates as a gesture of appreciation.
He even contributed generously from his own income, and is known to never let anyone down when they needed his assistance. Over time, he attained the highest collector award for two charity walks. The task was rather nerve wrecking for collecting funds – a relatively daunting task. He has faced different kinds of challenges but never did he once waver from doing what he loved to do. He swallowed his pride and went door to door asking people to contribute towards the causes he worked so hard for, politely yet persistently convincing people and later, masterly recording the amounts before transferring every penny towards the organization, demonstrating good accountability.
He was awarded the Husseini Medal by Africa Federation in 2007 in recognition of his honorary and dedicated services towards the community.
As he aged, his health took a toll on him and slowly, he was forced to slow down for his mobility was decelerating at an alarming rate, but never did he allow himself to sit still. With the assistance of his sons and grandsons, he then began caring for the widows’ shelter (bewa khana) and started collecting funds for them. He stopped at nothing and still went to collect funds from people, firmly grasping onto his walker and slowly but steadily raising sufficient amounts for the widowed women. This initiative surprised many for he was on a quest to once again defy his old age and tending to the needs of the vulnerable despite his own hurdles. Through his philanthropic services towards the community his family has supported his every cause and could not be more proud of the man he is.
Anverali bhai Manekia dedicated a good part of his life towards upbringing his family and also contributed through his efforts for the betterment of his community, residing in the hearts of hundreds as a humble and truly altruistic individual.
May Allah (s.w.t) reward him amply for his timeless efforts and bless him with a long and healthy life, Aameen.
Source & Photo Courtesy: Sibtain Manekia, Minhal Manekia and Alhaj Husseinali Manekia
ARCHIVES SECTION OF THE AFRICA FEDERATION
20th January 2023 / 27th Jamadiul Aakhar 1444 A.H