COMING TOGETHER The Shumeez Scott Foundation had volunteers handing out food to the needy at their mass iftar event on Freedom Day. Photo: Sebastiaan Whitward

MSA Stellenbosch Gives Back on Freedom Day

By Ansela Sloman

While many students were enjoying a day’s break from classes on Freedom Day, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of Stellenbosch University took the opportunity to give back to the Stellenbosch community by hosting a sandwich drive as well as a mass iftar in Cloetesville. Both events, which occurred on 27 April, were centred around providing for those less fortunate, which is especially significant during the month of Ramadan.

“Coming from a student ­perspective, we are quite ­privileged to have meals on ­campus, so during Ramadan while we are fasting during the day—­especially on Freedom Day while we’re away from class—why not come and feed some people?” remarked Frederick Fahim Boer, the head of media and marketing for the MSA. 

The sandwich drive was hosted in collaboration with HashtagV (also stylised as #V), an organisation founded last year. “HashtagV was founded in 2021 and aims to expose human rights violations throughout the world. We live in a world where violations of human rights happen every day, many of which go untold,” said ­Zakariyyah Jafali, the deputy chairperson of HashtagV.

Students were able to donate bread, peanut butter and other sandwich ingredients, or simply give of their time to make sandwiches, according to a poster that advertised the events. In the end, they made over 200 sandwiches, which were later distributed to homeless shelters around Stellenbosch.

The MSA’s second outreach event on Freedom Day was the mass iftar, which is the evening meal with which Muslims break their fast during Ramadan. This event was organised by the Shumeez Scott Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation, and held at the Cloetesville Sport Stadium. 


KINDNESS The volunteers handed out food courtesy of several donors. Photo: Sebastiaan Whitward

According to Bahia Janodien, co-director of the Shumeez Scott Foundation, the aim was to feed 5000 people with the 16 pots of food provided by their various donors, such as the Africa Muslims Agency, Muslim Hands, as well as MSA Stellenbosch. Despite the event being a Muslim ­tradition, anyone who needed a plate of food was welcome to sit down for a meal.

“In Ramadan, it’s a time we bring everyone together. We don’t look at who you are or what you are, your culture or religion. It’s about feeding; it’s about humanity, giving to people who don’t have anything,” said Janodien.

Safira Govender, chairperson of MSA Stellenbosch, who attended the event, agreed and said, “This mass iftar is the largest event the MSA has been a part of, as far as I recall. 5000 people is the largest amount we have helped cater for. What’s really nice is that it’s for the entire Stellenbosch community, not just those celebrating
Ramadan. Anyone who needs a plate of food can just come in and have a meal.”

Janodien, who works with people with special needs, took the opportunity to get them involved in the event by helping to serve food. Janodien explained that this was a valuable experience, as it aids in breaking the
stigma around those who are
differently abled by showing that they are also able to give back to those in need.

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