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Religion: Struggling Muslims in Soweto receive help as the holy month of Ramadaan begins

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Soweto will always remain a special place for Dr Asad Bhorat. Having worked in the vibrant township for over 20 years and being involved with the community in various projects, the Johannesburg doctor has fallen in love with the township and its people. “Soweto is a very special place for me,” says Bhorat. “I trained here, and did my internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital and been in practice for over 20 years in Soweto. It is a vibrant community whose contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle is epitomised by the June 16 uprising, yet has such a deeper rich history. “I have been the chairman of the Soweto Rugby Club in the past, and I am struck by the talent and inspiration of the young people. The people have a great story to tell, and I am glad to be a small part of that story.” Aside from assisting the community as a doctor, Bhorat has also worked on various projects to empower the community. One of them is the Nur ul Soweto programme, which Bhorat holds very close to his heart. The programme, which has been running for two decades, has helped feed hundreds of struggling families during the holy month of Ramadaan and has also provided both young and old Muslims in Soweto with a Madressah (Muslim school). “Nur ul Soweto feeds over 150 families over Ramadaan, with both Sehri (meal eaten before sunrise by Muslims during Ramadaan) and Iftaar (meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadaan) meals,” says Bhorat. “The madressah teaches young Muslims daily after school, and older reverts at adult classes in the evenings having employed a full time teacher, while providing transport to madressah for the little ones. “The program also offers bursaries to students for school and further studies as well as funding Eid functions (both Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha Qurbani) and end-of-year functions. The community has grown, however it still remains a very poor community with limited resources.” Ramadaan began on Wednesday and, Bhorat and his team at Nur ul Soweto have kicked-off their drive to assist families. “This year, we will be distributing hampers for the month that will allow the families to enjoy the meals amongst their families without promoting large gatherings of people. In the past, the evening meal was done in congregation after the dusk prayer and large meals were cooked and prepared and enjoyed as a community. “With Covid-19 though, the decision was made to rather prepare hampers for the families so that they can have their morning and evening meals in their family groups.” The holy month of Ramadaan is regarded as the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset. It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline — of deep contemplation of one's relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran. “It is one of the foundations of Islam to feed those in need, and Ramadaan highlights to all those fasting the difficulties that many in society experience on a daily basis. By one fasting and feeling hunger all day, we can appreciate what we have, and also develop empathy for those who don't have. It is an important aspect of the religion to care for those around you. Bhorat says the hampers cost R600 per pack, and the foundation will be providing two packs per family per month. “The meals are sponsored by friends and family as it is considered a great reward to feed a fasting person or a needy person.” Dr Asad Bhorat, one of the founders of Nur ul Soweto. He says while the programme was established to support and assist Muslims who are in need in Soweto, they try to assist as many people as possible across all religions. Bhorat says it was initially started by a Muslim leader in the community, Saleem Dlamini. “Sheikh Saleem Dlamini started a programme to teach people about Islam at his home, and subsequently began feeding those students in Ramadaan. As the numbers grew, I offered to assist him financially and hence Nur ul Soweto was born.” While still small, the Muslim community in the township has grown tremendously. “The progammes undertaken includes Ramadaan feeding programmes, an ongoing madressah and community fundraising Iftaar and awards evenings.” The programme feeds around 150 families each year. “There are over 150 families supported with the Iftaar programme yearly. In addition, the feeding has been extended to many of the poorest in the community as well.” Bhorat says the most rewarding part of this journey is hearing from those who have been helped. “The stories of their journeys, turning to Islam and walking away from drugs and alcohol and how that has impacted on their familes is inspiring and makes us feel positive about Soweto and the role Nur ul Soweto has played in the community. I remember a young Muslim with a heart wrenching story. He chose to become a Muslim after watching the movie, Malcolm X. “He was thrown out by his family onto the street and his father disowned him. He found himself at the local mosque and continued his quest to learn more. He found role models in Sheikh Saleem and others, stopped drugs and alcohol and his involvement in gangs and crime and just tried to be the best Muslim he could be. Over time, his family came to see this positive change, and he later became his father’s pride and joy as his father saw the positive impact the religion had on his son. “He would tell the neighbourhood children to become like his son. It has become so important that the positive impact religions have on society be supported and told.” ** For those interested in assisting with the Nur Ul Soweto project, bank details are as follows:

Having worked in the vibrant township for over 20 years and being involved with the community in various projects, the Johannesburg doctor has fallen in love with the township and its people.

“Soweto is a very special place for me,” says Bhorat.

“I trained here, and did my internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital and been in practice for over 20 years in Soweto. It is a vibrant community whose contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle is epitomised by the June 16 uprising, yet has such a deeper rich history.

“I have been the chairman of the Soweto Rugby Club in the past, and I am struck by the talent and inspiration of the young people. The people have a great story to tell, and I am glad to be a small part of that story.”

Aside from assisting the community as a doctor, Bhorat has also worked on various projects to empower the community.

One of them is the Nur ul Soweto programme, which Bhorat holds very close to his heart.

The programme, which has been running for two decades, has helped feed hundreds of struggling families during the holy month of Ramadaan and has also provided both young and old Muslims in Soweto with a Madressah (Muslim school).

“Nur ul Soweto feeds over 150 families over Ramadaan, with both Sehri (meal eaten before sunrise by Muslims during Ramadaan) and Iftaar (meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadaan) meals,” says Bhorat.

“The madressah teaches young Muslims daily after school, and older reverts at adult classes in the evenings having employed a full time teacher, while providing transport to madressah for the little ones.

“The program also offers bursaries to students for school and further studies as well as funding Eid functions (both Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha Qurbani) and end-of-year functions. The community has grown, however it still remains a very poor community with limited resources.”

Ramadaan began on Wednesday and, Bhorat and his team at Nur ul Soweto have kicked-off their drive to assist families.

“This year, we will be distributing hampers for the month that will allow the families to enjoy the meals amongst their families without promoting large gatherings of people. In the past, the evening meal was done in congregation after the dusk prayer and large meals were cooked and prepared and enjoyed as a community.

“With Covid-19 though, the decision was made to rather prepare hampers for the families so that they can have their morning and evening meals in their family groups.”

The holy month of Ramadaan is regarded as the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset.

It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline — of deep contemplation of one’s relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran.

“It is one of the foundations of Islam to feed those in need, and Ramadaan highlights to all those fasting the difficulties that many in society experience on a daily basis. By one fasting and feeling hunger all day, we can appreciate what we have, and also develop empathy for those who don’t have. It is an important aspect of the religion to care for those around you.

Bhorat says the hampers cost R600 per pack, and the foundation will be providing two packs per family per month.

“The meals are sponsored by friends and family as it is considered a great reward to feed a fasting person or a needy person.”

Dr Asad Bhorat, one of the founders of Nur ul Soweto.

He says while the programme was established to support and assist Muslims who are in need in Soweto, they try to assist as many people as possible across all religions.

Bhorat says it was initially started by a Muslim leader in the community, Saleem Dlamini.

“Sheikh Saleem Dlamini started a programme to teach people about Islam at his home, and subsequently began feeding those students in Ramadaan. As the numbers grew, I offered to assist him financially and hence Nur ul Soweto was born.”

While still small, the Muslim community in the township has grown tremendously.

“The progammes undertaken includes Ramadaan feeding programmes, an ongoing madressah and community fundraising Iftaar and awards evenings.”

The programme feeds around 150 families each year.

“There are over 150 families supported with the Iftaar programme yearly. In addition, the feeding has been extended to many of the poorest in the community as well.”

Bhorat says the most rewarding part of this journey is hearing from those who have been helped.

“The stories of their journeys, turning to Islam and walking away from drugs and alcohol and how that has impacted on their familes is inspiring and makes us feel positive about Soweto and the role Nur ul Soweto has played in the community. I remember a young Muslim with a heart wrenching story. He chose to become a Muslim after watching the movie, Malcolm X.

“He was thrown out by his family onto the street and his father disowned him. He found himself at the local mosque and continued his quest to learn more. He found role models in Sheikh Saleem and others, stopped drugs and alcohol and his involvement in gangs and crime and just tried to be the best Muslim he could be. Over time, his family came to see this positive change, and he later became his father’s pride and joy as his father saw the positive impact the religion had on his son.

“He would tell the neighbourhood children to become like his son. It has become so important that the positive impact religions have on society be supported and told.”

** For those interested in assisting with the Nur Ul Soweto project, bank details are as follows:

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Mzansi

Lucky Montana demand evidence, zondo commission advocate to recuse himself

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zuma

Lucky Montana has demanded that the evidence leader of the State Capture Commission, advocate Vas Soni, recuse himself from proceedings.

Soni has been cross-examining Montana in relation to his controversial tenure at the rail agency, as well as allegations that he used R36 million of its funds to purchase properties around Gauteng with lawyer Riaan van der Walt.

Montana’s questionable property purchases in lush suburbs have faced immense scrutiny, even outside of the commission and he has denied there was anything dubious behind them.

Advocate Soni grilled Montana about his business relationship with Van der Walt, the director of a company called Precise Trade. He also had links to Siyangena Technologies, a company which irregularly scored billions worth of contracts with Prasa. Both Montana and Van der Walt have enjoyed a rather profitable relationship, to say the least.

“Soni should recuse himself. He is showing signs of being biased. It is not in the interest of justice to continue like this. This narrative that Siyangena was given R4 million in contracts. The allegations were that it, for sure, made payments towards my properties through TTM Holdings,” Montana said.

“There is no Siyangena in any of the properties I have invested in. He is conflicted. He is so emotionally invested and passionate about this, because if I was not here, we were going to move from the basis that TTM paid Precise Trade. TTM did not pay Precise Trade”


It is alleged Montana used a shell company named Trade and Invest to purchase the houses through Van der Walt who has since left the country.

This isn’t the first time Montana has taken issue with Soni, having told the commission back in April that he is conflicted, having done work for Werksmans Attorneys.

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Mzansi

Thuso Mbedu Gushes About Working with Amazing American Director Barry Jenkins

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mbedu

Thuso Mbedu took to social media to gush about working with award-winning international director Barry Jenkins. The actress worked with the US director on the set of Amazon Prime series The Underground Railroad.

Thuso Mbedu gushed about working with amazing American director Barry Jenkins. Image: @thuso.mbedu Source: Instagram Thuso took to Instagram and shared that many people had asked her what it was like working with the Oscar award-winning Jenkins.

She then responded with a lengthy answer to the question on everyone’s lips. Along with snaps and vids of Jenkins she took while on set, Thuso said: “Working with Barry was amazing. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done. He makes it easy, man. It’s like having a conversation an easy, flowing, unforced conversation.

We all knew and understood what we’re working towards and, through collaboration, we were able to help each other get there.” She shared that Jenkins showed the cast what humanity looked like.

Thuso said Barry is also very kind, crazy and funny and so welcoming. The stunner expressed that Jenkins is also respectful of everyone. The Underground Railroad comes out on Friday, 14 May, said Thuso.

Thuso’s fans took to her comment section to react to her post. Check out some comments below: chesty’m said: “Exactly how I imagined him to be then.” dejadeetv wrote: “AGREED!!! He was/is AMAZING & Brilliant!”

Friday can’t get here sooner.” vilithuleka wrote: “I love your playful nature Thuso.” maps_mellisa_andy commented: “3rd frame had my heart jumping like yeessss go quuueeen.” ayisto_swazi added: “FRIDAY issssss a date!” In related news, Briefly News reported that Natasha Thahane has reacted to the news that Thuso Mbedu is set to star alongside US actress Viola Davis.

The Blood & Water actress took to social media and congratulated Thuso for bagging a role alongside one of America’s greatest actresses. Natasha took to Instagram on Thursday, 29 April and shared a screenshot of the article about Thuso’s good news.

She captioned her post: “What a MOMENT! @thuso.mbedu You are the MOMENT! I’m proud of you galingz, ninja! Continue to confidently receive God’s abundant blessings.

” The Underground Railroad actress also took to Natasha’s comment section to show her appreciation following the post. She replied: “Thanks galingz.” Instagram’s users took to Natasha’s timeline to react to her post. They also congratulated the talented Mzansi actress.

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Nelson Mandela’s grandson, TV presenter Mayibuye Mandela bashed by police

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mandela

Nelson Mandela’s great-grandson, television presenter and political activist Mayibuye Mandela, has opened a case of assault against the police, whom he claims beat him without provocation at the weekend.

Mandela, 27, told the Dispatch his legal team was writing to SA police minister Bheki Cele, national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole and provincial police commissioner Lt-gen Liziwe Ntshinga about his intention to sue the SAPS for police brutality.

He said he and two friends were driving in a bakkie on the gravel road from Mqhekezweni great place outside Mthatha at 8.30pm on Saturday when they were stopped by four police officers. “It was raining. They told us to get out of the vehicle as they wanted to search it.

“They ordered me to lie on my stomach face down in the dirt. I told them it was raining and I would get dirty. I asked if I could lean against the car so that they could do whatever they wanted to do.”

Mandela said one of them accused him of thinking he knew too much about the law.

“A policewoman and a policeman started beating me with a stick. They forced me down and I ended up sustaining bruises to my face as they put their boots on my head to suppress me.”

Mandela said his other two friends were slapped in the face by the two police officers. He said the attack on him lasted about five minutes. He said he had bruises on his back from being beaten with a stick.

One of his two companions was an older man who is a lawyer by profession. Mandela said all three had been ordered to lie flat on their stomachs.

“I kept on complaining and questioning why we should have to lie down. It’s not like they found anything wrong in the car.”

He said afterwards they had been ordered to get into their bakkie and “get out of here”.

Initially the trio wanted to drive directly to the Bityi police station but the police officers told them they would probably meet more police officers on the road.

So instead they drove to the lawyer’s home in Mqhekezweni, where they spent the night. He said he took pictures of his injuries before going to bed.

“I went to the doctor on Sunday and immediately after that I went to the Mthatha central police station to open a case but batshona bevela phaya [they were ducking and diving there]. They told me I had to go to Bityi but I told them I did not have a car to get there.”

He said he went to the Madeira police station and after being sent from pillar to post, eventually managed to open a case.

But he only received an SMS confirming the case number on Tuesday.

Sinaye Tywaku, 21, who is from Tsolo and had gone to attend an event at Mqhekezweni, was Mandela’s other companion at the time of the incident.

He said he had been beaten with a stick on his knee by the police officers.

“I can’t straighten my knee even now,” he told the Dispatch on Tuesday.

He said the trio had not done anything to provoke the police. He had also been ordered to lie down on his stomach.

Tywaku said he was trying to open his own assault case against the police.

Mandela said acts of police brutality had no place in a new and democratic SA.

“I am still in shock. It is not because of my surname that I am doing this [laying charges]. It is because police need to understand that in this day and age, police brutality cannot be tolerated.”

The Johannesburg-based Mandela presents a political programme on Mpumalanga Broadcasting TV.

He described the officers’ actions as reminiscent of the apartheid regime.

He also accused the cops of copying the brutal Americanstyle policing that led to the death of George Floyd.

Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine and half minutes.

Provincial police spokesperson Brig Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed on Tuesday that a case of assault had been opened at Bityi police station.

He said the Independent Police Investigations Directorate would take over the investigation and declined to comment further.

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