Muslim cemetery clean-up project launched to restore dignity to final resting place of loved ones

Mowbray Muslim Cemetery has launched a Community Involvement Weekend from Saturday 29th to Sunday 30th October. PHOTO: KAYLYNNE BANTOM

To restore the dignity and honor of deceased loved ones, Mowbray Muslim Cemetery has launched a Community Involvement Weekend where the public is invited to be part of a clean-up operation.

The initiative which will take place over two days from Saturday 29 to Sunday 30 October will give people the opportunity to clean and improve the graves of their loved ones.

Adv Shameemah Dollie Salie, a member of the Muslim Cemetery Board, says the private cemetery based at the Observatory has a history that stretches back to the 1800s.

“We have many old graves and a lot of heritage in the cemetery. What we have discovered over the years is that many headstones have been damaged. It is important to remember our heritage and our culture and we want to restore the sense of pride in where we come from and our ancestors.

Salie explains that under the bylaw, responsibility for individual graves rests with the family, while the cemetery and surrounding area is the responsibility of the cemetery board.

“So we would like to encourage the community to understand the importance of caring for the graves of their loved ones and also to be put in a position where we are reminded where we need to go back and the importance of living a life that will be remembered and rewarded by the Almighty.

She explains that the cleaning is crucial for the geolocation project that is in preparation for the cemetery.

“For the grave of your loved one to be geotagged, it is important that the gravestone is visible so that we can identify the deceased who rests in a particular grave so that the geotagging is effective.

“Geo-tagging will be done so that family members can identify on an app where their loved one is buried, as the name will appear and the vicinity of the grave will also be noted on the app.

Salie explains that if family members want their loved ones’ graves geotagged, “it’s important that they go out and identify those individual graves” and clean them up.

“During the Covid-19 period, many people were unable to welcome and send their loved ones in the way we are used to. This cleansing allows the community to come together and say their prayers and find some form of closure for the departure of so many loved ones. »

Sheikh Riad Fataar, second vice president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC-SA) and president of the MJC funeral administration, says they welcome the initiative.

“This is the resting place of our loved ones, and they should be honored and respected where they are. Everyone should come and make sure the graves of their loved ones are clean and look respectable.

He adds: “If you are cleaning the grave of a loved one, take the time to look around and attend to a grave that may be neglected and may not be that of a member of family or a friend. In this way, we preserve the dignity and honor of those who have passed away.

Salie says people are encouraged to bring their shovels, bags, buckets and gloves and get involved in the initiative.

“Present at the cemetery on weekends are a range of service providers and operational partners of the cemetery. Also participating are Things on Wheels, Bismillah on the Lounge and Good Hope Meat Hyper which will provide meals over the weekend at no cost to attendees.

Salie says she hopes the initiative will be successful so it can be rolled out to other cemeteries.

“The community can go out; we invite people to bring edibles to share with others. We will have those kinds of facilities available. If others feel they want to do the same, we welcome the initiative to spread, and any organization or supplier who wishes to join us and wishes to donate food, cleaning supplies or cold drinks is invited to do so.

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