(Cape Town) - Ahmet Sait Akçay, World Bulletin
Khalid Shamis trained as a Writer, Director and Editor in the Film and TV industry in London. Khalid has settled in South Africa since 2005. He lectured in the Film school at the WITS School of Arts, Johannesburg. He is currently running a small production campany and Tubafilm in Cape Town.
“Imam and I", the documentary of Imam Abdullah Haroon, has been screened in Cape Town on many occasions through this year. Your another short film of Imam Haroon has been shown in Turkey as a part of Short Film Festival last year, can you provide some information about the background of the documentary?
The short film you are referring to is called ‘The Killing of the Imam’ which is a 10minute film that follows the same themes and uses the same filmic conventions as the feature length 80minute documentary ‘Imam and I’.
‘The Killing of the Imam’ and ‘Imam and I’ both look at the life, death and legacy of Imam Abdullah Haroon who was an anti apartheid activist and a Muslim community leader in Cape Town during the 1950s and 60s. The Imam was my grandfather and, as a filmmaker, I wanted to tell his story.
What motivated you to attempt to make this visible?
The motivation came from not having seen a film about the Imam or anything in the film medium. The books about him always inspired me and I wanted to find out about him as a man and a grandfather rather than the mythical image of him as a martyr.
The documentary is called “Imam and I”, what is the role of Imam cast in your life? Is this such a confrontation of the grandson and grandpa?
The Imam’s role in my life has always been one of a hero figure. I always knew he was my grandfather but I never knew him as such. He has always been very inspiring.
Many questions are raised from this film related to the life Imam and his time. The community reacting to his motivation as Imam, being unaware of his struggle is quite strange. When the Muslim communities in Cape Town did acknowledge his contribution to the struggle against apartheid. Or it happened so far?
It is true what you say but he has definitely been acknowledged by the Muslims of Cape Town and always is. Every year there is a commemoration of his life on the day that he died, 27th September. There is a lot of respect for him in the Cape.
The film reveals once more how to deal with this huge story. It is really challenging, appreciated. Do you think South African Black government appreciated Imam’s movement?
I'm not really sure. I would hope that they do and there have been some indications that they do but there have also been indications that the Imam’s legacy has been sidelined. This is another reason that I had to make the film and help towards writing our own history in the Cape.
In this case can we consider this movement as resurgence of Islamic political consciousness?
I don’t think so. The Imam’s movement was one of Islamic and political consciousness but I wouldn’t see it as a global resurgence. In all times there are always individuals who stand out but it will take a lot more for a global resurgence in Islamic political consciousness.
What struck me in this documentary more than his political activism is his enjoying daily life, being fond of James Bond movies and Rugby.
Yes that is what struck me about him, his humanism as well as his deep spiritual commitment.
Imam is well known by Turkish readers because of the translation of The Killing Imam more than Abu Bakr Effendi, Ottoman Kurdish Scholar, who arrived in Cape Town in 1862,. I am also wondering about what is unreadable in this combination of relations around the Imam. I am sure Imam left a very acknowledgeable inheritance to Cape Muslims that they still celebrate such a kind of tolerance coming from Islam. Thanks to Imam Haroon, the Islamic revivalism took another step forward In the Cape. Can you explain the affects of his heritage over Cape Muslims a bit?
I feel that his heritage for the cape Muslims today lies in a place of pride of association with him and a place of inspiration to be oneself and to always look for the good beyond yourself. To what extent that is manifested I am not sure.
And what’s next?
I would like to make a narrative feature film about the Imam’s life with actors etc… but at the moment it’s a dream as it is too expensive and there is no funding for it for now. I am now working on film about my father who was exiled from Libya when Gadaffi came into power and only returned last year when Gadaffi went out. My father was a major opposition member outside of Libya to the Libyan regime and I find the story of exile and home very interesting.
The new mosque will be the first official mosque in Greece's capital since the 19th century
Tokyo annoyed by UN body’s registration last year of thousands of documents relating to Nanjing Massacre in World War II
Working with Palestinian engineers and artists and the Palestinian Red Crescent, Dutch artist Marjan Teeuwen is "transforming a demolished house into a beautiful sculpture" which will as a museum for a short time
A Dutch court has ruled that archaeological treasures which were on loan to Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, 2014.
When considering the establishment of the Chief Mufti institution of Bulgaria, the difficulties imposed on this institution and after learning about the conditions that were needed to be overcome; after getting to acquaint with brave people who had to put all they ever had on the line, you get a better understanding of the responsibility and loyalty of the Muslims in Bulgaria.
Love, tolerance, peace: Amazon scores with an interfaith ad showcasing true brotherhood and spreading a touching message of unity
While American black people were still being treated as slaves or worse, Ottoman Muslim Air Forces member Ahmet Ali Efendi was the first black pilot of the world. He participated in a lot of air missions.
Aisholpan, a young Mongolian tribegirl has become the first ever female eagle huntress with a stunning new documentary showcasing her incredible talent and life to the world
The Bamiyan statues were blasted in April 2001 by the Taliban, who had taken control of the province and killed thousands of Hazara civilians, a Shiite Muslim minority in Bamiyan.
The Muslim in Phuket have maintained their culture and have lived a life of harmony with the Buddhist community throughout history. Deniz Baran has compiled some facts about the mosques of Muslims , who live in the touristic area called Phuket in Thailand.
Colgrave Arms, a London pub since 1886, has been converted to a Mosque after the Can Hall Deen and Education Trust completed its purchase in July 2010 which will meet the needs of both the sizeable Muslim and non-Muslim community in Cann Hall.
Baymirza Hayit with all his suffering, wars, exile and legal trials was a real Turkestan patriot; with all his written thesis, works and books was a real intellectual. Written by Yusuf Tuncbilek.
Istanbul, one of the most beautiful cities in the world attracts millions of visitors each year - its silhouette with the magnificent Hagia Sophia and Topkapi as well as the grand Sultanahmet mosque has marked its place as a must visit city on countless bucket lists.
Archaeologists have discovered huts, tools and 15 huge graves dating from first dynasty period in Sohag province
Two memorials have been restored in the memory of soldiers of Turkish, German, Hungarian and Austrian origin, who were sent to the Vladivostok region in Russia during WWI but had fallen prisoner to the Russian army and lost their lives in these camps.
World Architecture Festival recognises airport, library