HISTORY OF SOUTH AFRICAN MUSLIMS
Before we explain the reasons for the establishment of the IEOSA system of Education and our Educator Education Courses we would like to briefly give you a history of the Muslims and the rise of Islamic education in our country.
History of Muslims in South Africa
Although history has recorded that the first influences of Islam was brought into Southern Africa overland by the Southern migration of Africans through the influences of Arab traders, the current Muslims arrived in two waves by sea from foreign lands.
The first wave of Muslims arrived as slaves of the then dominant Dutch power from the Colonies of Java and Malaysia in 1652.
British and Apartheid Rule
The second wave of Muslims were brought to South Africa by the British Colonial powers from India in 1860. The British who settled in the Eastern Coast of South Africa in the early 1800's, had conquered the Dutch in the Cape and defeated the (mighty) Zulu nation, soon recognised the fertile coastal land as ideal grounds for the growing of sugar cane. A cheap source of labour was required to establish the sugar industry. The British brought out indentured labourers from their colony of India to work in the sugar fields. (Most of these were Indians of the Hindu religion.) Muslim merchants from India soon followed to establish trade in Natal.
This band of Muslims were highly industrious workers and soon established a merchant class. Generally speaking this community (were apathetic to politics and) concentrated on survival. They were most active in the establishments of schools, Madaaris and Masaajid despite all the obstacles of being second class citizens of a colonial power. In terms of the apartheid race classification this group of Muslims were classified as Asiatics.
It is as a result of these two waves in different parts of South Africa, over different times that today there are over 2 million Muslims who represent 2% of the over 40 million people of South Africa. The inhuman scheme of apartheid was introduced and perpetuated over three centuries of oppression. Harsh repressive measures were taken to subdue the legitimate aspirations of the people through the system of apartheid. (Inchany) lost languages and thereby their life line to our countries of origin. An educational system with syllabi designed to serve the oppressors was implemented into a compulsory secular education system. (The colonial divide and rule system coupled with apartheid was developed into a science by its architects.)
In this scheme of things, the government which was vehemently anti recognised that Islam with its perfect ideology and a proven method of government as established by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could serve as a bulwark against communism.
Accordingly, and for no other reason, freedom to practice religion was permitted which resulted in Islamic organisations, Madaaris and Masaajid mushrooming all over the country. This further fragmented the Muslim community. Then, when the whole world united in its condemnation and acted in unison against South Africa, the apartheid system began to crumble.
Post 1994 Democratic Election
In 1994 we had our first democratic election and a new South African order has emerged. In this new order, we Muslims are facing a myriad of challenges. We are a numerical minority in need of transfusion and motivation to play a meaningful role in establishing a just society.
A quarter of the World's Muslim population of 1,2 billion live in Africa. With the fences of apartheid being torn down, the 2 million Muslims need to reach out to the other 300 million Muslim brothers and sisters of Africa We are of Africa. Africa was privileged to be the first continent to have received the message of Islam from the Arabian peninsula. And Africa was the first continent to give refuge to Islam in its infancy in the 7th century when the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the first migration to Abyssinia.
Today Islam is the fastest growing religion on this continent.