Key organisations, personalities acknowledge undeniable impact of Imam Cassiem


Radio 786 – Chairperson Ali Chicktay

There would not have been a Radio 786 without the late Imam Achmad Cassiem. Paying homage Radio 786 Committee Chairperson Ali Chiktay says Radio 786 is a birthchild of the Imam.  

Chicktay says that during the early years of the establishment of Radio 786, he and those that worked with Cassiem benefited immensely from his intelligence. Chicktay adds that Cassiem understood what community media meant and the impact it would have on the Muslim community in Cape Town.  

“The Radio 786 license application, him, brother Ali Adams and brother Ganief Hendricks were all central figures for the license, way back in 1993. He took such a keen interest in the operations of the radio in its infancy years. I remember even before the radio opened, before it started, he ran programmes for potential presenters at our little studio in Parker Avenue in Rylands. Imam Achmad Cassiem surprisingly attended and he gave people voice coaching and coaching in presentation style.”  

 Judge Siraj Desai – Retired High Court and friend since childhood 

The passing of Imam Achmad Cassiem is an enormous loss for people. Retired High Court Judge Siraj Desai says he knew the Imam since his school days and he was consistent not only in the pursuit of Islamic struggles but struggle in general.  

“He was in the forefront of the struggle, all the years. He cut his teeth in the Unity Movement in the 1960s, with the teachers of Trafalgar High School. And it’s there that he learns the principle struggle that he prosecuted his entire life. When he established Qibla, he pursued that struggle. He was committed to a vision of a society free of all forms of exploitation and oppression and he stood strongly against the current disposition where the poor remain poor.”

Dr Allan Boesak – Anti-Apartheid Activist

Outside the Lansdowne home of Imam Achmad Cassiem, his comrade Dr Allan Boesak remembered him for his integrity and unshakeable commitment.  

Boesak says this is what drew him to the Imam and they would cross ideological and religious lines. He adds that this does not really mean anything when one is joined at the heart, because what God wants from us is commitment to justice, which Cassiem demonstrated.    

“I have great respect for his life and for his sacrifices and the sacrifices of his family because I know what that means. At this stage of my life, I know what it means to have a lifelong commitment and that is what he personifies. So, I am here today to offer my respect for him, for his commitment, for his life and to offer gratitude to God that such a man was alive among us. I know for certain that he is the type of person whose legacy will not disappear, once everyone knows about his death it will be deepened because of the impact he had on generations after him.” 

 Ntobeko Magwentshu – member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania’s armed wing, Apla 

 A courageous leader that maintained links with those forced to go underground during Apartheid.  

 “Not many leaders at that time were willing to be associated with the underground activities, especially the leaders that were well known by the Apartheid regime, but he was willing. You must remember that he had been released from Robben Island. You must imagine the pain it would have taken him and the bravery to still want to be associated with the underground, knowing that there was a possibility of going back to the island.

Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa (Afosa) 

An unsung hero of South Africa’s struggle and freedom. That’s how the Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa has described the late Imam Achmad Cassiem.

It says what made the anti-apartheid fighter stand out was his insistence on the Islamic ethos during the struggle against oppression. The Imam is also remembered for his support of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.  

Afosa says it’s one of the many organisations that have benefited from the teachings and guidance of Cassiem.


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