Durban street now named Juma Masjid Square (Second Lead)October 2nd, 2010 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS
By Lakshmi Krishnakumar
Durban, Oct 2 (IANS) A plaque renaming as ‘Juma Masjid Square’ the street outside one of the oldest mosques in South Africa built on a plot owned by a Gujarati immigrant was unveiled by India’s Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.
“It was the happiest moment of my life when I unveiled the plaque by the name Juma Masjid Square in the street where one of the oldest mosques of the country (South Africa) stands,” a delighted Ravi told IANS after unveiling the plaque Friday.
“I feel great as I also prayed at this glorious sacred place of worship,” he added.
Ravi presided over the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-Africa, being held here by the overseas Indian affairs ministry with the provincial government of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Oct 1-2.
The PBD-Africa event focuses on the three million strong Indian diaspora in Africa.
A.V. Mahomed, chief trustee of the mosque and a second generation South African of Indian origin, said the time chosen to unveil the plaque “couldn’t be better” as it marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The land was purchased by a Muslim from Porbandar - Gandhi’s birthplace, he added.
“The Queen Street plaque was finally removed and replaced with that of Juma Masjid square. It was a great feeling,” Mahomed added.
The 130-year-old mosque was erected on a plot bought by Aboobaker Amod Jhaveri, regarded as the first Indian trader to have arrived in the province of KwaZulu Natal.
Being the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, it can accommodate at least 7,000 worshippers across three floors.
Around the mosque are several Indian food outlets, a popular one serving uniquely Durban ‘bunnychow’ (half a loaf of bread scooped out and filled with curry-bean curry for vegetarians and mutton for meat lovers).
Also in the area is the Victoria Street Market offering incense, henna tattoos, spices, scarves, sweets and other delicacies.
(Lakshmi Krishnakumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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