A letter to Shamima - Tahir Sitoto

By Shaikh Tahir Sitoto

Dear Shamima

The last we saw of you, you were a living mortal – your spirit fighting, refusing to give up. That memory still lingers. We remember the many moments we shared both in times of joy and sadness. The moments of struggle and celebration.

We remember the students at Rhodes University howling at you and yet you kept calm and smiled at them. The only crime was to say women are not sub-human, but all are equal in the eyes of the Creator. We remember you walking and jumping in the dusty and muddy roads of Kwa-Nobuhle, sharing a meal in a tiny four-room matchbox house, not afraid to enter the terrain or conquering our space and confronting some of us whom you perceived to have male chauvinist tendencies. You sensitised some to the gender jihad not in a confrontational fashion but in a caring and loving manner, not self-righteous but persuasive.

Your doors were always open. We spent many treasured moments in your small flat with no trepidation.

We remember your honesty that made you vulnerable at times, but above all your unwavering commitment to the cause of the doormats of society, the so-called marginalised, those on the periphery and sidelines, that category known as the women; the so-called converts or reverts and so-called Africans.

Together with your family you were almost entirely wiped out in a car accident on your way to Botshabelo. Your spleen crashed, yet you continued the struggle. All these memories as we write to you are flashing back, reminding us of your presence. In short, yours was a life of selflessness.

Even after hospitalisation you fervently went to the ITP, presented a paper on a theme so dear to you and continued to participate inspite of your predicament. These are moments we will hold dear and continue to cherish.

When some of us shared your tenth wedding anniversary, little did we know that it would be the last meal in your esteemed company.

We know this letter should have been written to you whilst you were still in our company – and so we must admit that it is with reluctance that we do so. We do so, however, with the thought that even at this moment you will not say, "No, it is too late," and thus refuse its acceptance.

Words, we must add, are not sufficient to convey what you have been and meant to us. Others can try to do so, but we refuse. Suffice to say you were an epitome of what is true and genuine humanity.

We ask the God of Mercy and Compassion, the All Wise and All Knowing, to grant you Jannah al-Firdous.

As for your family, especially Na’eem, little Minhaj and Shir'a... We invoke Allah the Almighty to grant them the necessary patience and perseverance in these trying moments.

In missing you we can find contentment in the thought that your spirit forever lives. And so the only commitment we can make is to continue the struggle for which you were a tireless campaigner.

Hamba Kahle – Go Well.

Eyakho indima uyifezile – You have fulfilled your task.

On behalf of the National Executive of the Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa

Shaikh Tahir Fuzile Sitoto

National Vice- President

Journey of Discovery:
A South African Hajj

by Shamima Shaikh and
Na'eem Jeenah


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