/ 10 January 2017

Slice of Life: Building on a mother’s wisdom

Faadil Soeker at the Auwal Masjid in the Bo Kaap.
Faadil Soeker at the Auwal Masjid in the Bo Kaap.

My wife doesn’t like me telling people this, but I’m going to tell you: I love women. I love them because my mother was a woman. And it is because of her influence on me that I do what I do.

I help out here at the Auwal Mosque in the Bo-Kaap. It is the oldest mosque in the country, built in 1874. I teach the children in Bo-Kaap to read and write in Arabic and I lead the prayers when the officials who usually do it can’t make it.

In 1956, when the mosque underwent renovations, I made the mouldings. The mouldings inside are made of CreteStone and the outside ones are made of sand and cement. I had a labourer help me with the mixing but I did the mouldings by myself, so it took a few weeks.

I did it because my mother taught me that the Creator gave you knowledge and skills, so you must share it. You can make a contribution to society if you have a love for knowledge – and for sharing it. For me this is an act of caring.

Nobody can deny that there is birth and there is death. But what really matters is how you invest in the creation of something permanent. You can’t only invest in banks or whatever.

The influence of so many who went before us can still be felt in the Bo-Kaap today – and in this mosque. And that is what I hope to do with my work here at the mosque – for this community. That is what my mother taught me. – Mogamat Faadil Soeker, 79, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian