Windhoek – The COVID-19 pandemic has failed to stop Muslims in Southern Africa from fulfilling their duties to the less-privileged during the month of Ramadan.
This year Ramadan is being observed from April 12 to May 12.
In the region, sizeable Muslim communities are mostly found in South Africa and Tanzania, though they have a noticeable presence across all 16 SADC member states.
The secretary-general of the board of trustees at the Islamic Centre in Windhoek Dr Armas Shikongo – who is also an academic at the University of Namibia – this week told The Southern Times that the limited gatherings in the age of COVID-19 did not lessen the observance of Ramadan.
Namibia’s Muslim community is distributing clothes and food to refugee camps, children’s homes and to the homeless.
“We have come up with ways that will protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic… We have come up with a way where the needy can collect basic commodities packed in packets and go prepare for themselves at their houses.
“We are working with the Muslims across the country to make sure that we find ways of reaching those that are in needy without compromising the laid down COVID-19 protocols,” he said.
He also said the Muslim community in Namibia welcomed the national vaccination drive.
“We are getting to a point where people are starting to understand the way vaccines work and how they can assist in combating the disease. We obviously still need more information but we are getting there,” Dr Shikongo said.
Ms Namakawo Simasiku, a Namibian Muslim, said they were doing their best to observe Ramadan in a difficult time.
“The biggest challenge is that we can’t all gather together. We have to do it in a way that does not breach the public gathering numbers that were put in place by the government.
“Although this is not the normal way of doing things, we have to appreciate that the pandemic is real and affects everyone.”