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Abdul Manack – Radio and TV Personality, Professional Cricketer, Inspirational Speaker & Action Coach

The year is 1991. Imagine being the first non-white South African to play at the Wanderers Stadium after the celebrated release of Nelson Mandela; 30 000 spectators, and all eyes are on you. Not many people can live out their wildest, most improbable dreams, yet in spite of many setbacks – political and personal – Abdul Manack is truly fortunate to have lived some of his biggest dreams. A renowned cricketer turned motivational coach and media personality, this selfless South African sporting treasure has a story worth a chapter in local history books.

As a young boy, Abdul grew up in Vereeniging, but in pursuit of more prosperity, his family later moved to Lenasia, Johannesburg. Abdul fondly recalls his eventful sporting career at Nirvana High School. It was here where his former (now late) teacher, Mr Bismillah encouraged him to pursue his cricketing dreams. Abdul’s grandest aspiration was to play for South Africa, however, due to the constraints of apartheid at the time, this was not possible. His next big goal was to play at Lord’s, in the United Kingdom, a place he envisioned as the mecca of cricket. Mr Bismillah recommended that Abdul do everything in his power to achieve this goal, firstly by training hard, never giving up and making the non-white Sacos high school side. Manack impressively made the team, and with that accolade, Mr Bismillah handed him an envelope containing an airline ticket to London. Abdul was unaware that the school and his peers, along with Pirate’s Cricket Club, had raised funds for him to travel to England and play the sport he was destined to in Yorkshire.

However, like most conservative Muslim parents, Abdul’s father visualised a university degree for him, and dismissed his sporting plans. Feeling despondent and hopeless, Abdul’s ticket to cricketing glory was then handed to fellow student, Nazier Dindar, and he realised at that moment that “life is like a heartbeat, it goes up and down, and if you can live with the momentum of a heartbeat, you can do anything”. His dreams were not entirely crushed, as in an unexpected turn, the cricketer they sent in his place to England was homesick and wanted to return to South Africa. This gave 18-year-old Abdul a rare, second opportunity to fulfill his dreams abroad. He believes that everything happens in its perfect time, willed only by Allah.

Manack lived in England for six months each year during the 80s, engaged in a cricket coaching course, and spent the other six months coaching cricket on home soil. This arrangement continued for six seasons where he played professionally in England and Wales. He also had the honour of playing at Lords after the Unification of sport. Abdul felt at peace during this stage of his life, fully embraced in England as a non-white player, often winning ‘Cricketer of the Year’ awards at the clubs he played for – a possibility that wasn’t conceivable in pre-1994 South Africa. Abdul also qualified as a senior cricket coach within his stay in the UK.

Abdul’s life orbited around the aristocratic sport, and the incidences he had experienced through it have shaped him. Once, while playing at school in a local derby with the heat of everyone watching and cheering him on, he bowled his last ball and his team lost. Naturally, Abdul felt devastated. His spirit was knocked out for a six. It was his sage teacher’s (Mr Bismillah) words that consoled him: “If you can look up, you can rise up. Don’t look down, the moment you lift your head up, you see the sun and the whole picture changes.” Due to this incident, Abdul started to look at things differently. After that moment he started believing in himself, and realised that it was okay to fail, but live every moment like it’s your last.

His passion for cricket is shared with his devotion to humanitarian work and unlocking potential. After his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he spent the last three months of her life caring for her full-time, which he recalls as “the most rewarding and blessed process of my life.” This emotionally moving experience sparked his interest in assisting the elderly and deprived, and has since spent time at an old-age home, orphanages and youth development programmes at underprivileged schools. Abdul also aids five different pledge lines on ITV, and is also part of the network’s popular show ‘Inspirate’.

The action coach’s other philanthropic projects include working with St Vincent School for the Deaf and being the project manager for Sandton Convention Centre’s Marriage Conference. His greatest passion is uplifting orphans. He shares the insightful words of the Prophet (PBUH): “The one who takes care of an orphan is with me in paradise.” Abdul realises that we have to give much more of ourselves.

The main event that motivated him to participate in humanitarian work was an encounter with a young boy while living in Yorkshire. This lad asked Abdul to help him improve his bowling, but as a young and upcoming cricketer, Mr Manack admits to being too “self-involved” and not one to give advice at the time. The boy came back day after day and asked for help once again. Abdul, just to get rid of the boy, showed him a few cricket skills. The boy returned again the next week, this time with a newspaper article in hand, illustrating how well he did in a cricket match. Abdul became more conscious of his own arrogance and this interaction taught him to become a giver rather than a taker. He was so grateful for this spiritual learning curve, since he found the feeling of giving more fulfilling than just playing cricket for personal gain alone. From this point onwards, Mr Manack started cricket and coaching training courses with the aim to develop ‘a mindset of a champion’. Abdul’s own son is following in his father’s sporting footsteps, and is training hard to play for post-apartheid South Africa one day soon. Insha-Allah.

One of his most heart-warming experiences was when he asked to give a talk at a deaf school. As Abdul was engaging with his audience and conducting interactive activities with them, he noticed that they weren’t in fact looking at him. Instead, their eyes were fixed on a sign-language translator. He was so moved because while they couldn’t actually hear him, they were following his instructions and heeding his words. “When you speak to people, always give them your best, because the best will always come back to you – even though you may think they are not hearing you, they are.” he adds.

Abdul has felt most rewarded while carrying out a ‘Brain Activation’ project with students and orphans in a 2-day workshop with Hawa Charfaray. Each of these destitute children had a challenging history, but they left the workshop with more confidence, better self-esteem and in complete disbelief that they could achieve and were capable of so much more than they had imagined. Abdul would like to continue inspiring young children in similar circumstances. He also runs ‘Beat the Bully’ programmes at schools.

The father-of-three thanks the Almighty Allah for giving him the opportunity to do good. He wants to make a difference, and supplicates: “Allah, use me daily as your servant unconditionally, and let me be the one you choose as your servant when your creation needs help.”

The former cricketer’s days always begin early; waking up for Fajr salaah (morning prayers), followed by half an hour of Quran, Zikr and reflection. After chauffeuring the kids to school, he spends 2-3 hours setting out proposals, planning events and going to schools to give anti-bullying and leadership talks. After midday prayers, his afternoon is filled with meetings and inspiring one-on-one coaching sessions, which are mostly voluntary. He de-stresses by cycling and often attends social upliftment events in the evenings. His day ends with evening prayers, family dinner and introspection.

One of the most pivotal moments in his life was receiving an honorary green Protea blazer, an achievement that he had worked his entire sporting life towards. A momentous ceremony was held four years ago, where former non-white cricket players – who would have been inducted into the South African cricket team during the apartheid era – were nominated. Only four sportsmen were given this honour, and Abdul Manack was one of the revered recipients.

He lives by three words: Best, test and rest.

Give your best. Live for Al-Ihsan (excellence).

Life will test you. You will always be tested; Allah says there will be ease after every test, yet still, give your best.

Leave the rest to Allah and trust his process.

The motivational speaker’s greatest life lesson: “We have so little time and we need to make every moment count, because you don’t know if you will have the next one. Never plan for tomorrow. Make everything happen today and expect the unexpected.”

He admires the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) most, noting that there isn’t a better role model, and he lives his life by what the Prophet said – to smile and do good. Another mentor he looks up to is close friend, Dr Moosagee, manager of the South African cricket team, whose ethical and moral character is inspiring.

Favourite Quranic verse: Surah Ar-Rahman, “So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?”

Abdul defines success as making a difference and an impact. It’s not a CV you achieve but a legacy and your contribution you make in this world. “If someone is sad, make them smile, be an ear that listens with empathy and respond with love. ‘Success’ is things you do that touch a person’s heart, fulfilling your purpose, recognising Allah and getting others to do the same.”

A few goals Abdul Manack has for the future is to go for Haj (pilgrimage), and to be able to speak globally and inspire today’s learners to be tomorrow’s leaders. He would also like to travel to New Zealand next year, exactly one year from the date of the devastating mass shooting and read salaah (praying ritual) at the same mosque where the act of terror occurred.

To others exploring the branch of philanthropy, he advises that: “Doing good must be unconditional when you want to help someone. We all have choices and those choices we make define us. When the situation arises, always choose to do good, because the reward for good is only good. Continuously spread salaam and peace.”

Abdul can’t retire from the subject of gratitude, being most thankful for the fact that he is breathing and alive, for the people in his life and for every blessing that God has given him. He is so grateful for his experiences – past and his present. He imparts the wisdom that “life is duality, accept that you will experience good and bad, happiness and sadness, wealth and financial difficulty and good health and illness. For everything that happens, show shukr (gratitude) and sabr (patience).”

 

He believes that the Proudly Muslims of SA initiative creates awareness; that everyone who has been through pain, has a story, and that story has awakened them to a higher purpose, and needs to be shared. “Our next generations can learn from these stories and these people. We don’t need to look up to sports heroes or Instagram role models to impact the youth. These stories can make an impact and inspire others,” he further states.

The footprint Abdul leaves on this earth would be a smile and his positive energy. He hopes society will remember him for that. He’d like people to recollect that he had a meaningful life, and he always encouraged people to do good. He hopes that whoever met him was inspired and a meaningful connection of love was made.

After realising his own sporting goals, Abdul Manack’s mission is helping others to achieve their own objectives. With his convivial and compassionate approach, he has empowered and inspired those less fortunate, not by only being their hero, but by making them believe that they are their own greatest asset.

The bees were abuzz in Fordsburg

The bees were abuzz on the 17th of October 2019 on Lilian Ngoyi Street at the launch of the BEES School of Baking, a new branch of the Al Fidaa School of Baking. The school is the second of its nature that was born during an informal meeting at the Port Elizabeth Airport, between its founder and director, Mr Nazir Munshie, and CEO of Al Baraka Bank and director of SAMCT, Mr Shabeer Chohan.


From its humble birth to the opening of its first school on the 3rd October 2017, the Al Fidaa School of Baking has gone on to train over 90 candidates in Port Elizabeth, and this was only the beginning. When Al Fidaa wanted to open a school of baking in Gauteng, they invited a number of Women’s Organisations to procure the initiative. The F.E.E.D Foundation, who are committed to the empowerment of individuals, were at the forefront of initiating a project in Johannesburg.

 

 

The idea of “BAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”, resonated with the F.E.E.D objectives of educating and empowering individuals. Plans are underway to open up six more schools next year. The school offers a free baking course to the underprivileged to teach them baking and decorating skills, allowing them the opportunity to create with confidence. Students will be enabled to earn an income through these skills and may be able to create employment for others.


The launch began with a beautiful recitation by Shaykh Sayed Ibrahim. One of the verses chosen by the shaykh was Al Asr, which is so profound in its beauty and simplicity and so appropriate for this particular gathering: “By the token of time, verily man is in loss, except such as have faith and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual teaching of truth, patience and constancy.”
The team at BEES School of Baking extended their gratitude for the assistance of all those involved in making this dream a reality. Their special thanks went out to The Vaal Ladies Forum, Benoni Ladies Forum, Caring Women’s Forum, AWQAF SA, and Adam Munshie from Al Fidaa, who flew in from Port Elizabeth six weeks ago to assist with sourcing equipment and facilitating the setup.


F.E.E.D has committed funds in excess of R1.5million to BEES School of Baking thus far, together with The South African Muslim Charitable Trust who donated an additional R750 000.00 to the school for building and equipment costs. A heartfelt thanks was given to SAMCT at the launch event, it was through their donation and with their confidence in this project, as well as the facility on Lilian Ngoyi Street, which was provided by F.E.E.D, that the BEES School of Baking became possible.


Individuals can get involved by:
1. Sponsoring a student for the four-week course (R6 500)
2. Sponsoring taxi fare for a student for the duration of the course (R 700.00)
3. Sponsoring ingredients or contribute towards monthly overheads
4. Sponsoring a starter kit so graduates can start baking from home immediately to earn and income (R2 200.00 for essential equipment, R 700.00 for ingredients)
5. Donating or sponsoring essential monthly ingredients, for a list of these contact the persons mentioned below.

For further information please contact:
Fathima Bux
Contact number 082 786 4466
Email: buxf@mweb.co.za
Or Dr Zaheda Adam
Contact number: 073 574 2457
Email: drzadam@icloud.com

Running for breakfast

Penny Appeal SA embarked on a fundraising challenge to raise money for The Breakfast Club, a Penny Appeal SA Project. The Breakfast Club focuses on providing nutritious breakfast meals to under resourced schools, or to children who are facing food insecurity at home. This has been an on-going project of Penny Appeal SA, which has ensured hundreds of children have nutritious breakfast meals.


The run took place on the morning of 13th of October 2019 in Durban. The starting point was at Blue Lagoon and snaked through the city for 10km’s until it reached the end point at Suncoast Entertainment World.
Whilst some individuals contributed to race participants fundraising efforts with crowdfunding, others accepted the challenge to join the FNB Run Durban 10km race. A group of 21 individuals ran for change with Penny Appeal SA in aid of the Breakfast Club.


Saeeda Khan stood out in the volunteer group (named Team Orange) as she raised a staggering R20 000 (the highest amount raised) towards The Breakfast Club due to her dedication to the drive.
Approximately R 77 000.00 was raised by the 19 participants. R100 gives a child a breakfast for a month, which means that more children can be fed and more schools who need it the most can be approached.


“The Breakfast Club is a project where we try and bring nutritious breakfasts to schools where the children do not have the means to have a healthy meal in the morning due to poverty. Penny Appeal SA is trying to help children receive the best possible education by providing breakfasts to keep them healthy, strong and focused each day,” says Shahnaaz Paruk, the Penny Appeal SA CEO.


If you would like to volunteer to collect donations to one of their projects, go to their website www.pennyappeal.org.za/teamorange and fill out the form or contact:
Penny Appeal South Africa
Contact number 031 110 0573
Email: info@pennyappeal.org.za

Toilets for South Africa’s Most Vulnerable

Pit toilets are still a reality in South Africa and many schools are still using this system due to a lack of resources. Use of these toilets has resulted in physical injury, illness and in a few cases, the deaths of learners.

According to statistics from the Department of Basic Education briefing on the 7th of November 2018, out of the country’s 23 334 active schools, 3 898 still had pit latrines as the only form of sanitation.

The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa partnered with the Gift of the Givers and launched a campaign to eradicate pit toilets from South African schools. The President of the country himself, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, called upon the private sector and other stakeholders to join forces with the government to eradicate this problem.

In term two, Qurtuba Islamic Academy embarked on a fund-raising initiative to assist their brothers and sisters in education. Their aim was to help make a difference by providing six cubicle toilets to a school in urgent need, by providing an environment where learners are educated with dignity.

Juluka Ndoda Primary School in the Kwadudela area of Howick, has for years been subjected to toilet facilities which were in an appalling state. Juluka Ndoda is a top performing school with more than 700 pupils attending from Grade R to Grade 7, but with toilet facilities that were no longer fit for use. The KwaZulu Natal Department of Public Works, which is responsible for the school’s buildings had conducted site visits and deemed the facilities unfit.

On the 12th of September 2019, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa together with Qurtuba Islamic Academy and Gift of the Givers handed over newly built toilet cubicles to the school. The pupils also received little gift packs of sweets and stationery, and were given important advice on hygiene and academic excellence.

Learners and teachers at Juluka Ndoda Primary School have expressed their gratitude for the 12 toilet cubicles that will now allow them to concentrate on the important work of learning.

Follow Qurtuba Islamic Academy to see the work they are doing:

Instagram – @qurtubaislamicacademy

Facebook – @qurtubaislamicacademy

Twitter – @QurtubaIA

 

How can you help?

By donating towards this life changing project.

For more information or to contribute:
Contact Ml Asad Pandor – apandor@jamiatsa.org

or

make a deposit into their account:

Name: Jamiatul Ulama South Africa Relief

Bank: Nedbank Fordsburg

Branch code: 198 765

Account Number: 1953 285 937

Reference: Your name/Toilets 4 schools

Lillah and Sadaqah applicable

A candle in the winds of destruction

For security guard, Aram Morapa, living in a shack when the cold arrives is cause for plenty of concern. Little did he realise that the cold weather on the morning of Wednesday 2nd October 2019 would play a role in the loss of all his possessions, and the tragic loss of his elderly neighbour.
Aram lived in a warehouse in Marlboro that housed approximately 102 people in an estimated 45 shacks.

Aram Morapa

At approximately 7.45pm Aram and his wife heard his neighbour’s cries of “fire, fire”. He exited his shack and saw his neighbour’s shack engulfed in flames. The residents tried throwing buckets of water to douse the fire, but it was too late. The fire had spread fast to the shacks attached and engulfed them too.
Aram’s wife, Nomsa, managed to get out while Aram tried to salvage a blanket from the shack to cover her and offer some form of protection from the cold. He was too late, the fire had ravaged his shack and all he could do was head for the exit.

Nomsa Morapa

“The flames were coming too fast, I left the blankets and ran,” Aram says. “I found the exit was full of fire. I saw the steps going up and I saw my neighbour running, so I followed him. We found an exit upstairs and I was the last person out. Everybody made it except an old man in his seventies.”


Everything was gone except what he was wearing and his cell phone in his pocket. Through the kindness of friends, family and anonymous donors Aram and his wife have some essentials to help them on their road to recovery.
City of Johannesburg Disaster Management Logistics Response and Relief were quick to respond and sought the help of various aid organisations such as Marlboro Women’s Forum, Al-Imdaad and Gift of the Givers, to donate food, blankets and other health items. Ashraful Aid and Linbro Islamic Trust additionally offered hot meals to the victims in the evenings.


It is alleged that the fire was started by a candle that got knocked over and ignited a blanket, and an investigation is currently under way.
“Be very careful. We have been using paraffin for two weeks because we haven’t had electricity,” Aram advises. “If you are using candles, do what you need to do then extinguish it. Never leave a candle unattended as an animal or child can knock it down, we have to think for them. If you are drunk, don’t light anything.”