Yusuf Abramjee on #Hajj2016 A Journey – SABC Interview

Social Activist and journalist, Yusuf Abramjee has just published his book – #Hajj2016, A Journey. It’s a photographic coffee table book of his pilgrimage to Mecca, his Hajj to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yusuf, just before we look at your journey, we interviewed you a week ago, just before your book was launched, about the extraordinary increase of the cost of visa’s for pilgrims who want to go to Saudi Arabia.

Source: http://www.sabc.co.za/news


hajj2016-a-journey hajj2016-a-journey-openMEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday 24 October 2016


#AbramjeeOnHajj coffee table book launches

Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, says the publication of a coffee table book on Hajj by a South African, “captures the heart and soul” of the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

Hanekom was speaking at the launch of the photo journal #AbramjeeOnHajj.

Social activist, Yusuf Abramjee, who undertook his first Hajj this year, released the high-gloss A3 landscape coffee table book in Johannesburg. It has over 400 photographs, all taken with his iPhone 6 Plus, of #Hajj2016 which took place last month.

Hanekom said: “Tourism, including Hajj is about discovering new things, making a difference and meeting people.”

The Minister said “every Muslim I know, even those who are not religious, dream of going on Hajj. It is a life-changing experience.

“We thank Yusuf for sharing his experience. You captured the heart, soul and meaning of the Hajj. I studied the over 400 photos and they tell a rich story,” said Hanekom.

He praised SA pilgrims who fed thousands of people during the this years Hajj. Abramjee led the feeding scheme.

“Tourism between South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is growing steadily. It is not only good for our economy, but it contributes to tolerance, peace and friendship.”

Addressing almost 500 guests, Abramjee said he decided to share his journey to “inspire, motivate and educate people of all religions.

“Hajj unites us. The book is also about promoting social cohesion and it promotes religious tolerance,” he added.

“Muslims are often labeled as terrorists and we are wrongly associated with groups such as Al Qaeda and Boko Haram. We need to change this. Islam is a peace-loving religion…Hajj, which attracts millions of people, shows that,” Abramjee added.

Abramjee said Hajj “is indeed a journey of a lifetime. It is more than a physical journey. It was a journey of the inner soul towards self-purification and the awareness of the presence of God Almighty.”

The book sells at R750 and proceeds will go to two charities- Awqaf SA and Crescent Lifestyle for “Hajj Waqf”. The funds will be used to sponsor destitute pilgrims to travel next year.

Abramjee said he and Vision Branding publisher Yaseen Theba would be donating books to libraries and NGO’s. Over R275 000 was raised at the launch to sponsor books.

South Africa’s acting Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Abbas Khan, said “the coffee table book tells a unique story and the photos are outstanding.”

In the foreword, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to South Africa, Abdullah Mohammed Almadhi, said #AbramjeeOnHajj “presents a text that is accessible, and illuminating, with an astounding visual richness, subtlety, and inspiring depth. “May the book inspire other pilgrims to perform the Hajj,” he added.

Former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, said #AbramjeeOnHajj “opens a window into an inspiring and insightful spiritual journey that is enlightening about the essence of true Islam. The photo journal is also an intriguing visual feast.”

Activist and former Robben Island prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada, said Abramjee’s book “will not only evoke memories of spirituality, but will show why ‘unity in diversity’ – wording that reflects on our own Coat of Arms.”

World renowned Islamic scholar, Mufti Ismail Menk, said: “From moment Yusuf Abramjee embarked on the #Hajj2016 journey, there was a lot of excitement. He promised to keep the world update with regards to the blessed journey. As the days passed we saw how his journey quickly became filled with great compassion towards others especially the under-privileged.”

The coffee table book has also been endorsed by, amongst others, Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, Secretary General of the Jamiatul-Ulama SA (Council of Muslim Theologians, Moulana Ebrahim Bham, Monique Strydom – SA hostage survivor and founder of Matla A Bana, Janine Hills founder and CEO of Vuwani Reputation Management and Brand SA director as well as businessman and former cabinet minister Tokyo Sexwale.

The book has photos of the Grand Mosques in Madinah and Makkah, historical Islamic sights and the five days of Hajj- the “tent city” in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. The Jamarat, where the symbolic pelting of the Satan takes place, is also highlighted.

Some 1,8 millions went on Hajj this year- the lowest figure in many years.

#Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOn Hajj
can be ordered on-line: www.abramjee.com


Media can request images and digital book
VIDEO: (Launch Event – Houghton Golf Club)

Order Link:


*Yusuf Abramjee cell 082 4414 203
*Yaseen Theba (publisher) 064 4 000 000



Sunday 16 October 2016


Hundreds of Muslims met in Crosby, Johannesburg today to voice their opposition at the introduction of excessive visa fees for Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage).

The Saudi Arabia Government recently announced the introduction of visa fees of SR 2000, or some R10 000.

This has caused worldwide anger.

Speaking at the public meeting, Social Activist and co-chair of the newly formed Anti Visa Fee Committee SA, Yusuf Abramjee, said: “We are all opposed to the visa fee hike. It is exorbitant. Today we are joining the international outcry against the high visa fees for Hajj and Umrah.

“Hajj and Umrah is a religious obligation and should be performed by any Muslim who can afford it. This new visa fee will be an added burden on pilgrims,” said Moulana Moosa Akoodie, co-vice Chairperson of the new body.

Various representatives from SAHUC, SA Muslim Travel Association, religious bodies and NGO’s were co-opted to the new committee. Others have been invited to join in.

Moulana Ebrahim Bham, Secretary-General of the Jamiatul Ulama SA, (Council of Muslim Theologians) who co chaired the meeting with Abramjee, said: “We are standing united on this issue. These visa fees must be scrapped and we will engage the Saudi Embassy embassy in Pretoria and SA Government to also get clarity.”

Umrah season is expected to open within days.

The SA Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) also expressed its opposition to the visa fee hike and said it had already written letters to the Saudi Embassy and DIRCO to oppose it.

Fazila Malek from the SA Muslim Travel Association was was elected co-vice chairperson with Moulana Akoodee, said “the R10 000 visa fee will make it difficult for many to travel to the holy land. We want it scrapped.”

Abramjee said the meeting unanimously resolved to engage the Saudi and SA government urgently. “We are also circulating petitions and thousands of people have already signed it. We are going to continue mobilizing.”

The meeting adopted this declaration:

We, the Muslims of South Africa and after consultation with the Muslims present today, Sunday, 16th October 2016 at JISA Centre, under the auspices of the ANTI VISA FEE COMMITTEE (SA)


1. We oppose the Hajj and Umrah visa Fees;
2. We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately scrap the fees for Hajj and Umrah;
3. We call on the South African Government via DIRCO and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to take up this call on behalf of the Muslim Community;
4. We call on the South African Government via DIRCO and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present our call to scrap the proposed visa fees for Hajj and Umrah;
5. We call on all the Muslims of South Africa to sign the petition to scrap the proposed visa fees for Hajj and Umrah;
6. We do not support the call to boycott Umrah and Hajj as it is our right and religious obligation to perform Hajj and Umrah;
7. We join the International Community in this call to scrap the proposed Hajj and Umrah fees;
8. We will work towards regulating the agent’s admin fees that are being charged for obtaining of visas;
9. We will look into the issue of Health Insurance that is being circulated currently in social media;
10. We will have effective engagement with the authorities to re-look at the visa fees and discuss the reasonableness of such fees;
11. We will call on the South African Government to engage in bilateral agreements specifically for Hajj and Umrah on behalf of the Muslims of South Africa;
12. We will join the International forum to further the call for the scrapping of the visas for Hajj and Umrah;
13. We will use any other effective ways in going forward to challenge the visa fees for Hajj and Umrah.



*Yusuf Abramjee cell 082 4414 203

*Moulana Ebrahim Bham cell 083 786 2859

*Moulana Moosa Akoodie cell 084 668 8199

*Fazila Malek cell 082 554 2292

*Yaseen Theba (Communications) 064 4 000 000