KENVILLE , SEA COW LAKE, DURBAN
In 1910 a piece of land was bought in Kenville, Durban by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA. A Jamatkhana, Madressa and Cemetery came into operation. It was transferred in May 1911 to the Soofie Saheb Trust and was known as the Habibiyah Jamatkhana and Madressa. This institution was personally supervised by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA because of the close proximity to his headquarters in Riverside. It is interesting to note that he established mosques at all the Centres except at Kenville and 45th Cutting where he built jamatkhanas. This reveals his foresight powers because both these jamatkhanas had to make way for road widening more than 50 to 70 years later.
From 1911 to 1947, in the absence of the eldest son, Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ebrahim Soofie RA who was permanently resident in India, the institution was administered by his second son, Hazrath Shah Abdool Aziz Soofie RA, with the help of the Muslim community of the Kenville/Sea Cow Lake area.
Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie RA bought a piece of land adjoining the Trust land. He erected a residence for the Imam on this piece of ground. When he passed away, his eldest son, Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA (Bhaimia Soofie), who was the Trustee of the Trust at Riverside, administered the day to day affairs of the Trust with the local Muslim community.
In 1950, during his last visit to South Africa, Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ebrahim Soofie RA, the eldest son and successor to Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, appointed, upon his request, Imam Abdus-Samad Kazi RA ( who was married to Hazrath Khaja Bee, the youngest daughter of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA) as the Imam, much to the delight of the resident Muslims for having procured the services of a man of his calibre and personality. The Imam had three children - Goolam Moinudeen, Hajrah and Jameelah. The old jamatkhana was rebuilt with bricks, steel windows and new doors.
In 1963 the South African Railways expropriated a portion of the Trust land for road widening. The Jamatkhana and the Imam’s residence had to be demolished. Imam Abdus-Samad Kazi RA who was then 70 years of age, decided to retire and settle with his only son, Shah Goolam Moinudeen Kazi and his family in Central Durban. Shah Goolam Moinudeen Kazi was bestowed with Khilafat by Hazrath Shah Habib Sani RA.
Meanwhile at this time, there was a general exodus of Indians from the Riverside area because it was declared a white residential area under the Group Areas Act by the then white government. At the Darbar in Riverside only the Mazaar Shareef, the Musjid and the two cemeteries survived.
Thus Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA decided to act promptly by transferring the Soofie Centre from Riverside to Kenville where the land was lying vacant at the time. Plans were already under way for the building of a new musjid, madressa, orphanage and residential quarters which were completed in 1968 thus enabling the mission of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA to continue unabated. Hajee J.N. Mohamed of La Mercy greatly assisted in the planning and supervision during the construction of this Darbar, with strong and dedicated support from Hazrath Shah Goolam Hoosain Soofie RA, Hazrath Shah Goolam Hasan Soofie RA and Hazrath Shah Goolam Ahmed Soofie RA (the younger brothers of Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA) and from the disciples and sponsors.
The residents of the area, most of whom belonged to the lower-income group, performed a notable service by providing labour. They even encouraged their children (some in their early teens) to assist in the building operations. They, especially during school holidays, carried bricks, sand and stones from the road-side down to the building site. The nature of the terrain was such that building materials were delivered on the side of the road. The children even supplied bricks to the bricklayers on the site. It was an amazing sight to see young children perform their tasks voluntarily and cheerfully with such great zest and vigour without expecting any monetary rewards for their services. The families of the following Muslim brothers readily come to mind - Mohamed Akoonjee, Osman Haq, Ebrahim Fateh, Jenay, Goolam, Moulana Basheer, Gulloo, Ahmed (Sandwich), Cassim, Farouk, Ahmed Gulzar, Abdul Mitha, Hoosain Mia, Elyaas, Goodoo, Peer Ally, Nabie Sergosh, Busawan Mia (whose wife Baseerun had sponsored the building of the gateway Buland Darwaza - at the Riverside Darbar). May Almighty Allah shower His choicest blessings on them for their spontaneous efforts.
The Annual Meelad-ul-Nabie SAW celebrations which was initiated by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA since the inception of the Kenville Darbar was continued by one Deen Mohamed until the late 1930’s. Thereafter the Musalees took over.
The following served, among others as Imam and Ustaad - Imam Abdus-Samad Kazi, Kazee Saheb, Gesu Khan, Goolam Hoosain Moola and Goolam Mohamed Moola. The following served as Ustaad - Habibullah, Hoosain Miajee, Ajam Moola, Elyaas and Zaithoon (Naani). May Allah be pleased with them all.
When Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA passed away in 1978, his elder son, Hazrath Shah Mohamed Saeid Soofie was then elected as Trustee with his younger son, Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie as deputy.
In 1982 the Nursery Islamic School, which also served as a pre-school for the Muslim children of Kenville and the surrounding areas, was built. The renovation and extension to the Mosque and the building of a new Hall was completed in 1993. All these were achieved through the liberal and large-hearted efforts and contribution of the disciples, well-wishers, donors and the public at large.
The following served as Trustees:-
1910-1911 Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA
1911-1954 Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ebrahim Soofie RA
1911-1947 Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie RA
1947-1978 Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA
1978 to date Hazrath Shah Mohamed Saeid Soofie and Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie (deputy)
N.B. 1. From 1950 - 1963 Hazrath Shah Imam Abdus-Samad Kazi RA was in charge of the day to day affairs.
2. In 1966 the Jamat khana was replaced by the Mosque - the first Soofie Mosque to be built after the demise of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA in 1911.
3. It is interesting to note that the first and the last Centres established by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA at Riverside (1895) and Kenville (1910) have always been and still are under the control of the same Trustees and Sajjada Nasheens over the years.
4. Incidentally, besides the Riverside Darbaar, the Kenville Darbaar was the only other Darbaar in Durban to be established on the northern banks of the Umgeni River.