Turkey refurbishes historic South African mosque
“We were approached by leaders of the Soweto Mosque to assist in repairing its roof, but we decided to renovate the entire mosque,” Mehmet Akif Şekerci, TIKA's coordinator in South Africa, told Anadolu Agency.
In 2002, the Soweto Mosque, located in the Dlamini area, was severely damaged when suspected right-wing extremists bombed an area close to it.
The mosque, which was built in 1984, has been home to many anti-apartheid activists, including the late President Nelson Mandela.
“The late Winnie Mandela was our guest of honor at the opening of this mosque in August 1986,” said Mohapi.
He said many famous Muslims have visited the mosque, including the late legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
“I have interacted with some residents in the area, and they are very happy and appreciate the assistance from the Turkish government,” said Lebohang Matsoso, an administrative assistant at TIKA's Pretoria office.
Last year, the aid agency partnered with South African authorities to help refurbish orphanages, particularly those for children born with HIV/AIDS.
They also regularly distributed food aid during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Some of the projects it is tackling are in the fields of education, health, water and sanitation. Others include agricultural development, civil and economic infrastructure and restoration and tourism.