Pictured from right: Abang Faheem, Tanzeelur-Ragmaan, Aunty Aasieya, and Boeta Kassiem Jassiem. They proudly show us an original hand-written Quran, written by their forefather, Tuan Guru Imam Abdullah bin Qadi Abdussalam.
On Friday evening, 15th February 2013 we visited Tanzilur-Ragmaan Jassiem at his home. His parents Aasieya & Kassiem Jassiem were present, and offered us fizzy drinks and some nice homemade cookies. Tanzilur-Ragmaan comes from a good family, being a 6th generation descendent of Imam Abdullah bin Qadhi Abdussalaam (Tuan Guru) from his maternal side. Our purpose was to draw up a report about his experience at the annual AYLI (Azhar Youth Leadership Institute) 40 day camp, which he attended in December 2012.
Tanzeelur-Ragmaan also partiipated in Silat training arranged by Pukulan Melaka South Africa, and Azhar Seni Beladiri Silat schools.
Parents' General Overview
Q) Do you feel Tanzeelur-Ragmaan has benefitted from this program, and have you seen a positive or negative change in him since his return from Jakarta?
A) He is now more mature and organised, and seems to have a better insight into life. We noticed an improvement in his attitude and he seems to be more independent. We feel this program has done him much good, and we thank the organisers very much for this opportunity granted to our son, we are very grateful.
Q) How have you found the program, and what changes, if any, have you noticed within yourself?
A) I found it to be very informative and enlightening in many ways, and the leadership course has made me a more responsible person. I felt that I previously lacked ambition, self confidence, and generally didn't push for excellence. It has been an eye-opener for me and I feel more prepared for lifes challenges.
Q) Tell us more about your experience when you first arrived in Jakarta, seeing that it was your first time there.
A) Some of the things I had to deal with was adapting to the time and climate etc, which I feel made me a stronger person.
Q) Your best and worst experience?
A) My worst experience was getting sick with a stomach bug.
Best experience was a race we had similar to the Amazing race. We were told to take a bus in various teams and finding clues along the way, not knowing our final destination. My team ended up taking 4 different vehicles to reach the end. Although we came last, it was fun.
Q) Being a Cape Malay of Indonesian descent, was it a cultural shock for you or did you find much similarities in the Indonesian people compared to the Cape Malays?
A) There were some similarities, as people are generally friendly and they shake hands to greet one another after solah. I was told they also have a legacy of dhikr gatherings and moulud, although I never attended any due to following the leadership camp.
Q) How was the food?
A) It was pallatable, though bland. My favourite dishes are Nasi goreng, Bubur ayam, and roti Keju. Milk was expensive so i avoided it, and I didn't find any koeksisters.
Q) How was the program structured?
A) We would train Silat after fajr from about 5 or 6am until 8am. In this session we do physical training and exercises. We get an hour to rest and freshen up. In the evening we have another 2 hour silat session which is more focussed on techniques. Ka' Jojo was our coach, and he coached us on how to coach others and management principles in being a trainer.
The youth Leadership course took place between 8-11am, and again between 3-4pm.
Q) how many youth attended the youth camp? and were there females as well?
A) Yes, more females than males, and we were a group of about 22. Some attendees from Johannesburg, Indonesia, malaysia, and Palestine.
Q) On a mental and emotional level, did you find yourself wavering from your purpose there at times?
A) I missed home at times, but never became homesick. The environment and being surrounded by good people all the time left no space for wavering. We encourage and inspire each other. I would say I was mentally and emotionally stable throughout my stay in Indonesia. One thing which was more challenging was sleeping in tents on an open field, sometimes accompanied by rats. But this made us stronger.
Q) We heard that for the last few days of your stay, you were the last remaining participant at the camp. How did this affect you, and did you slow down or lack the drive needed to put your best forward?
A) The last few days, I trained the Jurus tunggal (a series of 99 silat moves combined with empty hand, staff and sword techniques). It was challenging, but I never lost focus. I did however feel sad because leaving indonesia was soon approaching.
Q) Staying at an Islamic institution, Al Azhar University, was there a spiritually focussed program as well?
A) Pak Sariat was a father figure to us, and guiding us along the way in every aspect. I also maintained a close relationship with Qori Ustadh Mukhtar, the Imam of the Azhar Masjid, however we did have a little bit of a communication barrier. He made me lead the congregational prayers for Jumuah, which was a first for me in my life. I was also asked to give a nasihah (advice) to the local musallees after solah, where I spoke about the importance of the Quran in our lives. I spoke in english and I had an Indonesian translator.
Q) Do you feel that this kind of program could be applicable in Cape Town? What would you add or change to a program like this designed for Capetonians or South Africans?
A) The original 40 days leadership program which was initiated in 2011, was reduced to an intensive 2 week program. The organisers felt that the participants were fatigued after 40 days, and the same outcomes could be achieved within a shorter span. So this could work better for Cape Town. Some elements of that program would have to be replaced to reflect a Cape Town theme and capetonian needs. The AYLI program was designed to introduce the indonesian language and culture to its foreign participants. We could definitely use the AYLI program as a model.
Q) In terms of your silat, how will you maintain what you have learnt in Indonesia?
A) Apart from attending regular silat training sessions in Goodwood, I also go over my jurus at home. School takes up most of my time now, but i do train where I find the time and space.
Q) What are your concluding remarks?
A) The leadership camp was geared towards developing our leadership roles and skills, and trained us how to be more responsible role models for other youth. Of the valuable lessons :
We thanked Tanzilur-Ragmaan and his parents for their time, and for participating in the program. We hope he will becoming a shining example for others to follow, and wish him the best for his future.
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