Memories of Kenya: Vintage Photos of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah and Mawlana Hazar Imam

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to publish photos from some of the visits to Kenya made by the 48th Ismaili Imam, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan, and the current 49th Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan during the period 1940’s – 1960’s. These historical photos are from the personal collection of Nashir and Shaida Kassam of Ottawa, Canada. Nashir’s late father, Mr. Nurmohamed Kassam of Kendu Bay, Kenya, was an active member and leader in the Ismaili community, and appears in many of the photos. 

We apologize for the incomplete photo captions, and invite our readers fill in the gaps by providing the exact years of the visits made by the late and current Imams as well as the names of dozens of individuals who have been left out in our photo captions. 

Simerg.com is indebted to Nashir Kassam and family for these photos. We invite readers from around the world to submit digitized versions of vintage photographs from their own collections so that the broad spectrum of activities, events, meetings and celebrations that took place during the Imams’ visits present a vivid and unique view of our past. Placing images on-line clearly expands the viewing potential and is a meaningful opportunity for the community and its members to easily unlock the sharing potential of the photos that are being held in a traditional album or scrapbook.

(Please click photos for enlargements and supply us with the exact year of the photos and names of individuals you recognize)

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Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, Mata Salamat and Prince Sadruddin in a group photo with Ismaili volunteers in Kenya. Mr. Nurmohamed Kassam of Kendu Bay, Kenya, is seated in front row, sixth from left. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the mid 1940's. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam entering Eastleigh Jamatkhana, Nairobi, with Mukhi Valimohamed (right) and Kamadia Kassam. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the late 1950's or very early 1960's. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam is seen departing Eastleigh Jamatkhana, Nairobi, with Kamadia Nurmohamed Kassam beside him. Seen following them at the left is the late Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the late 1950's or early 1960's. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam with a group of Kenyan Ismaili ladies. Kamadiani Fatma Kassam (back row, centre, behind Mawlana Hazar Imam), Mukhiani Valimohamed, and Dr. Jinnah (standing third from right) are among the recognizable individuals in the photo. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the late 1950's or early 1960's. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam in a group photo with Ismaili office bearers in Kenya. Standing second from right is Eastleigh Jamatkhana's Mukhi Valimohamed, and immediately behind Mawlana Hazar Imam is Kamadia Nurmohamed Kassam. Another recognizable individual is Dr. Jinnah, seated in front row, second from right. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam at tea function in Kenya in the late 1950's or early 1960's. Standing at left is Ramzan Kassam, with his brother Nurmohamed next to him. Photo: Nashir Kassm Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam arriving at Eastleigh Jamatkhana during one of his visits to Kenya. The photo may be from the late 1950's or early 1960's. Mukhi Valimohamed and Kamadia Kassam are next to him. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam enters the compound of Easteligh Jamatkhana accompanied by Mukhi Valimohamed and Kamadia Nurmohamed Kassam. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the late 1950's or early 1960's, but later than the Eastleigh photo shown near the top of this page. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam engaged in a conversation at a function held during the late 1950's or early 1960's. Standing behind him in a light suit is Ramzan Kassam and next to him on the right his brother, Nurmohamed Kassam. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam being respectfully greeted by Ramzanali Kassam at a public function held in Nairobi, Kenya. The exact date of this photo is not known but it appears to be from the late 1950's or very early 1960's. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Happy and excited students look on as their teacher greets His Highness the Aga Khan during his visit to the Aga Khan Primary School, Parklands, Nairobi, in 1966. Nashir Kassam was a student at the school and is seen in the front row, at right, looking at His Highness the Aga Khan with a wide smile. Other students are invited to identify themselves and their teacher shown in the photo, and send the information to Simerg. The caption will be updated as and when the revisions are received. Photo: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.

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Date article posted on Simerg: February 22, 2011
Photos: Nashir Kassam Family Collection. Copyright.
Caption updates should be sent to simerg@aol.com.

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17 thoughts on “Memories of Kenya: Vintage Photos of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah and Mawlana Hazar Imam

  1. My mother, Jean Kirk was principal of the Aga Khan primary in Nairobi in during the Aga Khan’s 1963 visit. She died only a couple of weeks ago and I have been looking through her photos and there are two or three of her with the Aga Khan, one sitting next to him

  2. Ya Ali Madad

    Excellent blog and very memorable pictures. My name is Ashif Amirali Madha. Grandson of Walji Madha (Charania) who was settled in Kendu Bay. For whatever reason, my family does not have any picture of my Grandfather. The family left Kendu in the late 40’s / early 50’s

    I have been searching for my roots and this pursuit led me to this blog. Saw some pictures from Kendu Bay and thought it prudent to pause this question here. Did anyone know him? His nickname was ‘King of Kendu’. He used to sport a top hat, overcoat and a walking stick, very colonial in his appearance. In the first picture on this blog, could someone please assist in identifying him or anything about him? I did pay a visit to Kendu Bay. Did not lay my hands on anything tangible. I know this is a long shot but I don’t have many shots to call. If anyone can assist with any information, however insignificant, will be thoroughly appreciated

    Regards
    Ashif Madha (madha@africa-web.net | +254-722-501836)

  3. jambo sana! Very many thanks for posting the beautiful photos from Kenya….I as only a child at that time…but I o remember having many Imaili friends…its really great to hear that the Aga Khan is helping not only the ismaili community, but also people of other faiths as well….I well remember many Sikh leaders talking with their Ismaili counterparts in nairobi….carry on the good work…

  4. The pupils I recognise are:

    1. Nasim Hasham (on the teacher’s right), the girl in the tie and short hair.
    2. Shaffana Thobani – in glasses (just behind the teacher) next to Nasim.
    3. The girl behind the teacher (on her left) is Nasim Walji
    4. Next to her on her left is Nashir Kassam.

    I think the girl behind Nasim Hasham might be Nashirbanu Amlani – not too sure.

  5. Re: Last photo, school visit by Mawlana Hazar Imam.

    I had attended the Aga Khan Primary School (AKPS) in Nairobi in the 1960′s and can still vividly remember the day, this historic 1966 visit took place – the photo is of a Std 6 class of that year and the teacher is Ms Khatoon Mawani (nee Ahmed) – I believe sister to Zaher Ahmed who was the Chairman of IPS. I was in the Std 5H class of that year. In 2002, I had organised a reunion for my 1968 Std 7 class of AKPS Nairobi, here in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and I had located Ms Mawani in Vancouver. I was able to find many pictures relating to this historic visit at this school. I recall that Nashir and Shaida Kassam of Ottawa had also attended the reunion. I take this opportunity to convey them my thanks for posting this and other pictures.

    Zahir Dharsee

  6. My dad passed away when I was 3 years old and Imagine my surprise when I scrolled down the pictures and saw my father with Hazar Imam! My dad was Fatehali Ramji Kassam…for those readers that knew of him..9th picture down…tall gentleman in the back. Thank you so much for this!!

  7. Thanks a lot to all my spiritual brothers and sisters for posting and sharing these historical photos of our beloved Mawlana Shah Karim Al Hussainy Hazir Imam of his visits to Nairobi. I look forward to seeing photos from other parts of thre world.

    Ya Ali Madad
    Brother Langar from Kabul, Afghanistan

  8. Thanks for these Nairobi pictures. Dr. Jinnah appears in several. She was the daughter of Count Gulam Keshavjee of South Africa. She graduated as a doctor from the University of Witwatersrand, my alma mater. The first Ismaili female in the community. Several of her cousins and nephews and nieces are doctors who practice in Toronto, all Dr Keshavjees.
    Best wishes
    Zul Khoja

  9. Excellent photographs of Hazar Imam provided by Nashir and Shaida. These photographs take me back to Nairobi and especially to the Eastleigh Jamat Khana to which I am emotionally attached. These are the only photographs that I have seen of the Jamat Khana. Congratulations on posting these and making your site so interesting!

  10. Excellent memories of our past leadership. Let us all appreciate their services and live by the expectation of our beloved Hazar Imam. Simerg, please keep up the good work.

  11. I am not an Ismaili but must admit this great man has done so much for (not only) his own community but for others as well that all of us as human beings must celebrate him.

    God Bless him and his peaceful people.

  12. Wonderful pictures which make us all really feel happy. The photos of Imam Sultan Mohamed Shah and Mawlana Hazar Imam have touched my heart.

  13. Ya Ali Madad.

    Fantastic, memorable pictures of Hazar Imam in Kenya. They are very thought provoking and a delight to see.

    Regards
    Amyn Chatoor.

  14. It’s nice to see such photos of the Aga Khan in Kenya. I had the chance to see him in Tajikistan (in Khorog) in 2003. He is so gentle and active for cultural and educational activities about Islam.

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