His Highness the Aga Khan's Historic Visit to the Island of Pemba in November 1957

On November 18, 1957, the citizens of Pemba, an island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago (see map below), honoured the 49th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, His Highness the Aga Khan, during his one day visit to the Island.

On that historic occasion, Sheikh Sir Said bin Ali al-Mugheri presented to him a casket, bearing the words:

“THESE HISTORICAL LANDMARKS  SHALL FOR EVER REMAIN AS FOUNTAINS OF SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR ENLIGHTENMENT.”

The island of Pemba, known as 'Al Jazeera Al Khadra' (the green island) in Arabic, is an island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago, lying east of Mainland Tanzania. It is situated about 50 kilometres to the north Zanzibar. In 1964 Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. Zanzibar lies 71 kilometres north-west of Dar-es-Salaam. Together with Mafia Island (south of Zanzibar), these three islands form the Spice Islands. Most of Pemba, which is hillier and more fertile than Zanzibar, is dominated by small scale farming. There is large scale farming of cash crops such as cloves — there are over 3 million clove trees. Text credit: Wikipedia

The Ismaili Imam aso performed the opening ceremony of Sir Said bin Ali Memorial School.

We are deeply indebted to Kamrudin A. Rashid, originally from Pemba and now living in Toronto, for making the following historical photographs from his personal collection available for publication on this Web site.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam on arrival at Pemba airport (now Karume Airport in Chake Chake). Left to right: Commissioner of Police, Mawlana Hazar Imam, the District Commissioner of Pemba and Late Alijah Sadrudin Dharas. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Upon arrival at the Pemba Airport at Chake Chake, Mawlana Hazar Imam is being sheltered from sun by an umbrella by the District Officer of Pemba. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam entering Wete Pemba Jamatkhana for Deedar to the Jamat. At the front is the then Mukhi Saheb of Wete Pemba Jamat, Alijah Amirali Bhimji Jiwa who is now resident in Toronto. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Welcome Address by a local leader. Seated left to right: District Commissioner of Pemba Island, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Sheikh Sir Said bin Ali al-Mugheri, Distict Officer of Pemba. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collecion, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam taken from a different angle, as he listens to another address that was delivered at the function. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam being presented with a casket by Sir Seyed bin Ali al-Mugheri on behalf of the residents of Pemba. Standing next to him is the President of the Hindu Community. The casket contained the words, "These historical landmarks shall for ever remain as fountains of spiritual and secular enlightenment." Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam in a group photo with the then leaders of the community. The group includes Sheikh Mohammed Shamte (second left with glasses and jacket) who became the first Prime Minister of independent Zanzibar in December 1963. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam walking through the park in Wete, Pemba. L to R: The District Commissioner of Pemba, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Sir Seyed Ali Bin Mugheiri and the District Officer of Pemba. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam having coffee with the District Commissioner of Pemba. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam at a tea party at Sheikh Hilal Bin Seif's Residence in Mkanjuni. L to R: Late Count Abdulla Hassam Gangji, tbe District Commissioner of Pemba, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Sheikh Hilal Bin Seif and a Muslim leader, Mohamed Ayoub. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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A second photo of Mawlana Hazar Imam at the tea party at Sheikh Hilal Bin Seif's residence in Mkanjuni. Seated at the far right corner is the Late Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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November 18, 1957: Mawlana Hazar Imam at a gathering with leaders of various communities in Wete, Pemba. Photo: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto. Copyright.

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Date article posted on Simerg: February 20, 2011

Photos Copyright: Kamrudin A. Rashid Collection, Toronto.

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23 thoughts on “His Highness the Aga Khan's Historic Visit to the Island of Pemba in November 1957

  1. Mr. Kamrudin Rashid

    Thank you very much for sharing these photos of 53 years ago.You are doing a magnificient service to jamat and the wider community for what the Ismaili Jamt stands for, harmony and peace. May Mowla shower you with lots of blessings for your kind services.
    Kamrudin Jetha
    (Masindi Port – Uganda)

  2. I have to say we can not deny the rich history of Zanzibar with many story from my parents how Ismaili and other races contributed to the economy in those days. The revolution realy tore down our lovely history and these pictures almost made me cry. Pemba was a very welcome place and I will say the mark of Ismaili community can not be wiped out.

    In my case, Kengeja was where my family was born, and I recall how we used to get ice cream and fresh bread everyday from the Karimjee family from the Bohra community.

  3. Dear Kamrudinji
    I humbly request you to view one of your photos from His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to Pemba Island in 1957 – the photo with the Hindu community president standing next to him on the presentation of the casket. I believe that the president might be my father who is no longer in this world, but I do know that he was the President of the Hindu Community of Pemba island for mnay years. I sincerely hope you can verify this for me.

  4. Thank you for your photo contribution. It was circulated to most of our family members here in the Sultanate of Oman as the Imam was invited at our Grand Father’s residence Sheikh Hilal bin Seif Al-Mauly. The group photo also include Sheikh Salim bin Ali Al-Mendhry (Mudir Wete), Sheikh Rashid bin Ali Al-khaifi, Sheikh Abdullah Rashid Al-Mendhry (the last District Comissioner of Pemba Island) as well as Sheikh Muhammed Shamte (Prime Minister) and Sheikh Ali Shariff. It shows how different communities were living together in harmony.

    Thank you.
    A.Halim Al-Mendhry, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

  5. Nice photo collection, the historical ones. Thanks indeed for sharing such an imperative information.
    Mirza Hassan
    Kabul, Afghanistan

  6. This and other articles are appreciated and I thank you for bringing them to my attention. I am learning a lot about the Ismailis and the family of His Highness the Aga Khan and they have become like a family to me.

    Sincerely Aliyam

  7. Thanks a lot to Mr. Rashid and Simerg for sharing the photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to the Island of Pemba.

    Ya Ali Madad to all
    Langar from Kabul Afghanistan

  8. Thank you Simerg, for disseminating the photos of Tashkorgan Jamatkhana in China as well as well as the Pemba memories. Good job.

  9. Excellent pictures. Really I must congratulate Mr. Rashid for this wonderfull collection of photographs.

  10. Ya Ali Madad

    Wonderful for being an Ismaili Historian. May Mawla bless you with love and prayers.

    Sherali Shivji

  11. Dear Kamrudin A. Rashid,

    Ya Ali Madad.

    My heartfelt sincere and warm thanks for the nostalgic, thought provoking pictures.
    Thanks a lot for sharing the photos. They are really memorable, and remind me of going down memory lane.

    Thanks a lot once again.

    Regards,

    Amyn Chatoor.

  12. Thank you and Mubarakbad for publishing wonderful memorable pictures of our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam from the collection of Mr. Kamrudin Rashid. May Mawla give all of you more courage and happiness.

    Ya Ali Madad
    Jusabali Lakhani

  13. It was a proud moment when our present Imam visited Pemba soon after becoming Imam and kept the promise of our Late Imam who had told Pemba Jamat that he would definitely visit Pemba. Kamrudin Abulrasul Rashid, who is my cousin Nuru’s son, has made me happy and proud that he preserved these photos and made available to Simerg for all of us to share in spite of the difficulties experienced by him at time he had to escape from Pemba after the revolution. Well done Kamrudin. May Mawla bless you for your services to the Jamat all your life, Ameen.

  14. These photographs are historical. I felt nostalgic as well as home sick. Thank you, Mr. Rashid, for sharing your photos on Simerg.
    Mansur

  15. Thank you ever so much for your efforts to post these historical photos with clear and precise information of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to the Island of Pemba.

    It was indeed a historical visit in the lives of the residents of the Island of Pemba and for our family this unique event and opportunity are and will be etched in our memories throughout our lives, as indeed it is the case for many others as well.

    Thank you once again, Simerg.com, for your efforts.

  16. Dear Kamrudin A. Rashid

    Ya Ali Madad

    I really like your photo collection. Thank you for sharing them with the readers of this Web site.

    Anwar Allahwala

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