Nasser Solomon, deputy chairman, Hadji Abdullah Solomon Trust
Today we feel truly blessed, and, as a family, we are so grateful.
On Saturday November 23, we saw the culmination of 25 years of struggle and strife come to fruition with the opening ceremony of the Constantia Emporium.
For the Solomon family, this is a historic and proud moment that we will cherish for a long time (“Family Trust Opens Centre,” Bulletin November 21).
To the dignitaries, neighbours and friends who attended the event and shared our joy, we wish to sincerely appreciate and thank them.
Rabbi Kalman Green, of the Constantia Hebrew Congregation, for his kind and wise words of encouragement. We missed his presence, but we understand that it was his holy day of Shabbat.
Venerable Terry Lester, Archdeacon of Constantia, for his presence and blessing. We cherish the shared history we have with him in Strawberry Lane and South Peninsula High School.
Mayor Dan Plato for his presence and words of support.
Honourable Minister Patricia de Lille, for acknowledging our struggle. We could feel her deep connection with our family for having struggled for restitution since the forced removals.
Chief director Dr Wayne Alexander, for sharing the lighter side of having dealt with the family.
Ward councillor Liz Brunette, for her kind words of welcome and support.
Advocate Hishaam Mohamed, member of Parliament for the southern suburbs, for his presence and support.
Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA) chairperson Sheila Camerer and members of the CRRA, for being present. Despite our past disagreements, we are truly grateful that they shared our day of joy with us.
Jacques Pienaar and the team from Shoprite Pty Group, what can we say? We’ve walked a long road together since 2006, we consider them part of the family.
Jacques made a very interesting point during his speech, namely that he has never seen such a large family work so effectively in unison to achieve a shared goal.
Suffice it to say that the experience really galvanised us. We will always be grateful to Uncle Rashaad, the founder and chief executive officer of the Hadji Abdullah Solomon Trust and to Uncle Sharif, chairman of the Hadji Ismail Solomon Trust for their leadership.
Those who experienced working with Uncle Rashaad will know that not only is he technically astute on matters related to land affairs but also that he has huge determination and perseverance.
There are many talented family members past and present, young and old, who contributed their skills, and we remain thankful to our forefathers who were people of deep faith, who taught us to live our lives according to the values and principles derived from our faith.
Saturday November 23 2019 will remain etched on our memory as the day that, 50 years after being forcibly removed, we symbolically returned and transitioned from being claimants to being owners.
We are proud of our Constantia roots, and we will always love Constantia. To those who are still awaiting restitution, we urge you to continue with perseverance and determination for what is rightfully yours.
To our neighbours and friends who shared our joy, thank you so much, we are truly grateful.