Anadolu Agency / PRETORIA

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is currently carrying out works to decorate a historic mosque in South Africa with ornamental Turkish calligraphy.

The interior decoration of Noor el Hamidiye Mosque — built in Cape Town in 1884 — is underway after renovation efforts were completed in the 135-year-old mosque a few years ago, Mehmet Akif Şekerci, TIKA’s coordinator in South Africa, told Anadolu Agency.

“We hope to complete the decoration in two months,’’ he said in an interview in the capital Pretoria. 

Renovation of Soweto Mosque

This year, TIKA also renovated another historic mosque in the Soweto township of Johannesburg.

The Soweto Mosque was severely damaged in 2002 when suspected right-wing extremists bombed the Dlamini area which is close to the mosque.

“We are very grateful to the Turkish government, which refurbished our mosque, and the people of Soweto appreciate this very much,” said Luqmaan Mogapi, head of communications at the mosque.

Built in 1984, the mosque was the first in Soweto which was 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 the mosque in August 1986,” said Mogapi.

Winnie Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist and the second wife of Nelson Mandela.

He said many famous Muslims visited the mosque, including the late legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

Renovation of hospital in Lesotho

Operating in South Africa for two years, TIKA has carried out several development projects in the country and the southern region of the Africa continent at large.

Lebohang Matsoso, an administrative assistant at TIKA, told Anadolu Agency that the aid agency renovated and provided equipment at a maternity ward at Scott Hospital in Lesotho last year where the king of Lesotho was born.

TIKA also 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.

Established in 1992, Turkey‘s government-run aid agency is responsible for implementing the country’s developmental cooperation policies overseas.