Muhammad Bham |email@example.com |5 min read
The idea of a history of the Roshnee community was a vision held by a group of friends who had a common interest in local history, and co-incidentally, in photography as well.
The three, namely Yunus Chamda, Essop Gathoo and Haroun Pochee, made several false-starts to launch a community history project in the 90’s.
Since 2007, Yunus Chamda had been slowly and steadily working at selecting and preparing images for a community history.
When the SABC called in 2007 to feature the Roshnee community on Eastern Mosaic, they started by visiting Yunus Chamda and his history project which was by then very much still in an embryonic stage.
As Yunus worked through his personal collection of over 240,000 images, the idea of a Pictorial History in a coffee-table style book slowly started taking shape.
In 2013, the three friends, Chamda, Gathoo and Pochee started the Roshnee Photography Club. It was at the Photo Club that the idea re-emerged, this time in the form of a photo exhibition. This was in 2016, and with the available photos at the time, it was possible to hurriedly put up an exhibition of 100 select images. The photo exhibition would have been a rushed attempt to deliver something to mark the 50th anniversary of Roshnee.
Sadly, on the 28 July 2017, Essop Gathoo passed away leaving a huge void in the project. It became obvious that a 50-Year history was not going to be possible. More time was needed.
The Project was rebranded as a 55-Year History. After a few interviews with elderly residents, the idea of a fully-fledged narrative history was also shelved. It was a slow and time-consuming task. The project was already limping along far too slowly. Without the resources of a research team and with no funding, and alternative approach was needed.
In a conscious decision, author Yunus Chamda decided upon a pictorial history instead, and also decided to get moving.
The next 7 years of work on the book would be intense. His own personal collection of images was a huge available pool of content. Before his passing, Essop Gathoo had also provided a collection of valuable images. A pictorial history also brought with it some huge benefits. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, lots of pictures would require less words.
Listen to the full interview of Yunus Chamda and Haroon Pochee regarding Roshnee 55: