Birmingham Jamaat has honoured its eldest member with a special presentation.
Gulamali Pirbhai Kanani is aged 96 and received the award for more than three decades of service to the Khoja community in the city.
“We cherish, celebrate and recognise a well-respected and very much loved personality. The father figure of this community,” said Mohamed Bharwani, former President of KSIMC of Birmingham.
“For the last 34 years he has been a loyal member of the community and an ardent member of the Senior Citizens Group.”
Inspiration to many
Born in Lalpur, Gujarat, India on the 17th June 1923, Gulamali bhai migrated at the age of 20 to Mombasa, Kenya, enduring a five-week sea voyage by dhow. After brief stay in Mombasa, he migrated to Korogwe near Tanga. In 1945 he established a business with his brother and later married Fatmabai Amersi Sunderji Mawji Bawa in 1950. By 1962 he was one of the most successful rice traders in Tanga, where his honesty and transparency in business dealings earned him the respect of the business community.
In 1973 he moved to Peterborough in the UK and later followed his sons to Birmingham. From 1985 to 2015 he was an inspiration to the younger men of the community, passing on his personal knowledge and experience to those involved in the Ghusl Khafan Committee. His personal passion in life has always been genealogy and he has been able to compile family trees for five families in the community.
Gulamali bhai is the father of Mohamed Gulamali Kanani, Hasnain Gulamali Kanani and Zehra Muslim Manji and grandfather to five.
At a ceremony and Birmingham, Mr Bharwani said: “We salute this grand elderly gentleman.”
Poor health prevented Mr Kanani from being present himself but his grandson Mikaeel Mohamed Kanani received a framed certificate and a trophy on his behalf.
Mikaeel said: “My grandfather has always cherished this community very dearly. While he cannot be in attendance today, he will be deeply honoured and touched by this wonderful gesture.”