When are you at your happiest?
I’m at my happiest when I feel like I am doing the best for my children, and when I feel that I’m taking care of myself, my wellbeing and my mental health. And when I feel that I am honouring my relationship with Allah the most.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about humanity, extending myself in any way that I can to make even the slightest bit of difference. I really believe that empowering others is the way forward with life. And that my purpose in life is part of that.
What’s a significant achievement of yours?
Having children is the most significant achievement. When I look at my adult child and I see what sort of a person he’s turned into, and the gift I have given society, it’s amazing.
Who is your role model?
My greatest role model, because humanity and being a good humanitarian is such a focal point for me. My greatest role model would be Mandela. I was so blessed to have lived through his presidency of South Africa and change of government. He has impacted on me in an enormous way.
But my second role model, most significant, would be my father. I view Islam through my father’s lens. And I love him for the way he’s taught me Islam.
Can you share one of your favorite memories of your father?
My favorite memory of my dad is lying in bed with him as a very young child, under the covers whilst he tells me stories and feeds me my bottle of milk. He always spoke to me in such a loving way and made me feel blessed and special as a very young child.
How did you feel when Mandela was first elected? What is your memory of that time?
Living in South Africa under the leadership of Mandela is one of the life changing events for me. It has taught me that commitment and dedication to a cause can see Change happen. It has taught me that I have internal strength to make a difference in the world. That sometimes people need you to be strong and then they will follow suit. That collectively we are powerful and individually we can be a catalyst for change. That love, peace, forgiveness and a caring heart can overcome any evil. That age is never a barrier to achievement, leadership or turning your life into something significant and powerfully positive for yourself and others whom you inspire along the way.
I’m very excited about my upcoming biography/self help resource book to be published in the near future titled The Journey To My Self. It shares aspects of empowerment through amazing people God has put in my path including my dad, paternal grandfather and Mandela.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I lack confidence. That actually I am a reserved person inside. And whatever I show on the external is completely different to how I see myself inside.
Are you content with how you see yourself, or are you developing into the person other people see?
I am developing into a person whom I like and I believe that God likes. That is all that matters to me.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Going through a second divorce. But it’s also made me the happiest.
What’s something that has changed your life?
My relationship with my grandparents was extremely close. They died when I was seven years old, I was in the car with them and I was the only survivor. At that very young age, that changed my life forever.
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
Take each day as it comes. Don’t focus on the future and planning. Just live the best you can in the moment, one week at a time, and make yourself happy.
What role do your beliefs play in your life?
My beliefs keep me alive. I believe that if it wasn’t for my faith that I would have given up a long time ago.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I believe that we all have the power to create change, to make a difference in this world. One person can influence a group of people and the domino effect is tremendous. So it’s important that we don’t assume a ‘victim mentality’ in life, and in particular when dealing with religion. Because we have the capacity to create greater understanding and rectify misconceptions. With a positive mindset and proactive attitude so much can be done. Just like this empowering project, Faces of Islam.