Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Concerning Souks (1)

New Years Midnight Medley - all the artists on stage performing tala al badru alaina and salaatullah. From left - Nazjam, The Legend Seraj, Mj's Ass, Australian Nasheeed machine, Shaam, waahid, my brother A.K (the sound engineer) , arif subrathie and Kaleel Muhammed with his sweet ass drum

This is the first in a few Souk Posts - I am currently writing up a proposal for the organisers regarding this years souk - Its no use sitting on my ass and criticising without doing anything about it. Please feel free to contribute as well - I will include suggestions in my proposal. The past souk was awesome, sad, amazing, sad.

Cut it down to five days – twelve days might seem like a great deal for stallholders, but it isn't – its tiring, long and what happens is that by the time they get to the busy days (the last weekend) their productivity levels drop and they cant maximise sales. Besides – two weeks! The biggest conventions in the world aren't more than a week – I mean, the E3 convention is a mere 3 days. Kyoto isn't this long! OkMJ says – cut it down to five days – Set up on Thursday – kick of Friday after Jummah – go through to the following Tuesday (Many people come the first time to browse and a second time to purchase)

By cutting down the number of days you are using the Exhibition Centre, the hiring fee will come down as well – I think that the stallholders fees are too high and that the only reason most are putting up with it is that they have no alternative – I spoke to many of the stallholders – its hard to come out when you have such high overheads. Rather get more sponsors to cover it. And if money is tight, don’t get groups like Shaam or any other group that charges close to the GDP of Sudan. Will come to back to Entertainment in a bit

OK – Lets talk about the back of the hall – first off – scrap the crappy Bridal Exhibition thing – If people want that, the Nedbank Bridal Exhibition offers a much better alternative – Bridal and D├ęcor companies can take standard exhibitor stands anyway. Now that we have some space – Put trestles up – I’m talking about a hundred at least – cheap rates for small businesses – the Lady selling murkhoo from home, the dressmakers, the girl who makes beautiful beaded key rings etc. The problem with the souk is that it has become too commercial, and it has lost any sense of family or community. We need to use the souk to promote and uplift the little guy –sure, keep your BMW Supertech, but don’t forget that you are a grassroots community organisation first, and an Events Coordination group second.


People bitch about the No Pass-outs policy – I have no problem with it – The House and Garden show has a No Pass-out policy and we don’t argue with them because its not a Muslim run event. This goes back to our attitude regarding Muslims and non Muslims – but that’s a posy on its own - Besides – the entrance is 10 rands a person, not thirty like the House and Garden show. Most people do not abuse the pass-out system, but Ive worked at the gates, and I’ve seen it happen before where people give their pass-out to someone else to come in.

Now we need to justify the ten rand entrance – I think it’s a fair price to charge, but if they are going to charge ten rand, they need to provide decent consistent entertainment


We have so many local acts out there – They need to start pushing them – give them a decent amount, as well as the opportunity to sell their C.D’s – Shaam rocked, and I am glad I had the pleasure of working with them but I honestly think they were wasted due to poor crowd turn out – in fact ray maharaj of Bala and Peru and my musical chairs (nasheed Chairs) drew the biggest crowds – People love nasheed and naath but they love comedy more- Riaad Moosa is expensive, But I think he will be a great draw card – also, the crowd loved Afzal Khan (Joes dad) but he only had one performance. Qari Ziyaad, Qari Mohammed ally, Zain Bhikha – we have so many talented local acts that we can use. Iman from cape Town rocked, and I developed a really close friendshp with the five guys – The should definitely be called back. Zaid Boyd (The Australian Nasheed Machine)Waahid, Kaleel Muhammed And Qari Yaeesh were also top notch but it was just too little – too few performers being stretched across two stages. This year – make the outdoor stage entertainment only – keep the indoor stage for kiddies jalsas, women's cooking shows, game show, activities and stallholders promotions ( I believe strongly that we need to push stallholders promotions as much as we can, that’s why I used to walk around with a mike about three times a day, interviewing stallholders and promoting their specials – everyone should benefit from the souk, and without stallholder support, the souk is nothing.

Have you noticed that all the NGO’s and ‘Lillah Fitrah Zakaat’ community organisations were shoved to the back of the hall – that’s not cool – no one cares about going there. Once you hit half way, you’re tired of walking anyway – Rather intersperse them with the exhibitors. Again – this is another sign that the souk has become too commercial at the expense of community.

I think the fun fair was a great idea and I hope they bring it back this year

I feel that the organisers are pandering only to one school of thought, and because of this, barelwis (‘sunnis’) feel marginalised. Otherwise there would be Qawali on one night or something. Sadly, this comes back to commercial pressure influencing decisions.

The biggest problem with the souk- this isn't the house and garden show. Its a grass roots community organisation and not a corporate body of some type. I've been to many conventions, International and local. I don't know why they want to position the souk this way. The crowds were much much smaller this year. Surely this is a sign that they are approaching it the wrong way. I mean huge banners and street pole signs all across the periphery of the exhibition centre! Do you know what a waste of money that was. Ninety percent of the people coming for the souk had the intention of going there from home. No one was driving on walnut road, saw the street sign and thought 'hey, souk. Hmmm. Whats that? Let me see'
MJ

If all you want to comment on is whether music is haram or not, i urge you to read Sheik Qardawi's Fatwa on music and throwing the word haram around. Also, try to avoid pushing your viewpoint on this topic. I respect all three viewpoints. I will do a blog on music and the various rulings soon - but bear in mind - three ulema from the same daarool uloom do not make up a consensus.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

music is haram
there is a difference in FATWA and HUKUM
fatwa is what we choose and hukum is Allahs command
Prophet Muhammed SAW said : MUSIC SOWS THE SEEDS OF HYPOCRISY ... (towards your religion, heart and life)

and he never lied!
AMEEN

The Organ Harvester said...

commercial events are driven to find the quickest route to success. events like the souk, are not exempt, but in their rush for success they tend to marginalise the very people who help build them. i think it's important to define goals and ambitions clearly so vendors, participating and importantly patrons know what they're supporting.

The Organ Harvester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waseem said...

First off, and i know anyone who attended this years souk would agree, you made the souk awesome. Your New Year medley thing rocked. Even though not many people clapped (cos perhaps its 'haram' to enjoy yourself), we clapped.

My main issue with the souk is, its billed as an Islamic fair, but is more of a shopping fair. There should be more promotion of Islam, and inviting people out of the fold of Islam to visit, and see what the real Islam is about.

Also agree with most of your points, especially the funds. In fact I'll go one better and say perhaps the funds should be bought to the forefront, perhaps like the auction thing you had, some of the sponsors and stalls can get together and help out the more deserving funds.

Only point I slightly disagree on is the posters you said which is a waste but this ties in with my point of promoting Islam, so I would accept the vigorous promotion campaign but not in Overport where they already know about it, but in the places they probably wouldnt hear about it, and it should be promoted in a less aggressive manner.

Also why are there so few mens islamic wear places? I found a small section in the Al Ameens stall, I saw one place with hats but not much else.

All in all though, this was a better souk than last year.

@ Anon- Remember Allah knows best

shafs said...

i wont claim to be an expert on the knowledge base of futawa, but regards music and such things, i can say this much:
there will be many ocassions in life where our choices might be brought to question. self-reflect a moment and holding a mirror to the self, ask first if ones intentions are pure. i think it all starts with intent. and clear conscience approach. and non-judgement. (especially when this post does not directly argue a case for the halaal/haraam status of music)..

time to quit preaching and mud-slinging from within our midst and engage positive and constructive debates such as these in making for better forums in our community. i vistied the al-ansaar souk for the first time ever, and in my opinion is a great community effort.. so any suggestions to sharpen its reach is well worth it. all the best, mj.

Anonymous said...

NO NAME BRAND

I JUST LOVE YOUR SITE MJ...
YOU TOO GOOD...
ANYWAY I ALSO WANT TO ADD TO YOUR SOUK STORY...

DIRECTORS COULD BRING OVERSEAS PEOPLE TO THE SOUK AN PAY THEY AIRFAIR AN FOOD,AN ECT...
BUT COULD NOT GIVE THEY STAFF FOOD...
HEY NOT THAT THEY WERE DESPRATE FOR THE FOOD,BUT IF YOUR STAFF WORKS SO LONG HOURS YOU SUPPOSE TO PAY FOR THEY MEALS..
AND AS FOR THE WAGES ITS PATHETIC...
FOR SUCH LONG HOURS ALL STAFF MONEY WENT IN THEY MEALS THAT THEY HAD TO PURCHASE AT THE SOUK...
AND ITS NOT CHEAP...

THANK YOU AND KEEP WELL

AND KEEP UP THE GOOD IDEAS

UNTIL I THINK OF MORE STORIES I WILL TYPE OUT NOW...
SALMS TO ALL