South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also African Union chairperson, has sent best wishes to millions of African Muslims who are celebrating Ramadan starting on Friday.
“The crescent moon has risen over our continent (Africa), and the sacred month of Ramadan has begun. On behalf of the African Union, I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters well during this Holy month,” Ramaphosa said.
During the month, the Muslim community will fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in acts of devotion and charity, according to the Ramadan’s tradition.
Ramaphosa said Ramadan “is a time for reflecting on the values of humility, simplicity, sacrifice and solidarity.”
“Sadly, Ramadan this year will not be as it was last year. This is because we are in the shadow of a global public health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic has left no area of the world untouched – including our continent.”
He noted that many African countries have imposed measures to contain the spread of the virus, a development that has meant that “many of the Ramadan traditions, like praying at the mosque, making the Umrah pilgrimage and visiting family and friends, would not take place.”
Ramaphosa called on Africans to stand united and observe the provisions that are in place to safeguard everyone's health.
“At a time where millions face hunger, destitution and misery, the charitable acts performed during Ramadan are more needed than ever. As Africans, we will emerge from this hardship with a new consciousness.”