Who is Anwarali Dharamsi?

Born on 22nd March 1951 in Kilwa, Tanzania, Anwar Bhai hails from the well-known Dharamsi family of Masasi and Lindi, a coastal town located on the shores of the Indian Ocean in southeastern Tanzania, about 450 kilometres south of Dar es Salaam.

From a humble beginning, in 1975 he ventured into transport business with just one truck that he drove himself, delivering goods from one town to another for several years. Gradually the fleet grew from one truck to several and thus the Tanzania Road Haulage (1980) Ltd. came into being as a respectable logistics and storage business - ICD (Inland Container Depot) with modern infrastructure and offices, whose head office is located in the port area in Dar es Salaam with several branches in Congo, DRC and Zambia. 

Anwar Bhai took interest in the community and quietly devoted his time and energy in whatever social service he could render to the society.

Anwar Bhai gained wider recognition in the community when in 2001 he was appointed Co-Chairman of the Setwell Board of Africa Federation; the Board’s main activities were to assist the Somalia evacuees’ settlement and rehabilitation.

It will be recalled that in 1991, the community had mounted a daring seaborne evacuation exercise to evacuate over a thousand individuals from the war-torn Somalia – a seaborne exercise that was led by Hon. Sajjad Rashid, then President of Mombasa Jamaat. The problem facing the community was to ensure their rehabilitation and resettlements in different parts of the world. In his capacity as co-chairman of the Setwell Board, Anwar Bhai played a significant role in this rehabilitation and resettlement exercise in Tanzania where a large number of the evacuees were legally settled.

In 2004 he was elected as President of the Dar-es-Salaam Jamaat and served in this capacity for three consecutive terms until 2010. Dar-es-salaam Jamaat is the largest KSI Jamaat in Africa and in the Indian Ocean Islands with the current population estimated at around 9,500 heads. The Community in Dar-es-Salaam is today reaping the fruits of his leadership, foresight and magnanimous endeavours. During his tenure as President of Dar-es-Salaam Jamaat from 2004 to 2010, he took up the challenge and galvanised public support for the redeveloping and converting our religious centres and Musafarkhana into modern ones with all amenities set within the complex.

In his quest to turn more community members into house owners, he took up the initiative of putting up the Housing Projects at Maweni and Mataka in urban areas of Dar-es-Salaam with a new concept of “House to Own”. Today these buildings stand out tall as a testimony to his dedication, contribution and foresight.

Elected as Chairman of the Africa Federation in 2010, Anwar Bhai served for two consecutive terms until 2016.

A man of quiet disposition, a patient listener with a sympathetic understanding of any alternative thought process advocated by others, Anwar Bhai helped instil a new lease of life to Africa Federation. He will be remembered for his long vision and patient endeavors for solidifying the unity of the community, as he was able to resolve the membership issues with the Madagascar - Conseil Regional Des Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri – Jamates De L’Océan Indien in 2011 following which the Reunion Island - Union Des Associations Khodjas Shia Isnasheri de la Reunion also joined as members of the Africa Federation in 2013. 

Our community endured a mammoth mission in May 2015, when The World Federation (and the Regional Federations) came to the aide of our Yemeni Community Members by evacuating them and later re-settling them in different parts of the world. Once again, Sajjad Bhai Rashid and a group of dedicated volunteers from around the world made two daring rescues by sea and re-settlement all those who came successfully.

Amongst Anwar Bhai’s key objectives during his two terms in office was to make the Africa Federation, a religious organisation, become self-dependent financially to some greater extent. The Africa Federation under his able leadership, put up the first mammoth commercial project in the Community, named Umoja Complex in a prime location in Dar-es-Salaam - a move that will for years to come support various activities and help boost the role of Federation to ascend to newer heights for the common benefit of the Community. 

His main thrust in the last three years of his leadership in Africa Federation has been to reflect upon modern trends affecting the spiritual outlook of the younger generation and the need for uplifting and modernization of the standards of our religious institutions, in particular, the Madrassahs; in promoting programs for the development of Leadership Skills; for promotion of Higher Education and Affordable Housing programs in all Jamaats under the Federation. Besides, as a businessman, he has been at pains to draw attention to the growing trends of development and progress taking place in Africa and the need for the younger generation to play useful roles as citizens of the respective countries of their abode.

Anwar Bhai’s contributions worldwide include support to a number of capital projects worldwide (from N. America to the Indian Subcontinent and beyond). Anwar Bhai has played an integral role in supporting several activities undertaken by The World Federation. In particular, he has supported the Madrasah Center of Excellence from the very beginning and feels that this programme should be part of a wider programme on Islamic Education for our community. Anwar Bhai has been at pains to underline that we cannot live in isolation in any part of the world. We are all part of a greater fraternity scattered in different parts of the world and thus can ill afford to disconnect ourselves with the rest of the fraternity. To this end, he has been a silent supporter of several projects of our community in several parts of the world.  A man of humble disposition, polite and soft-spoken, Anwar Bhai stands out as a silent worker who patiently motivates others to work collectively for the common goal.