The award stems from the University’s stance of encouraging graduates, students, academics, and staff to engage with communities in order to bring about social change.
A former recipient of the award is Strand resident and alumnus Mr Ebrahim Rhoda, a well-known historian who has initiated numerous social-upliftment programmes in the Strand Muslim community over the past 59 years.
The new awardee, Adv Mohamed, is described as quiet and unassuming and is known for his philanthropy and selfless community activism. He participated in many of the workshops and activities of the Muslim Assembly, a social welfare organisation that serves the poor and destitute.
On completion of his degree, he pursued a career in law which saw him involved in cases spanning from the mundane to those involving multi-billion rand corporate deals.
Founder of Al Baraka Bank which was the first fully compliant Islamic Bank in South Africa and in the Western World, he has a deep passion for education and has been involved in the establishment of highly successful institutions of learning where he personally provided oversight and legal advice as part of his contribution and altruism.
He continues to serve in spaces where the development of leadership among young South Africans is a key competency, and to practice in his legal profession and serve the South African community.
The medal is awarded to individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to community upliftment through exceptional leadership, community involvement and related activities.
To be nominated for this prestigious UWC award, the nominee should reflect relevant meritorious or outstanding contributions to public life, or represent a significant benefit to society at large.
Professor Anesh Maniraj Singh, Director of Institutional Advancement at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), spoke on behalf of Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius.
He said, “The University of the Western Cape is an academic institution that has been at the forefront of South Africa's historic transformation, playing a leading and unique academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation.”
He said Advocate Mohamed is described by former Rector Prof Brian O'Connell as a global citizen with an illustrious legal record, who is highly respected in senior legal circles, is the founder of Al Baraka Bank and has a deep passion for education.
“Adv Mohamed did not forget the plight of the poor and as such has been an activist and advocate for the poor. His entrepreneurial flair led to the creation of new enterprises and new job opportunities, and his personal philanthropy has benefitted many.
“He served on the council of UWC during the late Prof Jakes Gerwel’s era. Once again, I quote Prof O'Connell: “Quiet and unassuming, Adv Mohamed continues to serve in spaces where the development of leadership amongst young South Africans is key.”