Jeraj Shariff

From Khoja Wiki

Waras Jeraj Shariff
Honorary Titles
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Place of longest stay
Profession or occupation carriedout for the longest period in life
  • Merchant
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Born in Jamnagar

Jeraj Shariff and Sakar Khanu with their two children Nurjahan(5 yrs) and Nurmohamed (3 yrs) left Jamnagar British Indiain 1921.

Nurjahan did not survive the journey and passed away at sea. They landed in Pemba – looked for opportunities in Zanzibar, Lindi, Dar-es-salam but ultimately settled in Tanga. Altogether they had 11 children – Nurjahan, Nurmohamed, Kamrudin, Rasool, Shirin, Sadrudin, Gulshan, Shamshudin, Nurdin, Ashak & Alaudin.

Grandfather (Jeraj) started a business in Ushanga (custom jewellery).

Dad (Nurmohamed) was 15 years old when grandfather had a heart attack – was ordered by doctors to quit work due to a weak heart – thus the business closed down.

Dad (the eldest son) had to quit school and started a small dooka selling ushanga (custom jewellery) in Pangani which was miles out of Tanga – he would ride on his bicycle each week to get there. He would stay there for the week and come back on the weekend. The family survived on this business by working together i.e. the ushanga was hand made by my dadima (Sakar Kahnu) and other ladies in the house, which also included my mum (Roshan) after she got married.

He gradually built enough of a clientele which allowed him to open a wholesale business (Jubilee Commercial Company) in Tanga on 7th Street in Ngamiani and he built contacts with local expatriates who made it possible for them to import from China and Germany – expanding into clothing, kitchenware and other sundries. Eventually his brother Ashak joined him and two brothers Sadrudin and Shamshudin opened a branch in Korogwe and Rasool on 5th Street in Ngamiani. They also purchased a coffee/tea farm in Lushoto.

Grand father did a lot of sewa in the Jamat, served as council president for a number of years and was instrumental in the fruition of the new Jamat Khana.

(According to the community oral records, Jerajbhai Shariff was Mukhi (Chief) of the Tanga Khoja Ismaili Jamat 1933-1934.Ed. Khojawiki)

Both dad and mum also did jamati sewa and Mum (Roshan) – was appointed the first lady member in the Reconciliation and Arbitration Board in Tanga. They had 6 children (including a set of twins).

There are a many grandchildren and great grandchildren, mostly in Canada.

Dad passed away peacefully in 2010 and is survived by only 3 siblings – Shirrin (Toronto/Nairobi), Ashak (Edmonton)and Alaudin (Nairobi).

The one thing that dad taught us as children was to always work hard and never give up. This I think was the reason that all six of us completed post secondary education – something that made him very proud.