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Cornwall man climbs on roof of Africa

By Sultan Jessa

Published on December 14, 2018

Muslim Harji on the roof of Africa.

CORNWALL, Ontario - A former city resident and an avid world traveler is troubled by people getting into problems and sometimes sacrificing lives trying to scale the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.

An increasing number of people from around the world, including Canada, are fascinated by Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania.

Several Cornwall residents have successfully trekked to the “Roof of Africa” in the past couple of years.

“The mantra of the mountain is pole pole,” insists Muslim Harji.

Pole is a Swahili word meaning slow.

Harji said people have to take time and not rush to reach the summit.

“Never rush. You climb it slowly. The mountain is not going to go away.”

Harji settled in Cornwall in 1968.

His parents were fourth generation Africans.

Most Asians and other were evicted from their native Uganda by the brutal and ruthless dictator Idi Amin.

Harji’s brother and sister still reside in Cornwall.

His late brother in law Abdul Ismaily was city’s planner.

Harji started working and Howard’s and Sons which was later bought by BASF.

He attended St. Lawrence College and later moved to Montreal to start his own business.

“I love adventure,” said Harji.

 Accompanied by his wife Nevin, Harji has visited more than 50 countries around the world.

The couple has experienced the beauty of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the most remote areas of Tajikistan.

Harji, 71, accompanied by this daughter Ayesha, cycled 11,900 kilometers from Cairo to Cape Town to raise funds for the Aga Khan Foundation, a philanthropic organization that builds health, education and other infrastructure around the globe.

This cycling adventure took nearly five months.

The City of Cornwall’s flag was hoisted on Kilimanjaro by a team of climbers from Cornwall a couple of years ago.

Team members were Cathy Chumley, Kathy Maguire, Sandra Tosatto, Ted Biro and his daughter Suzzanne, all Cornwall residents.

A seven year old Texas girl set a world record when she became the youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro.

Montannah Kenney found the experience exhilarating.