Dr Imtiaz Sooliman was born in Potchefstroom, in the North West. He started his schooling in Potchefstroom, but moved to Sastri College in Durban in 1978. He qualified as a medical doctor at the then University of Natal Medical School in 1984.
Imtiaz Sooliman is the Founder, Director and Chairman of Gift of the Givers (Waqful Waqifin Foundation). As a young boy Dr Imtiaz Sooliman grew up in his family’s Potchefstroom shop, helping his father to serve customers with loans and preferential pricing. This was the first time Imtiaz was exposed to compassion, which became the back bone of his future success. After qualifying in medicine, his work as a humanitarian began. A key moment for him was when he was standing on a parched Mozambican river bank watching children dig desperately for water without success. Together with the support of an Islamic Medical Association, he was inspired to take up the humanitarian cause.
In 1992, while visiting Istanbul in Turkey, he was introduced to a Sufi Sheikh who ordered Imtiaz to form an organization called the Gift of The Givers, and to serve humanity unconditionally for the rest of his life, irrespective of race, creed or colour. The most amazing part of this incident was that the Sheikh could not speak English, while Imtiaz could not speak Turkish, yet they both understood each other perfectly; which led to the birth of The Gift of The Givers. Over the following two years, his involvement grew to the point that Imtiaz closed his medical surgery in 1994 in order to pursue his humanitarian commitments full-time.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is a dedicated, energetic leader with exceptional negotiation skills, holding the trust of all those he encounters. He was awarded the Order of the Baobab in Silver for his contribution to humanitarian aid in South Africa through the Gift of the Givers Foundation and his humanitarian relief missions in various countries. His activities were acknowledged through 101 diverse national and international awards, citations, commendations and special recognition. This recognition included four awards from Heads of State, including the President’s Order of the Star of South Africa, the highest civilian award in South Africa.