Leaving a lasting legacy

Sulamain Jaffer passed away a week ago.

Sulaiman Jaffer, 71, owner of the 40-year-old Shell Jaffers Motors, on the corner of 5th Avenue and Victoria Road, Grassy Park, will always be remembered as someone who would leave a lasting impression on everyone he met.

Mr Jaffer passed away last week.

Khalil, the eldest son of three children – who include daughter Ayesha and son Imran – said his father had been a great role model who always had a “positive attitude”.

Despite his illness, Mr Jaffer was characterised as someone with a “vibrant personality”.

“My father would meet my friends for the first time and leave a lasting impression on them. Friends and family were always enquiring about him wherever we went,” Khalil said.

“We grew up in a jovial atmosphere and my father loved to sing. There was always a lot of joking in the family as well. He was always involved in his children and six grandchildren’s lives.

“The staff at Jaffers Motors didn’t take his death very well, because he was more like a father to them, than a boss.”

Khalil said his father had been devastated when, in 2002, five of his petrol attendants were shot and killed by a gunman and had made sure that his staff’s family were taken care of.

Mr Jaffer had been unable to celebrate the garage’s 40th anniversary last month due to his illness and the planned celebrations had been cancelled, said his daughter Ayesha.

“When he got ill he was still fully aware of the garage’s birthday. He loved his community and would always say ‘Grassy Park deserves the best’.”

Mr Jaffer was born in Parow and moved to Claremont when he was five.

He was the second eldest of six children.

His brother Mansoor, former deputy editor of Cape Community Newspapers, which publishes Southern Mail, said: “The family moved to Wynberg in 1959, when Sulaiman was 13. He attended Douglas Road Primary School and South Peninsula High School.

“Sulaiman cared for me when I was a child and he a teenager. He and our brothers Yusuf and Adam were keen sportspersons and this influenced me to get involved in sport as well.

“Sulaiman was crowned South African schools 880 yard champion in the 60s. In the 80s, he and other businessmen and professionals such as the late Kader Roomaney, Dr Mahathey, Sharief Hassan, our late father Hassan Jaffer (who founded Jaffers Motors) and others, supported the anti-apartheid struggle.

“My brother and Mr Roomaney provided refuge for me and other activists who went into hiding at the time.

“There are few people in Grassy Park who did not know him because of his warmth and welcoming nature and also as a result of his community support.

“The only bad thing I can say about him is that he liked to hog the mic during family sing-alongs and sometimes struck false notes when he broke out in passionate renditions of old school music classics.

“Other than that I consider myself privileged to have had such a wonderful brother.”

Khalil said he had helped his father at Jaffers Motors for 10 years and he is proud to be linked to the Jaffer name. Khalil moved to another branch of the business, called Jaffers Fuel, which they opened three and a half years ago, in Rondebosch.

Jaffers Motors has been taken over by Ayesha and her husband Mohamed Ebrahim Bray.

Mr Jaffer is also survived by his 90-year-old mother Raghmatunisa Jaffer and his wife Razia.