Family weeps for five members

2009-06-01 00:00

A Pietermaritzburg family mourns the death of five members this week, four of whom died instantly in an accident after attending the funeral of an uncle on Tuesday.

Sharmla Chetty travelled down from Johannesburg with her only son Rudolph (Rudy), daughter-in-law Tharusha Vather and cousin Vyasa Pillay to attend the funeral of her father’s brother Kullu (Cyril) Pillay. The four former Pietermaritzburg residents were returning to Johannesburg when their vehicle was involved in a head-on collision with a truck between Villiers and Warden just after 7pm on Tuesday night.

According to relatives, the police were able to contact the next of kin after finding Vather’s ID book on the side of the road. Inside the cover folder, she had a slip of paper with a relative’s phone number, who was contacted shortly after midnight and informed the rest of the family.

Vather is the youngest of four sisters and her devastated family said she and Rudy (30), who had been married for two years, were about to move into their dream home this weekend. Their house on an estate in Midrand had just been completed.

The couple were high school sweethearts. They both matriculated from Woodlands High and studied together at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Vather completed a B. Comm. Honours degree in Economics and worked for Nedbank Capital in Sandton. Rudy, who specialised in labour law, was recently made a senior associate in the firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in Sandton.

Vather’s sisters Dhanashree, Lushenthree and Geshree described Rudy as the brother they never had. He was loving and very family oriented.

They said the couple shared a passion for life. They were both very spiritual and got on with people of all ages. They loved travelling and were booked to go on holiday to London in September. It was to be a second honeymoon.

Their hobby was collecting antiques and fine wines and they owned land in Rosetta in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands where they planned to build their retirement home, the sisters said.

Sharmla lost her husband Sagren when Rudy was nine years old. Her cousin Franklin Reddy said that from being a housewife, she had to go out and look for a job to support and educate her son.

Vyasa Pillay (31) had left his pregnant wife. Sharlene. at home because he did want want her to endure the tiring trip. Their baby is due in October. Reddy said it is tragic that she has to now travel down to attend his funeral. Pillay also comes from humble beginings and Reddy added that his is a rags to riches story.

“He and his wife were also high school sweethearts, both attended Woodlands School and courted each other for 14 years before marrying.” Reddy said he can still picture Pillay and his wife packing all their belongings into their little mini and driving up to Johannesburg to look for jobs. They both worked at Momentum Life as senior financial consultants.

They had an entrepreneurial spirit and were building up a portfolio in property investment.

Pillay was an only son, he leaves his wife, parents and three sisters.

Pillay and Sharmla were first cousins. Their fathers part of a pioneering family of five brothers known as the Kullu brothers. Pillay, was the son of Devraj Kullu Pillay, well known as a soccer player in his heyday.

The four funerals will take place in the Aryan Hall, 137 Khan Road, Raisethorpe today. starting at 11am and proceeding to the Mountain Rise Crematorium at 3pm.

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