Athlone bids farewell to legend

2016-06-28 09:41

Abdullah Gangraker, owner of the Wembley Group of Companies, died on Sunday 27 June. He failed to recover from a complicated medical procedure following his admission to Constantiaberg Mediclinic after falling ill three weeks ago.

Affectionately known as “Mr Wembley”, Gangraker took over the family business after his father died in 1971. The company has since grown to become a household name.
However, Gangraker will be remembered more for his charitable contributions not only to his immediate community in Athlone, but also to those of his ancestral home in India.

He donated the land on which the current site of the Masjidul-Quds is found and served as one of the mosque’s founding members. This is site at which thousands of mourners gathered to bid their respects, before laying Gangraker to rest at the Johnston Road cemetery.

Sataar Parker, chairperson of the Masjidul-Quds’ board of trustees and spokesperson for the Gangraker family, says that his friend was more than just a pioneer.
“The man was a visionary businessperson with the Wembley Group of Companies in Belgravia Road. It is an iconic setup there. He was a philanthropist of a very high calibre in terms of being the man who donated the land for the building of the Gatesville mosque,” says Parker.

One of Gangraker’s many donations to the community was an entire hall for the Islamia Complex.
Gangraker also looked after orphans and also helped develop infrastructre in his ancestral village in India. “He was a man who was passionate about doing things to perfection and we are very fortunate. Although it is a sad loss, the loss came in the spiritual month of Ramadaan, so from an Islamic perspective, that actually is some sort of consolation,” says Parker.

Despite the loss of Gangraker, the family business is left in the able hands of his son, Mujeeb.
“As far as the family is concerned, everything remains as normal, his son will be running the business and he is more than capable of doing a job that would have made his father very proud. The example that he has set show that nothing is unobtainable. One just has to be focused to work on a plan and things will work out.”

Gangraker is survived by his wife Fatima and six children Asghari, Chaan Bibi, Mujeeb, Haliema, Sumaya and Sakeena.

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