Gentleman Hadjie dies

2016-10-25 06:00
Shaboodien’s Store on the corner of Kipling and Dove streets in Observatory has served the community since the 1950s. PHOTO: gary van dyk

Shaboodien’s Store on the corner of Kipling and Dove streets in Observatory has served the community since the 1950s. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Shaboodien’s Store is part of the rich legacy of Observatory, but sadly Shaboodien is no more.

The community surrounding the store on the corner of Kipling and Dove streets, Observatory, is mourning the passing of Ebrahim Shaboodien who died after a long illness on Thursday 13 October. Shaboodien, or Hadjie as he was fondly called in the neighbourhood, was 85.

His life behind the counter was a family tradition that continues today.

“He helped set me up in business,” says his youngest sister, Gadija Dalvie of Rondebosch, who explains that their father, Mohamed Alie Baloomia Shaboodien, came from India in the 1920s and bought the corner shop in 1952.

“One thing that set him apart was that he had the culture of ubuntu in him long before the new South Africa. He helped hundreds of people in his community and even as far as in India.

“We all know about ‘koep oppie boek’ [buy on the book] on the Cape Flats and almost everybody around here had an ‘account’,” she remembers.

She adds that he was asked once by one of his neighbours why he didn’t add interest to outstanding balances like banks and other business did. He responded that it was first of all not in his nature to do this and neither did his religion allow him to do so.

“He was more concerned about the people in his community,” she says.

“He felt for his fellow man and neighbours who had no money to pay for a loaf of bread and whatever else was needed to ensure that they don’t go to bed on an empty stomach, even when there was no guarantee that he would get the money back.”

One of the residents on the road, who did not want to be named, says Hadjie, even in his later years, remained a gentleman, treating everybody with respect.

“He was friendly to young and old at all times; always calm and friendly.

“All were equal when you were in that shop; even the homeless were treated with proper dignity. We are going to miss him.”

Shaboodien is survived by his wife Jamiela, three sons, two daughters, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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