Wembley legend laid to rest

Abdullah Gangraker, 72, owner of the Wembley Group of Companies, died on Sunday June 26.

Described as a man of “great passion and well-learned”, Wembley Group of Companies owner Abdullah Gangraker will be missed by his family as well as the community he served for many years.

Mr Gangraker died on Sunday, June 26, aged 72. He had been admitted to hospital after an illness three weeks ago and underwent a brain operation.

About 5 000 people attended Mr Gangraker’s janaazah at Masijudal Quds.

The Wembley Group of Companies includes a butchery, bakery, grocery store, travel agency and the iconic roadhouse, which is home to the famous Wembley Whopper burger.

When Mr Gangraker opened the roadhouse in 1975, many people doubted it would be a success. Forty one years later, it is on the tourist map and a firm favourite among Capetonians.

Mr Gangraker was also one of the founding members of Masjidul Quds, in Gatesville, which is Cape Town’s largest mosque.

He had bought the prime land where the mosque now stands.

Sataar Parker, family spokesman, and also chairman of the trust board at Masjidul Quds, said Mr Gangraker had been recovering from his operation but took a turn for the worse on Sunday.

“It was clear that he was in pain, and experienced some discomfort. The family remains distraught and is still in shock, but he left us in the holy month of Ramadaan, that is some consolation. He was a man of great passion, and well-learned. He always saw it to it that things got done. He was known for perfection. He also took a personal interest in charity, and made sure that people enjoyed their trips when they booked at Wembley Travel and Tours,” said Mr Parker.

Also known as a philanthropist and a man of charity, Mr Gangraker often donated to different organisations in Cape Town, as well as to his ancestral home in India, where his father, Mohamed Eshack Gangraker, came from.

Faizel Edroos Royker, chairman of the executive committee of Masjidul Quds, said Mr Gangraker’s death was a sad moment for the community.

“It is a very sad moment for the masjid but also the community at large. Mr Gangraker was a founding member of the masjid. His input and contribution was invaluable. He made the mosque his main priority and was always concerned about the well-being of it and the congregation. We will miss that about him,” said Mr Royker.

Mr Parker added, “Mr Gangraker is an icon in the community and we will miss him dearly.”

Mr Gangraker leaves behind his wife, Faatima, one son and five daughters.