Faces of Covid-19

Hanover Park misses 'fearless' grandpa who woke them up for morning prayers

30 June 2020 - 07:00 By Nicki Gules
Mogamat Salie Abrahams died last week after being ill for months. His family only learnt he had Covid-19 after he died.
Mogamat Salie Abrahams died last week after being ill for months. His family only learnt he had Covid-19 after he died.
Image: Supplied

Retired taxi driver Mogamat Salie Abrahams used to open up his local mosque in Hanover Park, Cape Town, before sunrise every morning.

His only daughter, Ruwaida Alexander, whom he used to introduce to others as his “blommetjie” (little flower), said he used to take a kitchen knife with him in the notorious neighbourhood for “protection”.

“He usually walked to the mosque alone. My mom would always complain that her knives go missing. He would wake all the Muslim neighbours for that prayer by knocking on their doors en route to the mosque,” she said.

“The neighbours still miss him for that.”

Alexander said her father, who had six children, 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren and who would have turned 80 in September, was “fearless”.

“All the gangsters knew and respected him,” she said.

Before his death last week, Abrahams, who suffered from asthma and high blood pressure, had been bedridden at home for the past six months.

The first time the family heard he had Covid-19 was when reading the cause of death on his death certificate from Groote Schuur Hospital.

“He didn't leave the house since before lockdown. His children and grandchildren were his only visitors,” said Alexander.

“The week before he passed, he struggled to breathe and couldn't talk much. Mom decided to take him to hospital for oxygen. I was at work and got the call from my husband and he and Mom took him and he was admitted.”

She said the family called the hospital every day and were told he was on an oxygen machine and sleeping.

“We only read on the death certificate that he was listed as having Covid-19.”

Alexander said Abrahams was a devoted husband and hard-working father. He loved animals and horses were his favourite.

“My kids have fond memories of him taking them to the McDonald's drive-through on a horse and cart.”


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