For four decades, 76-year-old Abdullah Gangraker’s take-aways in Belgravia Road, Athlone, has been serving lekker hot dogs, steak sandwiches, the legendary “Wembley Whopper” burger, home-made samoosas, falooda and more.
Yesterday morning Wembley staff, family and customers received the sad news that Mr Gangraker had passed away at Constantiaberg Hospital.
The Gangraker family says the well-known businessman had been receiving medical attention for various illnesses, including diabetes, and had undergone surgery recently.
He leaves behind his wife, Fatima, five daughters, one son and grandchildren.
Mr Gangraker’s janaazah was held at his home in First Avenue, Belgravia Road, and moved to Masjidul Quds in Gatesville just after 4pm, a mosque of which he was a founding member.
Thousands of mourners attended the service, with janaazah prayers led by his son Mujeeb Gangraker.
The procession then carried the bier on foot all the way to the Johnston Road cemetery to lay him to rest.
The Wembley supermarket, butchery and take-aways, which is open all year round, were closed for business yesterday.
Mr Gangraker’s father, Eshak Gangraker and mother Halima opened EO Gangraker Stores in Belgravia Road in 1931, but after requests by local football fans, they renamed the business to Wembley Stores after a popular soccer team.
Abdullah started working in his dad’s shop when he was a teen, and in 1973, when Eshack passed away, he took over the business.
In 1976, Gangraker opened the doors of the now iconic Wembley Roadhouse.
Sataar Parker, spokesperson for the Gangraker family and chairperson of Gatesville mosque, says: “He was in hospital for three weeks and he underwent an operation.
“We lost a great man. He was fortunate to have gone in such a great month [Ramadaan].”
He said it was due to Mr Gangraker’s generosity that the magnificent Masjidul Quds was built.
“He was the person who donated funds for the land where the mosque was built.”