Mahomed Yacub Dhai (Bhai), the son of Yacub and Hafeja Dhai (Dr A M Moolla’s son-in-law & daughter) was born in Clarence Road on the Berea in Durban on 26th February 1948. He schooled at Orient Islamic School.
Bhai as he was affectionately known, joined the family-owned business, Kingsgate during 1965 and, like all the other family members, commenced with a humble post in the mailing department and gradually worked his way up to the top by assuming more and more responsibilities and, in the process, gained a wealth of experience. He earned the title of being ‘Dr Moolla’s favourite’ and lived with his Granddad for many years.
He was appointed a director of the company on 31st August 1978 and became Joint Deputy Chairman in 1997 when the company was listed on the JSE, a position he held until he passed away. Bhai had a hand in an array of demanding portfolios in the company and was largely responsible for Group Marketing, P.R. and Operations. He played an integral role in the day-to-day affairs of the company and its decision-making processes.
On the social front, his involvement in sport, in particular with a soccer club called Sporting Club D’Alberton Callies, had for many years featured at inter-provincial level and helped nurture many talented youngsters from Durban. Bhai was one of the founding members of the Club and served on the organizing committee of the Club’s national soccer tournament which was launched in 1967. During the mid-80s he was largely instrumental in taking this Club to the professional ranks for a few years.
One of the many traits that his late grandfather Dr A M Moolla had inculcated in all the family members was to selflessly put back into the community. Upon Dr Moolla’s and Dr Kathrada’s (Bhai’s Uncle) death, the family was unilateral in their decision in mandating Bhai to assume the all-important responsibility of their fore-bearers by representing them in various institutions such as the West Street Mosque, Anjuman School, Darul Yatama Wal Masakeen and Orient Islamic School to name a few. Over the years Bhai proudly kept the A M Moolla Family flag flying by representing the family well in these esteemed institutions, and often went over and above the call of duty to assist wherever he could.
His charismatic larger than life personality, coupled with the fact that he was selfless in his pursuits, influential, devoted to a cause, colourful, frank and outspoken, won him admiration and respect from many peers and people in the community. In a short space of time, many people became fond of this stalwart who was recognised by his passionate and unstinting service to the different codes of Social, Educational, Religious and Welfare organisations. The Orient Islamic School featured more prominently in his list of contributions due to his family’s long association with this institution. He was largely responsible for the school’s complete revamp, and the new extended Musallah (prayer room) that attracts many for daily congregational prayers as well as the main Friday Jumuah prayer.
In his twilight years, he suffered from multiple ailments including a lung condition. Sadly, he passed away at St Augustine’s Hospital on Friday, 16th March 2018 after suffering from a massive heart attack.
In the words of Professor Syed Salman Nadvi (a well-respected Islamic Scholar), “He lived well and served well”. Indeed his contribution to the broader community in honouring and perpetuating the legacy of our founding fathers, in particular, Dr A M Moolla, has not gone unnoticed. He was one of the true last remaining legends of Kingsgate from a bygone era. He served Kingsgate dutifully for 53 years, and is the first grandson of the Late Dr A M Moolla that has passed on. His loss is a great blow to the family and the community at large.