Tribute to a humble legend

The passing of Hajee Aboobaker Suleiman Tayob (78), the patriarch behind Bakers Transport, Bakers Tankers and the Supertech Group, led to an outpouring of memories from people in all walks of life who remember how this formidable man had helped them.

Tim Abbott Aboobaker and Shabir Tayob

Dealerfloor thanks his son, Shabir Tayob for making time to tell us about his late father. Shabir says they knew as kids their father was always helping people, but even his closest family were surprised at the sheer number of heartfelt posts on many Facebook pages that showed what enormous impact their father had on the lives of hundreds of people in his 78 years.

Pierre Ruiters posted what a privilege it was to know such a humble and remarkable man. “Met him in the early 80s at the old Nestlé warehouse in Pretoria. You left behind a legacy Mr Tayob, may your soul R.I.P. Till we meet again!!”

Sibonelo Sambela Mkhize posted: “May his soul rest in eternal peace. Love this company for being good to it employees.”

Raeesa and Muhammed Dawood said: “Mr B” was a Giant of a Man. “His love, dedication, charity and common decency remain unsurpassed over six decades. May Allah swt give you the highest abode in Jannatul Firdous. You were hope where there wasn't any. Farewell bhapuji, Jannah has gained an angel today. Mrs B and family, we wish you all love, courage and strength.”

Charmaine Naicker posted he was a true Legend. “Heaven has gained an Angel. You have left behind a great Legacy and footprints in my heart; forever thankful for all that you have done for my Family. “

Chaka Chingombe thanked him for bringing smiles to millions of people. “South Africa and Africa have lost a legend in trucking. Rest in peace till we truck again.”

Tim Abbott, then director of BMW SA, with Hajee Aboobaker and Shabir Tayob.
Tim Abbott, then director of BMW SA, with Hajee Aboobaker and Shabir Tayob who said this photo shows his father always cared more for people than appearances.

Shabir said that at my father’s funeral service, one of the mourners told him how my father had visited him in jail every Saturday, giving him R200 each time. “This was typical of my father, who never judged anyone and was always ready to help.”

Shabir says as a young man, his father started out from humble beginnings, selling roasted nuts and other foods as a vendor. He then became a forklift driver and when he was retrenched, he approached a truck dealer in the Bluff with an idea that grew into Bakers Transport.

“That dealer was a Mr De Kok, who gave my father a truck on credit, saying, ‘Pay me when you can’. My dad has been extending that same trust in people ever since,” says Shabir.

He adds his father remained a humble man even when Bakers Transport grew to be the biggest Mercedes-Benz fleet owner in Pietermaritzburg, and he was chairman of the family-owned Supertech Group.

“He would dress simply, regardless of the event or situation, even when meeting the CEO of BMW South Africa, Tim Abbott. He did not care for appearances, for him, it was always about helping people,” says Shabir.

He adds his father taught him a powerful lesson early in life with three simple letters: PMD. “He said you have to be Passionate, Motivated and Dedicated to your business. He told us never to worry about the competition, but to put that energy into growing your own business, with PMD.”

Tayob snr leaves behind his wife, his five children (three sons and two daughters) 20 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.

Shabir says with the passing of his father as Chairman of Supertech Group, he and his son Mahommed Ubaid, Supertech’s Managing Director, will continue to live the ethos of “PMD” in honour of his dad.

“We all had to learn the ropes of the family businesses from the ground up, but perhaps the most important lesson my father taught us is that it is always about people. We will continue that legacy,” says Shabir.

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