Father, son and grandson perish in a horrific car accident while returning home from church
On Monday evening, Casim Desai, 72, his son Yusuf Desai, 45, and his grandson Muhammad Ilyaas, 17, were going to drop off Ahmed Saeed, a fellow worshipper, at his home in Richmond when their vehicle collided with another. Saeed lived about 3km from the family.
Mufti Zakariyya Desai, Desai senior’s nephew, and a family spokesperson, said: “We lost three men from three different generations and they were good men. While we mourn for them, we take comfort in knowing that this happened during the holiest month for us and after their prayers.”
Zakariyya Desai said his uncle, a businessman, was a soft-spoken and gentle person.
“He was a gem of a person. If someone approached him for anything, he helped that person. My uncle was involved in the Tabligh, an Islamic missionary movement, and he went to communities around the world to spread the word of Islam. He travelled to the UK, Australia, the West Indies, Canada and Fiji, among others. My uncle had three daughters and one son. Now he, his son, and his grandson are gone.”
He said his cousin Yusuf was married with three daughters.
“My cousin took over the operations of his dad’s business, Madina Cash and Carry, and he was also well-known. Yusuf was passionate about Islam and he often went with his dad to perform tabligh. He was dedicated to his family and to his community.”
Zakariyya Desai said his nephew was studying the Qur’an.
“He was also caring like his grandfather and father. Whenever he was needed to assist others, he would jump to do it.”
Saeed, a family friend who is also a businessman, is recovering in hospital.
Zakariyya Desai said every year Eid celebrations took place at the Desai home.
“My uncle always wanted us together for Eid. We were planning a get-together. While we will still gather together, it won’t be the same. We take comfort in knowing that they are in a better place enjoying the eternal bliss and bounties of paradise.”
Moulana Ahmed Akoo, of Madressa Tarteelul Quraan in Pietermaritzburg, said the family was stalwarts in the community.
“They were not just known in Richmond but throughout Pietermaritzburg. This is a dull, dark, and sad moment for all the people. During the lockdown, when families were battling financially, they offered donations and hampers to assist communities.”
The police did not comment at the time of publication.