After 20 years of remarkable service, VOC said a tearful farewell to its longest running sales consultant, Ismail Tassiem. Despite his wispy white hair, at 78 years old, Mr Tassiem’s lively and fun loving nature belies his years. Always immaculately dressed in a suit, Tassiem’s air of professionalism as a salesman will linger on with his long list of clients.
On Wednesday, VOC staff, many who consider him as a father figure, paid tribute to his career with a special lunch, where funny memories were shared and a poem was read by presenter Safeya Samuels.
Mr Tassiem will always be remembered for his charm, wit and keeping the staff in stitches. Long serving staff described him as friendly, kind, loving and exceptionally caring. He always tried to make people feel welcome and his outlook on the world was filled with positivity.
“No matter how down or moody you are, when you walk into the station, he always lifted your spirits. He always has a smile on his face,” said presenter Adiela Fortune.
VOC’s sales team recalled how in the early days, new recruits struggled to beat his excellent sales track record.
“Boeta Tassiem could not be beaten. We just couldn’t figure out how he was able to always top us with his clients. It was competition, but good competition,” said VOC sales manager Hassiem Bastra.
“All I want from him now is his little black book [of clients]. That’s what I want to inherit,” he quipped.
Colleague Mogammat Zain Majiet said he would miss Mr Tassiem’s excellent sense of humour and animated stories.
“Mr Tassiem was quite the joker, so we really had a ball of a time in the office,” he said.
After retiring from Best Furnishing in the 1997, where he had won several top sales awards, Tassiem heard a radio advertisement that VOC was looking for a sales consultant and applied. To his surprise his application was successful.
“Mr Tassiem retired from the furniture business, only to become part of VOC’s furniture,” quipped VOC’s station manager Moegsin Khan.
When asked what the recipe to his success was, Mr Tassiem modestly replied:
“Being a sales consultant takes a lot of hard work and commitment. It is not something that comes easily; you have to work hard towards building a relationship with your clients and trying to perfect your sale skills.”
Despite his health deteriorating a few years ago, Mr Tassiem was determined to be back on his feet. Even a brief stint in hospital did not stop him from slowing down, and soon after being discharged, he returned to the station and hit the ground running.
On the topic of retirement, Mr Tassiem said the feeling of not coming to work every day was scary and daunting, but a part of his life he would now have to get used to. For now, he would channel his energy into helping his wife with her business, travelling and starting a charity organisation for youth.
Asked about the secret to his youth, he said he never smoked, keeps active and had performed haj and umrah to Makkah eight times in his life accompanied by his lovely wife.
“My shout out to the world is…..smile and the world will smile with you,” Mr Tassiem playfully adds.
When asked what he would miss the most about VOC, he said:
“I will miss the staff the most. They have become more than just colleagues; they are my family.”
“I would also like to thank my clients for all their love and support throughout the years. I would like to say Shukran, may Allah grant you with Baraka and ghayr in business as well as in your personal life, inshaAllah.” VOC (Loushe Jordaan)