A giant of the Paarl Muslim community has passed away – 91year-old Hajji Yusuf Moerat. Having served the Paarl community for more than 70 years, Hajji Yusuf’s most important role was as the life president of Paarl Muslim Jamaah (PMJ) as well as life president of Vineyards Rugby club. He has played a crucial role in the struggle for non-racial sports in South Africa. An avid and skilled sportsman, he had a passion for rugby and cricket. He holds the record for scoring the most tries in a single club rugby match.
“Boeta Yusuf served this community for many years in different leadership positions as chairman and later as president of the Paarl Muslim Jamaah. He still attended our AGM last year. We have lost a giant,” said Waaghied Hendricks, chairperson of the PMJ.
Besides being president of the PMJ, Hajji Yusuf served various other organisations, institutions and clubs. His involvement in rugby has guided the youth and others to a solid and successful foundation.
In a statement, the Vineyards Rugby Club said Boeta Yusuf will not only be remembered in rugby circles, but also within the cricket fraternity.
“Boeta Yusuf gave his life to Vineyards, his family and the community. His contributions will continue to live on forever. The Paarl community has truly lost one of its greats and our condolences go out to his family and friends in this difficult time.”
Amongst the senior citizen’s most prized possessions were his hundreds of pigeons and his craft of pigeon-racing, which he inherited from his father. Hajji Yusuf served as the vice president of the South African National Pigeon Association and had Springbok colours.
The Federated Board of Homing Unions, of which Hajji Yusuf was a member, expressed their sadness at his death.
“As one of our longest-serving chairmen, we the FBHU truly lost, a father figure, who was full of wisdom and insight. Mr Moerat who served the FBHU diligently and was not only known for his leadership but also known as a fierce competitor with many board championships and many board races won,” the organisation said on Facebook.
Age was never a deterrent for him. Even in his 90’s, he had still been an active muathin at his masjid. As an elder of Paarl, he was well respected and admired for his kindness, humility and love for his community.
“His humbleness, wise guidance, always embedded in a touch of the lighter note, his respect for young and old, and the extended time he has set aside to bring along harmony and fairness was key in the success in the guidance and leadership he always provided. He was a supreme leader and true ambassador to the Paarl Muslim Jamaa,” said Hendricks.
“Boeta Yusuf was loved by all, young and old and even beyond the borders of our town and country. The footprint he leaves is positivity, hard work, fairness and success.”
Hendricks said the elderly icon would be missed at community events, particularly at the annual Boland Summer Festival when he would entertain the crowds with his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’.
May Allah SWT grant Hajji Yusuf Janatul Firdous and bring ease to his bereaved family and loved ones.