Moosa Joseph is known to many people who frequent Meadowridge Park n Shop. It’s not surprising, as he’s been working there, come rain or shine, for more than 40 years.
His family grew up on Withycombe Farm, in the Doordrift Road area of Constantia before they were forcibly moved under the Group Areas Act. He now lives in Lotus River.
Mr Joseph, 67, recalls how, as a boy, he used to visit his grandmother in Wicklow Road in Plumstead.
“It was a very nice area with stables and it was safe.
“My mum, sister and brother walked home from my grandmother’s house late at night. They were lekker days,” he said with a toothless grin.
He and his helper, Omar Fisher, spoke of a Ms Pay.
An internet search led to Dick Meerburg, owner of Withycombe Lodge, the original manor house of Withycombe Farm, built in 1903 in the Cape Dutch style for a Captain Pay.
The farm used to boast 24 hectares of prime fruit-growing land, but Mr Meerburg said that due to urban sprawl and the M3 running through it, the farm had slowly been whittled down in size.
Mr Jacobs started selling fruit and veggies in Plumstead and moved to Meadowridge at the same time as Checkers opened there.
He recalled that Woolworths had been a hardware store run by a Mr Wills and there was a home-bake shop in the corner run by a Mr Deary.
When he first started, Mr Joseph sold eight bananas “for a bob” and it cost about R500 to fill the bakkie that took him to and from Epping market, nowadays it costs R3 000 to R4 000 for his station wagon.
He is up early each morning, and, after prayers, he sets off for the market, at about 4am, where he selects the best fruit and vegetables in season. At the moment, it’s sweet melons and pineapples.
He gets to Meadowridge at 9am and sets up his stall and leaves at about 5pm, working five to seven days a week.
A regular customer who would not give her name said shoppers get to hear all about his children and grandchildren.
He has four sons, who are all Uber drivers, and four daughters who all have children of their own.