Cape Town – Respected Cape Town businessman and community activist Anwah Nagia died on Monday due to a Covid-19 related illness.
He was 61 years old.
His former high school friend and collaborator Nadeem Hendricks said: “He was more than a comrade, more than a brother to me from Trafalgar High (school) days…he was the chairman, I was the secretary (of the SRC).
“We were on the battlefields all along. We were like cadres on the field.”
Nagia became a businessman, involved in the financial services sector. Until his death, he had been the chairman of Element Investment Managers, also the Executive Chairman of Altius Investment Holdings, the Non-Executive Chairman of Cape Town Market and Africa Commodities Group and the Chairman of the District Six Beneficiary and Redevelopment Trust.
Hendricks says at the dawn of democracy, he and Nagia became involved in community organisations.
“We were at the forefront, up to this day when we started the Palestinian Museum. He was a humanitarian. He remained as humble and simple as possible. God gave him access to wealth so that he could ensure the poor were taken care of,” said Hendricks.
Chairperson of the board of trustees at the Gatesville Mosque Sataar Parker said Nagia was always prepared to chip in and help those who were less fortunate.
“I’ve known him for over 25 years…our connection was over his passion for the freedom of the people of Palestine. That’s the legacy that this larger-than-life person will leave behind.
“One of his hallmarks was that whenever he met you he would affectionately put his arm around your neck, he had no airs about his financial status,” said Parker.
He recalls that the last time he had interacted with Nagia was earlier this year while NGOs were trying to assist in the fight against the coronavirus.
“The last time we had a programme at our mosque, he was so keen to contribute to assist in the Covid crisis. He was about boosting the economy so that it could create jobs. He was a man for the people,” said Parker.
The District 6 Working Committee (D6WC) also extended its condolences with loved ones, colleagues and followers of Nagia.
“The D6WC has just learnt with shock and sadness of the passing of Dr Anwah Nagia,” the organisation said on Monday.
“Whilst the D6WC and the Beneficiary Trust each followed its own path to further the cause of restitution for the people of District Six, both organisations were led by passionate and inspiring leaders who devoted their lives to District Six and who both sadly passed on this year.”
D6WC Chairman Shahied Ajam, 62, died after a heart attack in June.
ANC MP Faiez Jacobs has also paid tribute to Nagia.
“It is with great sadness that I’ve just been informed of the passing of community activist, philanthropist and beacon of light in our community.
“Here is a man who has never relented in his pursuit of a better life for others and who has used his vast experience and influence to ensure the most vulnerable are taken care of.”
Jacobs said that at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic Nagia ordered 4 million masks to be distributed free of charge to the less fortunate, and this was typical of the type of person Nagia was.
“From God we come and to God is our ultimate return. We pray his family find comfort in the knowledge that the grave is not our final destination and that our deeds will elevate our souls to the heavens. Insh’Allah. Hamba Kahle Anwar Nagia.”