Respects paid to murdered Pretoria businessmen

Joao de Abreu

Fond and sad memories were shared last week of two brothers shot dead in recent armed robbery in the Moot.

A funeral for the pair were held at the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in the east of Pretoria.

The owners of the Bou Bul Meat and Fish Market, José and Joao de Abreu were shot dead in Paul Kruger Street two weeks ago.

A friend of the family, Nico van der Westhuizen and stepbrother of Joao, Leonel Spinola, described the brothers respected men in Pretoria.

Van der Westhuizen said José and his wife Ana met at a friends’wedding and started dating soon after.

He also said that Ana fondly remembered José travelling from Boksburg to Parktown to visit her in his Polka Dot car.

They got engaged in 1997 and got married on March 21, 1998.

“A marriage that would be one day short of 19 blessed years,” Van der Westhuizen said.

He said during this time, José and his brothers Joao and Pedro took over their father’s butchery and through hard work and dedication, grew it into a successful business.

“They excelled as entrepreneurs and their love for each other made their partnership a successful venture,” he said.

ALSO READ: Two brothers killed in Pretoria CBD business robbery

“They were well-known in the city and chats with some of the locals revered their business as an institution where they could just about buy anything.”

Van der Westhuizen said José was a good sportsman and a message on social media from his former high school teacher, Patrick Arentsen summed him up as a fine learner and hockey player.

“José carried on playing hockey after school and excelled in the sport he loved dearly.”

He achieved provincial colours and his friends and team mates from Harlequins remembered José as a fierce competitor and referred to him as a legend.

“Over years of hard work, José, Joao and Pedro grew their business, and with the loyal support from their loved ones, made a better life for their families through their hard work and determination.”

In time, José and Ana decided to grow their own family and in 2006 Fabrizio was born.

Mickael was born in 2008 and in 2010, Ricardo completed their family.

They raised their children with the same dedication and work ethic that was shown by José’s mother and Ana has expressed that she will continue to do so.

“I remember José fondly when around five years ago, we spent a holiday together at Zimbali and we booked a round of golf,” said Van der Westhuizen.

“Knowing his golfing prowess, I wanted to bet him a friendly R100 wager hoping for an easy score but in fact, Fabrizio went along as he always did spending time with his dad.

“After just two golf swings, it quickly dawned on me that it wasn’t José that wanted so badly to play but his oldest, Fabi and I am glad I did not make any wagers as Fabi would have had me out of pocket.

“José realised his son’s love for the sport and naturally a skill that he nurtured over the next couple of years.

“The fact is Jose did everything for his sons, spent every minute of his time with his kids and his wife all whom he loved all dearly. Jose gave up his valued hockey time to spend it with his family.”

Stepbrother Spinola said Joao got married on 16 June 2001 to Lucy.

“At that time I had just gotten engaged and my wife and I attended his wedding. At the onset we noticed the love between Joao and Lucy and how amazing they looked together,” Spinola said.

“During 2002, I got married and moved to Pretoria and immediately got to know the three wonderful brothers, Pedro, Joao and Jose on a more personal level and the amazing bond that they had.”

ALSO READ: NEWSFLASH: Two businesses robbed in the Moot

Spinola said Joao was known as an extremely hard worker, a business man and a man who was positive about life.

“In Joao’s life, business was extremely important and he continuously built the business with his brothers, from being a small shop to the huge supermarket that they have today,” he said.

“I remember Joao as an amazing businessman as he was consistently negotiating with suppliers to get the best deal possible. Joao also had an excellent relationship with his staff, suppliers and customers who knew that he had their interests at heart.”

Spinola said Joao was a competitor and never gave up.

Joao loved family gatherings.

“At family gatherings, Joao loved providing marriage advice especially to the groom. Recently he had one of his cousins over who was getting married and everyone around the table including Joao and Jose gave marriage advice.

“Joao’s favourite saying to the groom was – ‘There are three rings in a man’s life, the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffer-ring.’ This would result in lots of laughter and extremely good times.”

Spinola’s family got extremely close to Joao and Lucy’s family.

“My wife and I became Marisa’s godparents and from then on visited Joao almost weekly.

“We will all have our special memories and our special stories about Joao. These will be the memories and stories, which we will think about and recall on every special occasion and every other day that we will miss him.

“Joao will be remembered as a wonderful husband, an awesome brother, a great friend, a generous uncle, amazing cousin, a decent squash player and a great businessman. In all these ways and more, he made our lives richer and fuller.

“Now that Joao has passed away, yes of course, there is emptiness and pain, confusion and maybe even anger at their deaths coming to men of only 45 and 46 years of age, but in many ways, the gift of Joao and Jose’s lives will still be here with us forever,” Spimola concluded.

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Kayla van Petegem

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