Respected: Mourners carry the coffin of former Mamelodi Sundowns chairman Abe Krok, inset. The businessman was buried at West Park Cemetery yesterday in a funeral attended by, among others, PSL club owners Irvin Khoza and Kaizer Motaung. Picture: Giyani Baloyi

ABE KROK, described as a man who could stand on a stage and laugh at himself with the rest of the world, was laid to rest in a simple ceremony at the Jewish section of West Park Cemetery yesterday.

The multimillionaire tycoon, who is best known for founding The Twins Pharmaceutical Group with his brother Solly, made his fortune during the apartheid era selling skin-lightening creams.

After the fall of apartheid, he founded the Gold Reef City Casino and theme park, and established the Apartheid Museum alongside it.

Yesterday, though, it was his love of football that was remembered by mourners, among them club bosses Kaizer Motaung, Irvin Khoza and Natasha Tsichlas, and celebrity lawyer Billy Gundelfinger.

Described variously as a mentor, a humanitarian and an all-round special person, Krok bought the Chloorkop, Atteridgeville-based, Sundowns from Standard Bank and later sold it to mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.

His friends remembered yesterday how Krok had a great love for the game and had a special way of communicating with the players to get them to win a game.

It was during his ownership of the team that it enjoyed its most successful spell. Krok was also a founding member of the Premier Soccer League and spent a number of years as Sundowns chairman.

Krok had been ill for a very long time and was in hospital for the past four years. He was 83.

“One would think that one would feel a sense of relief as he has been so sick for long. But we feel a tremendous depth of grief because we have lost someone special,” said a family representative before Krog’s humble unplaned pine coffin, in keeping with Jewish tradition, was lowered to the ground. “This community is going to be poorer when we walk away this afternoon… we are bereaved,” he added.

As soil was shovelled atop the coffin, the Krok family, including his wife Rosie and daughters Nadine and Jessica, could hardly contain their sorrow.

In a death notice published in The Star yesterday, Rosie wrote: “I lost my love, my best friend, soulmate. I love you so much and will miss you very much, but you are now at peace. Rest my love.” – Staff Reporter