Nizar (Nizoo) Ismail Munjee
- South Africa
- Hospitality: Hotel, Food Service, Tourism
- South Africa, Portugal, Canada
Born in 1941 Pretoria
Nizar Ismail Munjee was the only surviving son of Ismail Manjee Keshavjee. Affectionately known as Bhai or Nizoo to close family and friends, he had that "it" factor and was loved by all those around him.
Having left South Africa to provide a better life and education for his wife (Sherbanu (Santa), daughter Rose Mina and son Karim (Kalouki)) he moved to Oeiras and Lisbon Portugal in the late 1970's where he found and successfully ran a Hotel/Pensao in the heart of Lisbon while at the same time pursuing various catering/food service and food preparation opportunities. Having been the only son of a large family, he not only cared for his wife and two kids but also took care of his two unmarried sisters Maleka and Goolbanu (Gabhi) until moving to Portugal. Goolbanu would marry Goolamhussein Esmail Kassam.
Nizoo was also known for his incredible charm, hazel eyes, salt and pepper hair and his attention to detail when it came to dressing. While he like many experienced both successes and challenges in business life, he was ahead of his time and had a keen eye for opportunities that today are making strong impacts in their respective industry. This would include the concept of pre packaged mixes for creation of high quality instant meals. We see these today in the grocery store shelves and fridges as packaged/bottled sauces and mixes. Thirty years ago, this was considered innovative and well ahead of its time. An Entrepreneur at heart, he loved the hospitality industry and food services.
Following a relatively short stay in Portugal he still wanted better education opportunities for his two children and he once again moved his family to Canada on April 10, 1980 after having seen Toronto when visiting in 1978 for the Aga Khan's visit. The family would move to Toronto having been sponsored by his sister, Shirin Ismail Manjee - Virani and living with sister Kheroo and brother in law Akber (Mac) Keshavjee.
In his relatively short life in Canada, he entered into the food service business supervising and managing various companies including Ponderosa/Frank Vitere's companies, East Wood Food Services, Mayfair Company. He would also work with Murad and Mila Velshi at Tourama Travels Inc in Toronto. Nizar/Nizoo very quickly adapted to the Ismail Community and within less then 5 years was already appointed Mukhi for a principal ismaili jamatkhana named "Greenland JK". To this day the Ismaili Volunteer Corp members and leadership and the jamat that attended Greenland speak of his great leadership, commitment to volunteerism and pioneering efforts. He proudly considered himself a volunteer first and always wore the uniform while sitting in his Mukhi place especially on days that honor and recognized the volunteer corps.
Sadly in his last year as Mukhi, he was diagnosed with Chronic Leukemia and while he was in remission for a short period he ultimately lost that fight in 1986 at the young age of 45 following complications and issues from treatment readying him for a bone marrow transplant.
His legacy of community volunteerism, compassion and caring for family stay strong today with his family.