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EL mourns businessman’s death, his legacy will continue

East London Pioneer and businessman, Mr Vrajlal Harry (Vrij) passed away suddenly on Friday, (August 5) in Gauteng.  It is believed that he left East London on Thursday to visit family in Gauteng where he is suspected to have had a heart attack.

Vrij would be fondly remembered for the impact he had on the lives of people. He possessed many traits but one that stood out was that of patriotism and his unwavering determination and outlook on life.

Born in East London on 3 November 1952, Vrij attended John Bissiker and completed his schooling at St John’s College. He went on to complete his B.Com at the University of Durban, Westville, and joined his father’s printing business, Harry’s Printers.  

Vrij took over from his father as the Managing Director and has grown the business to be the largest commercial printer in the Eastern Cape. Harry’s Printers now has branches in East London, Port Elizabeth, King Williams Town, and Pretoria.

Vrij had an insatiable hunger to learn. Along with this B.Com Degree, he attained a MBA at Henley College in the UK and numerous short courses at Harvard Business School and MIT. Vrij lectured at Rhodes University and Fort Hare University.

During this leadership, he traveled and was a guest speaker at a number of international conferences in Tel-Aviv, Beijing, New York, Chicago, and more; addressing people on leadership, business development, and mindset (to name a few).  He has lectured internationally for the International Printers Network and Imaging Network Group. Vrij has also been a Keynote speaker at Quadient International Leaders Conference in Burgenstock, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Described as a loving husband, a proud father, and an even prouder grandfather, Vrij will be sadly missed by his loving wife Karuna, their four children, grandchildren, family, and friends.

Vrij also served on the board of St Bernard’s Hospice, SAKM Educational Trust, and on the Council of the University of Fort Hare. He is a trustee of the EL Hindu Society and Phoenix Settlement (once home to Mahatma Gandhi).

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