This month, a true stalwart in the carting industry was lost. Mohammed Ockards, affectionately known as “Oom Gammat” passed away at the age of 72. It is truly the end of an era but not of his legacy.
When CHPA started 23 years ago, Oom Gammat was already a well-known and established figure within the industry. He was a born horseman and many of the Ockards’ children have it in their blood too. His father used to transport the midwife in District Six in a special cart which doubled as the hearse in the area. Oom Gammat himself used to have a fruit and veg stall and even drove early mornings all the way to Kalk Bay to fetch fish with which he traded.
The last 7 or 8 years he lived in Heinz Park and still took his grand daughter to school with his cart and horses. If he needed to go anywhere, the cart was his transport. He loved having horses in double harness and tried to match the colours of his pairs as much as he could. He had a real affection for donkeys and he and Sakkie (who lives at the R&R since he retired) made a mean team and were seen in many TV adverts. Oom Gammat himself also appeared on may TV inserts on programmes such as Carte Blanche when they were featuring programmes on the people who were displaced from District Six.
Diana Truter describes Oom Gammat as a wise man with a wicked sense of humour. He always taught lessons through his stories and jokes, but one had to listen carefully because he loved telling tall tales as well. He had a good heart and apart from teaching Diana about horses when she first started with Cart Horse, was very involved in the education of not only other drivers in the carting industry, but also our Equine Welfare Practitioners.
Especially in the early days of Cart Horse, Oom Gammat was involved in our fundraising efforts and never said no when we asked to take his horses to an event. They always looked well with spotless harnesses and beautiful carts.
Oom Gammat will be fondly remembered by anyone who had anything to do with him but his legacy lives on in his children, most of whom still own horses and are prime examples of how horses should be looked after.
This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape town South