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Father of beach traders well remembered

The water bottles were part of the commemoration, something that Vincent Cedras sold on the beaches for 50 years.

Family and friends of the late Vincent Cedras gathered at Clifton Fourth Beach last Friday, July 5, to honor the life of a man known as the Father of the Beach Traders.

Mr Cedras, 63, of Strandfontein, passed away last Wednesday, July 3. He worked as a salesman on the beaches of the Atlantic coast for 50 years and his favourite place, according to his daughter Vinetia Rinquest, was Clifton Fourth.

“He liked this beach because it is the busiest and he also loved the beauty of this beach. He worked on the other beaches as well and started here as a child with his father, so quite a lot of our relatives did this and some still do,” Ms Rinquest said.

“My dad gave me the chance to work here and also on Llandudno Beach. I love the outdoors so I was happy to do that. It gave me the chance to see the dynamics of this business and see how my dad worked. It was an honour to be part of it.”

From left: Pastor Ronald Japhta and Vinetia Rinquest with their two children spoke about Vincent Cedras at the memorial service at Clifton Fourth Beach.

Ms Rinquest said Mr Cedras not only sells water and ice, but also rents out chairs and umbrellas and offers young people the opportunity to work on the beaches.

“He had to get permits from the city for the different things they were dealing in, and then there was also the buying and selling of the goods. He managed the whole project, gathering supplies, doing inventories, picking up the people that worked with them, making sure his employees were eating and happy, and the customers too, that was very important to him, that they were happy,” she said.

“He gave work opportunities to the less privileged, even people who had negative influences, he gave them a chance. He was practical and gave them advice not only on business but also on personal matters. He left me alone to work on Llandudno because he wanted to show me that I could do it on my own, and he did that with everyone.”

Zenobia Thorne, 46, worked with Mr Cedras for 15 years and says he stood up for her in a male-dominated industry.

“I was unemployed at the time and Uncle Vinna gave me this job and on every beach I was the only woman working here. After Covid, he asked me if I wanted to work here (Fourth Beach) and if I got along with the people. They (the vendors) complained that I talk too much to the customers and that some of them only bought from me. He told them that I have this advantage because I am the only woman and he really supported me the whole time,” Ms Thorne said.

“He was my beach dad, I will miss his presence here. He was understanding and every now and then he would yell at me but it was nothing serious. No one can replace him and what he did, he was really good to all of us,” she said.

Paul Jacobson, a business owner in Sea Point, says he has worked with Mr Cedras for three decades.

“Vinna was a humble man, he worked hard and was in the trade continuously for 50 years. He always came to the beach late on Sundays because he went to church first, which says something about his religious devotion. When it came to Vincent, there were rarely any conflicts, he did everything exactly by the book and was a pleasure to be around,” Mr Jacobson said.

Family and friends at Clifton Fourth Beach shared their memories of Vincent Cedras.