Father honoured at biker memorial

The late Mark Veldsman.
Family and friends are still in shock after Mark Veldsman died suddenly of a heart attack last week.

Mr Veldsman, 51, from Kenwyn, was one of the founding members – along with his wife, Shelley, and daughter, Lisa – of the Matthew Veldsman Smile Foundation (MVSF) non-profit, which was launched at the end of February in honour of his son, Matthew, who died in November 2018 at the age of 22.

Mr Veldsman was born in Wesley Street, Harfield Village, but the Group Areas Act later forced his family out of the area.
The family moved to Primrose Park, Athlone, where he grew up with his two younger brothers, Jerome and Rodger.
He worked as a fitter and turner for 10 years and later started his own business, working in the refrigeration and air conditioning trade.

In November 2018, his son, Matthew, died in his sleep due to a connective-tissue disorder that caused his right coronary artery to rupture. Ms Veldsman said the family had started the MVSF to honour Matthew’s short but impactful life. 

“It was also a means for us to heal. Through healing others we learned to heal ourselves, and just as we started our healing journey, Mark passed away last Monday.” MVSF’s aim is to mould boys and young men into good citizens and role-models.

Mr Veldsman was part of the Bikers Church Club and used to minister to the youth as part of the club. 

“Mark loved the freedom of being out in open spaces, connecting with like-minded business people and being able to share and minister with his friends,” Ms Veldsman said. About 30 bikers from different clubs held a memorial service in her husband’s honour at Sunrise Beach, Muizenberg, on Thursday July 23. Family and friends also attended the service.
Mr Veldsman’s long-time friend and neighbour and fellow Bikers Church Club member, Trevor Abrahams, said: “It’s still surreal that he passed away. He had a big impact on people, and he always lit up the room.”

Ms Veldsman’s uncle, Benjamin de Wet, described him as a “good man with good character who worked hard for his family and loved his family”.

Ms Veldsman said she and her daughter and other members of the MVSF would continue the work of the organisation. Mr Veldsman’s funeral was held at the Southpoint Church in Ndabeni on Friday July 25.