With his active lifestyle, the chips are never down for a long time for Durban resident and avid casino patron Ivan Miosic who turned 100 on Tuesday 8 March.
||Centenarian Ivan Miosic flanked by close friends Dina and Josip Damnjovic in front and Suncoast managers at back (l-r) PR Manager Prinella Pillay; Food & Beverage Duty Manager Puroshini Naidoo; Director of Gaming Shane Collinson; Brand Manager Sandile Xolo and VIP Ambassador Sathee Govender. |
He celebrated his long and varied life which includes once owning a top fashion company, breeding racehorses, starting a charity milk fund and being a leading Communist, at a special function at his favourite relaxation spot – the gaming floor of the Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World. The centenarian was surrounded by family and friends visiting from his homeland of Croatia, as well as Greece and Dubai.
Mr Miosic of Manor Gardens was born in Brist, a small village in Dalmatia on the Adriatic Coast of Croatia. When the region was affected by the World War I, he fled by boat in 1928 to join friends and relatives already in South Africa.
Mr Miosic’s life reads like a Hollywood film: expatriation from Croatia, followed by big business successes in South Africa, four engagements, one marriage and one divorce.
He still drives around Durban on his own, eats healthily, and makes regular trips to his local casino “to keep my mind active”. With a mischievous smile, he added he smoked more than he should and was working on giving up the habit.
A peek into his treasure trove of memories reveals a colourful history captured in numerous newspaper clippings and photos.
In Durban after moving from Krugersdrop, Johannesburg, Mr Miosic became the owner and director of Limaco Modes, a Saville Street textile company which grew from small beginnings into one of the top women’s fashion manufacturers in Natal. It employed 240 people and serviced the major retail giants.
In 1982 Mr Miosic challenged others in the clothing industry to donate money to the Daily News Milk Fund which supplies milk to undernourished children. His pledge of R500 a month was quickly followed by donations of between R30 and R50 a month from others in the industry.
He was a personal friend of Joe Slovo, long-time leader of the South African Communist Party and organised the first communist cell in Johannesburg.
He was also an avid horse breeder. His best known stallion Swift Call is recognised as one of the most talented horses in South Africa’s race history. Champion jockey Michael “Muis” Roberts raced to victory six times on Swift Call between 1982 and 1985.
Mr Miosic’s big heart also saw him at the centre of several heartwarming stories related to his homeland: the refurbishment of a dilapidated church in Croatia which went on to be recognised as a registered National Monument protected by UNICEF; and food and clothing supplies donated to the crew of a Yugoslavian vessel that caught fire several years ago.
The centenerian’s endearing story came to light when an employee of Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World spotted him regularly on the casino floor, trying his hand at table games like Poker and Blackjack.
Close friend Ivanka Reynolds said, “Being at Suncoast Casino is his favourite pastime. At his age he loves how people there pay him so much attention. His mind is kept so sharp because he uses brain techniques and strategy to minimise his losses and to have a great time playing.”
To celebrate his big day family and friends booked a private dining area at the casino complex’s Havana Grill for a party with 24 close friends and family on the night of his birthday.
Reynolds said, “He is a very important man in many people’s lives, so there were visitors from many countries coming together to celebrate his great life.”
SUNCOAST also provided a huge chocolate cake and birthday card, a stay for him in a premiere suite at the Suncoast Hotel and R10,000 in table chips for him to indulge his favourite pastime.
His friends arranged a special DVD slideshow with highlights of his life, set against a soundtrack of Edith Piaf’s No Regrets and Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
“Because that,” said Reynolds, “is exactly how Ivan Miosic has chosen to live his life. He always says if the good Lord gave him the chance to live his life again, there is nothing at all he would change. He has no regrets.”