Nicolò Rocco Maria Giuricich
(Founder of Giuricich Bros)
Date of birth: 16 August 1910
Place of birth: Lussinpiccolo (Istria)
Passed away: Johannesburg, 9 September 2004
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At the age of 16 Nicolò Giuricich left his place of birth Lussinpiccolo with his father, Matteo Giuricich to go the United States of America via Panama to look for work.
As it was during the years of the great depression, they struggled to find employment as carpenters, nevertheless, through tenacity and determination managed to survive. Nicolò Giuricich enrolled at the “Stuyvesant College” where he learnt English and his formal education as a carpenter and joiner.
World War II
In 1935 World War II was becoming a reality and Nicolò decided to immigrate to South Africa as he had heard that there were opportunities of employment especially on the gold mines. He arrived in Cape Town on 13 June 1935 and made his way to Johannesburg where he had contacts with other Italians and opportunities for employment, his brothers Simon and Cesare joined him a year later.
Being Italian and living in a foreign country at the outbreak of World War II, Nicolò together with his father and his brothers were supposed to be interned as prisoners of war (POW) but thanks to the intervention of Monsignor Whelan they were not sent to the POW camp. They were given the task of going to Kroonstad to build aeroplane hangars for the air force as well as other government buildings.
During this period, Nicolò met Claudia Troianich (who was also originally from Lussinpiccolo) and they were married in 1942. They had a family of nine children. Claudia, with her involvement in the Italian community, was honoured with the title of Cavaliere della Repubblicia Italiana in June 1984.
A Passion for Teaching
In 1940 after resigning from a local building company, Nicolò and his father decided to start their own enterprise and together with his younger brothers Giuricich Bros (Pty) Limited was born. The new company was instrumental in employing many co-nationals offering employment and opportunities for training and development. Nicolò had a passion for teaching and helped many previously disadvantaged employees to obtain a trade and up to today some are still employed as skilled artisans by the company and others are independent private subcontractors working not only for Giuricich Bros but also for other major contractors in South Africa.
The year 2004 brought a new chapter into the life of both Giuricich Bros and the 94-year-old Nicolò Giuricich. A new BEE company was formed with Ukhamba Holdings (owning 20%) together with the existing previously disadvantaged employees of Giuricich Bros (owning 6%) of the company.
A few weeks prior to his death, Nicolò witnessed the birth of the new “BEE” Giuricich Bros by being present at the signing of the “Heads of Agreement”. The company now officially trades as Giuricich Bros Construction (Pty) Limited with its BEE partners and the 94-year-old founder’s wish has come true once again.