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Beloved Simon 'Daddy' Gqubule honoured for his contribution to education.
He is known for his love and passion for education as well as his commitment to the academic develop ment of children In his community.
He Is a well respected and Influential figure in his community,church and academic circles and is known for being a well of knowl edge easily accessible for all to drink from. Even In retirement, Rev Dr Simon Gqubule, 86, still gives of his time every Saturday to give matrlcs a better chance at tackling the all-important matric final exams.
That was why everybody who knew him and his work did not shy away from the call to send count less SMS votes for him to be the city's top citizen. Gqubule, affectionately known as Daddy, was named the Herald GM Citizen of the Year at a glitzy function at the Athenaeum on Friday night.
Those whose lives he has touched feel that not only does he deserve the coveted title, but that the accolade was long overdue as his footprint has been across Nel son Mandela Bay for years.
His wish Is to have all the resources - financial and otherwise - to ensure that every school has a functioning library and that all teachers currently In the system get the much-needed training to deliver quality education.
Right now, however, he would be happy with enough sponsorship to keep his llitha Lemfundo Educa tional Enhancement Centre, which he founded In 2007, running even when he is no longer around.
"Old as I am, there is still so much I would like to do for the city's children, especially those in township schools where opportunity and resources are a big chal lenge. We have very bright young people who have the brains, but who just need the right language to articulate themselves, as well as opportunities to be the best they can be," he said.
"I would like to use this title to secure sponsorship that will result in consistent donations that will help this very important organisa tion to survive. We would not want something that will fizzle out If, say,
I were to kick the bucket tomorrow. I would like to leave a lasting legacy. "Gqubule Is a former English and theology teacher, who has spent most of his retirement years back In the classroom helping high school pupils with their studies.
He is an alumnus of Fort Hare and Rhodes universities and was the first black person to get a doc torate from the latter Institution. He is a great leader and just a well of information.
In his quest for pupils' academic development, Gqubule even goes the extra mile of trying to secure matriculants spots In tertiary Insti tutions and going as far as paying the necessary entrance fees.
Rhodes University social sciences student Siphokazi Gam bushe, who went through the Illtha programme as a matric pupil In 2009, said she still turned to "Daddy" for help even In her fifth year of university study.
"I can honestly and truly say that without him, I would not be where I am today. He took Interest not only in my studies, but me as a person and treated me as his own child. My family was not very supportive of my decision to go to Rhodes and Daddy helped me apply and paid the R1 500 acceptance fee needed," she said.
"He has been my emotional pillar and we still visit each other. When I'm home for the holidays, I see him and also when he comes to Rhodes every year during orientation. "He Is very deserving of this award and I'm surprised It Is only happening now."
Gqubule not only has a street, in which he lives, named after his family, but the Dr Simon Gqubule Methodist Church in Kwamagxaki Is also named after him.
When the competition launched, with Gqubule named as one of the five finalists, the congregation was called to action to vote for their beloved minister.
A lay preacher at the church Stala Ben, 62, who has known Gqubule for at least 14 years, lauded the re-tired teacher as deserving of the award because of his pro-educa tion stance. "He has dedicated his time and resources to teach matrics , some of whom are now at various univer sities like Rhodes and Nelson Man dela Metropolitan University through bursaries he helped them secure," he said. "He Is someone who loves to see people go on to greater heights and Is not stingy with his time and pocket. He Is very involved in the schooling circles, in the church and community In gen eral and Is among those working to wards the resurrection of the Healdtown High School.
"That is why I did not spare any expense in voting for him."
Ngcana Gwam, 67, of Kwamagxaki, described Gqubule as a very pleasant and approachable man who "genuinely cares about people around him". "He is a very transparent man and a great leader. He Is just a well of information and he Is not afraid to share that. He is a great family man and people's person whose presence Is a gift to many,"he said.
By Zandile Mbabela
Article Source: The Herald