A retired South African Indian educationist, who went back to college to complete his qualifications at the age of 55, has been honoured for a lifetime of service.
Kunwar Singh (80), who is better known across the country by his nickname Kokkie, received the annual award titled 'To Honour Those Who Serve', made by the Shree Bharat Sharda Mandir.
Singh explained how he had been teaching for many years already with a Junior Certificate teaching qualification when he joined his son and nephews at the Transvaal College of Education for Indians here to gain a higher diploma.
"I had to upgrade myself because I would never have got a promotion otherwise," Singh said.
"I also succeeded in getting 30 female teachers to join me in getting a better qualification at the Johannesburg College of Education," he said.
Singh was particularly thrilled when the Rector called him in to say that despite 170 young people being at the College, the staff had decided to give him the Leadership Award for changing the College in the two years that he was there, he said.
"Singh has received so many accolades from many organisations that he is clearly a role model for all of us," said Rafique Jajbhay of the School as he introduced Singh.
Singh dedicated his award to the women who had stood behind the successes of many men, in his case his wife and mother, as he requested a popular Hindi song dedicated to mothers to be played during the proceedings.
Since his retirement from teaching, Singh has been very active in continuing his involvement in sport, cultural and religious affairs for many decades.
He was instrumental in founding the Hindu Coordinating Council more than 20 years ago.
The organisation hosts the highly successful Shivarathri Yatra and Diwali Festival in the mainly Indian suburb of Lenasia each year.