“…Renaming Burton Street after Rev Dr Simon Gqubule is not about trying to wipe away our past. It is about continuing our journey, into the future with the grace, vision, passion for education and zest for life that embodied the man that was Simon Gqubule. He is now part of our history, part of the fabric of our school, our country and our journey…” – Mr Warrick Strachan (Chairman of the Kingswood College Council)
This morning after the Foundation Day Chapel Service presided over by Bishop Freemantle the congregation made their way onto Burton Street where the renaming ceremony took place. Burton Street has been renamed to Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule Avenue.
This special event will go down in our school’s history as a momentous occasion for all that were there to mark this event.
The Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule’s family were in attendance and his daughter, Ms Baba Gqubule ceremoniously cut the ribbon and opened Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule Avenue.
The following quote was given to us by Ms Baba Gqubule on behalf of the family:
“The demeanour of our father, the Rev. Dr. TSN Gqubule, or just Simon or Mfundisi (Teacher) is best described in a poem by Phillip Mc Kenzie titled The Gentle Giant. I quote, “He was the Gentle Giant, His voice was like soft thunder. His hands strong enough to lift up the fallen, yet gentle enough to hold the smallest child. Graceful, kind yet stoic and focused, he powered through life as he did through every project he took on, every book he read and every prayer he sent up to his God. He was a humanist with a love for the classics, the liberal arts, philosophy, theology and loved to know about all forms of human progress. Daddy as everyone called him in the township, had an impish and prankish sense of humour and is known for his surprising and amusing jokes in the family. He was also a haven of warmth and love whenever a family member was hard done by in life and a fountain of strategy and strong support on how to get back on to the saddle after a bad fall. He paid the school fees, he made the calls, he travelled to the graduations and became the arch cheer leader of us all. These days we see him in all our triumphs and we cry out to him in heaven in the heat of life’s crises – we love him in our quieter moments and we are so happy and proud of the legacy he left in our country – that we dare not fail him in our commitment to each other and the meagre contributions that we make to society.”
The renaming of Burton Street to Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule Avenue has a great deal of symbolism behind it. Kingswood is a Methodist school, with Methodist roots and the Chapel is the heart of our school. It is then fitting that the road that runs through our main campus, be named after a distinguished Methodist Presiding Bishop. A person who was also an astute academic who valued and contributed greatly to the education of young people. He championed issues which we also hold dear as a school including diversity, equality, justice and transformation.
A little bit about the Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule:
Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule was on the Kingswood College Council from 2001 to 2011 as the Presiding Bishop’s nominee. Some of the remarkable things that Gqubule achieved in his lifetime amongst others was that:
- He held the National Order of Luthuli in Silver for his contribution to the liberation struggle and the fields of education and religion.
- He was recognized as The Herald GM Citizen of the Year in 2014 for his selfless involvement in the betterment of his community.
- He was awarded the NMMU Council Prestige Award, the distinguished Old Rhodian Award, the Matthew Goniwe Excellence Award, honourary doctorates fr9m UNISA, Rhodes and Fort Hare.
- He was president of the Convocation of Rhodes University for 16 years.