DELIVERING a speech inhonour of Professor TWKambule in 1999, former president Thabo Mbeki described the educationist as someone who remained rooted in the heartbeat of human struggle.
"Professor Kambule is one of the rare breed of academics who never allowed apartheid and its Bantu education to get the better of them, who always believed in fighting for change on the education front, even if this meant at great personal cost to himself," Mbeki said at the time.
An apt description of a lifelong teacher, philanthropist and mathematician, who dedicated his life to teaching and pursuing knowledge for the betterment of others.
Kambule passed away last Friday, aged 88, after an illness.
He will always be remembered as a teacher who demystified mathematics for students. His advice to mathematics teachers was simple: "Let the learners love you and they will love maths, you have to be welcome in their class, they must not totolerate you."
For all his tireless efforts, which belied his age, Kambule was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Witwatersrand in 1997 for his devotion to the teaching of maths.
He was also the recipient of the Order of the Baobab for "distinguished service above and beyond the call of duty".
His passing comes at a time when our society is grappling with the reality that there are not many teachers like him anymore.
An unpalatable home truth, however hard to swallow.
Kambule was a teacher's teacher, who inspired others to extraordinary effort.