RETIRED school principal and dedicated leader of the Methodist Church in KwaThema, Springs, Bhekisazi Robert Khanyile, died on July 1 after a short illness at Springs Parkland Life Clinic.
Khanyile was born in Germiston on September 2 1930. His family later relocated to Alberton location. With the establishment of townships by the apartheid government, Khanyile's family was forcibly removed to Thokoza in Ekurhuleni.
Khanyile's early education was obtained in Alberton, Ekurhuleni. He proceeded to Kilnerton Training Institution where he obtained his teacher's certificate. He started teaching at the Methodist School in Payneville, Springs.
He was later appointed principal of Sakhelwe Primary School in KwaThema, where he retired in 1990.
A known philanthropist, Khanyile would never let any of his pupils go hungry. He would provide from his own pocket to ensure that none of his learners went hungry. He would go out of his way to assist pupils to attain their educational goals, even those who were unable to pay for their tertiary education.
He was among the first members of the then Transvaal United African Teachers Association.
Early in his life Khanyile declined to join the famous Manhattan Brothers under Dambuza Mdledle because of his calling as a teacher.
Khanyile's leadership qualities were also acknowledged by his church when he was elected the first layman to serve as the secretary of the Methodist Young Men's Guild in the Eastern Circuit, a position then reserved for ordained church ministers.
He was one of the longest-serving circuit stewards of the Methodist Church.
Khanyile was married to Sarah Baphelile, who died 31 years ago. He is survived by his child Somahle Mavi, three brothers, a sister, grandchildren and several great- grandchildren.
He was buried yesterday.