Heather pupils will miss ‘mom’

2017-07-26 13:50
Heather Secondary School teacher Mala Nundkoomar, who died suddenly on Sunday.

Heather Secondary School teacher Mala Nundkoomar, who died suddenly on Sunday. (Facebook)

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Colleagues, family, friends and both former and current pupils are struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of a beloved local teacher Mala Nundkoomar.

Usually referred to as “mom” by her pupils, Nundkoomar (52) dedicated 27 years of her life to teaching Heather Secondary School pupils.

The well-known and respected biology teacher suffered a sudden heart attack while travelling home from Johannesburg last weekend — a day before she was due to return to school for the new term.

Principal of Heather Secondary School Darrel John said the first day was devastating for teachers and pupils who were shocked at the news of Nundkoomar’s death.

John described Nundkoomar as an “always bubbly person who loved to talk and laugh with everyone”.

“She was very proud of her two daughters, Bhavta and Sherishka, and we would often find ourselves stopping our work to see the pictures of her children on her phone.

“They were her pride and joy and the birth of her grandchild brought even more joy into her life,” John said.

He said she was a “sterling” teacher and lifelong scholar who was always eager to help pupils by hosting extra lessons during the lunch breaks or holidays.

John said Nundkoomar would often volunteer for the school’s awards functions, sports coaching, Eco-Club and was also the prefect teacher.

She also started the school newsletter to highlight pupils’ achievements.

“She would even financially assist pupils, whether it was paying for their ticket to the matric ball or even providing a dress to a pupil.

“It is no wonder that Mala was such a bubbly and happy person with the life she was leading,” he said.

He said the teachers and pupils took comfort in knowing that Nundkoomar would live on in their memories and through the lives of the pupils she taught.

Social media was abuzz on Sunday evening when news of the well-known teacher’s death was announced. Soon after, tributes filtered through on social media pages.

“No books, libraries or articles can teach me what you taught me in those five years. There’s no description for how a teacher and learner bond transformed into a mother and daughter bond ...

“One thing I do know, you left a legacy behind, an imprint in the teachings and you gave me and I will carry it with me always,” wrote former pupil Lucelle Naidoo.

Colleague and fellow teacher at Heather Secondary School Anjana Ganess said that Nundkoomar was “more than just a friend, colleague or work mate”.

“You were a sister to me, a bigger sister, someone I was able to talk to and share so much with,” wrote Ganess.

“You were a mother figure to all of us and life just won’t be the same without you. Your teachings and strength will now be our motivation to go on and do better and treat everyone humbly and with respect like you always did,” wrote Ramona Govender.

The Class of 2016 at Heather Secondary created a photo-montage dedicated to Nundkoomar which can be viewed on the school’s Facebook page.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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