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Obituary

ESMAIL M. BAVASAH (published on March 10, 2010)



ESMAIL M. BAVASAH 1917 - 2010 Peacefully, and with great courage, Esmail passed away on March 6, 2010 at the St. Boniface Hospital. He was 92 and one half years of age. Esmail is survived by his loving wife, Lorraine; daughter Nazli Manners (Tony), son Shaheen, both of London, England; son Anthony of Vancouver; granddaughters Anne-Marie Abrahams (Michael), London, and Nadya, Vancouver, and her mother Gerda Bavasah. Also Lorraine's family: Jody Reaburn (Steve) and Jennifer, David and Kevin; son Jeff Woods (Jackie) and Darryl, Darcy Robinson and Lisa Groen. His memory will also be cherished by his niece and nephews in Cape Town, South Africa, Miriam, Rustum, Hassan, Yusef, and Farid and their families; Kemal and family, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. They will always feel the warmth he gave them with his love and understanding; feel pride in his accomplishments, and will always feel fortunate that he was their Uncle. He was predeceased by spouses Caroline Dunston and Ruth Pienaar. Esmail was an exceptional man, an immaculate dresser, always on the go. He had boundless energy and enthusiasm. His passions were many, sports, education, travel, politics, people, his religion. He enjoyed life to the fullest, thought the best of everyone, and always had a kind word to share, a story to tell. Growing up in District 6, Cape Town, he was part of an extraordinary generation that fought hard to change things for the better. He was an active member of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. He was instrumental in forming a Non-White Sports League and became the President of the South Africa School Sports Union. He strongly believed that students should compete on a level of ability, not colour. In the classroom, he insisted that non-white students have the same quality of education as the white students. He was an outstanding cricket player belonging to the Roslyn Cricket and Rugby Clubs in District 6. He represented and played for the Rocklands Club also. In 1965 he and his family arrived in Manitoba where he had secured a teaching position with the Winnipeg School Division #1. He became an immensely popular English teacher, much loved and respected by his students. Long before the philosophy of co-curricular activity became fashionable, Esmail practiced it without fanfare. A valued part of his career at St. John's was being the school Social Convener, and this he carried off with staff appreciation and aplomb. He was often responsible for the positive moral among the staff. He was a very successful Rugby coach at St. John's High where he taught for 16 years. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Rugby Union, and was fond of informing everyone, My name is on the plaque in the club house . As President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Winnipeg he travelled far and wide to help Canadians understand the atrocities and injustices of that system. His political and social conscience was tempered by the terrible experiences in South Africa. He valued a Universal Health Care System and was quick to join the NDP. He actively supported the Party for the rest of his life. Esmail had an insatiable appetite for education. He earned a B.Ed in 1970 and an M.Ed in 1974, both from the University of Manitoba. He always had strong, well thought out opinions, and had the ability to express himself on any topic at any time. He and Lorraine enjoyed 16 years together, travelling to distant lands, meeting wonderful people along the way. He was a true gentleman; Esmail was the epitome of that early understanding of the word gentleman - a dignified, learned, and unassuming man who yearned for a world other than the one that is. Esmail will be buried by Islamic Rites on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at Glen Lawn Memorial Gardens. A celebration of Esmail's life will be held on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at Glen Lawn Funeral Home, 455 Lagimodiere Blvd. If friends so desire, donations may be made in Esmail's name to the Human Rights Museum. I Dream a World I dream a world where man, No other will scorn, Where love will bless the earth And peace its paths adorn. I dream a world where all Will know sweet freedom's way, Where greed no longer saps the soul Nor avarice blights our day. A world I dream where black or white, Whatever race you be, Will share the bounties of the earth And every man is free, Where wretchedness will hang its head, And joy, like a pearl, Attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream --- Our world! - Langston Hughes 586-8044


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