Vishnu Naidoo: A school sports icon

Vishnu Naidoo

Unfurling the modest emblem on which is etched School Principal, Vishnu Naidoo unveils a personage which aspires to be recognised as an outstanding student activist, and an instrument of peace, quality education and unity.
In 1987, equipped with a teacher’s qualification from the Springfield College of Education, Naidoo made his dramatic entry into the teaching fraternity which was fraught with crippling hierarchical structures, debilitating autocratic management and suffocating rigidity. These astigmatic approaches in no way deterred him from pursuing his calling. He effectively nullified all these by determining the course he was going to etch and ultimately rose to the position of a school principal.
Naidoo was born on March 27, 1966, in Durban. He originated from humble but very strong beginnings, and as a consequence he attended five primary schools in Chatsworth, namely, Merry Hill, Chatsworth State-Aided, Bayview, Everest and Summit primary schools. He attended Westcliff Secondary and later matriculated from the Phoenix Secondary School.
A holistic developed pupil, Naidoo excelled in athletics, specialising in the 100m and 200m events and featured in the relay teams at all school levels. He was also an outstanding soccer player, who possessed incredible pace and skill which often put him in dominant positions. He played for Daffodils Football Club in the Chatsworth junior league and later joined the juvenile division where he was head hunted by the management of the famous Dimes. (Durban Indian Municipal Employees Society) Football Club.
Whilst at Dimes FC, he was a prolific goal scorer. Prior to his family’s relocation to the Phoenix township in Durban, Naidoo was the highest goal-scorer in the Chatsworth league. In Phoenix, he had a brief spell with Santos FC.
Naidoo’s astute leadership qualities were recognised at a very early age when he was snapped up by community organisations which formed part of the anti-apartheid movement under the guidance of the UDF. He was appointed as the deputy chairperson of the Rockford Social Club at the age of 16and he later became an active member of the Phoenix Child Welfare Society. He served the Phoenix Secondary School as the head prefect in 1983.
In 1984, Naidoo was accepted at the Springfield College of Education to pursue a career in teaching. In his first year, both students and lecturers identified his natural leadership qualities and he was duly elected to serve on the Student Representative Council (SRC). Not surprisingly, he progressed to become the president of the SRC in 1985 and 1986.
Naidoo cut his teeth in political activism in those years whilst working closely with his activist counterparts from the University of Durban-Westville. He led the student boycotts at the Springfield campus and he had been threatened with expulsion in his fight against inequality and oppression.
Naidoo attributes his pertinacious spirit to his late father, Sadha, whom he deeply respected for his vision, patriotism and heroic struggle for our liberation. The beacon in his life, his revered mother, Sindha, whom he regards as a superior being, was responsible for infusing him with compassion, respect for all and moral rectitude. In Part 2 (next week), we will highlight Naidoo’s contribution to school sports, especially table tennis.
Meanwhile, the Sports Veterans’ Association will be hosting a Special Council Meeting on Saturday, June 23, at Allandale Primary School at 2pm. The meeting will focus only in the planning of the Ismail Bhamjee Memorial Lecture.

  AUTHOR
Capital Media Reporter

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