Mr Pravin Gopaul (Head of Department: Siphesihle Secondary)


  • In my reserved opinion, the mark of a man lies in the fact that he must not carelessly forget and deliberately ignore his “roots.”
  • The author wholeheartedly acknowledges and engulfs this very opinion in the various exuberant and compassionate scenarios that unfold throughout the book.
  • ‘BP’ (affectionately known) has absorbingly captured the grievious injustices of the past and spells out how these  “grievious injustices” can be beaten.
  • In doing so, ‘BP’ has illustrated that it does not require miracles, magic or a supernatural suspension of the laws of physics to overcome vindictive obstacles in life, but that all it requires, is human brain power, co-operation, reasoning, human ingenuity and compassion.
  • Therefore I applaud ‘BP’ when he candidly writes about the human spirit of educators and the “bloody-minded determination” not to let the universe treat us like an irritating virus that flaunts the laws of entropy.
  • It is a wonderful co-incidence that ‘BP’ launches his book in the year that commemorates the 150th year of the arrival of Indians to South Africa.  This is definitely a cause for celebration and acknowledgement.  Having arrived largely as units of labour under conditions of servitude, this minority Indian community has picked itself up by virtue of the many sacrifices and long and often bitter struggles waged in the face of adversities.
  • This has unassumingly yet, extraordinarily manifested itself into the lives and challenges of the humble community of Buffelsdale.  ‘BP’ poignantly captures the “sacrifices and bitter struggles” of this community and communicates it in a brisk narrative which takes an interesting look at what it means to the different and “having an enquiring mind” in an otherwise passive community.
  • ‘BP’ is brilliant at “ pricking the conscience” of socialites and social cues and expresses himself nonchalantly in an extremely satisfying rhetoric of personal victories over “grievious injustices.”
  • ‘BP’s unique style of writing offers the reader the wisdom to unlocking the door from pedestrian literature.  His diligent capability to use his expertise to take the reader from the beginning to the end of a scene, is like taking the reader from the voracious pit of a volcano to the overwhelming crescendo of lava that emits on explosion.  This is indeed “groundbreaking” work (pun intended!).
  • The common sense theme of the book tackles some of life’s most important questions in terms of logic, reasonableness, ethics, honesty and politics.  ‘BP’s use of “tall stories”, “character jokes” and “classic insights” into the life and times of his numerous encounters and “glorious” experiences with politics and education, makes for a captivating read and will keep you pondering for ages.
  • After reading “When The Chalk Is Down”, I feel that I have emerged from being in the company of something really beautiful and sacred and feel that I have been transformed.
  • My unbequitious conclusion is that this book is a “testament to the human spirit.”

AND to BP, your kindheartedness and strong-willed character leads me to express that you are :-

A  “bro” among the boys,

A  “master” at your work  and

A  “titan” when it matters.

May you fly with the force of a Rainbow.

Little Master