Cellphone video footage of emotional pupils from Kwa-Komani Comprehensive School in Queenstown bidding farewell to their principal, Victor Pakade, has been viewed by more than 250000 people online.
The two-minute video posted on Facebook last Friday starts off with a Grade 12 pupil praising the principal and is followed by footage of pupils weeping as they wait their turn to hug and shake Pakade’s hand for the last time.
The praise singer pupil can be heard saying: “What will become of us without you,” as she trembles with emotion.
Speaking to Dispatch this week, Pakade, who had been at the school for 10 years, said he was unaware of the impact he had had on the pupils until their reaction when he informed them he was leaving.
Pakade said he was merely doing what he would have done for his own children.
“I treat them as my own, by ensuring that I understand each and every one of them and once I understand them I give them my trust,” he said.
Pakade’s last day at Kwa-Komani was on Friday and he started his new position on Monday as the principal of Ebenezer Majombozi High School in East London.
Going through the events in the lead-up to the footage being taken, Pakade said he had been delivering a message to staff and pupils during his last assembly.
At the end of the assembly the pupils stood in a line to shake his hand.
“I was shocked, in a good way, when I saw how the pupils reacted. I did not know I meant so much to them,” he said.
The father of five, who has been a teacher for 10 years and a principal for 19, said he was unaware the footage had been posted online.
“I was only informed the next day when someone sent me a screen grab of the post.”
Pakade said since the video was posted he has been contacted by people from the United Kingdom and Ireland wanting to know his secret.
“I do not really have a secret, all I can say is that I am very passionate about my work and I love children.
“I instil discipline, acknowledge good behaviour and I make a noise when my children have achieved,” said Pakade.
School photographer Clayton Smith, who captured the footage on his cellphone, said his intention was to show others what Pakade meant to his pupils.
“I work at various schools, and never have I seen pupils being so fond of their principal,” said Smith. — firstname.lastname@example.org