I am sorry to hear about the death of Haroon Gafur, a former Corentyne High School teacher, and later a Chartered Accountant, and the head of HG Professional Corporation in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He was also a graduate of the University of Guyana, where he specialized in Business.
I knew Haroon since 1958 when he was in the First or Second Standard at St. Patrick’s Anglican School in Rose Hall, Canje. I was in the Sixth Standard at the time, preparing for the Primary School Certificate Examinations. Haroon’s twin sisters, Zamini and Zahora, were also in my class, both brilliant students and wizards in Arithmetic. Since the Sixth Standard was kept back for an extra hour every afternoon for intense preparation for the Certificate Examinations, Haroon used to wait in a vacant adjacent classroom for his sisters to take him home. He was often seen holding on to his small view-master, a toy that allowed him to view single-frame scenes from films.
Haroon was in due course enrolled in the Scholarship class, which the Headmaster Mr. H. C. Scarder very rigorously prepared for the Government County Scholarship Examinations. On the basis of these examinations, very few scholarships were awarded to each of the three Counties, and only to the top candidates of each county. Haroon won one of these scholarships that allowed him to attend Queens College free of charge for seven years (1960-1967). After completing his GCE “O” Level, he took Spanish, French, and Latin at the GCE “A” Level.
In 1967, fresh from Queens College, Haroon joined the staff at Corentyne High School (CHS), where he taught English and Latin. In the staff room his desk was next to mine. One of the very first things I asked him was about his view-master. That brought a broad smile. Of course, he remembered!
Haroon really loved teaching at CHS. Who didn’t? He blended very nicely with the staff and had a knack for telling jokes. It was a mystery to me from where he got his jokes. He was with us for three years. In 1970 he left for the University of Guyana (UG) on a Bookers’ scholarship. While he was a student at UG, he did not forget us, for during his breaks he would come and visit us, join us for a social drink, and entertain us with his wit and humorous anecdotes. He was an outstanding scholar.
In the photograph above Mr. Haroon Gafur is standing 4th from right with members of the Toronto Chapter of Queen’s College Old Boys.