Volume 9 - Issue 10
October 2011
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Posted on : Oct 18, 2011


Tribute to Victor Kanu by kalyan ray


Our dear brother Victor Kanu passed away in the morning of Saturday, 3 September at a hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, following a massive heart attack. He had travelled to Sierra Leone to oversee the construction of a Sai Centre at Yonibana, his native village some three hours drive from Freetown and was on his way back to Zambia. For over three decades now, brother Victor had dedicated every day of his life to the mission of his beloved Sai. His departure from the earthly sojourn brings to a close a grand chapter of Swami's mission.

The loss of Victor Kanu is irreparable to countless number of his colleagues, friends and admirers in Africa and around the world.   By Swami's immense grace, I had many opportunities over the years of enjoying his loving and uplifting company and receiving his sage-like wise counsel while we travelled together attending meetings, workshops and conferences in Africa, Europe, North America and above all in Prasanthi Nilayam. He was known for his roaring voice in meetings, which he affectionately called the lion's roar from Kilimanjaro! But I will always cherish his soft, sweet voice of reflection and the pearls of wisdom borne out of long years of nearness and dearness with the divine and his extraordinary experiences with Swami. The name and image of Victor bring to my mind his unflinching devotion and total surrender to his dearest Lord Sai, his single-minded dedication to Swami's Mission and above all his love, wisdom and courage of conviction which always shone on his face so bright! 


Over the years, Victor had become the face of Africa to Sai devotees the world over. He had a deep and uncanny perception of Africa and its needs. He believed from the bottom of his heart that the foremost need for Africa and its spiritually perceptive people was Swami's Education in Human Values - far more than its material needs. He deeply felt that only through Human Values education a new generation could be raised in Africa who could take this continent out of its perpetual dependence on foreign aid and ubiquitous corruption in public life and lead its people to their high destiny. This deep conviction and his total faith in Swami's command gave birth to the "Miracle School" in Ndola in 1992.  For two decades, Victor and his wife and comrade in arms, Genevieve, gave their everything, nursing and nurturing this institution to its full potential.  By Swami's Grace, Victor was able to be physically present in April this year when the School celebrated its 20th Anniversary with 100 per cent passes and dozens of distinctions every year!  The "Miracle School" has become a shining model which has inspired several other schools in Africa and elsewhere to excel in academic attainment and character development!  

His deep conviction that human values are key to making a new man and a new society and his extraordinary persuasive skills convinced the United Nations to start in 2001 a Human Values based education programme for resource conservation in Africa. Victor, his wife and the trainers of the African Institute of Sathya Sai Education worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to introduce Human values in public school curriculum in fourteen African countries through the UN programme. Ten years on, the programme that Victor started has spread beyond the shores of Africa to Asia and Latin America. 

To those of us in the International Education Committee, Victor had effortlessly slipped into the role of our conscience keeper! He was ever alert to see that the vagaries of our minds do not ensnare us too much with ‘modern’ educational theories and techniques, lest we stray away from the narrow and straight path of Sathya Sai Education, which Swami had bestowed on us through his pristine spiritual teachings!  He would always be the first to remind us that Sathya Sai Education was all about transformation and not of more information. The signal contribution of our dear brother Victor in the development of the comprehensive educational guidelines for Sai schools and institutes would never be forgotten. Victor again led the way in implementing the guidelines by travelling extensively throughout Africa, ever forgetful of his failing health and advanced age. Our dear Victor, you will be sorely missed and ever remembered by your loving brothers and sisters in the Education Committee!

Victor was a colossus among men! His scholarship, erudition, wisdom, presence of mind and eloquence - his sheer presence - made him a formidable personality. With unflinching faith in Bhagavan, he directed these exceptional abilities in a single-minded manner to Bhagavan's mission.  He thus became an Ideal Sai Leader!  Those of us who came to know him would always feel the vacuum caused by his absence and we know that it will always be difficult to fill. Yet, we know that Swami's divine mission never stops and will continue only from strength to strength. Swami will always provide! Till the end, Victor himself remained firm in this conviction. Let us be inspired by the example that Victor has set for us! Let each of us rise to the occasion! This is the best tribute we can give to Victor!

Let us all pray to our dear Lord Sai that Brother Victor rests in eternal peace at the Lotus Feet. He lived and died for his beloved Swami's Mission and will now live with Him forever!

- Kalyan Ray
  Chairman, Education Committee
  Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation

 - Radio Sai team 

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