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With his white board markers, a projector and a box of Smarties, against the backdrop of the picturesque Knysna Lagoon, William Smith demystified maths and science for generations of South Africans. Across the country through the 1990s, he made the subjects accessible to children irrespective of race or class as they watched and learnt from the ground-breaking Learning Channel on SABC 2.

This past Thursday, Smith, who turns 80 years old next month, was bestowed with a national order – the Baobab in Silver – for his contribution towards the country. Photographs of President Cyril Ramaphosa hanging the award around the neck of the man who has become known as the country’s teacher, set off a flurry of nostalgia with thousands of tweets of gratitude being sent out. ….more