Oct 11, 2014

Rafiq Khan

Rafiq Khanhttp://guyanachronicle.com/guyanese-broadcasting-giant-rafiq-khan-dies/

Saints Alumnus, Rafiq Ahmad Khan, passed away on Friday, October 10 in Kingston, Jamaica. Saints Alumni worldwide take this opportunity to extend their heartfelt condolences to his family.

His friend, Vibert Lampkin, had this reaction to the news:

Rafiq and I were in the same Form at St. Stanislaus College from September 1947 to June 1949. I had entered Saints in September 1944 as an 11 year old. I was a less than average student and came up through the 'B' Forms. Rafiq was older  and entered Saints a year or so later but he was brilliant and came up through the 'A' forms. He caught up with me in Upper Four A in 1947. At that time I was about middle of the class in Term Tests. Rafiq was one of the people who changed my approach to study. We were preparing for the Oxford & Cambridge G.C.E. (Ordinary) Exam in June 1949. Rafiq entered the form never having placed any other than 1st in Term Tests. I decided to challenge him. I remember well the five Term Tests before that exam. In the first three Term Tests, the order of the first four boys were: Rafiq Khan 1st; Jerome Bacchus 2nd; Marcellus Feilden Singh 3rd; and Vibert Lampkin 4th. In the fourth Term Test before the exam, the order changed - it was Rafiq Khan 1st; Jerome Bacchus 2nd; and Vibert Lampkin 3rd. In the last Term Test before the exam, the order changed again. It was Rafiq Khan 1st; Vibert Lampkin 2nd. Rafiq Khan retained his remarkable standard throughout his high school days. He was not a great mathematician and you would be better in Math and Physics but he would bury you in the other subjects - English Composition & Literature; Latin; French; Geography; Scripture. When the results of the exam were published, there was no big surprise. Twenty five boys wrote the exam. Sixteen of us got distinctions in Scripture and nine got credits. Three boys of the twenty five got two distinctions - Rafiq Khan and Vibert Lampkin got distinctions in Latin and Scripture (and Rafiq was not even a Christian), and Jerome Bacchus got distinctions in Scripture and Physics with Chemistry. Those were not the days of multiple distinctions.

We parted company after the examination as Rafiq went on to a full time job at British Guiana Broadcasting Corporation, later Radio Demerara - indeed he had started reading the News there during his last months at high school. But my then girlfriend Lorna McArthur, now my wife, worked at the Government Information Services and she became closely associated with Rafiq because she was the Schools Broadcast Officer and had to use the premises of Radio Demerara. 

We migrated to Canada in 1967 and lost contact with Rafiq. Indeed I had not met Rafiq face to face after high school while I was still in Guyana. I made contact with Rafiq when someone sent me his Tribute to Hugh Cholmondeley who died in August 2012. That gave me his email address and we started corresponding. I had not even known that after he left Radio Demerara, he was at the United Nations co-ordinating broadcasting in the Caribbean.  

Rafiq visited Canada in September 2013 and I picked him up from his sister's home in Brampton. It was a warm and emotional meeting - we had not met face to face since June 1949, more than 64 years. He, Lorna and I spent a most delightful day. Then he returned in September 2014. Joe and Anne Castanheiro had him in for lunch with us and a few other friends. He told us he was going to Ottawa for a few days and would call when he got back but he did not until the day before he was about to leave when he spoke to Lorna and said: "See you next year".

I shall miss Rafiq. He will forever remain for me the most brilliant student that I rubbed shoulders with in high school and the one who caused me to pull my socks up and condition myself to working hard. 

Requiescat in pace.

Vibert Lampkin

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