Almost every morning, pensioner, community and cultural activist, Selvie Kuppusamy immerses herself in the selfless service of others at the RK Khan Hospital, guided by her strong moral conviction, upbringing and divine powers of Lord Siva.
Former president and father of the nation, Nelson Mandela once said ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart’.
These profound words ring true for the inspirational Kuppusamy (70), who was recently honoured with a prestigious Women of the Year Award from the Tamil Women’s Progressive Movement.
Kuppusamy admitted that this amazing achievement came as a surprise to her because even though she does a lot for her community, she often shies away from the spotlight.
Her love for the Tamil language and culture began at the tender age of six when she attended Tamil classes under the tutelage of Mr Padayachee and Mr Shunmugam.
At 12-years-old, she was selected by Mr NC Naidoo to be part of his troupe that toured across the then Union of South Africa.
She also performed in various shows. When her family moved to Croftdene in Chatsworth, she joined the Shree Vishnu Magazine and assisted Mr and Mrs Chinappen in the Tamil School that they ran from home.
When the Tamil Advancement Society was founded in 1967, Kuppusamy joined and still serves as a devoted member assisting in the promotion of culture.
She was an active participant in various Eisteddfods and has trained many candidates, who have since become esteemed members of the Tamil community.
She joined the Natal Tamil Vedic Society and was appointed as assistant secretary for the southern region and later served as secretary of the organisation. She has lent her assistance to various cultural groups in assisting them with song and dance.
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The phenomenal woman was a seamstress by profession and is also skilled in the art of decor, floral arrangements and bridal dresses.
She is also a member of the Railway Barracks Remembrance Association and serves on the event planning sub-committee.
Kuppusamy is not only passionate in serving in the promotion of her culture, but she is also passionate about serving her community. She is a member of the Diabetes Action Team and is a dedicated volunteer at the RK Khan Hospital, which gives her great pleasure.
In addition, she was also a member of the QLTC committee in Seven Hills and assisted in their sports and arts and culture programme.
Ms Kuppusamy comes from a very cultured and close knit family of 12 children, and all her siblings give back to the community because they take pride in helping others.
Helping people and giving back is something that was instilled in them by their parents. “I thank God for giving me good health so I can do good deeds as well as my parents for teaching my siblings and I good morals and teaching us to serve humanity and give to others”, she proudly said.
There are many people, who supported her through her journey and helped her become the woman she is today. In light of this, she wishes to thank each and every person who got her to this point.
“I believe that when you are serving your community, you are serving God, and I serve not only the Tamil community, but all communities that require my assistance,” she added.
She enjoys traveling and in her spare time, she loves to sew and ensure her house is clean and tidy.
Ms Kuppusamy, who has contributed immensely to her community, said that she does not see herself stopping anytime soon. She added that even her age will not stop her from giving back and helping people in need.