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By Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie

Satish Dhupelia was born on 19 November 1954, the son of Shashikant and Sita Dhupelia. He died at the age of 66 after three weeks of severe illness. He has suffered from pulmonary fibrosis for many years but three weeks ago he contracted pneumonia. While in hospital, he picked up a superbug which led to a second admission. During this second visit, he picked up Covid-19. He was being treated for Covid-19 and died of a massive heart attack on 22 November 2020.

The family were shocked because the end came rather suddenly and he was the anchor of the Dhupelia family. He is survived by his two sisters Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie and Kirti Menon; his children Misha, Shashika and Kabir; his brother in-laws, Rajend Mesthrie and Sunil Menon, and his nieces, Sunita and Sapna.

Satish was trained as a teacher and was very popular at Gandhi Desai School and Clairwood High. He became interested in photography and resigned from teaching to pursue a career in photography. During the transition to democracy, he produced a number of newsclips for international companies. He was a well sought-after wedding photographer always experimenting with new technology.

Satish was a member of a number of groups all of them in a voluntary capacity. He was a trustee of Phoenix Settlement, the farm started by his great-grandfather Mahatma Gandhi. He also served on the management committee of the Gandhi Development Trust which was started by his aunt Ela Gandhi. He took the lead in running the Gandhi Development Outreach Programme by supplying hampers to many informal settlements and the poor. He believed in getting to know those whom he helped. He was also a member of the Sydenham/Sherwood Community Police Forum, a member of the Durban Amphitheatre Market Committee, a Board Member of the Clare Estate Crematorium and Board Member of the 1860 Heritage Centre. He was particularly keen that the latter transform itself from an ethnic museum to one that spoke about and to all South Africans. As board member, he often took groups of children on a tour of the museum. He also chaired numerous conversations that were held at the centre. While others talk and write about Gandhi’s teachings, Satish lived his great-grandfather’s message.

The car guards in Sydenham all knew Satish well and he often gave them cash and food. They knew his name and he their names and life stories. A keen animal lover, he was known to pick up lost and wounded animals and take them to shelters and the veterinary clinics. The love of his life was his pit bull/bull terrier, Bella. She will be bereft without him.

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