THE funeral of a popular former Southampton teacher who died in a car accident was taking place today.

Dasingee Francis, known as Des, pictured, died while driving in Yorkshire in December. His funeral will take place at Southampton Crematorium from 3pm. The 76-year-old grandfather of four, who lived in Southcliff Road, Southampton, worked at St Denys and Tanner’s Brook schools before becoming a supply teacher in the city.

He began his teaching career in South Africa and became involved in the anti-apartheid movement.

Mr Francis, who was born in the Malay Camp slum of Johannesburg, was a member of the SA Indian Congress, a group affiliated with the African National Congress – the party led by Nelson Mandela.

He also met the former South African president, who died in December, twice during his lifetime.

Mr Francis was put on a “banned” list of people dangerous to the Government after officials discovered a press on which he had been printing anti-Government leaflets.

He began teaching in neighbouring Zambia where he met his wife Mary, who was originally from Southampton. Along with Mary’s daughter Pippa, the couple went on to have two sons Shunmugum and Krishna.

They moved back to Southampton where Mr Francis continued his teaching career before retiring.