Tribute to Nimal De Kauwe

Tribute to Nimal de Kauwe

Waiting on photo to be forwarded by family

Condolence Messages from Flatters and Friends

  • Chandra, My deepest sympathy – Jeff van den Driesen.
  • Please convey my Deepest Sympathies to Nimal de Kauwe's Family and Friends. Mithrani De Abrew Mahadeva.
  • We bought their house G2 back in 1988. Angela
  • Please pass on my deepest sympathies to the de Kauwe family. Trevor Jayetileke H 2/2.
  • convey my sympathies to Nimal de Kauwe´s family. Raju
  • Sorry to hear the news of Nimal de Kauwe’s demise.

I well remember him as we could see the rear of their Flat from our place.

Nimal always had a smile and was a very cheerful guy. He used to frighten

me by saying that “Ego” will chase me in the night and I fell for the trick, shitting myself every time i had to go on an errand for Dad or Mum after dark.

I can still see Nimal laughing his head off each time I ran when he shouted EGO will get you. I thought this EGO was a monster who would chase me if I dared to run. Good old simple days at the Flats.

Please convey my Sincere Condolences to Nimal’s Family and to Chandra and their Sister (I have forgotten her name) but remember that she was Prettier than her Brothers. I presume Kirthi and their Parents must have passed away by now. They were a very studious Family, especially with Mr. de Kauwe being a teacher At St. Joseph’s College. I well remember him too as he had very thick Eye Brows And a stern look. Lovely Family who was part of “The Flatters Family”

May Nimal RIP. Sincerely, Everard & Dagmar Hoffman

  • My deepest sympathies. Chris Wadasinghe
  • My deepest sympathies to all members of De Kauwe family Still remember the days we played cricket and Nimal was a fast Bowler went and met the family while visiting Uk long years ago had a long chat with Chandra May his Soul Rest In Peace. Lucky Ranchigoda
  • Please do convey my deepest sympathies to the de Kauwe family. Marie Alles
  • To the Entire de Kauwe family and their extended family(ies) Please accept my deepest condolences at the loss of their sibling. It is most unexpected sad news. My prayers are for all of you. May God Bless You All during this difficult time. May Nimal Rest In Peace. Sherin (Haniffa) Davoodbhoy, Block C, 2nd Floor.
  • Sad to hear. Yes they were close neighbours. His younger brother Chandra was around my age. Please convey our deepest sympathies on this sad loss. Neelan Tambimuttu
  • Please convey our condolence to the de Kauwe family. Thanks n regards, Hugho & Susan Wickremaratna
  • Please do convey my deepest sympathies to Chandra and the whole family. Mervyn Mendis
  • Deepest Sympathies to Nimal de Kauwe’s family, from Baratha Mendis and family.
  • Kindly convey my condolences to the family. Girlie
  • Sad to condolences goes out to the family. Tilak Rajapatirana
  • Please my sincere condolences to the family. Rohan Silva
  • The Bhagwandas family offer their Deepest Sympathies to Nimal’s family and the entire de Kauwe family. May his soul rest in peace. Kumar Bhagwandas
  • It is very sad when you hear that old friends have passed away. I used to play with his sister Indra and I imagine you and my brother Joe would have done the same too with Chandra. Please pass on our condolences and tell the family we remember them fondly. Jeanne Dias.
  • Please pass my sincere condolences to the family, Kind regards. Rohan Silva Block 'I'

If you wish to add your condolence message to this page, email it to


IN CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF NIMAL DE KAUWE: 14th August 1944 - 8th March 2020

Nimal (Shelley Nimal Joseph de Kauwe) aged 75, born on 14th August 1944, passed away on Sunday, 8th March 2020 at his home in Kent. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly whilst he was watching his beloved rugby - the France v Scotland match on television.

He was the eldest son of the late Martin (Shelley) de Kauwe and the late Kalyanawathie (Kaly) nee Jayatilaka, both Teachers. He leaves his dearly beloved wife Sagarika nee Ekanayake (Teacher) whom he married 18 years ago, two sisters Indra (Executive Officer retired) and Marcelle (Parent), three brothers Chandra (Internal Auditor retired), Kirti (Artist) and Lalith (Barrister), his cousins and other relatives all over the world, who are in grief at his sudden passing. He was loved by and was immensely proud of all his sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews: Dr. Martin de Kauwe (Senior Lecturer), Chandrika McDonald (Administrator), Rebecca Ross (Civil Servant), Dr. James de Kauwe, Katie de Kauwe (Environmental Solicitor), Ruwan McDonald (Administrator), Lloyd McDonald (Dancer), Shelley McDonald (Actor) and Dr. Christopher de Kauwe (GP).

Nimal was brought up a Catholic and attended the preeminent St Joseph’s College, Colombo, Sri Lanka, that bastion of Catholicism, where his father Martin (Shelley) de Kauwe, taught for 25 years. He was a prefect and represented college at rugby in 1963 and 1964 playing at centre three beside Brian Koelmeyer and Neville Perera (captain).

He resided in the Bambalapitiya flats until 1966 when he emigrated to the UK with his family.

As a Research and Development Engineer at British Gas in the 1970’s and 1980’s he had to endure appalling racism at work. Despite his many sufferings he was possessed of exceptional qualities. He was caring, compassionate, gentle, generous, kind hearted with immense integrity. Throughout his life he supported whoever was in need. He was a Good Samaritan and was passionate about social justice being strongly opposed to all forms of discrimination.

Nimal was a role model for his siblings, taking over from our parents and leading by example. He was highly principled, extremely kind and helpful to all. As his nieces and nephews grew up, he similarly showed his love for them, by being a fun-loving uncle to them all. Everyone will remember Nimal for being a very intelligent and helpful person, who wouldn’t refuse to do anything for anyone.

His brother Kirti, who was stricken with polio, was the greatest beneficiary of his immeasurable sacrifice. He was devoted to Kirti and said to others that he would help fulfil Kirti’s every want until the end. For many years, he remained a bachelor, putting Kirti’s needs before his own happiness and fulfilment. Kirti shares the following anecdote:

“He represented his school St. Joseph’s in rugger. When he represented the Bambalapitiya flats at rugger, I recall with great pleasure an incident where he encountered a thug in the opposing team who opted to play foul instead of the ball. He came crashing into Aiyya instead of going for the ball and the next thing that happened, was that Aiyya was grappling with him, and threw him onto his back to the great hilarity of the onlookers. My estimation of him went rocketing sky high after this incident, as it showed that he could handle himself so well physically. Previously people thought he was a polite person with spectacles and a joker but did not expect him to be someone who could stand up for himself in this way. Just like our other hero, the man of principle, our dear father - Aiyya was a 'Greek colossus' who dwarfed those who dared to try and tarnish his achievements.”

“The most memorable years I spent with him were during our apprenticeship. We used to play rugger together and one unforgettable match was when I played against him on the flats quadrangle. He played for the flats whilst I played for Arethusa Lane and the crowd that thronged the park that evening was larger than a CR vs Havies match! We didn’t care who won or lost but all the Burgher Bits who came to watch the match was enough reward for us.

We went to Nuwara Eliya together on motorcycles with him borrowing his Uncle Milroy’s bike which had not been in operation for years. Naturally, the bike broke down and it had to be sent to Colombo by train and Nimal seated on the bike in the goods compartment and refused to buy a ticket since he was on his own bike which was paid for. At the end the guard had to give into him.”

Another childhood friend of his, Hilary White, had this to share:

“Nimal was also a good rugby player and my memory of him was of a deceptive and hard running inside three quarter. He was very pleased when he was selected for the St. Joseph’s College First XV. He proudly showed me his blue and white striped jersey and I duly watched him play a few games. He later told me during one of our telephone conversations that he had been badly injured in one of the games (even naming the opposing perpetrator and school) and that the said injury had affected him throughout his life.

When the Jesuit chapel at Sagara Road was opened in the late 1950s, a group of us were persuaded to become altar servers. Apart from Nimal and I, Nihal Ranchigoda, whose uncle Father Buyzer was a priest at the chapel, Patrick de Zilwa, Nimal’s close friend and classmate and Darrel Udalagama a classmate of mine who continued his contact with Nimal when he lived in the UK, became altar servers. Learning prayers in Latin, ringing the Mass bells properly without unnecessary enthusiasm and not having a swig of the Mass wine were some of the challenges we had to overcome.

Our next foray together was into the music field with the group known as The Diamonds. Patrick, Nimal, Darrel and I, by dint of hard work had acquired ukuleles and were joined occasionally by Jackie Silva on the drums/bongoes. We sang at various school shows and even on Radio Ceylon Housewife’s Choice, where Nimal, although he forever vehemently denied it, forgot the words of his designated song. The Diamonds also started a riot among female fans at the Moratuwa Town Hall with our music and that particular night was our last gig.

Our boyhood dream was to eventually acquire guitars and follow the pathway and success of the Beatles but time, money, migration and life put paid to that. However, the memory of singing Kingston Trio songs such as Tom Dooley and Sloop John B with the Diamonds still lingers.”

“Nimal made friends for life. He was a very great reader, a deep thinker and read voraciously, a great social justice advocate passionately concerned about justice for the under-privileged.

He would discuss any subject at any time and would spend hours with his close friends discussing the relevant topics of the day whether it was politics in SL, UK, USA, Europe or wherever. His incisive comments on politics and other subjects were extremely accurate and showed his knowledge of all these subjects.

He was passionate about sport having played rugby at SJC. He could talk about any sport, cricket and rugby being his favourites.
He hated racism and the racist attitudes prevailing in many countries in the world including Sri Lanka and was passionately committed to a fairer world where everyone was equal.