A strong need to express views

2008-09-12 00:00

What is your connection with The Witness and to Pietermaritzburg?

When we moved to Balgowan in 1979 where my husband had a teaching post at Michaelhouse, he ordered The Witness so I started to read it.

Where were you born, where did you grow up? What’s your educational background?

I was born on the East Rand and grew up in Benoni. (Yes, the same one where Charlize Theron grew up.) I went to St Dunstan’s Primary School and then to Roedean in Johannesburg as a high school boarder. I completed my BA at Wits University and did a teaching diploma at the Johannesburg Teachers Training College.

How do you spend your days?

I have just retired and am spending my time assisting my husband, gardening, reading, travelling and relaxing. I was the headmistress of the Nottingham Road Primary School.

Do you write letters to other newspapers? Why do you choose The Witness?

I have written to other newspapers in the past — when I lived in Gauteng and the Free State. These days I only write to The Witness.

How do you receive your news about South African current affairs and why do you follow it?

I read The Witness, listen to the radio and watch the TV news. I follow current affairs because I find it interesting and I like to keep up to date with what is happening around me.

Do you have any other passions or interests?

Reading, music, art, gardening and writing education.

What do you think is the value of letter writing? What inspires you to write letters?

I think letters to the news-paper spark interest and discussion. People react to letters in the newspaper. When I feel strongly about a situation I need to write about it. I have encouraged children to write to the newspaper as there’s something good about seeing yourself in print. I also like to write personal letters and feel sad that the next generation will not have the benefit of a pile of old letters to read. I recently met up with a friend with whom I have corresponded for 49 years. We last saw each other as 10-year-old school girls. She has kept a selection of my letters and it was great fun reading them. Sadly with e-mail this is not going to happen.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing South Africa today?

Creating a sound family life. Children need values and a sound base in order to become good citizens. HIV/Aids is a massive challenge as it is robbing us of proper families and having sound moral and religious values is essential.

What is your age, marital status and do you have children?

I am 59 and I have been married to Stuart for 35 years. We have three children and two grandchildren.

What do you believe has been your best letter?

I guess the one that won R100.

Do you get any feedback as a result of your letters?

Yes. often. And I once encouraged my class to write to The Witness about the problems they experienced in the taxi that brought them to school. I suggested that they use a nom de plume, but they said that they wanted to put their names to the letters. As a result of the letters the taxi driver refused to transport them to school and back. So the school had to pay for public transport for the pupils for a term until the driver had cooled down. Sadly the problems were not resolved but the class learnt a lot from this experience.

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