Teacher sorely missed

2016-09-20 06:00
Thousands of people gathered at the school in honour of Anwar Ruiters’ Memory on Wednesday 14 September.  PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Thousands of people gathered at the school in honour of Anwar Ruiters’ Memory on Wednesday 14 September. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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A sad and sombre mood hangs over Portland High School after the loss of a third teacher in a matter of months.

On Wednesday 14 September the school hosted a memorial service for long-time educator and sports coach Anwar Ruiters.

Ruiters passed away at school on Tuesday afternoon.

His death came as a shock to many with several people expressing their disbelief and messages of support on social media.

On Tuesday 13 September, the school hosted a five-a-side soccer tournament in the back quad before interval.

After the tournament had ended, some of the pupils were still kicking the ball around.

A 30-second video of the tournament shows Ruiters entering from the sidelines and lining up the ball to join in on the fun when he collapsed.

He could not be revived and was declared dead at the school.

He was laid to rest in accordance with muslim rites on Wednesday.

Thousands of pupils, friends, family, colleagues and former pupils gathered at the school to mourn his loss ahead of his Janazah held at his home in Westgate later that afternoon.

It was evident that Ruiters was well-loved and respected in his circles.

Ruiters grew up in Hanover Park and was a believer in education as a way out of crime and gangsterism, says Granville de Villiers a school friend.

His colleagues remember him as a loving man who always put his pupils first.

Ruiters hated gangsterism and always wanted to see his pupils strive for better.

He was remembered as the one always willing to sacrifice his own time for the bettering of his pupils, often driving around late at night to ensure the teams were ready for matches and arrived home safely.

Emotional tributes from former colleagues, high school friends, his registered class and former pupils clearly displayed the love they all felt for him.

Ruiters had been passionate about sport and was one of the founding members of the Mount Chester Rovers football club.

The club is still active and doing very well in the local leagues.

He was also a long time athletic coach at school and assisted in coaching the girls and boys rugby teams and the soccer teams.

His passion and zest for life came from not wanting to be known as a ‘skollie from Hanover Park’ and this drive lead him to many successed through the rest of his life, De Villiers says.

He had been teaching at Portland High School for more than 20 years and contributed much of his time and life to the school.

He was a man of principals, described as patient and soft hearted and will be missed by many who’s lives he touched.

Ruiters is survived by his wife and three young children.

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