Eastwood’s empowering principal retires after three decades

2012-09-28 00:00

AFTER serving at Eastwood Primary School for 32 years, principal Dudley Amein will today hang up his boots and pack away his chalk.

Speaking to The Witness, Amein said he has played his role in the community, so he did not feel that retirement was a sad occasion.

“My ethos has always been to empower disadvantaged children, whose parents don’t have funding to send them to better schools and we provide a platform for them to apply at Girls’ High, Carter and Maritzburg College.”

He said his highlights over the years have been seeing some of his former pupils rising up from adversity to become doctors irrespective of their background.

The school attracts children from Eastwood and Glenwood, as well as areas as far away as Table Mountain, Sweetwaters, Albert Falls and Hammarsdale.

Amein prides himself for having taught National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel at Harold Cressy High School in Cape Town, where he taught physical education and geography.

He then moved back to Pietermaritzburg, his home, in 1976.

He was employed at Eastwood Primary School in 1980 as a teacher and climbed the ladder to become principal in 1995.

Coming from a family of five brothers, opportunities were scarce.

“In those days the only thing you could do is to go to matric or do a trade like bricklaying or boiler making.”

But his mother wanted more from them and motivated her sons to pursue matric and “try” tertiary education.

This principal is an advocate of reopening of teachers’ training colleges, and he said appointments should be on merit and not on unions’ interference.

He said disadvantaged schools also lack organised sport.

Two years ago, Amein received an award from the Eastwood community for leaders in education.

Amein said he looks up to the University of Free State Vice-Chancellor and rector, Professor Jonathan Jansen, and a former head master at Harold Cressy, Victoria Ritchie.

A teacher and former pupil, Innocent Ngcobo, described the principal as a kind man who wants the best for everyone.

After hearing that one of his favourite teachers was leaving, a former pupil who did Grade 7 over two decades ago, said he had to rush to bid him farewell. “I only heard today that he was leaving and came to say goodbye,” Deon Amos said, as he gave the principal a warm handshake.

Amein is a father of two; one of his children is a teacher at Eastwood Primary School and his son is an environmentalist at eThekwini Municipality. His wife, Denise, is a maths teacher at Haythorne Secondary School.

“If a child greets you after leaving school that means you have taught that child life lessons. But if he walks past, you taught that child nothing. He doesn’t remember you,” said Amein.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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