Former teacher’s ‘helpful’ lessons still recognised

2020-02-11 06:00
Suzette Rademan and her Interact Club did a number of trips and philanthropic visits during her time at Heathfield High School.

Suzette Rademan and her Interact Club did a number of trips and philanthropic visits during her time at Heathfield High School.

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Even though it has been two years since Suzette Rademan retired from being a teacher at Heathfiled High School, she is still in the thoughts and prayers of the communities she served, especially now that she has been in and out of hospital for 12 months. 

Suzette, having served as a teacher at Heathfield from 1992 to 2017, made a huge contribution to the Retreat and Heathfield communities. 

“We were the first coloured school that started an Interact Club in the area as part of the Rotary Club in Wynberg,” she says. 

Interact clubs teach children from age 12 to 18 about the importance of selfless service and leadership skills.

She adds: “Someone approached me to ask if we could start a club with their help for the children in this community – to teach them to be helpful and friendly because it makes your life better.”

Priscilla Rodkin, an administrator at the school and Suzette’s former colleague, says she did much more than just run community upliftment clubs.

“She would throw parties for these clubs in Steenberg – not the safest area – and they would end around 02:00. She would first take the security guards home to Vrygrond or Overcome Heights before driving home to Table View,” says Priscilla.

Before making her mark at Heathfield, she taught at Woodlands Primary School.

“I came from a very conservative Afrikaner family. When I was thrown into Mitchell’s Plain, a whole new world opened up. I saw all the wrong that was going on and I was toy-toying in Cape Town to fight for the people, too.” 

She says her mission was to do things for the safety of the children. 

“It was an eye-opener. It was very heartsore to hear all the sad stories but if it wasn’t for the Struggle then maybe things wouldn’t have changed.”

After retiring in 2017 she looked after her husband Leon, who passed away in 2018; and she has since undergone several surgeries on her hip and shoulder. 

She hopes if she’s left any lessons to the children she once taught – and their giving spirits show she has – it would be her legacy.

Confident of the impact she’s made on her granddaughter’s life, she says: “When my grandchild, Caylee (13), was younger, she loved coming with me to the Interact Club activities. And now she will start her own Interact at her school.”

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