When Virginia Appollis was a teacher at Constantia Primary School in 1967, she had nine children in her class.
On Youth Day, Thursday June 16, she returned to the classroom where she taught for a meeting with about 30 other former Constantia residents and family members to establish a Constantia Heritage and Education Project.
“Being here brings back memories. The piano used to be in the other corner,” she recalled.
Ms Appollis left three years later to teach at Parkwood Primary School, a class of 54 children where she stayed for 28 years before moving to Timour Primary in 2009.
Driving the Constantia Heritage and Education Project is Reverend Terry Lester, a priest at Christ Church who was born in Strawberry Lane. His dad taught at Constantia Primary School and although he does not remember much about that time he does recall his family leaving when he was five years old.
“The numbers at the school dwindled, two classes were amalgamated and it was last in, first out. My dad moved to DRC School in Retreat which used to be opposite where the ‘spotty dog’ is,” said Mr Lester.
This was the second meeting that Mr Lester, along with Redawaan and Shireen Hendriks and Julia Grey have held with the purpose of establishing a cultural and heritage organisation.
At the meeting everyone introduced themselves, some recalling a time when people of colour lived on farms in the Constantia Valley. Farms planted by them, where they worked or were owned by their families. Places where they were born, educated and married, a tranquil, serene place but with its problems. The idea is for these memories to be recorded in their lifetime.
An attorney was invited to advise them on how to set up a trust, what an association and Section 21 companies are and about current legal equivalents. The plan is for the project to gain momentum by Heritage Day, Saturday September 24.
The next meeting will be held on Saturday July 30 at Constantia Primary School in Spaanschemat River Road, at 2pm. For more information, you can call Reverend Lester on 021 794 5051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org