Strandfontein’s “lady of the library”, assistant librarian Ashleen Oxche, passed away on Sunday August 2 from natural causes.
She was known to many in the community as a loving and caring woman.
Ms Oxche worked for the City of Cape Town’s library services for 37 years. She first worked at Cape Town library, then Heideveld library and lastly at Strandfontein library, having started there since it opened in 1994.
Her sister, Judith Ganga, said Ms Oxche was very involved in the community, loved reading and was well-known for her storytelling.
Ms Oxche was a spiritual person and was known for her faith in God.
She would speak to many people about her faith and was passionate about her involvement in the church. She attended Eagle’s Wings Ministries.
She would host Sunday school classes; for working parents, she would host their children on a Saturday and even do it from her own home.
Ms Oxche also held reading lessons at the library and often entertained the seniors.
“She celebrated her birthday on Wednesday March 25, she would always make sure there was a cake for those who visited her on her birthday, or (something for) any stranger who came to her door for food,” said Ms Ganga. “She always helped the underprivileged, and offered them food from her door. She never turned people away.”
Ms Ganga said she couldn’t see her sister when she was hospitalised.
“I really missed her. We’ve been very close, especially during this time. She loved going to the shops with me. I would visit her whenever I wanted to do something, I feel lost without her,” said Ms Ganga.
Ms Oxche’s brother, Garret Isaacs, said she attended St Raphael’s Primary School in Athlone and matriculated at Portland High School. She started working for the library services the same time he joined the South African Navy – in 1982.
She would help anyone, he said. “She loved animals and picked up a stray dog along the way. She took out all his fleas and the dog stayed with them,” he said.
“Women’s Day won’t be the same; she loved celebrating the day. She was a likeable and lovable person, had a heart for a God, and was very humble in everything she did – we will miss her,” said Mr Isaacs.
Her husband, Keith Oxche, said she was the light of the world and had loved people.
“She ran the race, she completed it, her life is evident of that. She will be dearly missed by the lives she touched,” he said.
Her son, Dale Oxche, said his mother could fix any situation and would help any person. He said she helped him, and taught him everything he knew. She often preached to her son, and encouraged him. “She was a very good mother to me,” he said.
Ms Oxche was originally from Elsies River. When she got married in 1987 she and her husband moved to Crawford. In 1991 they moved to Strandfontein when Dale was 3.
“It hasn’t been easy on us, losing her. She is always on my mind. My father is very strong. We will miss her and her legacy will live on with us,” Dale said.
Bernie Clarke, DA proportional representative (PR) councillor for Ward 43 (Strandfontein and parts of Philippi), said when she walked into Strandfontein library, she was greeted by a bubbly and cheerful woman – Ms Oxche.
“She assisted us with a query but we continued chatting about arts and craft and the need to bring some of these activities to the library. She was committed to boosting the library. There was always a smile, encouragement and a kind word.
“I will forever remember the Women’s Day event in 2019, her jovial and pleasant spirit will forever remain with us. Her patience and love for children using the library will always be held in high regard, said Ms Clarke.
Librarian and colleague, Vanessa Bailey, said Ms Oxche was more than a colleague, she was a close friend.
She was a very good storyteller, she loved hosting these sessions with the children every week, recalled Ms Bailey. She said when they hosted events Ms Oxche’s would offer to do the catering. She loved to bake, she was a great baker, said Ms Bailey.
“She was a God-fearing woman and would always pray for people,” she said.
“On behalf of Strandfontein library we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Oxche family and friends.
“May God comfort and strengthen you during this challenging time. A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. May you rest in peace Ashleen,” said Ms Bailey.
Ms Oxche was laid to rest on Friday August 7.