Ridgeville marks a milestone

Tozama Nqgwebo conducted the choir she put together at school. The pupils rendered an item in song for the thanksgiving ceremony.

Thirty-nine years after she first joined the staff of Ridgeville Primary School in Westridge, Ingrid Bergstedt still carries with her lessons passed on to her by her colleagues and is still passionate about what she does.

Ms Bergstedt, the school’s head of department for the foundation phase – and its longest serving member of the management team – was among those who celebrated the school’s 40th anniversary on Friday March 23.

Ridgeville Primary School opened its doors in May 1977, under the leadership of John October who served as principal for more than 10 years.

The school currently has an enrolment of 930 pupils from Grade R to Grade 7.

When Ms Bergstedt reflects on the principals who have come and gone, she compares the leadership of Mr October to that of former President Nelson Mandela.

He led from the front but staff never felt isolated or intimidated by him, she said.

“As a young teacher in the 1980s, I learned a lot from my fellow colleagues who never hesitated sharing good teaching strategies and knowledge.

“It is because of the attitude of many of my former colleagues who still drives my passion for teaching. The legacy that my previous colleagues created still lives on in their learners they taught,” said Ms Bergstedt.

“Many of my learners we have taught have become upright citizens who still portray sound values such as respect, responsibility and integrity. This is what makes teaching so rewarding,” she said.

When the founding principal closed the book on his career at Ridgeville, it was Stan Kennedy who took over the reins in 1988 until Ivan Pieterse took charge in 1994. In 2000, Wayne Myburgh started his tenure as the school’s longest serving principal – until 2015. The current principal is Keith van der Colff who was appointed in July 2017.

“It feels great and I am honoured to be part of such a diverse and vibrant school community. Although I have not had the chance to be part of the school in the early years, I am thankful for an opportunity that has been given to me, to lead the Ridgeville family at such a dynamic time as this,” Mr Van der Colff said.

“I treasure the time I have spent with my colleagues, learners, parents and school governing body members. It is a pleasure working together to create an even greater future for the learners of the school.”

Over the years, Ridgeville has excelled in many disciplines, and a highlight remains the school’s scholar patrol – which lives by the motto “Better safe than sorry” – winning competitions organised by the Cape Town Traffic Department in 1991, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2002.

The school also excelled in athletics, particularly during the 1980s, and is proud of its alumni who have gone on to forge successful careers. Among these are Dr Ryan Jacobs a neurosurgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital, Marvin Jonathan, the former Western Province baseballer, Rodney Brown, a SANDF cricketer and soccer player, Claire George a former WP athlete, and many others.

As part of the school’s 40th and leading into its 41st anniversary celebrations, it will be hosting a family day on Saturday May 5, at school.

On Friday November 2 they will be having a social event for all former staff members, alumni and parents.

For more information, contact the school for more details on ridgevllps@mweb.co.za or their telephone 021 392 7020.