Ridgeville Primary turns 45

The Ridgeville School choir group rendered a song and dance item for their 45th celebration on Wednesday May 11.

When Ridgeville Primary School celebrated its 45th birthday, it was a celebration of achievement, artistic talent and diversity.

At an event held on Wednesday May 11 the pupils, teachers and staff members marked the occasion with displays of song and dance, poetry and recollections of the school’s achievements.

Principal Anthony Europa said the school has achieved so much in 45 years.

Principal Anthony Europa said the school, which opened on May 12, 1977, had a rich history of success and excellence. “We’ve achieved wonderful things and to impart the values and remind the pupils to always strive for the best, looking towards the future as their dreams are powerful,” he said.

Deputy principal Percy Atkins, who has been at the school for 32 years, said the late John October had been the first caretaker principal of Ridgeville.

He discovered chrysanthemum flowers growing in and around the school premises and created three stars in the school emblem depicting the chrysanthemum flowers. Mr October stayed at the school for 10 years – from 1977 to 1987 – after which he retired from teaching.

Deputy principal Percy Atkins, served at the school for 32 years and shared the history of the school on Wednesday May 11.

The second principal was Stan Kennedy who took over in 1988 to 1993; followed by Ivan Pieterse from 1994 to 1998. “He was a brilliant geography and history teacher,” said Mr Atkins.

The fourth, and longest serving principal, was Wayne Myburgh who was at the helm from 1999 to 2015.

Ridgeville Primary School’s grade 7 pupil, Ayafika Tyam, did a poem about gender-based violence. The poem spoke about speaking out against gender-based violence and stopping it “as it is a wrong act,“ she said.

Mr Atkins was acting principal from 2016 to 2018, and later again, from 2019 until 2021. In between, Keith Van Der Colff served in an acting capacity from 2018 to 2019. Current principal Mr Europa took over in May last year.

Former Grade 8 teacher Solomon Hans would take his pupils to the ridge neighbouring the side of the school to have the children look over Mitchell’s Plain. That is where the name Ridgeville stems from, said Mr Atkins.

Their motto, Semper ad optima, he said, means to always strive for the best.

Some of the former principals and acting principals of the school also include the late teacher and acting principal Mitch Salie, Eldred King, who was a lecturer at Hewat College of education in the 1980s, and then acting principal Les Van Zyl, who was an academic, he said.

“We need to show respect to those who’ve come before us as they’ve played a part in shaping the school,” Mr Atkins.

He also recalled that in the 1980s Ridgeville had been among the top achievers in athletics, going on to produce sports stars such as Marvin Jonathan and Jason Jonathan who played baseball at provincial and national level and former Cape Town Spurs soccer player Jonathan Solomons.

Teacher Rosina Steggie told the pupils they have the ability to be what they want. The number 45 speaks about bravery and diligence, she said.

Teacher Rosina Steggie told the pupils they have the ability to be what they want. The number 45 speaks about bravery and diligence, she said.

Tafelsig Primary School principal, Ruth Jonas, who used to teach at Ridgeville Primary, talked about respect, excellence, accountability and love (REAL) and how these can be applied in their lives.

Former Ridgeville Primary School teacher, and current Tafelsig Primary School principal, Ruth Jonas told he pupils of the acronym REAL that can be applied in their lives, respect, excellence, accountability and love.

“Respect goes a long way. You can achieve much with respect, in excellence, always give of your best as your slogan says.

“Accountability is important. You need to take accountability for every choice you’ve made.

“Love, we should have a love for learning as it never stops,” she said.

“Take REAL with you throughout your life. Take what you’ve learnt at Ridgeville with you.”

Mr Europa said: “Thank you to teachers, pupils and the community. They’ve embraced me and we appreciate them. Without the community you may find it challenging but I am grateful to this community. Very big thank you to all.”