Vivienne van der Westhuizen, 55, secretary at Hyacinth Primary School in Lentegeur, died on Wednesday February 8, leaving a huge void in the school community.
With her warm personality, Ms Van der Westhuizen, known to everyone as “Seccy”, ran more than Hyacinth Primary – she won the hearts and confidence of the pupils, parents and teachers who lived and worked in the area.
Ms Van der Westhuizen died at Netcare Kuils River of a heart attack on Wednesday morning February 8.
Ms Van der Westhuizen arrived late at school on Monday February 6 but was absent on Tuesday February 7.
The school flew its flag at half mast last week and the pupils openly shared their affection for Ms Van der Westhuizen and sadness at her loss.
While she lived in Eersterivier, she had become an institution at the school, said deputy principal Hydrick Hendricks.
“She will be remembered for her warm character. She was helpful and had empathy for everyone.
“People liked to talk to her. She was like a member of this community, even though she did not stay here.”
Mr Hendricks added: “The community is saddened by her sudden passing, and she will be missed because she became an institution in the community over these years,” he said.
Ms Van der Westhuizen is survived by her daughter, Lauren, and granddaughter, Doryan, 8, and grandson, Leyo, 5.
Speaking to the Plainsman, Lauren said her mother had had a vibrant personality, which attracted people to her.
Ms Van der Westhuizen’s brother, Enver van Ster, said she loved people. “She spoke to them respectfully. She was a good confidante, lots of people confided in her, and this was their sacred bond.”
He said the family was humbled and appreciative of the love and support they had received from the Mitchell’s Plain community. “We are are extremely saddened by her passing but we are able to share our grief and pain with you, and this means the world to us,” he said.
Ms Van der Westhuizen’s funeral will be at the Apostolic Faith Mission Church, Main Road (opposite KFC and Shoprite), in Eersterivier on Saturday February 18, at 9am. For more information, call Mr Van Ster at 082 336 6941.