Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.


This morning I woke to the very sad news that one of my gunsteling-gunsteling (favourite-favourite) teachers has died.  HV had been attacked on her small holding in the Crags, near Plettenberg Bay in early April this year, and last night, the struggle to breathe overwhelmed her, and with that an incredible woman was lost to us.

How do I pay tribute to a woman who has had such a big influence in my life? At school, she was an inspiration, always glamorous, from her leather mini skirt to her daily differing heels, and she displayed fantastic composure when dealing with teenage girls with all the angst that comes with them. She always threatened that she would faint if anyone got 100% on their Afrikaans test, and periodically one of us did, and so she would, collapsing in a heap, on the dusty classroom floor in her elegant outfit. Another anecdote which I will always remember is during a lesson on prepositions, the phrase was ‘staan op aandag’ to which I chirped from the back row ‘arme Aandag!’ Her and I laughed hysterically for the rest of the day, while the rest of the class looked on, wondering quite what was so funny. But she was so much more than just a teacher. She was a living example of a professional woman for us girls. She dressed elegantly, was always immaculately groomed, she had a successful marriage to a man she adored, who worshipped her, no children… aside from us hooligans at school. But she demonstrated such poise and professionalism, she made me believe I could do this, she gave me the self-confidence to know I could tackle absolutely anything, and succeed. She didn’t think I should have been a doctor, and maybe I should have listened to the wise woman, but she nevertheless supported and encouraged me. She was honestly one of those woman, whose influence will always linger in my life, and to whom I will always owe a large debt of gratitude.

A few years ago I had the privilege of spending a night in her beautiful home with her – she was still so smart and glam, I was quite nervous at the idea, but so excited to see her, share all my news and find out what she had been up to. She had made herself an integral part of her new community, and kept busy on her small holding – I have a delightful photograph of her in her dungarees on her tractor. We spoke and shared long into that night, and I felt so privleged to be in the glow of Hannsie’s sun once again.

Ai Hannsie, ek kannie glo wat met jou gebeur het. Daar is g’n genade in die wereld nie. Rus nou saggies, met vrede, met die wete dat jou soveel mense se lewe geraak het. Ek het nie baie dikwels met jou gepraat nie, maar jy was dikwels in my gedagtes. Jy is ‘n legende. Met trane wat dit moeilik maak om die worde nou te sien, totsiens.


  the aunty formerly known as donz wrote @

A lovely remembrance piece, babe. She really marched to her own drum. One of those people I wish I had known better.

  dreaming feet wrote @

A really nice tribute. =) I would’ve loved to have seen her in dungarees on a tractor..! And I agree with the aunty above…

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