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Pinetown Girls’ pillar leaves with a heavy but happy heart

Ntaba Zwane retired from Pinetown Girls' after serving more than 40 years at the school doing maintenance work.

BIDDING farewell to Pinetown Girls’ High School after working for 47 years was not easy for Ntaba Zwane who retired last week Wednesday.

Zwane was only 18 years when he was hired to do maintenance work at the school, a few months after his dad’s passing.

He might have started as a young lad who was going to work at the school for just a few years, but found it to be his second home, and after almost 50 years, he leaves as an old chap, dear to everyone.

“My dad was among the people who were contracted to build this school in the 50s. The first principal of the school liked him and asked him to stay behind and work at the school full time.

“He worked until he passed away in 1969. When he died, a second principal for the school asked about me and sent a message to come and work at the school,” said Zwane.

ALSO READ: Pinetown high schools celebrate 60 years |

The 65 year old from Empangeni said he did not expect to serve the school his whole life but the years went by so quickly and he was drawn to the place and loved his work and his surroundings.

“And before I knew it, I was 30 and then 40 and now I am 65 years old. The school even threw me a birthday party when I turned 40.

“This was fate, I was destined to be part of this school for this long. I started on Wednesday and my last day was a Wednesday.

“I have seen so many people coming and going and others passing away but, by God’s grace, I am still here and healthy, my father must be still looking out for me,” he said.

His dream now is not to sit at home and do nothing. He said people get worn out and get sick easily when they retire and stay at home without things to keep them busy.

“I don’t want to be like that, I am leaving the school in a very healthy condition and I want to keep it that way. In 2013, Mrs Pretorius, who retired late last year, called me to her office and told me she does not want me doing maintenance work anymore because I am getting old.

ALSO READ: Pretorius leaves inspiring legacy

“She said I should sit at the gate as a security guard, that’s how precious I was to this school and this is the reason I am heartbroken about leaving it. I will miss everyone, the staff, governing body, parents and the children.

“I have had a good relationship with all the principals including the current one, Miss Sibongile Njapha.”

Zwane’s wish now is to buy cows to continue his dad’s legacy.

“Even though my dad passed away when my siblings and I were still young, we were never in need and life continued as normal. Whenever there was a need for money, my mother would sell a cow.

“We even paid lobola for our wives with those cows. Having my own cows is very close to my heart, even when I pass, I will know that my children and grandchildren are taken care of.”

Njapha said Zwane has been a diligent worker and is always passionate about the school.

“He knew the history and the school community at large. He has been highly respected by the SGB, management, staff and learners.

“He spoke his mind when he was unhappy about certain issues and we appreciated that.”

Njapha said Zwane was regularly consulted about past events, “His memory of people and events is amazing. We shall miss him and wish him well during his retirement.”



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