An extremely passionate and deeply involved Junior School teacher who contributed to changing young people’s lives for nearly 40 years, Ann Botha (née Orbell, Class of 1969), loved every minute of her teaching career. She is blessed with two sons, Tim and Matt, two lovely daughters in-law and four precious grandchildren who she adores spending time with. Ann says she is her happiest when she is surrounded by friends and family.
Having lived in KwaZulu-Natal for the past 45 years, Ann and her husband, Louis, have a great love for nature, Africa and her people. They have found their niche in their son’s adventure tourism company, Wild Child Africa, as handymen, bakers, cooks and ground crew, which keeps them busy and active.
What a privilege to catch up with Ann and hear that things are going so well after her retirement from St Charles College in 2018 (after 30 years!)
What did you love most about St John’s D.S.G?
As an unworldly farm girl, St John’s D.S.G. was a gentle introduction to the big world. The school was small and personal and every girl was recognized. We had some excellent teachers and we learned many life lessons. The school community was grounded and unpretentious. We had the most amazing hockey field across Harwin Road, where Ashbourne is now. It had an earth surface, which was very fast and gave us an edge against our grass surface opposition. The Chapel was an integral part of our education and a special sanctuary for us boarders. I have such vivid memories of us girls singing that amazing St John’s hymn on Old Girls’ Day. I remember hanging out the dorm window to watch the handsome St Charles College boys walk past in their striped blazers and bashers (I’ve always been biased about St Charles boys!)
When people ask me where I went to school, I am always genuinely proud to say, “St John’s D.S.G.” I would love my granddaughters to attend this wonderful school.
What does success mean to you and how did St John’s D.S.G. equip you for life after school?
In my opinion, success is more about significance. Whatever you do, do it to the very best of your ability and endeavor to make a positive difference in the lives of the people around you, rather than just striving for personal gain. At St John’s D.S.G. we learnt to look out for one another, to work hard and play as a team. We learnt respect. We learnt to place our trust in God.
What advice do you have for our current girls and their families?
Parents, love your children unconditionally and make sure that they know that you love them. Always forgive! Do not be afraid to discipline your children.
Girls of St Johns D.S.G., it is a great privilege to attend this amazing school. Do not take your education for granted. Take every opportunity in both hands and be the best that you can be. Go out and be a shining star in our beloved South Africa.