The Old Girls’ Association believes it is important to acknowledge and pay tribute to those old girls who have made a significant difference and contribution to society. These awards were initiated in 2008, and are announced on Old Girls’ Day each year.

Category: The Arts

Ndoni Khanyile (2000) is an actress, presenter and storyteller. She graduated with Honours in Theatre and Performance from UCT, and continued with a Master’s degree at Columbia University on a Fulbright Scholarship. She has six years of classical singing training and has performed in some of South Africa’s biggest local productions: When We Were Black, Strike Back, Beaver Falls and Long Walk to Freedom.

Ndoni hosts a technology magazine show on eNCA, Tech Report, and is a founding member of the performance poetry collection Rite to Speak. She was featured in the Mail & Guardian Two Hundred Young South Africans, where she stated that when she “studied protest theatre in my drama class at high school, I was inspired by the notion that my love of story could meet my social convictions”.

Aliki Saragas (2008) is a South African documentarian who captures the human condition through a camera lens. She graduated in Dramatic Arts cum laude from Wits and, while pursuing an MA in Documentary Arts at UCT, produced the powerful and hard-hitting documentary Strike a Rock, which takes an intimate, poignant look into the lives of the women behind the fallen miners of the Marikana Massacre in 2012. Aliki has great dedication to her craft.

Category: Business

Jackie Glassock (1995) has a BCom in Business Finance and Economics, and an Honours degree in tax law, and Sam Estill (Glassock 1997) an LLB. They are top businesswomen. They and their brother run their business, Glassock, a licensed pension fund administrator and authorised financial-services provider, started 30 years ago by their father. After Jackie joined in 1989 and Sam in 1996, the company grew into an industry leader and is consistently placed in the top five percent of fund administrators in the country. In March 2016 it became a member part of the Bidvest Group. The Glassock approach is, and always will be, people-focused.

Jackie and Sam are avid supporters of St Mary’s, and Sam has two daughters currently at the school.

Robyn Nordgaard (Curnow 1991) first studied at Wits and then obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations from Cambridge University. She is based in Atlanta and is a news anchor for CNN International, where she hosts The International Desk with Robyn Curnow on weekdays. She has put herself in the front line, anchoring stories around Boko Haram, the rise of ISIS, the war in Syria, the Trump election and administration, and other landmark events that are shifting the course of history, such as Brexit.

Category: Community and Contribution to Society

Maria Stacey (1984) has a BA Psychology, a Diploma in Community, Psychiatric, General Nursing and Midwifery, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in the 1980s and 90s, and has worked extensively to provide psychotherapy to victims of torture, former political prisoners and political refugees, working closely with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She set up and managed an outpatient programme on the Cape Flats for people abusing substances, worked with the Perinatal Mental Health Project to help address the problem of depression among pregnant women and mothers in low socio-economic communities, and worked to address the health and human rights of sex workers, setting up a national HIV prevention programme for sex workers that now extends to 72 sites around South Africa and employs over 600 sex workers to provide peer education. Maria also conducts research, writes guidelines, and provides advice and guidance to organisations among which are the World Health Organisation and the United Nations.

Justine Fargher (2006) embarked on her MBBCh studies at Wits and fulfilled her internship and community service obligations with the Department of Health in the Western Cape, after which she completed a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene through the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK and a Master’s in Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health (the only degree of its kind globally) at University College London.

Justine was awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship, which identifies global leaders in their chosen field, on the proviso that after furthering their studies, the recipients return to their country of residence and continue to effect positive change and impact within their specified field. Justine took up a post as a medical officer in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, with Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international non-governmental organisation. We applaud her for her contribution to the public health care sector, and her commitment to addressing the challenges that healthcare faces in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Category: Embodying the Spirit of St Mary’s

Heather Hart (1967) was the daughter of a passionate member of the Black Sash, a non-violent women’s group that protested against the evils of apartheid and was famously described by Nelson Mandela as “the conscience of white South Africa”. Their values, which include the desire to provide all South Africans with a decent education, better living conditions and more opportunities, were instilled in Heather and as a young adult, she worked for many charities, notably the Orlando and Johannesburg Children’s Homes. Heather worked in the marketing and advertising arena before joining the South African Institute of International Affairs in 1991 as the Director of Corporate Liaison.

Category: Sport

Shannon Murray (2006) started rowing when she was 12 and her senior school choice was St Mary’s because of its rowing. Eight years ago, while she was a law student at Wits, she ended up fighting for her life in a hospital in Ireland, where she was visiting family. She had contracted meningococcal septicaemia, which left her in a coma for two weeks and hospitalised for three months. She lost the tops of her toes and the bottoms of her feet to gangrene.

To turn this awful event into something positive, Shannon started to train for the Rio Paralympics, and placed 5th in the world in the four. Through this, Shannon showed us the true meaning of resilience. The rowing club was privileged to have the humble and inspirational Shannon share her story.

Sally-Anne Hulton (1976)

Sally-Anne completed her medical training in South Africa, becoming a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1989. In 1995 she was appointed Consultant in Pediatric Nephrology at the Birmingham Children's Hospital, which serves a population of 6.5-million and is one of the largest paediatric renal units in the United Kingdom.

Cheri Scholtz (1976)

Cheri is CEO of Petco Plastic Recycling South Africa and a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group (Global Product Stewardship Council, based in Australia). The company is a non-profit organisation. PET is a sophisticated material that, when extracted from plastic bottles, crushed and made into fibre, has many uses. The company’s aim is to recycle plastic bottles and nurture a sustainable environment. PET volunteers are involved in coastal clean-ups and have also tackled Robben Island.

Deanne Wood (1991)

Deanne is an advocate of the Johannesburg Bar who has taken silk. Her work experience has involved settling insurance disputes and she is an expert in pension law. Deanne now holds the important and prestigious position of Short-term Insurance Ombudsman in South Africa.

Kate Christowitz (2008)

Kate was part of the 2016 South African Olympic rowing squad competing in Brazil. She and her partner, Lee-Ann Persse, made it to the A final in the Women's Pair, where they placed 5th. Kate has been totally committed to her rowing, making sacrifices to achieve her goal, and her perseverance has paid off.

Ros Howell

This year, Ros celebrates an incredible achievement in the St Mary’s family – 30 years of dedicated and unfailing service to the school, primarily in her positions as hockey coach and deputy head. Ros has always supported the Old Girls, who reciprocate her affection. She made a lasting impact on a great many of them at school.

Category: Community and Contribution to Society

Wendy Nathan

Wendy is an honorary Old Girl who taught at St Mary’s from 1962 to 1997. With a degree in English and Roman Law and a few years’ teaching experience under her belt, she was appointed to the staff by Sister Irene Benedict in 1962. St Mary’s sport was on the back foot at the time but after Wendy’s advent, things changed rapidly – her passion and competitiveness encouraged excellence. Wendy was to become one of two deputy heads. She is a remarkable person who retains the greatest interest in past pupils and the school, and she is revered by generations of girls who imbibed her witticisms and wisdom.

Category: Community and Contribution to Society

Anastasia Florias (Deftereos 1943)

Ana, who has a great-granddaughter at St Mary’s, has had a significant impact on the Greek community over many years. She founded the Hellenic Girl Guides, was a founding member of Saheti School and is an honorary life member of the Saheti Board. She is an active member and honorary life vice-president of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women, which is an international cultural organisation.

Category: Business

Gill Raine (1973)

Gill was a pioneer, mentor and inspirational leader during her 22 years of dedicated service to the FirstRand Group. She worked with tireless energy and challenged all conventional thinking, which made her a sought-after expert who has won many accolades and great respect. She has been described wistfully as a businesswoman who lives up the values of which business schools speak.

Category: Community and Contribution to Society

Suzie Cato (1976)

Avatar Sterilisation and Protection, a public benefit organisation, was formed by Suzie and her partner, Dr Desmond Stafford, a veterinarian, in 2012. Avatar is driven by the need to protect wildlife and extend primary veterinary healthcare to rural communities, and is built on the premise that problems experienced by wild and domestic animals will be effectively reduced by sterilisation and vaccination. Avatar has sterilised and treated over 5 000 animals all over Southern Africa, in townships and rural areas. The organisation relies solely on donations to fund drugs and necessary surgeries for the programme.

Category: Business

Caryn Formby (1979)

Caryn was an awardee at the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) event held in Sweden in 2014. IWEC seeks to develop a global business network for successful female entrepreneurs, helping them gain access to international markets by presenting a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience and connectivity. Caryn has a track record of successful business turnarounds and contribution to skills development, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in the South African manufacturing sector – a sector typically dominated by men.

Category: The Sciences, Sport and Role Model

Lou-Anne Rivett (1981)

Lou-Anne was a Springbok triathlete and completed five Ironmans and a number of Comrades Marathons. She has been the official physiotherapist of the men’s and women’s national hockey and Olympic swimming teams, and now trains top swimmers and triathletes. In 2014 Lou-Anne gained a PhD in scoliosis from Wits, and won the prestigious International Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Treatment Award in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Category: The Arts

Karen Mcgloughlin (Saulez 1984)

Karen passed away in 2015 after a long fight against cancer. Karen was an accomplished architect and best known for transforming heritage homes to fit a modern lifestyle. The Preservation Society of Johannesburg awarded her own home a heritage plaque to acknowledge her sensitive remodelling of it, and to honour her work in promoting their foundation. Karen loved Johannesburg and contributed greatly to its community.

Category: Role Model and for Embodying the Spirit of What it Means to be a St Mary’s Old Girl

Cheryl Allie (Uys 1985)

Cheryl has reported for various international news networks and, while based in Saudi Arabia and the Lebanon, covered developments across that region. Her documentary work focused on conflict resolution, and South African women in prisons in Brazil. She has written a book on the Arab response to September 11 and various feature articles. She is a fellow of the Public Values and Leadership Programme at Duke University (USA) and the University Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.

Category: Business

Belinda Williams (Nicholas 1990)

Belinda has had an enormously successful career as a chartered accountant, working first for UBS Securities as a technology, media and telecoms marketing analyst, responsible for marketing equity analyst research in the TMT sector to South African and international EMEA investors. As an executive of Telkom, she project-managed the initial public offering of the Telkom Group on the JSE and New York Stock Exchange. She joined the Vodacom Group in 2008, and was subsequently appointed the group financial director.

Category: Role Model and for Embodying the Spirit of What it Means to be a St Mary’s Old Girl

Clover-Ann Lee (1991)

Clover-Ann has worked locally and internationally in the government and private sectors as a specialist anaesthesiologist. In 2015, she was offered a fellowship at the Great Ormonde Street Children’s Hospital in London. She specialises in paediatric anaesthesia and is passionate about Operation Smile, an international medical charity providing free surgery for children born with cleft lips and palates, and other facial deformities. She has volunteered in Madagascar, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, Morocco and Honduras.

Category: The Sciences

Melanie Mclaren (2002)

Melanie obtained a PhD in quantum physics from Stellenbosch University in 2014. She produced the first quantum entanglement experiment in Africa. Entanglement is one of the most perplexing phenomena in the quantum physics world, where subatomic particles behave in ways even Einstein called “spooky”. The experimental work was conducted at the CSIR’s National Laser Centre, under the guidance of Professor Andrew Forbes. Melanie is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she started a new optics laboratory with Professor Forbes.

Category: The Arts

Phumzile Sitole (2007)

Phumzile is currently completing her Master’s degree in Theatre at Columbia, New York. She was part of the cast that brought to Africa Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, renamed Antigone in the World, performed by a young, international and ethnically diverse company in unconventional theatre spaces such as townships, refugee camps and prisons. Their mission is to bring classical texts that speak to modern ills to audiences in stressed communities around the world, and to encourage dialogue on the issues of the day. The play was performed at St Mary’s as part of its tour to Kenya and South Africa.

Category: Sport

Amica Hallendorff (2010)

At school, Amica had colours for hockey, water polo, swimming and athletics, and was a Gauteng representative in all but athletics. She represented South Africa in U18 ladies’ water polo at the Junior World Championships and at the Tri-Nations. Amica was awarded a water polo scholarship by the University of Cape Town, where she graduated in Business Science Marketing while playing water polo for the university and captaining the side in 2014. Amica represented South Africa at the FINA World Cup in the senior ladies’ water polo team in 2014 and 2015.

Category: Role Model, for Embodying the Spirit of What it Means to be a St Mary’s Old Girl

Val Kempis (Raeburn 1951)

Circumstances totally outside her control dictated that Val Kempis left St Mary's some 63 years ago, at the end of what would now be called her Grade 10 year. Ever since, she has been a consistently supportive and enthusiastic member of the wider St Mary's School family. Not an Old Girls' or even St Mary's event goes by where Val is not present, and her dedication and encouragement of all things St Mary's is quite astounding. Val's sheer passion for the school has continued in two further generations of her family attending the school – her daughter Deidre Shepherd (1982) and her two granddaughters, Ashleigh and Kate. Val has been recognised here in the category of role models, as we believe the kind of passion that she demonstrates towards St Mary's is a fine example to all.

Category: The Arts

Mpho Matsipa (1994)

Mpho, who is working towards her PhD in Architecture and African Urbanism at the University of California, Berkeley, where she gained her MSc, is a lecturer at the Wits School of Architecture and Planning. She gained her degree in Architecture from the University of Cape Town. Mpho is a director of Studio-X Johannesburg, which aims to create a public platform to explore alternative imaginaries of the city, with particular focus on the future of global connection, productive collaboration and exchange. Mpho has worked as an architect and been shortlisted in two prestigious national design competitions. She has curated several exhibitions, including that of the South Africa Pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale. She has received several academic awards and scholarships, including the Fulbright Award and a Carnegie Grant.

Category: Arts and Sciences

Yumna Laher (2007)

While at St Mary’s, Yumna had the distinction of being awarded a Victrix Honorum blazer after gaining Academic, Cultural and Service Honours. Yumna completed a BA Honours in International Relations and an MA degree in International Relations at Wits. She won a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, arguably the most sought-after scholarship globally, where the recipient has to display “the moral force of character and instinct to lead”. Yumna was an active and dedicated member of the Old Girls' Committee for a number of years. She reflects: “Although ecstatic about receiving the scholarship, it has since left me with a deep sense of responsibility to use the opportunity I have been given with care. The Mandela Rhodes experience has reinforced parts of my character I hope to be remembered for: the dignity with which I treat others, the honesty with which I approach my decisions, and the integrity with which I live my life. It has allowed me to be me; a little more grounded, more confident, definitely more qualified and infinitely blessed with the experience of a lifetime.” (University of the Witwatersrand website)

Category: Role Model

Jess Standish-White (2009)

Jess’ life and achievements epitomise the holistic outlook in which St Mary’s believes. Her matric results were awe-inspiring and she was an incredible St Mary’s girl who always displayed kindness, enthusiasm and dedication. She excelled on the cultural and academic fronts, and also played hockey for the 1st team. Jess studied Business Science and Economics at the University of Cape Town, and has subsequently become the recipient of an Oxford scholarship. She is passionate about education, leadership and service. In 2009, during her matric year as head of Clayton House, she organised an HIV testing drive to create awareness and stimulate open discussion.

Category: Sport

Lil ‘Lilian’ du Plessis (2011)

At 21, Lilian is one of the youngest members of the South African national women’s hockey team, having represented South Africa at both the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. Her sights are set on the next Olympic Games. At school, according to Ros Howell, Lilian spent hours training on her own to perfect some of the tactics for which she has become famous … the drag flick and the reverse stick hit. Lilian was also a good rower and technical all-rounder. She is also recognised here for her kindness and sportsmanship on and off the field. Lilian played in the Old Girls vs St Mary’s hockey match on Old Girls’ Day alongside two other previous recipients of this award, Shelley Russell (2005) and Liza-Marie Deetlefs (2005).

Category: Community

Pauline Grainger

Pauline is not an Old Girl, but has recently been recognised as an honorary one. She joined St Mary’s in 1972, taught English and History and later headed up the History department. It is appropriate that Pauline receives this award after all of the years she has selflessly served the St Mary’s family, culminating in the writing of the school’s history in 2013. Celebrating 125 Years of St Mary’s is an informative and entertaining read about the school, especially its pupils and teachers. We formally thank Pauline for ensuring that the treasured memories of all that has made St Mary’s have been painstakingly recorded.

Category: The Arts

Phillipa Sandilands (Torr 1979) has made a remarkable contribution to the teaching and love of drama in South African schools. The St Mary’s community benefited from her expertise and passion for many years, and now St John’s College has that privilege. We congratulate Pippa on being the recipient of this recognition award and celebrate her contribution to the arts in so many areas: as a teacher, a role model, a motivator, a moderator and examiner of the IEB, and as a judge of the Naledi Theatre Awards, as well as other drama competitions and so much more. Pippa has touched the lives of so many who have made drama their passion.

Category: Business

Nozizwe Vundla (1993) obtained a BA LLB (Wits) before working as an international trade negotiator for the Department of Trade and Industry, followed by managing relationships between South Africa and the World Bank in the National Treasury. This led to a new venture. She co-founded Epiphanae Bespoke Clothing for Woman in 2011 and, although she explains that fashion is creative and glamorous, she views her business endeavour as an industry. The business has expanded into the corporate uniform market and, with her father, they have brought an international fashion retailer into the local market. Nozizwe is determined that, despite the challenges of the industry, their company will contribute meaningfully to the economy of the country. We celebrate Nozizwe’s contribution to the world of business.

Category: Community

Tara Turkington (1987) is a remarkable woman. She is a mother of four (daughters Emma and Alice are at St Mary’s), she sits on the St Mary’s Foundation Board and runs a thriving communications company, FLOWFlow. Tara gives tirelessly of her time, energy and enthusiasm to the communities in which she works and lives. She has done incredible work in the promotion of South Africa as a tourist destination, in promoting awareness of the plight of the rhino, in her work at Maropeng and in her work in the St Mary’s community itself. Tara’s company produces the St Mary’s newsletters and annual magazine. Flow also produced the magnificent school history, Celebrating 125 Years of St Mary’s.

Category: Role Models

Tracey Webster (1988) is a impressive woman. After obtaining her Honours in Drama at Wits, she performed plays in schools and communities, spreading important messages of social issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Tracey then worked for various companies in England before she founded the Starfish Foundation, helping thousands of HIV/AIDS orphans. She was selected as a member of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship and now heads up the Richard Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and the Virgin Unite Africa, a non-profit arm of the Virgin Global business. Tracey has shared her story and her passion with our matric girls, she has spoken at Studium Apertum and she is an inspiration for our community.

Category: Sport

Sarah Bishop (2007) was and is a rower. She has achieved her full blues at UCT, rows for the first XIII, and was the women’s captain. Sarah is responsible for the UCT Rowing outreach initiative and was elected as the transformational officer on the South African Rowing Committee. Sarah has been actively involved in all facets of the sport, including administration. Sarah serves on the University Sport of SA (USSA) and is the only female representative. We celebrate her contribution to the sport and recognise her accomplishments.

Category: Sciences

Iona Stewart (Wise 1955) has a interesting story. Her interest in community and agriculture intensified in the early 1970s when she and her husband, Greig, bought a dairy farm. She became a steward in the Friesland cattle ring at the annual Royal Agricultural Society show. Iona served on the committee for several years and in 2009 became the first woman to be elected president of the society. She was employed as a researcher at the Cedara Agricultural Collage for 19 years, and obtained her MSc and PhD in animal science. She has left a significant mark in the field of animal sciences. Iona is now retired and runs a small farm, breeding Nguni cattle.

Category: The Arts

Colette Flipo (Hyman 1953) is a world-renowned educator and artist in Oriental arts, and more specifically ikebana studies. More recently she has worked as an ikebana scribe in France and has held seminars on the topic of ikebana all over the world. Colette graduated from the Sogetsu School with the highest grades, and has accomplished an enormous amount in this unique area.

Category: Business

Nicola White (1989) is the Group Executive: Investor Relations at Telkom. Nicola holds a BA degree in Law and Economics, and an LLB degree from Wits University. She qualified as an attorney with Webber Wentzel in 1998. A year later, while at SG Frankel Pollak Securities, she was voted fourth-best small-market capitalisation analyst in the Financial Mail analysts’ ratings. Nicola featured in the 2010 Mail & Guardian’s Book of South African Women. We recognise with pride Nicola’s accomplishments.

Gill Orde (1963) is an independent events caterer in Scotland. Her company grew from small beginnings in her home to becoming a company with an enviable reputation as the Scottish Borders’ premier catering company. Because of Gill’s high standards of service, she is regularly invited to cater for dignitaries, including the Queen. She is described as the hardest-working woman in catering, and we applaud her for what she has accomplished.

Category: Community

Lerato Mbele (1994) is a South African journalist. Her career began as an intern at the SABC, where she rose through the ranks of radio current affairs to host a diplomatic programme titled Ambassador. Lerato pursued postgraduate studies in England before returning to South Africa to work as a political scientist at the SA Institute of International Affairs. She then returned to the SABC to anchor the newly launched News@10 programme, where she remained for several years. She currently anchors the daily programmes Regional Roundup and Beyond Markets, as well as anchoring the weekly flagship show Captains of Industry. We are very proud of Lerato and all she has accomplished.

Category: Role Models

Yumna Laher (2007) is a Masters student in International Relations. This year Yumna was elected as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, the only Wits student among them. Yumna completed her BA degree in 2010 cum laude and her BA Honours in International Relations, also cum laude. The scholarship aims to help build leadership excellence in Africa, offering recipients an educational opportunity unique on the continent. During her studies, Yumna will benefit from access to leadership development programmes, rooted in the principles underpinning the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. We are very proud of her!

Category: Sports

Natalie Grainger-Pedersen (1995) was born in England, brought up in South Africa and now lives in America. In 2003 Natalie reached world number 1 in squash and remained in the top 5 world ranking until she retired at the end of 2010. Natalie has represented South Africa and America, and was president of the Women’s World Squash Association. She is a remarkable all-round sportswoman. We feel she would be proud, too, of the growth in squash at St Mary’s and the remarkable results that are achieved in this sport.

Category: The Arts

Jill Richards (1971) is a special recipient this year as she is one of the girls who matriculated 40 years ago. Jill’s passion for contemporary music started when she was at the University of Cape Town. Jill has long been associated with workshops and festivals, both locally and internationally, and is one of South Africa’s foremost performers of new piano music.

Category: Business

June Schwikkard (1977) is an artist who started a business called Painted in Africa. She has developed a unique African design that has been painted using a special technique onto fabrics such as tablecloths and cushions. Because of her outstanding work, she has been recognised by the Department of Textile Industries, and has showcased her work all over the world.

Kay Nash (1981) is the CEO of Yellowwood, a recruiting agency in Cape Town. Kay has worked hard and, although school was not a place she relished, she has become a great supporter of institutions and has employed and championed many St Mary’s girls who have entered her realm.

Category: Community

Anne Louise Cruickshand (Cilliers 1972) completed a general nursing and midwifery diploma. She specialised in haemophilia, and works closely with the Johannesburg Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. She has played a pivotal role in developing Reach Out Centres for Kids (ROCK), which strives to help patients understand their condition, and improve their skills to manage and treat injuries.

Michelle Paxton (Lawrence 1978) left a successful career at Thomson Reuters, where she was head of client training for sub-Saharan Africa, to set up Axium Education. The focus is on developing and guiding students to generate opportunities to pursue post-secondary study.

Category: Role Models

Karolina Andropoulos (1983) studied Fine Arts and became a jewellery designer. In 2001, her younger daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which led to several years of in- and out-patient treatment at Sydney Children's Hospital. This led Karolina to have first-hand experience of paediatric hospital facilities abroad, and left her with a passionate interest in and commitment to the improvement of paediatric facilities in South Africa. In 2009 Karolina became patron of the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust, where she has raised large sums of money to improve paediatric units across the country.

Category: Sports

Jane Swarbreck (2004) went to the University of Witwatersrand and studied Bio-Medical Engineering. She is currently working as an electrical engineer in Johannesburg. In her free time she trains hard, and is one of our top adventure athletes in this country.

Category: Science

Claire Lee (Gray 2000) received her Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics from the University of Witwatersrand, and then moved to the University of Johannesburg to complete her PhD in Particle Physics.

Category: The Arts

Ashleigh Callie (1990)
The girls of 1990 reunion wanted to pay tribute to their very special and much-loved Ashleigh Callie. Ashleigh was a well-known actress and a member of the class of 1990. She was tragically killed in a car accident in 2008.

Georgie Currie (1976)

Georgie has done magnificent work in a unique area of the arts. She arranges flowers, gives presentations and demonstrations in this art, and has featured at the Chelsea Flower Show. Locally, she is well known in the area of flower design and particularly in arranging roses.

Category: Business

Prue Leith (1957)

Prue is a phenomenal woman who has set up restaurants, catering schools and has written novels. She has sat on many executive boards. She is famous for her wide-ranging impact on cookery in Britain, both in and outside the home. She opened the prestigious Leith’s School of Food and Wine and wrote kitchen bookshelf staple Leith’s Cookery Bible. She has also published three novels. She is a businesswoman, has seven honorary degrees and is the head of the Schools’ Food Trust in England. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2010 Birthday Honours.

Category: Community

Carolyn Palmer (1974)

Carolyn has an incredible resumé. She has published hundreds of articles, given presentations far and wide, and was an integral part of the National Water Advisory Council in South Africa, before spending years in Australia as a member of the Board of Sydney Institute for Marine Science. Carolyn returned to South Africa as a professor at Rhodes University, and as director of the Unilever Centre for Ecotoxicology.

Claire Janisch (1992)

Claire is a chemical engineer who graduated from a two-year professional programme in biomimicry. Biomimicry is a little-known field where nature’s solutions are used to improve strategies for sustainable living. She has organised workshops in the field, given talks locally and internationally, done research and founded Genius Lab. The Genius of Nature programme aims to foster creative thinking among children and adults. Claire featured in the 2010 Mail & Guardian’s Book of South African Women.

Alison Emslie-Lewis (1980)

Alison holds a BSc (Chem Eng) and MSc (Eng) PhD from UCT. She is a professor, head of the Crystallisation and Precipitation Unit in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT. Her resumé is extensive, and the impact she has had in her area of study and teaching is remarkable. Recently, the president of the National Research Foundation presented Alison with the honour of being Champion of Transformation Capacity Development at South African Higher Education Institutions. She was elected as the university "orator", delivering citations for honorary graduates.

Category: Role Models

Joanna Thirsk (1999)

Joanna believes that "exploration is the physical expression of the intellectual passion" (Apsley Cherry-Garrard, 1921), and perhaps this explains her courage and determination in being the only female on a two-year Antarctic expedition. She was the team’s doctor and the impact her story has had, has been remarkable. She is passionate about her profession and is presently practising in Johannesburg.

Jodi-Ann Pearton (2001)

Jodi-Ann moved from veterinary science to becoming an award-winning chef. In 2008 she founded the Food Design Agency, offering food styling and training, as well as menu and product development. Initially she had signed up at Silwood Kitchen in Cape Town for a "bit of fun". She ended up with a grande diploma and was their top student! She has been selected by the South African Chef Association as Chef of the Year three times. This year she was featured in the Mail & Guardian’s Book of South African Women and won the 2010 Sunday Times Chef of the Year award.

Category: Sports

Lize-Mari Retief (2005)

Lize-Mari swam freestyle and butterfly at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In October 2007 she broke the African record in the 100m butterfly, which took her to the top of the FINA short course world rankings. She is currently studying medicine.

Category: The Arts

Fiona Ramsay

Fiona has appeared in numerous stage, television, radio and theatre productions, such as Sleeping Beauty, The Merchant of Venice, Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Fiona has worked as dialogue coach and consultant on films, and her knowledge of accents, regional South African and regional UK, US and Europe, is unparalleled in the country.

Louise St Clair (Rolfes 1976)

Louise is one of South Africa's best actresses and has starred in theatre, TV and radio. She is a fantastic asset to South Africa and is constantly in demand.

Category: Business and Commerce

Cathie Markus (Stuart 1974)

Cathie was an executive director of Impala Platinum Holdings Limited for around nine years. All in all she was at Implats for 16 years, initially as legal adviser and then with increasing responsibilities related to stakeholder engagement (investor relations, corporate social investment, etc.) She joined Implats after qualifying and practising as an attorney, and then as a legal adviser with Dorbyl Limited.

Category: Community and Social Development

Judy van den Heever (Peterson 1971)

In 2003 Judy, with her husband Danie, established a haven for hope near Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal. Realising the need for positive action they drove the process to form an inspirational organisation called Focus on iThemba, the isiZulu word for "hope". iThemba is a non-profit, public benefit (18a) organisation restoring hope in people's lives. Ithemba includes a housing, campus and community initiative based in KZN, with a fundraising arm in the USA.

Kirsten van der Riet (Elfrink 1989)

Kirsten studied a BPrimEd through Wits, and has taught at several schools in Johannesburg and London. She now teaches part-time at a school called the Mitzvah School, in a ramshackle old house in Morningside, which is for pupils from Alexandra township. Mitzvah actually means "good deed" and is sponsored by the Jewish community. It is for matrics only, and they leave their schools in Alex at the end of Grade 11 and come to this school to experience a year of major input.

Category: Role Models

Sheenagh Harris (Wise 1953)

Sheenagh has worked tirelessly for many years for the Old Girls' Association. Her loyalty to the school is without question, and she continues to make a vast contribution to the school through her various trips around the world to connect with Old Girls abroad and her assistance with the Old Girls' news in the annual school magazine. Sheenagh was recently appointed president of the World Federation of Rose Societies for the period 2009-2012. Sheenagh was awarded the President's Trophy, by the President of the Rose Society of South Africa, for the most significant contribution and positive involvement in the promotion of roses.

Category: Sports

Claire Nitch (1989)

For a decade Claire has been South Africa’s top-ranked squash player, winning the national championships six times since 1992. Until her retirement from the international arena Claire was ranked between nine and 17 in the world. One of her greatest achievements was the lifting of the Liberty National crown in August 1999 – an achievement that clearly illustrates the attributes of determination, dedication, discipline and pure grit that have characterised Claire's career. She won her first national colours in 1992, when she represented South Africa at the World Team Championships in Vancouver, Canada, followed by further selection in 1994 in Guernsey, in 1996 in Kuala Lumpur, and in 1998 in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2000 Claire represented South Africa at the World Team Championships.