100 years later: Looking back at four generations at Rustenburg Girls’ School by Lesley Satchel (née Macdonald) E’63

“Looking back over the past century, from 1921 to 2021, four generations of our family have been fortunate to experience the journey of being at Rustenburg Girls’ Junior and High School. It all started with my aunts, Gwendoline Joanna le Cordeur (who started Std 6 in 1921) and Olga Bertha le Cordeur (who started Std 6 in 1924), unknowingly setting the stage for a century-long family tradition. They were followed by two more sisters who didn’t know the Le Cordeurs; Marion Skelton (Std 6 in 1927) and Grace Skelton (Std 6 in 1930) who joined the Rustenburg legacy. These young ladies left school, as many did in those days after Junior Certificate (Std 8 & 9). I was the first one in my family to matriculate, started Sub A in 1952 and matriculated in 1963. After myself, Margaret McMurray started Sub A in 1976 and matriculated in 1987. And then the next generation came along: Ashleigh Kate Noyce (Grade R in 2006) matriculated in 2019 and Rachel Emma Noyce who matriculated in 2021.

100 years of four generations at Rustenburg Girls’ High School, what a record! Reflecting on my school days, memories flood in. Ms. Zoe Orton, the Junior school principal, was strict. Rustenburg Girls’ was the first school in Cape Town to introduce eurhythmics, and Miss Orton designed special brown leather sandals for us. The uniform featured blue dresses, aprons for art, navy pleated skirts, and blue shirts. In high school, Miss Thomson, with her border collie Shadow, led us. Shadow occasionally indulged in our lunches, and tuckshops weren’t available. Grace (Skelton) McDonald, lived for 100 years and 9 months, she is the symbol of resilience to us. Beyond the core eight girls, Rustenburg Girls’ School touched various cousins’ lives. As we commemorate this century-long journey, our family continues to support future generations through bursaries, offering other girls the chance to experience the excellence of Rustenburg Girls’ Schools.

The school celebrates 130 years of excellence and we are proud to be affiliated with 100 years of that legacy, memories, friendships and excellence.”

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