DURBAN - Friendships deeply rooted in the past binds the class of 1957 from former Durban Indian Girls High School, now Durban Girls Secondary, near Greyville.
Their recent 60th Reunion saw lots of laughter over shared memories, with former classmate Ela Gandhi saying some of the women started together at primary school up until matric, with some even attending university together.
Gandhi described her high school years as "wonderful", saying: “We did some serious studying and some mischief and enjoyment as well. Among us are many who qualified as educators and were teaching for many years, some doctors, some film stars and a number of other fields, including excellent cooks and home-makers."
Acknowledging that some of their class could not attend the reunion due to ill health, having moved away or passed on, Gandhi said: “When we are together, our past seems to be just the other day, but we are soon faced with our own realities of failing memories, eyesight, hearing and the aches and pains of old age. But no one complains. We are a noisy bunch.”
She added that there are even some great-grandmothers among the group.
“Every one of us enjoyed catching up with memories and talking about our present position. All strong women ready to tackle whatever challenges life has for us. We all agree that our school days were the most wonderful days of our lives. But we had to walk and travel distances, we endured many hardships including a segregated education system with only white teachers in an all-Indian girls school. Given a chance, maybe some of us would have been top tennis players, sports personalities, arts and science personalities and more, but all are wonderful mothers and grandmothers, some even great-grandmothers.”
Both Gandhi and her former classmate, Siga Roman, paid tribute to their late friend Roshini Doorgapersadh for keeping members of the group in contact with one another.
Roman said: “About 15 years ago, a friend was coming to visit from India as we had always kept in touch, writing letters to each another across the ocean. I was going to hold a reunion at my place but then we ended up having it at Roshini’s house after we had found out contact details for everyone. That was the start and we still all meet regularly,” said Roman.