Conversations with Grezelle Jansen, my past student at Grassy Park High School

Grezelle Jansen


Thanks to facebook, many of my past students are still in contact with me. I often see their occasional post when one of them is either celebrating a birthday, getting married or even when we lose someone connected to our extended family. Then many of us would pass on well wishes or condolences, showing that we still care about one another's wellbeing.


This year particularly, my conversations with Grezelle have stepped up. This was all because of my involvement in two charity projects. The one project, Jerzy4kidz Campaign, involved knitting jerseys for the 150 children of the Steinthal Home in Tulbagh. We completed this project at the end of July.


Now, I am a participant in the TLC4Seniors knee blanket project. We are knitting a knee throw for each of 100 residents of the Douglas Murray Home for the aged in Retreat, Cape Town as part of the Christmas gift. Of course, I invited all my facebook friends to join in on the projects. Grezelle immediately got involved. Charity work is in her blood. I have struck the right chord with our young community builder!

Let me take you back to when I posted the invitation to join the Jerzy4kidz project on my facebook wall in June. Right. The post went live. A few 'likes' appeared and then Grizelle's message landed in my box. The story can be picked up from this point:


9 June . 7:04pm


Grezelle: Hi, I just wanted to know if there is any specific age that you are knitting for and also can any pattern be used? I am consulting with my mother and granny who are amazing when it comes to knitting.


Me: Aah man, how adorable. I am going to update the Jerzy4kidz board of honour and add their names. Who are those jerseys for ( in picture that was attached) For the grandchildren?


Grezelle: My gran knits constantly. She sometimes gets orders. She is currently knitting beanies. My mother also knits but sewing is her forte. These two females are always there, lending a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. My mother was also a student at Grassy Park High school.


Currently my mother is sponsoring a matric ball dress, with accessories, for a Grade 12 . She often sponsors Matric ball dresses for needy learners in areas such as Lavender Hill, Bishop Lavis, They love helping others; that is something I learnt from them.


Me: This is an amazing story. Tell me more, please.


Grezelle: My granny has been knitting for as long as I can remember. Her name is Lorraine Jaftha. She is the one who introduced knitting into the family. I remember being in grade 1 and she would teach me how to knit. :-), My granny would knit and if people are interested in what she has knitted, they would buy it from her. 9 times out of 10 she would give the knitted items away.


I have memories of her knitting over the years for people in need, like pregnant women who needed clothes for their babies. ,My mother again, likes sewing and beading. My mother got divorced in 2005. She then started a women's group where she taught the women to do things like sewing, candle making,beading , arts and crafts and so forth. My mother, Mirinda (Lopez) Jansen, believes in empowering women.


You know, these two females set the foundation for the person I am today. I always say morals and values are learned at home,because they laid that foundation for me. It made me obviously only attract those types of people in my life, For me, it would be teachers such as Ms steenbok and Mrs Shira at Sid G.Rule Primary School and then there are those like Ms Rachel Joan Thys and yourself. I might not have been a very outspoken person in your geography class lol, but I always looked at the way you used to teach. Yes, there are many excellent teachers at Grassy Park High School who would go above and beyond for the students....


Sunday, 21 September. 7.23 p.m.


Grezelle: Hey, just showed gran your crafty work ...takes me back to when I started knitting. I have not been on facebook recently. Busy helping mom planning her official launch of her clothing there a time frame for this project?

Then tonight... 23.September.

Grezelle:.Hi. Granny is busy with her second one.

Me: Hi. Busy with second what?

Grezelle: with the second blanket.


Me: Oh my golly golly.. When did your gran start this blanket and where does she get the wool? I am gobsmacked!!


Grezelle: She started earlier today she uses her left over wool.


Isn't this awesome?


I now know Grezelle comes from a family of women who are deeply committed to social upliftment. I am super proud of this ordinary family doing extraordinary things. This is what social activism is. This is the kind of generosity and cultural richness that form part of our bedrock.


This story of Grezelle and her family is one solid reason for celebrating our Heritage Day tomorrow.

Grezelle and I in an archived picture!









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