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Almost unnoticed: Kimberley loses another sport and community pillar

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If anyone is wondering why the passing of a seamstress from Florianville is being mentioned here, please read on.

ELLEN Ramzan, a seamstress and lifelong resident of Kimberley died peacefully on December 30, 2020 at the blessed age of 90, at her residence at 18 Recreation Road Florianville Kimberley.

And if anyone is wondering why the passing of a seamstress from Florianville is being mentioned here, please read on.

Mrs Ramzan, affectionately known as “Ma Ellen” was born in Malay Camp Kimberley to James Hermanus and Margaret Magdalene Hermanus on June 13, 1930. On August 6, 1960 she married Sadick Ramzan, a municipal employee from whom she conceived six children who became the most important part of her life.

Ma Ellen was a devoted mother, Christian and sportswoman. She was devoted to her career as sports administrator and played a pivotal role in developing sporting talent in the community. Together with the late Joice Corns they established the Florians Ladies hockey club from which many provincial players emerged.

Her love for, and service to her community through sport, remained deeply embedded within her, even as communities were blighted by forced removals from Malay Camp, where she grew up. Her service to the sport of especially swimming merely shifted from the Lyndhurst Road pool, to the Florianville Swimming baths, now named in honour of her late son, Brian Hermanus.

Sadly, as is often the case, it is thus only in death that struggle stalwarts, such as Ellen Ramzan, become fully acknowledged for their contributions to South African society. Her efforts in standing tall for workers’ rights within the garment industry, has benefitted many who came after her.

She was a tireless worker and player for the preservation and advancement of women’s hockey (and swimming) in Griqualand West, and served the game primarily as a player, mentor and coach within the bosom of Spartan’s Hockey Club.

Ma Ellen also represented the Spartan Ladies hockey club who won the Ernest Brown league trophy in 1948 to 1949. She is survived by her children, Cedreca, Jasmine, Farieda, Nadia and Achmed, her 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She is predeceased by her son Brian and grandchild Robin.

In her gallant efforts as a humanitarian she was a pioneer in striving to ensure a free South Africa during the dark years of Apartheid. She was a torch bearer for the fight for justice and equality.

Ma Ellen visibly and concretely did her part in nation-building. A God-fearing mother that grounded her life and that of her family in Christ and his church.

One of her granddaughters wrote: “Her day is done and we pray that God will grant her eternal rest in ineffable mansions of celestial glory. Go on peace ma, you will be missed by all.”