The word ‘legends’ is often too easily bandied about, but within the space of just over a month, the South Peninsula community bade farewell to two inspirational teachers who influenced the lives of countless ex-students in so many ways, and to whom the term ‘legend’ most certainly applies.
Mrs Antoinette (Toni) Wilcox, who taught at SP from 1978 until her retirement in 1993, passed away in July, and Mr Wilfred B King, who taught at SP from 1967 until he accepted a post at Hewat Training College in 1976, passed away in August. They were both outstanding and innovative teachers who went out of their way to show that education, especially during the apartheid era, was about far more than just completing a syllabus – it was about instilling in students the belief that they had rights, that they were as good as anyone else and that they should not be silent in the face of oppression.
Mrs Wilcox taught English and Latin, as well as Class Music when that was still a subject. She was also in charge of the Drama Society for a while. She was known for her excellent command of English, her quick wit and her sharp sense of humour. One of the highlights of the year as far as Latin was concerned was the annual banquet, where all the Latin teachers and students dressed in their togas and feasted on traditional Roman food (besides roasted dormouse!).
Always impeccably dressed and well spoken, with a wide vocabulary, Mr King taught English, Geography and Physical Education, introducing the boys to gymnastics box work and mat work, among other disciplines. Mr King’s love for athletics (he was Kendal House Master for many years) inspired many an athlete, particularly middle distance athletes, to achieve more than they thought they were capable of. Sunday morning runs on the beach and trips up the mountain made sure that the athletes were toughened for the battle. Mr King was also a lover of literature, tennis and all things Welsh.
For tributes by ex-students, click here.