Food drive in memory of Cedric Simons

Cedric Simons was the principal of Southern Suburbs Youth Academy in Parkwood.

The family of the man who ran the Southern Suburbs Youth Academy in Parkwood has held a food drive in his honour, following his death last month.

Cedric Simons was the principal of the adult education institute based in Acacia Road.

The food drive was held on February 10, following Mr Simons’s death on January 27, and, according to his son Robert, the goodwill gesture will be extended to support the academy’s matric ball in May.

Mr Simons’s wife, Bahiyih, said: “The students at his school needed to gain a deeper understanding that their progress depends on their community’s progress. And that their minds should be ever bent in thinking of ways to contribute to building a better world. He constantly reminded them that even when they progress to higher education, service to their community should be an integral part of their lives.”

Young people and adults had flocked to the door of their Zeekoevlei house following her husband’s death from natural causes, she said. At first, they had brought flowers, but later they had been encouraged to rather bring non-perishable food for the needy.

“With the help of the community leaders within Parkwood, the parcels were distributed.”

Mr Simons was a former teacher and an auditor at Woolworths. He opened his own real estate company but returned to teaching in 2002, said Ms Simons.

Her husband had believed that everyone deserved a second chance, she said.

“He had a passion for teaching. He was always finding ways to empower individuals to take ownership of their education.”

The academy had started in 2002 when Mr Simons had helped six young people to complete their matric.

Ms Simons said her husband had never turned anyone away even it had meant letting them stay at their family home.

“Our home was a haven for so many youth struggling with various forces of disintegration. He ran a restoration centre at the school, cared for the elderly and younger children, had regular parties, made care packages for young teens that fell pregnant and encouraged them to complete their matric. Every year, on Mandela Day, he would run a soup kitchen for the community. His last community project was in Grabouw December 2021 where they handed out party packs and hot dogs to the young children and food parcels to the elderly.

“He also loved trips to the beach, hikes, getaways, watching the news and spending time with the family – four children and one grandchild.”