In Memory

In Loving Memory of Guinevere Ventress

30 Mar 1925 - 23 May 2022

GAGA UK have been privileged to have had the support of Guinevere for a number of years. She visited our stand at the Stratford River Festival and talked with gusto about the region of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa that was her home and is the home of many of the grassroots projects we support.

Guinevere was born on March 30th 1925 in Greytown, Natal, South Africa.  Although her parents moved to Zululand, for most of her younger life she lived in Greytown with family in order to be able to attend school.  After a short employment by the Post Office after leaving school, Guinevere moved to work firstly in Cape Town and then later Johannesburg.

After marrying Mr Robert Ventress in 1951 in Greytown, Natal, they returned to Natal to live in 1954 when Robert was offered a job at the University of Natal, Durban.

Guinevere and Bob were both intensely politically and socially minded people.

The newspaper article was discovered when Guinevere's niece asked me to set up a dedication page in her memory. 

It provides a great deal of background information about Guinevere's descendants and her early life and it also highlights her deeply held Liberal beliefs and her energy and tenacity in supporting others through her efforts. This time was one of the most turbulent and influential for South Africa and Guinevere's "strong and forthright" beliefs "in individual rights" totally aligned to Liberal thinking of the time. It transpires that Guinevere did not contest this seat in the end; the Liberal Party decided to allow the Progressive Party to fight the seat unopposed, in an effort to consolidate the support for shared policies.  Guinevere instead stood at Ixopo, against candidates from United Party, the Union Federal Party and an Independent. Guinevere's strongly held belief in equality of opportunity influenced her whole life, she joined the Black Sash organisation – an all female organisation in steadfast opposition to the apartheid regime.  She was an active member for 20 years, 10 years of which was in leadership.  She was also a founder member of the Emolweni Feeding Scheme in Kloof, which went on to help 7000 children suffering from protein deficiency. This was one of the reasons Guinevere was so interested in the grassroots projects GAGA UK supports in the same region.

Guinevere moved to the UK in 1974 and made a new life for herself working in the UK and abroad, but eventually retiring in Cambridgeshire.  She and Robert enjoyed holidays to their house in Spain as well as travel to other areas of Europe.

She was widowed in 1999 and moved to Stratford on Avon to be near her niece in 2017.  

The photograph is of Guinevere meeting the actor John Kani outside the Stratford on Avon RSC.  Her family took her to see a performance of Kunene and the King in 2019.  The meeting afterwards was really emotional for both of them. John Kani told Guinevere “I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for the Black Sash”.

She died peacefully in a Care Home in Warwickshire on May 23rd, 2022. 

Thank you very much for visiting Guinevere's In Memory page.  All donations collected in her memory will be disbursed to the project 1000 Hills Community Helpers which provides healthcare, food, clothing and education to thousands of members of the community of Inchanga, KZN. 

So far your kind donations have raised

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