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Industry Tributes to Brenda Anthony: In Remembrance of a SA Hairdressing Icon

Industry icon Brenda Anthony sadly passed away recently. There have been many tributes to her from those in the industry who knew her, worked with her and loved her. Hairnews has published these below and extends our condolences to Brenda’s family and all those who were touched by her presence and will be mourning her loss.

By Ezra Isaacs, Coiffure Ezra – the eulogy read at Brenda’s funeral:

Today we are here to pay tribute to Brenda Anthony.

When I met this remarkable woman she was labelled as the police of hairdressing, she would walk into a salon and everyone knew all irregularities will be brought to book. You had to conform to rules and regulations.

As you got to know her better you discovered she was warm, loving, a warrior with kindness and compassion with flare and resilience. She pushed through with what life had to offer, love had no boundaries.

I was part of a group that travelled abroad together a few times and Brenda was the one that made sure we ate well, shared whatever she had with whoever needed, she uplifted many.

We were in New York in March 2008 when she received the news her husband Lennie took ill and she rushed home on the next available flight to be with her love. She followed her instincts. A few days later Lennie was called home on Easter Saturday, today she is united with her husband in the beyond.

Brenda served on the Hairdressing Bargaining Council for many years as an agent as mentioned earlier the police of hairdressing, with determination of making a difference and making sure students qualify and empower themselves.

Brenda was known as Aunty, Tannie Brenda, Miss Brenda, Mrs Anthony or Brenda or Tannie Bargaining Council was the best, but she carried herself with much grace and charisma.

Intercoiffure approached Brenda 7th years ago to assist teaching Hairdressing skills at Christel House and this has changed the lives of many students, she taught with love and made learning exciting.

Brenda you have made a difference in teaching at Education For Life at Christel House. I watched you mothering and mentor those in need, compassionate to people’s circumstances and behaviour. You were the first to congratulate winners and motivate apprentices to complete their studies.

Some of the students have sent notes of her teaching credentials, reading the notes has symbolised her natural ability to calm a struggling student, this was not a skill she was trained in, but a heart of gold she taught tirelessly and made each one feel like a special child.

I never knew Brenda’s family but knew about them as they were her reason to laugh, smile and happy place. Leonardine, Ross, Yvette, Anthony and Ronald………you made your moms heart beat. She lived for her family. Thank you for sharing her with us over the years…

You have left a void in our lives. The Industry has lost an Icon.

Farewell to a remarkable woman of strength with a heart of gold. Rest In peace till we meet again.

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By Rolf Losken on behalf of Christel House and Intercoiffure Education for Life:

Dear Intercoiffure Education for Life Friends,

It saddens me to inform you that Brenda, who has been a teacher at the Christel House salon for over 5 years, passed away on the 13th November after she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She still did a class just over 2 weeks previously.

At all times she was totally reliable, punctual and committed to assist students in her care. She not only taught them hairdressing, but was able to guide so many in their personal lives. Even during her last days, she had hope that she could return to school as there were those that needed her and she missed them so much. Thank you Brenda for all you did and for being an inspiration to so many.

The funeral service was held on Sunday. Christel House organised a bus to transport 17 present and past students to the church. Two of them were given the opportunity to speak on how Brenda had influenced their lives. Truly, they were so professional, speaking clearly and with so much feeling.

After reading what they said, I trust that you will agree that the feelings expressed have vindicated that the Education for Life project has, and still does, mean so much to so many students. Without the total support and encouragement received, this would not have been possible.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This is part of what Kiara, who is only 16 years old , reported:

When I heard the news of Brenda’s passing, there were so many thoughts and memories that raced through my head. I thought about the last time I saw her. It occurred to me that this lady whom we consider to be among the best educators we had ever been blessed with, was an absolute icon. She was truly gifted in the art of delivering knowledge to a huge variety of students. Every mind was important to her and she felt it worth her time to search for just the right keys to open that mind. What put her in a special league was that she had an unbelievable level of kindness, a true loving spirit and the heart of an angel. This lady could instill a measure of confidence in those who had absolutely no confidence. She could calm a struggling student with unscripted encouragement. I truly believe that she was capable of moving a person’s perception of themselves further along a positive path, in just one school year.

We all saw something very special in her because she made us all feel like she saw something special in us. No matter how skillful a teacher she was, no matter how kind and patient she was with us students, no matter how much energy and effort into making us the best hairdressers we could possibly be, Miss Brenda touched our hearts in very special ways. These we can never ever explain with the mere tools of these Earthly words.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here is part of what the other student said:

I am Toyyieba, ex-student of the salon. We would like to thank the Intercoiffure members and the late Miss Brenda for all that they have done for us.

We did not think that we would have to say good-bye this soon. With your spirit being so bright and your presence ever so welcoming, one would think you ought to have lived forever. But you will live forever in our hearts.

She was our hairdressing teacher, more than that, she was our mentor, a comforter, an advisor, a second mother. She definitely was not afraid to scold us when we were naughty. But was the first to congratulate us when we achieved. We were then introduced to outside salons for part-time work. As a past graduate she still asked after us and wished us well.

The welcoming hugs, the beautiful smile every time we saw her, made us know we were at home. Nothing will fill the void left in the hair salon, it won’t be the same without you Miss Brenda.

We miss you already. Rest easy.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

By Jean Witte, Synergy Hair Intercoiffure

Her determination to always make a difference, if given permission she would have taken the students at Christel House on camps. I used to catch her slipping them treats because that is who she was, a tough cookie with a soft compassionate heart.

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