Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Remarkable Residents: Erica Pienaar

Throughout October to celebrate Black History Month the Lewisham Local History Archive Centre will post our chosen 15 truly remarkable residents. People who were born in the borough or lived within its borders

12/15: Dame Erica Pienaar DBE, FRSA

(born 20 March 1952) schoolteacher, educationist, Freedom of the Borough of Lewisham

Erica was born in Cape Town. On Christmas Eve 1954, her family chose to leave the country boarding a ship bound for Southampton. Her family quickly established themselves in Crystal Palace and has been loyal to her South East London ‘roots’ ever since. Erica’s family revered education; it was clearly understood that it was through a good education that one not only developed as a person but also gained control of one’s destiny.

 She began her career as a Science Teacher in 1973 and taught for 40 years in South East London. Until her retirement in September 2013, she was Executive Head Teacher of the Leathersellers’ Federation of Schools. The Federation was established in September 2008 in Lewisham and comprises three Colleges: Prendergast-Hilly Fields College, Prendergast-Ladywell Fields College and Prendergast-Vale College.

 In 2013, Erica was made an honorary Freewoman of the Borough, for her illustrious career in Lewisham. The Council agreed:

‘Her involvement in national and educational change has inspired countless educationists, teachers and students with resulting significant local and national impact. Her belief in our young people has shone through her work and has changed their futures.’

Erica was appointed a Dame on the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for her long and distinguished career in education.

Local History and Archives Centre. Email:local.studies@lewisham.gov.uk

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