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Who is Lilly

DGP_7806Lillian Mary Ruiters (nee Sickle) was born in District Six, Cape Town, in August 1936. She was one of five children born to David John and Emma Sickle. By the age of fifteen she was forced to leave school to work in a clothing factory, until her untimely death at the age of forty seven. Lillian married and bore four sons. Since her marriage did not last long, Lilly soon found herself a single mother trying to raise four boys on the Cape flats.

Lilly was a woman of enormous fortitude and humility. She believed that the only way to escape poverty was through education, a mission she more than fulfilled, by getting all her boys through school and University. Such was her dedication to her children that all who knew her referred to her offspring as “Lilly’s boys”. A noble and forgiving spirit, her small council flat in Grassy Park was always open to many a desperate relative or a young person who needed protection from the apartheid state.

In 1980, Lilly was diagnosed with cancer. After a struggle, she finally succumbed in 1984. She was only forty seven years old and still working as a garment cutter in a clothing factory.