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Tennis star’s tribute to his inspirational mother

Disa Potgieter-Oubella, who died last Sunday, aged 64, was described last night by her son, Gavin Manders, as a woman with a drive to help others.

Mr Manders, the island's leading tennis player, said: “I would not have made it here or be who I was without her — she always left somebody better off.”

The tennis pro at Rosewood Tucker's Point added: “My dad, Arnold Manders, is a sportsman and role model, but she also took me to the places I needed to go to succeed in sport.”

Mr Manders said his mother, a teacher, was “an angel for everyone else”.

He added: “She was always taking care of others, always teaching us that others did not have it as good as us and understanding that everybody is different.

“She was just an all-round loving lady.”

He passed on a tribute from his sister, Sophia Manders, who said: “If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart — I will stay there for ever.”

Mrs Potgieter-Oubella taught at schools all over the island. Mr Manders said that her last work involved at-risk young people.

He added: “She was heavily involved in educational programmes over the years, all of them about helping children reach their potential. She believed that everybody deserved a chance.

“She was still a very heavily involved mother with us growing up. She had her work, but didn't see it as work, and it was not until she started to get ill that it seemed like work.

“The amount of people that have reached out to us shows how much she really meant to everybody.”

Mr Manders said his mother was heavily involved in sports and saw “how much sports connects people”.

He added: “It was her passion and compassion for people and wanting to help that she used sports for. It was more about bringing people together that drove her towards sports and the reason why she stayed in education for so many years.”

Mr Manders said: “Sophia and I loved her very much, and we want to thank everyone for their support.”

Loving family: Disa Potgieter-Oubella with children Gavin and Sophia

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Published January 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated January 23, 2018 at 7:27 am)

Tennis star’s tribute to his inspirational mother

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