Ethel Barlow (1931 - )
The Order of the Baobab in
Profile of Ethel Barlow
Ethel Barlow was born in 1931 in Brakpan. She did her primary schooling at St Mary's School in Orlando East, Soweto.
Her grandmother, Johanna van Branden, lived in Ray Street, close to the Christ the King Anglican Church and became very involved in community compassionate work, like the school-feeding scheme of Father Trevor Huddleston, visiting the sick and the dying and the distributing food and clothing. She was a staunch member of the Mothers' Union - a women's organization in the Anglican Church which was also very involved in philanthropic community work.
Barlow's connection with Sophiatown started at the age of six when she regularly visited her grandparents and aunts. She would live there during school vacations, accopnaying her grandmother whenvener she went to work in the community. Sophiatown became more her home as she grew up, and as a young woman she gradually became personally involved in the community, following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who was also her role model and mentor.
After Sophiatown's demise, the result of the apartheid regime's forced removals, the Barlows moved to Kliptown where Ethel carried on with her community involvement. She became a writer for a local newspaper called Die Bek Geskiedenis, which was sponsored and underwritten by the University of South Africa. Ethel was responsible for recording in writing the oral history of the Kliptown community.
She was later involved in the Land Claims Commission as the Chairperson of the Klipriviersoog (Kliptown) Claims Committee which assisted claimants to obtain restitution for the loss they experienced through the apartheid regime's dispossession.
Ethel Barlow is a committee member of the 'Kliptown Our Town Trust', which aims to make our young people aware of the history of Kliptown and encourage them to be involved in all aspects of community life.