Helena Swanepoel of Aberdeen Post Office retired on Tuesday after 28 years of loyal service to the people of Aberdeen. She and Postmistress Leone Raulston started work at the Aberdeen branch In 1985 within a week of each other, and have worked harmoniously together ever since. Swanepoel very quickly settled into the routine, and has become something of an institution in the town. She is acknowledged by all for her excellent service, and despite official notices to the contrary, she has always been willing to hand over the contents of a postbox to those who have forgotten their keys! She and Raulston know everybody’s box number, which always comes as a surprise to newcomers from the big cities.
Swanepoel was born in Ceres in the Western Cape, and her first employer was Barclay’s Bank. She was sent by the bank to their Aberdeen branch in 1968, earning the princely sum of R64 per month! After just one year the bank closed down, and she spent some time at home with her husband and young family. She then worked for Volkskas Bank in Aberdeen for eight years.
In 1985 she started work for the Post Office. Her salary increased by R330 per month over what she had been earning at the bank – a very good reason to change jobs! There was no uniform as such, but employees were required to wear a navy skirts and white blouse. The uniform has been updated somewhat since then, with dashing touches of red, and practical and comfortable items such as fleece jackets added. Both Swanepoel and Raulston were delighted when the post office moved into the new building in 2011, as the airconditioning made it a far more comfortable working environment!
Swanepoel will be moving to George shortly, to join her sister. She is very much looking forward to being able to spend more time with her children and grandchildren, in Bloemfontein and Grahamstown. Aberdeen will miss her friendly smile and efficient service.