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TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR SNEDDON (article first published : 2006-01-30)

Folk singer Miriam Erasmus pays tribute to the late Professor Elizabeth Sneddon.

Thanks to Professor Elizabeth Sneddon, the art of educational entertainment was evolved in the late 70s. She devised touring programmes for speech and drama to be used as educational tools. From this, Gisele Turner became involved and then invited Miriam Erasmus to join her.

The Handy Spandy Players evolved the art form further, by including music and self -penned songs, becoming incredibly popular amongst the pre- and JP schools in the early 80s. HPS ran its course and Gisele went on to form The Madcaps with Wendy Nell and they are enormously successful. "Auntie MIm" and John have become household names with their educational entertainment presentations and puppet shows. Jackie Poultney, too, formed a similar company, and so the list goes on.

Music, mime, speech and drama, puppetry have found their rightful place in the pre-school environment but have yet to be used to their full potential in the older age groups, as was Prof's dream. A great pity, as many recognise that through these arts, humans can gain invaluable learning experiences, and become well-rounded instead of merely cerebral. Others, I am sure, owe this amazing woman an incredible depth of gratitude, but here are our humble thanks for this wave of energy that Durban was lucky enough to have experienced.

I often thanked her personally, but here's an extra one :-

Thank you, dear Prof, for being the inspiration for our livelihood. We have raised two wonderful children, and been able to earn a modest living, and be involved in the lives of tens of thousands of children.

Devoted love, as always, Miriam Erasmus




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