Alta du Toit’s legacy lives on at school

Alta du Toit died on Tuesday July 19 at the age of 61.

Alta du Toit, the Bellville woman who was the inspiration for the centre that bears her name and which has helped hundreds of people with disabilities over the years, has died.

Her funeral was due to be held at the Vredelust Auditorium, in Boston, today, Wednesday July 27, followed by a private cremation ceremony.

Ms Du Toit was admitted to the Louis Leipoldt Mediclinic with lung problems on Friday July 15 and died on Tuesday July 19. She was 61.

She was born on September 4 1954 and was diagnosed with Down syndrome at the age of 2. Her late parents, Reverend Daan du Toit and his wife, Alta, established the Alta du Toit Centre in Bellville east in 1964, after seeing a need for a place that could support people with intellectual disabilities. It was later moved to Kuils River in 1983, and today is known as the Alta Du Toit School.

As Ms Du Toit grew older, the need for a centre for people over the age of 18 was identified, and the Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre was established in Lincoln Street, Boston, for adults with intellectual disabilities. It provides 250 adults between the ages of 18 and 76 with physical and nursing care. Ms Du Toit had been living there since it opened in 1978.

Marina van der Meulen, the centre’s head of fund-raising and marketing, said Ms Du Toit had been a very interesting person with a good sense of humour.

“She loved Afrikaans music and to dance. She also loved to read and knew all the staff by name.”

She also leaves a legacy of caring for hundreds of children and adults.

“Her legacy will live on for the many more intellectually disabled people who will find a place of care at the school and thereafter at the aftercare centre,” said Ms Van der Meulen.

People took to the centre’s Facebook page to pay their respects.

Johanna Quinot wrote: “We didn’t know Alta, but had it not been for her parents, the centre and the school would never have been established.

“Alta’s legacy will continue to make a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome.

“We at the Down Syndrome Association of the Western Cape think of her family, and her friends,” the association wrote.