Photo Credit: Santie Pretorius

Santie Pretorius from Secunda has been creating stunning memory bears out of school blazers and sports kits to help families honour students leaving high school.


Secunda, South Africa (17 February 2022) – Santie Pretorius makes memory bears for school-leavers so that they can remember their time at high school in a unique way. For many students, their blazers will be placed in the cupboard and only looked at every few years. By turning the blazer into a bear, it can easily be displayed for one’s entire life.

Memory bears are a wonderful concept. They can be made to memorialise a loved one, to freeze a moment in time or to celebrate a favourite item of clothing or blanket that is no longer usable.

We have seen memory bears from around the world, each made for different reasons. We first heard of a memory bear for a little girl’s favourite blankie, which she was too old to carry around, so her mom had it turned into a bear for nighttime comfort. The second bear we heard about was a woman who had lost her husband; she turned his favourite shirt into a memory bear which was displayed alongside his urn.

Now Santie is helping students and parents memorialise school blazers. We love this idea, and her bears are beautiful. We reached out to ask Santie more about her bears and what inspired her to turn school blazers and sports kits into bears. She is the owner of the craft store “Mangoliso” (meaning miracle in Zulu) in Secunda and loves to craft the bears, which she says is her passion. Santie hand makes each one and takes between 3 to 4 days to complete one bear.

Santie shared that it all started when a close friend lost her husband in an accident. Their teenage daughter struggled with the loss, so Santie made the bear to comfort the teen. She was inspired to create bears for everyone affected by the loss of loved ones.

Santie started making the blazer bears to bring school achievements out of the cupboard, to be displayed in the home.

“The school blazer bears help with ‘that blazer that is collecting dust in the cupboard where nobody sees it’ which is too sentimental to throw away. Now it can be displayed in your home in a very special area where everybody can see and appreciate the true value of it along with all the hard work and determination through your school years.”

We asked Santie if she had a favourite bear, but she says it is impossible; each one is unique and special all on its own.

“I do not have any favourite bear… all bears are special and unique… and the stories behind every bear are precious and close to my heart. One bear takes me 3 to 4 days to make as most parts are done by hand and I prefer to do all the work myself because it’s my passion to make other people’s special memories.”

If you would like to reach out to Santie about a memory bear, you can do so via her Facebook here.

Sources: Santie Pretorius – Interview
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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