“I think we can safely say we fell in love in the back rows of the History classes in the A-block,” Mrs Leonard recalls. “The breakthrough in our relationship probably came after Myron arranged behind my back with a mutual friend to be partnered with me in a hostel dance competition.”
Rev Leonard, who hails from the small Eastern Cape town of Hankey, remembers that for that dance competition she was originally partnered with another guy, and the Port Shepstone-born Mr Leonard with another girl.
“Sometime during practise sessions we had to swop partners, and it was eventually said that we have to stay partners - something that I did not agree with. Although we won several certificates on the night, we argued through every one of our dance routines, and this was evident to the fellow hostel student judges on the evening.”
The couple tied the knot in 1983 and have been blessed with four children. Interestingly, their daughter Merryl also met her own husband, Connan De Wee, at UWC. They married in 2011 and have two children.
Mr Leonard started off studying towards a degree in law, but later changed to education. Both graduated with their BA degrees in 1979, and Mr Leonard went on to complete his honours in history and second teacher’s diploma in 1987, while his wife obtained her Secondary Teacher’s Diploma (S.T.D) in 1980.
Did the Leonards have any influence in their daughter’s decision to come study at UWC? “Merryl chose UWC after we took her on a trip to Cape Town to see both UWC and another university she was accepted at,” Rev Leonard recalls. “UWC was our first stop on the day. She made her mind up immediately and did not want to go to the other one.”
The Leonards believe UWC prepared them for the real world. “We are both cancer survivors and the battle with Cancer was big and scary,” Mrs Leonard says. “However, the fighting spirit that was ignited at UWC during the apartheid years helped us to stay strong in our fight with life and death, and praise God. I celebrate 10 years cancer free and Myron five years in 2018.”