Team focus

  • Gadija Ryklief

After 13 and a half years at AMS, Gadija closed her working chapter yesterday and is off to enjoy all the beautiful things life has in store for her. Here’s a look into the life of a true Red Crosser …

Tell us about yourself: “I was born, bred and schooled in Cape Town.  I have a son

and daughter; my daughter is married and I have three grandsons, they are my world.”

Tell us about your journey with The South African Red Cross Society (SARCS): “I started with the SA Red Cross Society as a receptionist, went through different Departments; worked in the training department - received my silver medal, then taught basic first aid to primary school learners thereafter I moved to Public Relations & Fundraising and successfully raised much needed funds for the Society. I became the confidential secretary at Wynberg office then moved to the National Office as Administrative Manager and PA to the Secretary General. I was with SARCS for 20 years, when the National Office moved to Gauteng, I joined AMS in August 2005.” 

Were you in any other trade before? “Having attended secretarial college, I was always involved in secretarial work. My first job was an admin clerk at an insurance company in Cape Town, then as secretary to a Bank Manager & stand-in teller at a small branch bank in Athlone.”

Why did you choose to join the AMS?  “It was an easy choice, a bit like a continuation of what I was already doing.  Besides, once a Red Crosser, always a Red Crosser.”

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be? “I wish I had studied to be a psychologist, or school teacher.  I feel I have the underlying ability to bring out the best in children.”

What do you do in your spare time? “I design and make my own clothes and sometimes for others. I love creative challenges, whether its cooking, baking, making jewellery.”

What might someone be surprised to know about you? “After divorce and kids all grown up, I enjoyed “me-time” I took some guitar lessons and surprised my family one night after dinner with some Spanish classics – I received a standing ovation.... hahaha!!  I don’t think I was so good they were just overwhelmingly surprised!  I also joined a sports club running half marathons.  I ran a race in Istanbul, which was my best run. Oh and I met Prince Charles, quite a ‘prince charming.”

What is on your bedside table? “Bedside lamp, Bubbly chocolate, a novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by author Khaled Hosseini which I am reading again after four years, he is brilliant, his other book The Kite Runner is also a great read.”

If you could have dinner with five famous people from history, who would they be? “Queen Victoria and her Indian lover, Jackie Kennedy, Coco Chanel and

Khalil Gibran.”

When your friends/family find out what you do, what do they say or ask? “I bet

you get good rates on international flights.”

What has been the happiest day of your life? “I get an adrenaline rush every time I depart to fly to a distant holiday destination.”

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? “Be a stylist to the stars – fashion is my passion!”

What is your greatest indulgence? “Spoiling those I love.”

What is the one thing, you can’t live without?  “Lipstick!”

What is the one quality you feel best describes you? “Loyal.”

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?  "Running teaches you, perhaps more than anything else, that there's no reason to fear starting lines...or other new beginnings” -  Amby Burfoot.

Do you have a life philosophy?  “The best thing about the future, is that you can take it one day at a time.”

Any parting words of wisdom? “Don’t take yourself so seriously, no one else does.”