From the head's desk: 20 September 2019
The staff and pupils of St Mary’s returned to school with thoughts of the enormous challenges facing South Africa uppermost in our minds. The violence against women, children and foreign nationals filled our thoughts and prayers, framed our planning and was a constant subject of discussion among staff and girls. Given the scale and depth of the problems our country faces, it is always difficult to know how St Mary’s can respond meaningfully and in a way that speaks to the diverse needs of our community. We acknowledge that our reach is limited and that no course of action speaks to everyone’s priorities.
St Mary’s has elected to address our deep-rooted concerns about the endemic violence faced by women in South Africa using a range of strategies which we shall share with the community during the next few weeks. As teaching staff, we were encouraged that the many challenges facing our nation were addressed bravely and eloquently by our Form IV girls during their leadership seminar which ran from 11 to 13 September.
The Form IV girls chose to attend school rather than participate in a stay-away for a range of reasons. They acknowledged that staying away from work is a luxury for many South African women. In fact, sadly, a majority of young South African women have no jobs to stay away from. Equally, they emphasised that a good education is a privilege that should not be discounted and that there was much of value to be learnt at a seminar which focused on women leaders, leadership in Africa and theories of transformative, ethical and servant leadership. A range of presentations, workshops and team-building tasks provided the girls with tools and time for self-reflection which should empower them as they take on the important roles of both school leadership and leadership beyond St Mary’s.
Kuben Naidoo, a St Mary’s parent and Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, shared the story of his student activism with the Form IV girls and gave them some wise advice which we think is of value to all of us as we work to alleviate some of the darkness in our country. Our girls were reminded to prioritise building rather than destruction, never to negate the value of education, to forge meaningful relationships, and to communicate in ways that will bring about change for the better.
Head of student life
We celebrated Heritage Day and our diverse community this morning at our Eucharist. Revd Nompumelelo Zondi led us in a rousing sermon. It was a special acknowledgement in God’s presence of the diversity within our school and the unity that strengthens our community.
Head of school