From the head’s desk: 16 July 2021

Deanne King

The Senior School girls presented a message to the school this week about Mandela Day. It was a call to action for all the girls to realise their individual power to transform our society and to make a contribution to humanitarianism. Their message was in stark contrast to the unrest, rioting and lawless activity that has besieged our country, and has left us feeling overwhelmed, angry, sad, vulnerable and hopeless.

For Don M. – Banned by Mongane Serote

it is a dry white season
dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out
and with a broken heart they dive down gently headed for the earth,
not even bleeding.
it is a dry white season brother,
only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect
dry like steel, their branches dry like wire,
indeed, it is a dry white season
but seasons come to pass.

‘Don M.’ is the poet Don Mattera

During this same week, on a visit to Little Saints who are on campus, I was captivated by the rich learning, the happy engagement of the children and teachers, and the privilege of this environment, which contrasts so starkly with the experiences of the majority of children in South Africa. The juxtaposition of an experience at St Mary’s with that of the broader experience beyond our gates has permeated my whole week.

I was grateful to a colleague who shared with me the messages between ordinary citizens who began mobilising on social media to volunteer their help in cleaning up after the mess that was left in the aftermath of looting. This show of citizenship was reinforced on local TV stations that showed citizens taking back their streets and cleaning up. The actions of ordinary people and the spirit of community were extraordinary. Mandela Day, and its call to action suddenly took on new meaning for me.

When we are overwhelmed with emotion, it is easy to lose ourselves and turn to anger and despair but what matters is how we react.


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