#BlackLivesMatter global movement
St Mary’s is not spared the impact of the #BlackLivesMatter global movement. In a proactive move to address issues raised by several Old Girls and Senior School girls, the school set in motion an investigation to highlight areas where staff were perceived to be or have been insensitive to racial and gender issues. The outcomes of the investigation are made known in a report by Advocate Orleyn, which is distributed to the community. In addition, the school secures the services of Mandate Molefi, a company well respected for their work in the transformation, diversity, and inclusion field, to undertake an extensive review of the transformation and diversity imperative at the school. The company conducted a quantitative and qualitative survey of the views and perceptions of all stakeholders around issues of diversity and transformation. The findings will guide the school’s transformation process.
Parents at the school, under the guidance of the HOPE (Hearing Other People’s Experiences) committee, a sub-committee of the PTA, launched the campaign: Sharing Stories - a celebration of literacy and heritage. The campaign ran for the month of September with the express purpose of reconnecting the community by engaging in a month of sharing stories from our diverse heritage. In the last week, the campaign dovetailed into a partnership with the St Mary’s Parents of Black Girls Forum (PBGF) and the St Mary’s African languages department, to celebrate the stories behind our names. Parents contributed by sending voice notes of the stories behind their daughters’ names and providing the correct pronunciations of the names.
The PBGF also hosted a fascinating webinar for the community on why a leading African School like St Mary’s should provide a decolonised education. A team of expert panellists, including deputy heads Felicia Tobias and Lauren Howden, interrogated the meaning of “decolonised education” and presented insights into what should be a far richer curriculum, and one that promises to equip our children with the critical thinking skills necessary for them to contribute as global citizens.