Nineteen ninety-six is the 20th anniversary of the Soweto uprising and the school’s annual play is the musical Sarafina! set in 1976. Its themes, “Bring back Nelson Mandela” and “We are here today … to build the future, where all of us, black and white, can come together and forget the past and work to liberate our land”, express the aspirations of the black youth of both generations.
President Nelson Mandela himself attends a shortened version of the play during one assembly, in a day of great excitement for the school and its pupils. Mandela – whose love for children is famous – easily wins everyone over by his natural, friendly charisma.
It seems particularly apt that the head girl this year is St Mary’s first (but not last) black head girl.