It was a distinct privilege for me to be able to give a speech at the recent Grade 7 Leaver’s Dinner. As per tradition, each class teacher has a little say to the Grade 7 boys. I felt that it would be a nice break from my usual editorial message to publish my speech from this dinner.
Please enjoy this edition of Horizons – as usual, it is jam-packed full of all the amazing happenings at The Ridge this third term. Have a wonderful, restful, and safe December holiday.
Leaver’s Dinner Speech November 2021
I’ll start with a quick, but sad, story. And as my English boys know, it’s always good to start a speech with a story.
“Long ago, far away, there was a young boy who lived as a slave. It was a harsh life and he was unhappy. Fortunately, one day, a clergyman from a distant land came across this young boy and took him in.
He took this young boy with him to his land and gave him a good life – he looked after him, trained him in the ways of his religion and generally looked after his well-being.
Now the King of this distant land, while initially appearing to be benevolent and wise, held a very dark secret – he was actually cruel and evil. The longer he stayed in power, the more he became a tyrannical despot. As it turns out, our young boy of the story, now grown up, ended up befriending this King by coincidence.
The King, slowly poisoned our protagonist’s mind and everything eventually came to head one day, where the boy had to make a desperate choice – join the King in his powerful, yet evil ways, or return to the people of the religion that saved him from slavery.
Sadly, the young man chooses the King, power and evil and ended up becoming the king’s most trusted Lieutenant, perhaps even surpassing the King in terms of evil and cruelty.”
For the sharp people in the audience tonight, you may have realized that our main character in this story is actually Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader in the Star Wars movie franchise.
Because, As many of you know, I’m a bit of a nerd. Yip, I know it’s hard to believe, but I am actually a guy that really like fantasy and science fiction TV, books and movies.
I love superheroes. I have loads of movie posters in my classroom showing Star Wars, Darth Vader, DC Superheroes, The Avengers, Harry Potter and so on. I go to Comic Conventions (pre-covid) and my single greatest most famous person I have ever met is William Shatner – Captain Kirk from the Original Star Trek series – and yes, I count meeting him above meeting John Smit and Kobus Wiese.
So, in preparing for this evening’s speech, I decided to focus on one aspect of this genre – superheroes. And while I was pondering this topic, the Darth Vader story that I started with sprang to mind and lead me to realise that there are actually TWO very powerful topics I can address tonight at the same time.
I want to focus on the idea of superpowers first.
You see, a superhero is someone who usually has some sort of extraordinary ability or abilities.
They have powers – they might be incredibly strong like the Hulk, or invulnerable like Superman, extremely fast like The Flash, can utilize magic like Dumbledore, Use ‘The Force’ like Luke Skywalker, turn invisible, shoot lightning bolts, have lazer eyes, have telepathy or telekinesis, maybe they’re super intelligent and the list goes on and on.
And for every superhero, there is a super-villian. And supervillains equally have powers – Thanos is extremely strong and clever, Darth Vader uses the Force, Kang the Conquerer can manipulate Time, Lex Luther is very clever, and so on.
So I want to assert that each of you Grade 7s, have superpowers. Each of you have extraordinary abilities. Now, don’t go thinking you can lift a car, or fly off a building, turn invisible, or perform some sort of magic! BUT When compared to a majority of the rest of the population of the world you have abilities and powers that most people could only wish for. Some people call these gifts or talents or privilege and they absolutely are those things. But tonight, I’m calling them superpowers:
- You are all really smart.
- You have a fairly well-developed sense of wisdom – in other words, most of you have the ability to tell the difference between good ideas and bad ideas.
- You are fit and physically healthy.
- You can think for yourself.
- You have potential.
- You have friends and family.
- You probably fit into the top 5% of world’s most economically wealthiest people.
- You have skills and talents that have been developed through years of practice.
- You have had and continue to have incredible opportunities in your life.
- And the list of these everyday superpowers that you take for granted goes on and on.
The next question I want to ask you is this: Why are Superman, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Wonderwoman, Ironman, Spiderman good, and why are the Joker, Thanos, Green Goblin, Voldemort, Darth Vader bad?
And I think it comes down to a quote by perhaps one of the wisest of the heroes: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore who said:
“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are … it is our choices.”
Choice. That’s the most important word here and the second part of my speech. Choice is possibly the only real freedom we have in life. We can choose what to say and do. Yes, people often tell us what we should do, but ultimately, it’s your choice on how to use YOUR superpowers. Superheroes also had positive people in their lives. People they could talk to, people they could confide in, people who were probably wiser than them to start with. And as a result, Superheroes use their powers for others, to help others, to make the world a better place. Supervillians are often characterized by being alone. They had little guidance and believed they knew everything by themselves. And as a result, Supervillians chose to use their powers for personal gain, for selfishness, for revenge, for a misguided belief in their own superiority.
What choices are you going to make with your superpowers? You are going to continue to be presented with opportunities and more and more ‘superpowers’ as you move into high school and beyond. Are you going to seek the guidance and wisdom of people who probably know more than you and can legitimately help you, or are you going to believe that you know everything already? I know what choice I would like you to make. Another one of my favorite superheroes, Batman, said:
“It’s not the abilities I have underneath, but what I DO THAT DEFINES ME.”
In other words, the choices I make – the choices YOU make will define you. So make good choices.
By Anton Pretorius
A question I sought to answer when contemplating writing this article is How does one fit a year’s worth of activities into one term? My simple answer is– Ask The Ridge School. The evidence of it is this publication.
How did we manage to fit it all in? More importantly, what does it mean? While we may have our individual thoughts on what it means, it points to the narrative about the urgent need we have for a quality of life and our need for community.
In the preparations for many of the activities this term, there was some discourse around the pleasure of some things returning to normal. Contrary to this view, however, I wish that we do not return to normal. And while I am not a scientific expert who can offer a view on the origins and impact of the virus, I think that the normal that we were used to is what lead us to not being able to adapt sufficiently enough to limit the residual impact felt by the pandemic.
Nevertheless, I would like to share what I am hopeful about. And that is, being able to move to a new place – a place where we live in touch with our humanity and not visit it at the occasional funeral or wedding. We have learned that love and compassion are not luxuries, but they are necessities. I am hopeful, therefore, that we will rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns, to the broader concerns of all humanity. Schools play an integral part in the realisation of our humanity. There are two real emotions that boys, staff, and parents regularly feel are somehow perceived negatively; they are anxiety and fear. While I recognise my limitations in defining what they are, I do understand that anxiety is what puts us in touch with our humanity, because it tells us that something is wrong. And if we are not afraid, then we have not grasped what is at stake. The absence of anxiety and fear means that we are not in touch with what is wrong in our world, but the presence of it means that we are more in touch with our humanity. The purpose of our humanity in this school, therefore, is to help us fix what we previously broke. Our humanity is not about returning to normal; our humanity is about showing the world what schools should look like – all schools, and not just the privileged ones.
It can be difficult to explain human nature, but that does not mean we should lose faith or hope in ourselves or others. Bringing humanity into education, into our school, is about not returning to normal but embracing a new world order. Consider, for a moment, how profound an education is: every human-made object in the world is the result of one. Every car, computer, particle accelerator, thatched hut, hairstyle, soufflé, piano concerto. These are the products not only of the skilled hands and minds of their creators but the result of whole traditions and systems of education. Change education (change our school), and you change the world.
It is what we have tried to do this term and what we will continue to do. Enjoy the publication.
By Wayne Naidoo
Wayne’s career in education spans almost a quarter of a century and has been built on a love for teaching and strong Christian values. He honed his teaching, management and leadership skills at St Charles College in KwaZulu Natal, which he joined in 1998. During his 18 year career at St Charles he occupied several roles, including Chaplain, History Teacher and Head of the Middle School. On the sporting front, he coached the college’s 1st team football, as well as cricket and rugby. He also coached provincial cricket and football. In 2016, Wayne moved to Western Province Preparatory School as Deputy Headmaster where, amongst others, he played a key role in introducing innovation around teaching and learning and transforming the system of discipline from retribution to a more restorative approach. In January 2020, Wayne was appointed founding Principal of Trinity College Glenvista which he leaves to join our school. Wayne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Post Graduate certificates in Education and Brain Science (How Boys and Girls learn). He is currently conducting research towards a master’s degree, looking at physiological and hormonal developments in the brain and how this can be used to maximise educational potential. Wayne is married to Fiona, an Occupational Therapist, and together they are parents to Abbey (aged 7) and Jessie ( aged 5).
Wayne believes strongly that schools need to be dynamic, relevant to the context it finds itself in and one that will adequately prepare boys to provide solutions for the problems we face as a society. Further, it is critical that schools provide a type of leadership that will anchor society. It is important to him, as a leader, to build a school on which all schools can model themselves and not just the privileged ones. It is important as a leader to absorb social pressure and bring humanity into the solutions needed.
In addition to maintaining the strengths and successes of a long-standing traditional learning environment, he seeks to bring innovations that will enable and empower boys to lay a strong claim in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. He intends on building a school that will be a strong social anchor and agent of change. Wayne intend to use his influence to have a significant impact on young people who can make a difference in the world. He believes in the need for boys to develop an independent ethos of study and self-discipline where hard work and thinking is used to solve problems. Further to the field of academics, he believes that it is imperative to raise leaders, men of integrity and with strong values, informed by the Christian faith, and who shape society through the virtue of one’s character and good will.
My name is Clair Harrison and I joined The Ridge School on 1 October 2021 as the Bursar. I was born and raised in Johannesburg and have always had a deep love for education. My career in education started back in 1998 when I would pack books for Damelin’s distance learning students during my holidays. Little did I realise that this humble start would later see my passion for numbers and accounting combine with education.
Much of my experience has been in the higher education sector, at the Gordon Institute of Business Science as a programme co-ordinator and then onto Wits University, where my role in the finance department in both the Faculty of Humanities and later the Faculty of Health Sciences gave me knowledge and experience in areas of donor and government funding. Having spent some time in the corporate world as the Head of Finance for a travel management company, I realised that my heart lay with education, and so made an active effort to return to the sector.
I have spent the last six years as the Business Manager at St Katharine’s School being fully immersed in prep school life. When the opportunity at The Ridge School arose, I jumped at the chance to be involved in a bigger school environment and having worked closely with The Ridge during my tenure at St Katharine’s, it seemed like the natural next step.
I look forward to working with the staff, parents and other stakeholders to ensure that The Ridge’s sustainability for the next 100 years in guaranteed and that the boys attending The Ridge are truly Known and Grown.
Penny Meyer has been teaching for almost 23 years and has worked with children who have additional learning needs for 15 years. She came to The Ridge after heading up the academic support department at Kearsney College for seven years.
She was introduced to and trained in inclusive education in the Republic of Ireland where students with a wide variety of learning differences and cognitive abilities are included in mainstream schools. Penny is an avid researcher, and the bulk of her research is focused on practical strategies to support neurodivergent students in the classroom and supporting teachers through practical training.
Penny volunteers as a directorial member of ISPIE (Institute of Specialist Practitioners in Inclusive Education), a professional body who provide educators and support therapists in South Africa with opportunities for continuous professional development as well as accrediting designations in inclusive education. Penny has a special interest in dyslexia and autism because of their influence on her family.
I have a locum position at the Ridge School, teaching grade 1’s. I am married to Colin, and we have two children, Laura, 29 and Ian, 27. I have a twin sister, Tish, and my husband has a twin brother, Dave.
A brief history: I studied B Prim Ed at WITS University. I worked back my bursary at Bryanston Primary School, where I met two of my favourite friends, one was a student doing her first year teaching prac, and the other was ten years my senior, and an experienced Grade 3 teacher.
I must have been paid well as, after a few years, I had saved up enough money to go on a gap year. I paid for my air ticket, R6000, to Tel Aviv, (the cheapest return ticket I could find) and could only afford the ticket by working at 3 Jobs simultaneously (waitressing at night, and working at Exefit on weekends), that gym will definitely give my age away. My teacher’s salary was R495 so I certainly didn’t save up for my air ticket on that alone.
I travelled with a very good school friend, for 12 months, working our way from Tel Aviv, Westwards…… Greece …..Italy…..France…..Spain…..Portugal….. United Kingdom. Jobs varied….. an archaeological dig (Negev Desert) , au pairing, tea lady at Unilever, London. A man at Unilever asked me where I was from, too embarrassed to tell him the truth (SA was going through a very traumatic and turbulent time in 1985), I said I was from Ireland. During this time, I studied the Montessori method of teaching, ‘online’- I would receive books and assignments in the post! After the year was up, I went to Boston, America to au pair for a new born and his 2 year old sister.
Now, many many years later, I am thoroughly enjoying teaching Grade 1 boys. Most of my experience as a teacher was either teaching Grade R girls at APPS or running a literacy programme for Grade 2’s at a ‘farm’ school called Riversands, near Diepsloot. Both of those experiences were the best years of my life, when I learnt so much about children, education and how much a teacher can impact a child’s school experience. Teaching only boys now, has been a big learning curve, and has been very rewarding, challenging and a lot of fun. Generally, the boys have great senses of humour and make me laugh a lot.
I have many other interests, which have definitely taken a back seat over the past six months; birding, gardening, home-making, cooking, outdoor sports, learning French, keeping in touch with friends and family here and abroad and playing bridge, to name a few.
The Ridge Staff have been absolutely wonderful in helping me to settle into the school. Thank you to the Grade 1 Team for guiding and assisting me every inch of the way. Thank you to the IT department who have gone beyond the call of duty, arriving at my class within seconds after receiving a ‘please help me’ plea. Learning the ropes of the Smart Board and Online teaching, all within my first month of June at the Ridge, could not have run smoothly without them.
Thank you to Mandy and The Ridge School for making this happen, and creating a wonderful working space for me. I feel privileged to have the best classroom at The Ridge, with phenomenal resources and with the best view. Thank you.
As the well-known Afrikaans song goes, “Ek kan rock in my taal”. I can say that I love Afrikaans! It is an amazing feeling to still be a teacher of substance even after you have retired. I know that it is by His Grace alone.
I started teaching in 1977. My first appointment was teaching the Grade 12 girls at Helpmekaar Meisiesskool in Braamfontein. I was then appointed to Pridwin Preparatory School, and I taught all the Senior Grades. In 2021, I joined The Ridge to help with the Juniors. Now, that is what one would call a full circle. I have learned that there is a time for everything in life and you need to embrace that moment in which you can impact someone’s life.
The freedom I have in the Junior classes is very precious. With these young boys one can still laugh, have fun, and teach them to love a language. Through communication, we learn about each other, and we can understand each other much better. For me, the class environment must be safe but also include boundaries and discipline. I have seen how boys excel when they know exactly what to do. It is most exciting to see how young boys become young men.
The things I love;
being out in nature – it makes me peaceful;
my daughters – they are the future and make life meaningful;
walking with my dog – it makes me calm and gives me joy;
to close my front door in the morning and drive to school – it gives me purpose;
knowing that I still have a purpose – it makes me count my blessings;
designing a beautiful space – it brings out my creativity;
CHEESECAKE – it keeps me wanting more;
seeing the boys running and playing – it energises me;
The Ridge school – it is part of my journey.
Zoe von Klemperer
I recall driving through the gates of The Ridge, over a decade ago. The purpose of my visit was to learn more about the school – ‘to case the joint’ for my clan of sons. I can picture myself sitting self-consciously in the school hall, tightly flanked on both left and right by well-groomed adults. As Paul Channon confidently described the nature of young boys, I allowed my eyes to wonder around the hall. I took in its halo of little annexes, sealed with arched doors. My eyes became transfixed on the exuberant Janet Fox for some time, before moving on to the choir of boys and the row, upon row, of shiny musical instruments, exerting their weight on bright-eyed youngsters. Some, as young as 8 or 9, could tame instruments that I was unable to name!
Before the last treble clef was heard on that day, I knew that I wanted my sons to be known and grown at The Ridge. Leaving the hall, Peter and I placed our empty sherry glasses on a small table, decked in carefully starched blue and white stripes, and could envisage our 5-year-old Max in Ridge Khakis. Weaving through the parking lot, filled with possibly every white SUV in Jo’burg, I heard a boy exclaim to his mom, “No wonder they call it The Rich School!”, and I chuckled to myself.
Each of my sons was enriched, here – they made enduring friendships and learned to play instruments that I can now name. When they graduated from The Ridge, they were ready steady for the demands of high school. Their memories of this place are fond and enduring.
A short while after my youngest graduated from The Ridge, I joined the school staff, as a Learning Support Specialist, in The Lighthouse. In this role, I strive to enrich the lives of each and every one of the boys that are entrusted to me.
The Ridge School welcomes innovations, but never loses its sense of history. The soft scent of well-aged curtains and polished wood, that linger in the school hall, always makes me think of the long stream of lives that passed through the gates of The Ridge School.
Tribute to Nick Diana by Wayne Naidoo
In Nick’s final board report this year, he concluded by writing, “How blessed am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult.” Nick has been a colleague, teacher, mentor, friend, confidant and safekeeper at The Ridge School for the past thirteen years. The name Nicholas is of Greek origin, which means ‘victory of the people’. The urban dictionary meaning, however, is: charming, smart, caring and super-duper cute. Nick brings this together in his manner of leading people and bringing the victory to them, in a caring, smart, and charming way. As for the cute part, well…
I come from KZN and there are some phrases that are well used there, that I would like to use as a description of Nick. He is a lekker oke – This phrase is used for the salt-of-the-earth chap for whom integrity, loyalty, and genuineness is most important. And we all have seen this in him. Nyamazela – To endure and bare patiently. This epitomizes Nick’s approach to his last few years at The Ridge School. He has been there for staff, parents, boys, everyone – being a constant and grounding figure in a period of transition. I will tell you the third phrase at the conclusion of this tribute.
Mighty oaks from small acorns grow (and no intended reference to stature). Nick, you have been mighty to many people and for the school in general. When schools gain people like you, they are not lucky, they are blessed. Go with our blessings and you will be sorely missed.
In conclusion of this tribute is the third isiZulu phrase – indlovu ithanda ukhuhlangana – the elephant loves reunions. Nick, you will always be welcome here as a friend of The Ridge School (The A Team).
Thank you and goodbye.
By Wayne Naidoo
Tribute to Nick Diana by Richard Stanley
There are many reasons for people choosing teaching as a career:
– they are searching for job satisfaction that only being with children each day will guarantee;
– they have a natural gifting and real passion for the sharing of knowledge, skills and values into young people’s lives;
– they are instinctively good with people and so they delight in being able to share time and space with others in a schooling environment;
– they have a real desire to pass on, through inspired teaching and learning, foundational truths to uplift and empower children;
– or a combination of the above, i.e., those who see being an educator as a calling – who are daily purposed by a deep sense of knowing that it is only through teaching that they will experience true fulfilment.
There is little doubt that Nick Diana fits firmly into the fifth category. He is a young man who is, in the words of William Shakespeare, “to the manner born.’’
Nick’s star has been on the rise ever since joining The Ridge thirteen years ago- a star that has shone with vibrance and energy over every milestone of his dedicated journey. Be it in the classroom, out on the sports field, helping backstage during school productions, taking morning assemblies, expertly guiding parents through the college application process, leading SP professional development sessions, reaching out to all members of the school family in his own sincere, engaging and reassuring manner, and so much more.
I count it as a great pleasure and privilege to have worked alongside, learnt from and befriended Nick during my second tenure at The Ridge School. Seldom during my many years in education, have I come across someone who walks the talk as he does and who gives so much each day into the life of the school and its people, without ever counting the cost. For Nick, a ‘best teaching practice’ philosophy is a non-negotiable, and bringing the love of learning to life for his charges, is always happily enacted. He seizes every opportunity to find a solution to any problem, and nothing is ever too much trouble – sometimes to the detriment of family and loved ones. A passionately pupil-centred teacher, Nick exemplifies, too, so much of what defines respected 21st Century leadership. He is energised and dedicated, being committed to his team and to building a culture of unity and togetherness. He has a warmth of spirit, an infectious wisdom, a depth of integrity and a sincere and selfless humility that is, I would suggest, well beyond his modest years. Gordon Hinckley put it this way, “being humble means recognising that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.”
You are one of a kind, Nick Diana, never forget that. As the Covid waves have caused troubled ripples in many ponds, you have stayed calm within the storm. So much so, that when St John’s Prep, having cast across these lakes of change, came fishing in Ridge waters, they returned to their not-too-distant shore with, what is undoubtedly, the catch of the day. Go well, my friend. May you, Celia, Mia and Mason enjoy all that the St John’s adventures will bring into your lives. May today’s dreams become tomorrow’s rainbows, and may you know God’s continued nearness, grace, guidance and favour.
All the very best of everything.
By Richard Stanley
Jacqui Haddow Tribute by The Lighthouse Team
We’ve written this poem in black and not white
In honour of your favourite colour, we thought this would delight
It’s true that no-one wears a little black dress as you do
But your time in the Lighthouse has seen you take on a new shade or two
The pathway to Max’s coffee for you is well worn
Americano in hand, your jet fuel is born
Into this team you have fitted so well
It’s been two years of love, laughter and learning on which we can dwell
Before this you made your mark in Grade Two
Some boys still claim that their favourite teacher is you
You take your time to really SEE the boys that you teach
You guide, love and care, inspire and reach
There is a warmth and gentleness that radiates from within you
You have a true focus on connection in all that you do
Your dedication and commitment to the boys is unsurpassed
A beacon of patience, love and care, like a ship with its mast
At the Lighthouse you have definitely made your mark in two short years
And now that you prepare to leave us, we are left with some tears
Your approach has always been one of charm and grace
And to match, there has always been a beautiful smile on your face
You are ever so generous, perceptive and insightful
You have a calling to work with young children that is simply delightful
Your laughter, your consideration, your wisdom and sharing
Your golden heart that knows no boundaries of caring
For these boys you lay down foundations, like an anchor or root
Plus, you always bring a wicked sense of humour to boot
You’ve given everything and grown in confidence each day
A true specialist with compassion and dedication in every way
Your own learning in this department has not gone unnoticed
Like wearing jeans, trying on dresses, getting shook and surfing Superbalist
Without question or query you have always had our backs
Your nurturing nature, your concern and countless kind acts
Your generous spirit, your warmth and sincerity we admire
Your intuition and concern for others is something to inspire
Learning support is your heart, your passion, your drive
To truly connect with each learner is that for which you strive
Your way with the boys is something to behold
Fond memories of you we shall always uphold
Without you, our team will never be the same
Much like a Ladybug to a flower, you have changed the game
Empathy always encircles all that you do
But for now, our dear friend, it’s time to wish you well and bid you adieu
Being a mom comes first and now that’s what you must go do
A new journey begins, and the writing is up to you
To end, it is best summed up by a quote from our favourite ‘Winnie the Pooh’
“How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”
By Anne-Ri, Candice, Claire, Jane, Penny and Zoe
Tribute to Zibula Dladla by Pat Mbele
Goodbye to the best colleague I’ve ever had! What amazing bonding we shared all these years and I can’t thank you enough for that! A truly great colleague is hard to find… difficult to part with, and impossible to forget. Chance made us colleagues but the fun and laughter we shared made us friends.
Zibula, I have only had the pleasure of working with you for a short time. I am sad to see you leave. I know that you are going to find the happiness you so deserve. I’m seriously going to miss you here. Best of luck in your new endeavour. I’m hoping to see you soon in our workshops! I shall miss our talks, laughs and your contribution to the isiZulu department, as well as our prayer sessions. Dainfern College made you an offer you couldn’t refuse and they are very lucky to have you. I have no doubt that you will add great value to their isiZulu department; furthermore, to their praying session if they have one, and if not, surely you will introduce one.
Zibula, go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined! Embrace your dreams, follow your heart and cherish your life. Remember – prayer changes things; and continue to study, “the sky is the limit.”
Dladla Clan Names –
Owagabadela izinkundla zwakwaBulawayo,
By Pat Mbele
Tribute to Zibula Dladla by Akhona Mtshabe
We have gathered here this afternoon to say goodbye to a colleague who is leaving us today to start another phase of his teaching career at Dainfern College. I would like to use this opportunity to express my profound gratitude for Zibula’s hard work and the great times we have spent – first, as my high school senior, then finding each other again, living and working together in a career that we both are passionate about.
Zibula, you have been a remarkable colleague and friend who has spent about 7 years in the school developing from our internship to now, being my senior in the Zulu Department. The roles that you have played have made a big difference in the workplace, especially when it comes to meeting and sometimes exceeding the goals that we are tasked with, to ensure the success of each boy in the language subject.
You have been an active, cheerful, productive initiator; industrious, honest, friendly, reliable, persistent, resourceful, talented, loyal, self-disciplined and broad-minded. These are a few of the positive qualities and personality traitsthat best describe you Zibula, as you leave us for a new chapter and new beginnings at another school.
I will miss your valuable contributions in getting the job done perfectly and without any delay whatsoever. Indeed, you are a mentor, an inspiration, and above all, a brother to me in the workplace and beyond. As I look around, I begin to imagine who that person will be to fill the void you’re creating today. I am proud to have been a friend and colleague to such an achiever who worked hard and tirelessly to deliver excellent results in the life of boys and their growth in their primary school careers.
Your unprecedented contributions towards our success at work, and your outstanding performance, will stay in my heart forever. Certainly, there is no gainsaying that we met and surpassed the school’s expectations for the development of the boys’ Zulu language and culture acquisition through your dedicated support and creative mind. Although your leaving makes me sad, the sweet memories of working with you will be forever remembered.
With a grateful heart, I say thank you for making work fun, and for all those sweet memories which we shared in the classroom with our boys and on the sports field. I wish you good luck and all the best in your new position in the upcoming year. May you find your new workplace and environment enjoyable and fun, more than you had with us here.
Thank you for your time, thank you for your help, thank you for your friendship, for the skills you shared with me. Thank you for your motivation that kept us going, even through situations we thought were impossible to overcome. Thank you for everything.
HAMBA KAHLE BHUTI WAMI OMDALA! NGIZOKUKHUMBULA KAKHULU!
By Akhona Mtshabe
Tribute to Anne-Ri Brits by The Lighthouse Team
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” – Martha Graham
Therapy is like a dance, and Annie-Ri, you have been dancing with us for ten incredible years. Any talented dancer focuses all their efforts on maintaining a good hold, much like you strive to guide and support, offering a therapeutic space shrouded in security and containment. You are so creative in your choreography, investing time and energy into your tasks and endeavours, carefully designing, and working on skills in complex, intricate ways, scaffolding and directing, all the while ensuring a level of enjoyment, accomplishment, and delight. You often enter into a reflective space, and like the process of fine tuning a dance, you strive to learn, grow, create awareness and develop within yourself as a therapist.
Much like a Tango, you are sharp, passionate, and bold. You stand up for what you believe in, and you fight for the rights of those boys in your care. Your energy, motivation, and drive are unsurpassed, and you challenge your boys to be the best that they can be, pushing them out of their comfort zones in gentle, guided ways.
Like the Samba, you bring an element of fun. You are an upbeat, loyal team member, who laughs often and finds true joy in inspiring, facilitating and caring for those around you. You have a zest for life and are often so busy with different ventures and pursuits which demand a level of dedication and enthusiasm, and just a touch of bravery.
You are like the Foxtrot, that is a progressive, flowy dance. You appreciate the time, patience, and connection that therapy requires, focussing always on the relationship between you and your boys, and laying down foundations that will offer security and allow for development.
No dance routine would be complete without the Waltz, a dance of such tradition with its distinctive rise and falls. You appreciate the ups and downs of the therapeutic space and are resilient and flexible in your approach. You nurture and support, guide, love and care, and you create a balance for the boys, challenging them and pushing them where appropriate and yet also allowing them to feel mastery along the way.
Much like the Jive, you are bubbly and energetic, and can quickly switch between different tasks and requirements. You show tremendous tenacity and commitment in all that you do, and you instinctively go the extra mile, always enveloped through compassion, empathy, and concern.
We are really going to miss your energy, drive and motivation and all that you bring to this team. This is a new chapter for you, and we know that you will be successful in your pursuits. Remember to always be bold, hold fast to your beliefs, and stay true to yourself…and always, always hold on to that little bit of bravery… for who knows in which direction it may lead.
By Candice, Claire, Jacqui, Jane, Penny, Retha and Zoe
Tribute to Phil Cox by Carol Ackermann
Phil has been at the Ridge for over eleven years. He came to help out for a short while, way back when, and stayed. He now leaves a flourishing Brass department behind. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you at this school for such a long time, Phil. You are practically an institution and finding your successor will be no easy task.
I’ve known Phil in the performance and education space for the last decade and count it a privilege to have worked closely with him as a music specialist here at The Ridge. I suppose someone who chooses to teach the ‘farty’ brass instruments must have a bubbly personality. Otherwise you’d never cope with all the strange and weird sounds a beginner trumpeter makes, especially before the presentation of the mighty, regal, and royal sound of a well-rehearsed trumpet.
Phil has an incredible musical talent and a big heart for music education. Above all, he is kind. Always! He walks around with a smile on his face, ready for a joke and a laugh, yet has a true sincerity that speaks directly to your soul. He produces quality musicians and helps the boys to find their own musical voice. His report comments are the most colourful and creative I’ve ever come across, and he brings his unique flair to all that he does, often signing off our chats with a Tip Top or Ta La.
I really am going to miss your positive energy and effervescence that you bring to our music department. We wish you all the best on your next adventure as the Head of the Brass Department at Redhill and look forward to working with you on collaborative projects, and in growing the love of Brass around Johannesburg and South Africa.
Phil, you are one in a million. Go well, God speed and keep on trumpeting. Ta La.
By Carol Ackermann
It was with deep sadness and shock that we shared the news of Jeanette Bensted-Smith’s passing in August of this year. Jeanette joined The Ridge in June 2015 as our school Physiotherapist and has been an integral member of the Lighthouse team ever since. She was always interested in the boys and staff, and particularly with the boys who did physio with her.
Jeanette had a passion for children and adults with special needs, particularly those in wheel chairs. She was a woman of immense faith and used her incredible singing voice to sing in her church choir. She was a long-distance runner and enjoyed the camaraderie of all types of races – from half-marathons to the Comrades Marathon.
Earlier in the year, Jeanette had been collaborating with Phumlani Mnculwane, Chris Ndobe and the team of Junior Prep Coaches to see how more boys could benefit from gross motor strengthening, without having to attend individual therapy.
She was a vivacious ray of sunshine and our school community was richer for having had her in it. She will be sorely missed.
This year has ended on the best musical note that we could have asked for: music bringing people together, to share in the joys that it gives, celebrating auspicious occasions and welcoming parents back onto the campus for the first time in many long months.
Beethoven once said, “Music can change the world.” This year I feel that we have blossomed out of the dark soil of silence and difficulty, into a beautiful garden, flourishing with the sounds of nature alive and well. The Music Department, being the heartbeat of the school, has continued to beat steadily through whatever the pandemic has thrown at us. The boys have grown from strength to strength, and have achieved their goals despite the challenges they have faced to get there.
We were immensely privileged to have had a full performance load on offer in Term Three. The whole school presented items for the Heritage Day Assemblies, which made for a vibrant celebration of this important holiday.
Our Orchestra received the great honour of performing for the Department of Basic Education, at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Awards Ceremony in Pretoria in October. This was followed by a special Ensemble Evening just for our Ridge Community, where all the Ensembles raised the roof under one of the first torrential downpours of the season. The Marimba bands performed with energy and vigour, and we had the début performance of our newly formed Latin Band. The well-rehearsed orchestra team played with confidence and assurance, and the evening was enjoyed by all.
Other performances to note, included the Grade 7 musicians, who show-cased their music at the Old Boys Assembly and the Remembrance Day Service. Music always elevates these special occasions, and this year was no different.
As the year drew to a close, the Music Department performances ramped up, enabling all our boys who play individual music instruments, or in ensembles, to have an opportunity to show off their skills. The Grade 2 and 3 boys had their very first opportunity to perform live for the school at the two Music Assemblies in November. The boys introduced themselves and their pieces, and performed confidently in front of the audience. This can sometimes be a daunting space. However, the boys rose to the challenge and showcased their talents very well.
The Senior boys were also afforded two prestigious Soirée opportunities, to share their gifts of music with us. These evenings were filled with a wide range of talent and they are commended on their continued efforts despite another tricky year.
The Grade 0 boys had a special opportunity to invite their loved ones to their Music Celebration at the end of the year. They sang and danced with energy and excitement, and introduced each item with confidence and flair. The audience participation was also a highlight and fun was had by all!
Finally, the year ended off with two very successful Christmas Celebrations, where the whole school community got to celebrate the festive season. The Grade 3s led the Junior Prep Christmas Celebration, by telling a special Christmas story. They articulated themselves confidently and the assembly was interspersed with special music performances from all the Junior Prep boys, including the Recorder Ensemble, the Junior String Group, and the Grade 3 Marimbas. It was wonderful to have all the parents on campus, providing a warm, celebratory atmosphere, not only that which was caused by the extreme heat.
The final music event for the year culminated in the most amazing Carols by Candlelight Picnic on the Hersov field. Families settled in to listen to the Senior boys, and they did not disappoint. For many families, this was the first time hearing the choirs and ensembles live since the start of the pandemic. This celebration was very successful, and the boys pulled out all the stops to sing and perform at their best.
We end off the year with hearts filled with the joy and the love that music brings, and look forward to opening up and collaborating with our wider school family and other schools in our community in the months and year ahead.
By Carol Ackermann
SP Library 2021
If 2021 was a story in the SP Library, it would go something like this…
“Once upon a time, our school librarian decided that books on shelves can be fun as we change from online book reservations to welcoming physical boys into our physical library, again (just like in the old days!).
She asked for help and was offered assistance by the Three Musketeers in the form of our Library monitors (Calvin the Captivating, Ethan the Enchanting and Jude the Jubilant). Together, this efficient team recategorized all fiction books into new genres, stickered each book (over 3000 of them!), did stock take, and released them back on the shelves, where they patiently wait to broaden the horizons and tickle the imaginations of unsuspecting boys, wandering into new worlds through the shelves of our library and the pages of our books.
Of course, the SP Library and the word ‘imagination’ go hand in hand. We would do anything to keep this alive: so in Term 1 we decided that, in lieu of our regular World Book Day Reading Breakfast, we would instead have a World Book Day Dress-Up, which kicked off in the morning with boys spreading out on the field, reading their favourite books. What a brilliant way to start the day! We had some very innovative costumes. The boys certainly showed off their creativity!
Lo-and-behold… ‘almost-normal’ became a thing… On 20 September we had our first ‘almost-normal’ Reading Breakfast. We labelled it: ‘Anything is Possible’. This was such a special morning, with boys dressed up, parents milling around, long-overdue conversations revelling in the wonder of their boys’ imagination that they so missed out on (in the bigger scheme of things), books on sale, picnic baskets and the understanding that it was truly true… Anything is Possible!
What would the Library be without the crazy, funny and amazing Hooked On Books crew who introduces new books to our boys. Nail-biting, slightly scary, funny, absurd, unbelievable, totally relatable… the list goes on!
We end this story with the promise to be back next year; to encourage each and every boy to follow their dreams, to search for answers/meaning/magic where we know they can find it… in the shelves of our library, in the pages of our books.”
By Hanlie Glanz
With more relaxed covid protocols in January 2021, boy noises gradually began to trickle back into our school over the space of the first term. Boys delighted in having their own art packs, as sharing materials was still not possible, but we returned to our beautiful art studio with almost a full cohort of learners, eager to put behind them the lonely days of online school.
The late Hugh Masekela said, “I am a forward-looking person and live in the moment to build for the future.’’ This rang so true in 2021, needing to live in the moment, having the joy of learning together in the art studio, embracing the processes and allowing creativity to build a platform for future problem-solving. This year my mantra for the boys was ‘drawing is thinking’, an echo of the quote by Gustav Klimt “Art is a line around your thoughts.”
With this mantra always in mind, we embarked on projects grounding our boys firmly in their context: creations of Johannesburg buildings and Skyline Sketching; observational drawings of Aloes and Guinea fowls; Jazz inspired abstract artworks; symmetrical designs inspired by Ndebele pattern; symbols of feuds and slavery; photographs of land art creations and self-portraits marking time; South African artists research projects; linking science and art while inventing a virus and also by building gravity-defying paper tube structures; making coffee paintings which highlighted socially conscious consumerism and fair trade; and so much more.
This year has reminded us that nothing can beat the power of being in the classroom, learning together, expressing yourself through creative processes. Living in these weekly studio moments have brought our boys joy, reflection, built confidence and developed resilience.
By Nicci Kurz
The Photography Club was started to provide a supportive environment for boys interested in photography to share their creativity, knowledge and passion for photography. The club allows the opportunity for every boy to discover the artist within themselves and also gives them the platform to paint their dreams into reality. This year we aimed at developing the boys’ interests, visions, imaginations and camera skills to levels of creative excellence that make their photographs outstanding and memorable. Our weekly lessons were specially designed to teach our boys all about colour, composition, storytelling through pictures and creativity. This year the boys have been encouraged to express their thoughts and emotions through photography. They have learnt all the basic concepts of photography, different forms, functions as well as composition, aperture, shutter speed, focus, blur, macro photography, creativity, the rule of thirds and lighting.
By Ashley Keene
Debating has been introduced this year as an extra-curricular activity for the Senior Prep boys at our school. As this is very new, our Ridge Grade 6 and 7 Debating boys have come a long way in a very short time under the guidance and mentorship of Coach Itumeleng Mohanoe, from the Coach Itu Academy.
Half of our first team (Felix Jackson Grade 6, Finn Berman Grade 6, Lafika Mabandla Grade 7 and Lithalethu Tuku Grade 7) participated in Gauteng Provincials, placing 17th out of 80 schools, our school being the only Primary School to participate. This competition took place during the August break.
Our Debating Club participated in a ‘Best of 5’ against St. Marys Preparatory School (Waverly), and we won after the 4th round. Our young lads had to prepare motions in both Opposition and Proposition on topics such as ‘This House would like the Legalising Graffiti in Public Spaces ‘and ‘This House Believes that Elected Politicians should use only State Services’. The case studies and preparation for these motions required in-depth study as well as an understanding of both sides of the debate. It has given our boys the opportunity to see different perspectives, even if they don’t necessarily agree with the motion. It is truly wonderful and interesting to witness our boys in action!
Year End Debating Awards at St Andrews (Senderwood)
The CIA Academy (Coach Itu Academy) held their awards evening at St Andrews Girls School in Senderwood on 29 November. Lwazi Mabuza was awarded Rising Star Award at Merit Level. Finn Berman won the Collaborative Thinker of the Year and Felix Jackson won the Critical Thinker of the year. The following members received badges and certificates Katleho Ramatsoso, Lafika Mabandla, Reza Creamer, Lithalethu Tuke, Zuko Dongwana, Leruo Chikapa-Phiri, Zukolwethu Dongwana, Griffin Schroder, Matthew Jennings, Khashane Maenetje.
The Ridge ended the year of as The Primary School Debating Team of the year for 2021.
By Faronaaz Patel
This year was a slow year for Quiz competitions. Unfortunately only one Interschool Quiz was able to take place due to the lockdowns, restrictions, camps and exams. On Monday 11 October, eight Grade 7 boys participated in the General Knowledge Interschool competition. Amongst others, they competed against perennial Quiz powerhouses Beaulieu Prep, Kyalami Prep and Christchurch Prep. The competition was very tough, but our boys, as always, gave an amazing account of themselves. Beaulieu came first, with eighty points. We are very proud of our two teams for achieving both second and third place, with 75 and 70 points respectively.
|SECOND PLACE TEAM (75 points)||THIRD PLACE TEAM (70 points)|
|Ethan Stein||Nyiko Mabunda|
|Madimetja Tema||Chris Herman|
|William Boland||Connor van der Walt|
|Calvin Wagner||Zhy Ravjee|
Well done to these boys!
By Hanlie Glanz
Chess is offered at The Ridge as an extra-curricular activity for the boys who love to have an intellectual challenge. It is a program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Chess practice is conducted every Thursday morning at 7:00- 7:45.
The International School’s Partnership have this to say about Chess: “Chess is a valuable educational tool; children who play chess significantly improve their visual memory, attention span and spatial-reasoning ability. By taking part in the competition, players improve their game, develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills, and have great fun at the same time.”
Due to Covid-19 restrictions our boys could not play competitive fixtures throughout the year against other local schools. However, our boys played more Online Chess Tournaments every Wednesday afternoon against other players from different schools or clubs. The game of chess brings teams together to play fast chess in an online tournament competing in heats with the winning opponents going through to play other stronger players.
Our team played only two in-person friendly matches against Jan Celliers and De La Salle schools.
I trust and hope that 2022 will be a blissful year to enable our players to take chess to a higher level and compete with more schools.
Some thoughts from the captain and vice-captains:
“Chess has taught me to be more vigilant and confident. It is a strategic game of battle between black and white pieces. Sadly, this year we did not play many schools like in the past. Thanks to our chess teacher, Ms Mbele, who organized an online match played every Wednesdays.”
“I enjoyed every chess match that I played. It taught me to think critically as it challenged me mentally to be patient and to take time when doing something. Playing online chess tournaments was fun as we could play from home or anywhere without traveling.”
2021 started much in the same way as 2020 ended with not much sport being allowed at school level, other than internal matches and practices. This was most frustrating for the staff, boys and parents, however we made the best of a bad situation. In Term 1 we managed one cricket fixture and were able to complete our inter-house gala. These were the two main events that took place in Term 1.
Term 2 started off with far more promise and it seemed as we were heading back to some normality. As schools we had to adapt to what was unfolding in front of us and adjust on a weekly basis. So when the call came to allow certain sporting codes in May we immediately jumped into football season and incorporated tennis as well. Our first fixture was cancelled due to a severe storm in which added its own complications and frustrations. We then managed to play two more football fixtures with the Gr 3 – 7 boys. Our third was scheduled for Gr 5 – 7 and we had just completed the fixtures when we were placed under lockdown again. This was extremely frustrating as we were just about to get into the swing of what promised to be a fun and exciting football season. Once again, a frustrating time for all.
Term 3 started with more promise, and we headed into hockey season. A great time was had by all as we completed 4 fixtures before heading into cricket and water polo. The Ridge would like to congratulate Andrew Turvey for making the D9 side.
One week before half-term we selected two Open and two U12 7’s rugby teams to compete at the first-ever St Stithians 7’s festival. It was a great festival and learning curve for our boys and they can be proud of the way they conducted themselves in all areas; showing grit and determination even when the odds were heavily stacked against us. A special mention to the U12 forwards team who remained unbeaten during the festival.
Water polo really struggled to get any real local season due to regular lightning interruptions. Our Under 11’s were able to complete the Willy Castle Tournament hosted by St David’s and finished a respectable third overall. Our 1st team ended up going on tour to SACS and performed really well, considering preparation time and the amount of pool time they could get during September. Our pool consisted of; SACS, DPHS, St Peter’s, Selbourne, Bishops, St Stithians, Paarl Boys, St Benedict’s, Wynberg & St Andrew’s. Our boys performed well and finished seventh in the pool; and were ranked the third-best Gauteng-based side at the tournament.
During all this time tennis was also taking place on a weekly basis and boys really held their own during all the fixtures we played. Over the long weekend in September, we took two tennis sides to the Sun City Tournament. With many of our tennis boys also involved in the Gauteng Area Cricket weekend we did have high expectations for this tournament. But in true Ridge style our boys rose to the occasion and ended 2nd in the tournament.
The Ridge 18 boys involved in the cricket weekend of which five boys ended up being selected for the regional sides; Joshua Hall and Kathleho Ramatsoso at U12 and then Connor van der Walt, Luke Holden and Sechaba Gude at U13 level. Well done to these boys!
During Term 3 we also managed to play a few cricket fixtures and for the first time, parents were allowed to spectate. Over half-term The Ridge hosted two cricket festivals, the 1st team at Camp Discovery and the U11A’s at Zwartkloof in Bela-Bela. This proved to be very successful, and we hope to continue this going forward. At the same time, we managed to complete three inter-school galas, and our boys punched well above their weight in all three events, which hopefully continues into 2022.
The Ridge also played two basketball fixtures in term three and held the boys really held their own against some tough opposition. Some of our senior boys also attended a basketball tournament hosted by Kearsney College. There was some really tough opposition and our boys really had to dig deep at times but in the end a tour that was truly enjoyed.
As a school we really and truly hope that 2022 will provide far more opportunity for our boys to show their metal on a sporting front against other schools and in front of their parents.
Wishing you all a wonderful break and time to relax and reflect on the year that has passed. Celebrate the many blessings received and wish you a prosperous 2022.
By Bennie du Preez
Term 3 Old Boys Reunions
In September we hosted our Cape Town Old Boys reunion at Foresters Arms, a venue that our old boys have come to appreciate. With a little over 25 guests, of which many are studying at UCT, it was clear that the evening would be filled with laughter and cheering over days spent as boys at The Ridge.
Our next reunion was held in Johannesburg at The Ridge. The evening was filled with laughter and old boys reminiscing about their days at The Ridge. A few old boys took a stroll around the school with classmates and shared their fondest memories. We were joined by one of our former Headmasters, Paul Channon, and the former Director of Music, Janet Fox. Even though we are in the midst of a pandemic our old boys continue to see the value in connecting with each other and leveraging the network that The Ridge afforded them.
By Joe Kotwal
Grade 3 Camp
The Grade 3 boys of 2021 were very lucky to be able to enjoy the adventure that is camp! The excitement was palpable as the countdown to our night away together, became a reality.
We set off on the bus on Tuesday 19th October. The boys and staff arrived early and sorted the luggage so that we had our snacks with us for the journey. The two busses were filled with excited chatter and some nerves. Thanks to technology, we also engaged in bus sing-off! Once we arrived at Aganang, the boys got into small groups that would be the bunkmates for the night away.
It was amazing to see how the freedom of being outdoors meant more imaginative play and a revisit of the ‘old school’ ways – climbing trees, playing on swings, and seesaws. The boys showed grit and a positive attitude to the varied activities within their small groups. They enjoyed bum sliding, games, nature art, stalk the lantern, and of course getting dirty!
After a day of finding new interests and a greater circle of friends, the food was welcomed with great gusto. The day’s activities meant that sleep was welcomed for most. The excitement of the day kept a few others awake a little later. This was solved by the kind nature of friends who read bedtime stories to their dorms to ensure a good night’s sleep.
The next morning saw boys awake as the sun rose so that they could make the most of the second day of camp. They managed to have a few games of volleyball before breakfast. After trying to locate all belongings from the dorm floors, the boys started packing. Rolling sleeping bags and connecting boys with lost property items was a hard task for some! Luckily there was some reward for this in terms of a tuckshop treat for the bus ride home.
The bus ride home was quieter as there were a few sleepy heads that needed rest. The boys were a credit to the school and their families and can be proud of themselves
By Diane Wellard
Grade 4 Camp
After several postponements owing to lockdowns and other restrictions, the Grade 4s finally set off for Konka Camp on the 2nd November for two nights. There was huge excitement after all the delays and the boys were more than ready to enjoy the challenges and opportunities. After all the difficulties camps like Konka will have faced during the Covid Pandemic, it was great to be so warmly greeted by many of the old familiar staff. The emphasis of the camp for the boys was to challenge themselves physically and to develop teamwork. The programme was full and, despite the temperatures reaching 36°C, the boys were amazing. There was a wide range of activities and the highlights were definitely the zipline, ‘mudstacle’ course, canoeing, and climbing the high wall. It was so great to see each boy rising to each challenge and seeing that wonderful sense of achievement when they succeeded. On the extramural programme, another highlight was the novelty of the tuckshop for boys to purchase well-earned treats! On the 3rd day the boys sadly had to climb back on the bus to return home, muddy and exhausted, but all the richer for the experience. We were extremely proud of each and every Grade 4 boy who rose to the occasion and showed true Ridge grit and determination, as well as a wonderful sense of camaraderie and fun.
By Erica Kinnear