Dear Kingsmead Community,
What a turbulent few weeks this has been for everyone in our country: coping with the third wave of the pandemic with massive spikes in numbers in Gauteng; the looting and the crises in KZN and Gauteng and the violence that has followed.
In spite of all of this, we have again proven ourselves to be a resilient nation and the people of South Africa have come together to restore peace to the country and to rebuild the infrastructure.
Our President also had some good news for us on the night of 25 July and it was wonderful to see the students arrive at school last Monday morning. This was followed up by The Gratitude Walk organised by Rizwana Bawa and her PTA members on Tuesday and was indeed profound. I was emotional on the walk, looking at the beautiful signs of thanks that the students had made and seeing how grateful they are for the continued efforts from all the staff.
Professor Jansen – in a video call organised by St Peter’s College – said some profound words as he spoke about finding hope at this time. I liked what he had to say about institutions in this country and the difference between institutions and organisations. He pointed out that our institutions are so strong in South Africa and that they are really important to us. They set the rules by which we organise ourselves and they will help us to bounce back even stronger. He referenced our banking institutions; our courts and our universities. He also then talked about how South Africans have a humanity and humaneness about them, referencing the work of The Gift of the Givers, in particular. I, similarly believe that Kingsmead is one of the strong institutions in this country and has an important role to play in this country and in the lives of all the young students that we educate.
Professor Jansen went on to urge us to do something and to “get out of our heads.” To find our skill set and to use it for the good of others, even if that is simply to motivate others. He encouraged us to lead from where we are; to surround ourselves with positive people; to keep perspective and to always hold hope.
I also found inspiration from the ISASA Executive Director’s Report: July 2021. Lebogang Montjane writes the following:
“As our country continues to face the disruption and destruction and tries to bring those responsible to account, it is easy to succumb to a weary fatalism that says, ‘What next? Why bother when everything is so dysfunctional in the country currently?’ But bother and strive we must. For ours is a country that has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes before – against all odds and counter to grim global and local predictions. And what has been done before, can be done again. A country battered by a pandemic, social inequality, unemployment and a stagnant economy has now been rocked by an insurrection.
Can our sector survive in the current climate? The short answer is that it can, as our schools are well-run and they provide an irreplaceable service to thousands of children. The shorter answer is, ‘It has to’. If an assault on our constitutional democracy were to occur by supporters of a former president, how coincidental that it happens as we celebrate the life and sacrifices of another former President, Nelson Mandela. As he is often quoted, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Although I am not sure what Mandela would have to say about recent events. I imagine he would, like many of us, be utterly dismayed. However, he might point out that this is not the first time the country has burned. And that, perhaps, such events help to place a spotlight on what needs to change most urgently. Ubiquitously noted as a potent social equaliser, education must remain an active agent for positive change and development and schools must be deliberately transformative, inclusive forces for good.”
I wish you all a wonderful holiday ahead and urge you to keep healthy and safe. I am so looking forward to our return to school when it will be warmer. Thank you for all the messages of condolence on the passing of my beloved Dad on 11 July 2021. I so appreciate your support, your prayers and your thoughts.
PUBLIC SPEAKING FESTIVAL
The Speech and Drama College Public Speaking Festival turned sixty this year and in recognition of this milestone, the theme for the speeches, in the open section, was Diamonds. The students truly embraced this topic and the experience which required adaptability from our speakers and coaches as the festival went into Term 2 and then online.
Well done to all our dedicated speakers for their hard work. Highlights of the Festival included Nivarya Naidoo’s A+ in the Individual Speaker section and the Grade 11 Team’s A in the open prepared section.
Thank you to the English department for their coaching and uploading of speeches at a very busy time in our academic calendar.
THE OPENING OF THE THEATRE
Before the 3rd wave hit and schools closed down again, we were lucky enough to have an opening event for our Kingsmead Theatre with a handful of invited guests. It was a wonderful evening full of hope and excitement. We look forward to using our beautiful state of the art theatre regularly, for both school productions and professional performances.
For the opening event, we invited the thought provoking production ‘Born Naked’ which tells the story of two young drag queens in Joburg. Directed by Kirsten Harris, the dynamic young duo featuring Kopo Jake Nathane and Lethabo Bereng bring to life the true story of Thapelo Makhutle, who was brutally murdered in a violent hate crime in 2012. ‘Born Naked’ was nominated for a 2019 Naledi Theatre Award. The director wrote a breathtakingly beautiful introduction to the opening and I would like to share an extract with you:
This work is not a simple show. Nothing about it is easy. Tonight, we ask you to celebrate and to find beauty through our pain. After all, it is true that pain and pleasure can co-exist. Tonight we ask that you journey with us, sing with us and may you open your hearts and participate in the magic of the theatre. We ask you to love with conviction and to leave your preconceived ideas beyond these doors. That is what the theatre asks of us. That is the power of a space like this. This is a show born of love and collaboration. It has taken many minds to collaborate and carefully create what you will watch tonight.
As a company, this show challenges us as we continue to learn and unlearn, to stay true to the vision and to go beyond the obvious. Please remember, that nothing is sacred to a drag queen. Remember that what you will watch tonight is based on many true stories. South African stories. Stories of real people that we encounter each day, their stories matter and their voices will come to life and be heard inside our work. Their pain is our pain and we carry their hearts in ours each time we perform this show. Their stories have been carefully woven into our imagined tapestry and theatrical fabric.
May this sacred place of this new theatre bring you comfort and offer you and your school a safe space to learn and to unlearn. It would be remiss of me not to quote Lady Gaga before we open our show tonight:
She says, “Acceptance, tolerance, bravery, compassion. These are the things my mom taught me.”
In many ways, your school and it’s physical buildings become a family to the many students, staff, support staff and visitors who journey through this campus.
Your founding mother, Doris Vera Thompson in 1934 said, “Something more is required, something to make these dry bones live. A spirit behind them, a purpose towards which to strive, some breath, a soul and spirit so that Kingsmead may become a life-giving force in the world.”
May this theatre become a life-giving force to this community and to the world around you. May it become the mothership, a mother to those who find themselves entering through her doors. May this theatre nurture your school. May she feed your soul. Hold safe space for students who need her. May she heal minds and hearts. May her doors remain open to all those in need of her magic and comfort. May she be tolerant of those who enter her doors. May she always forgive. And her life begins here, with us tonight. The world needs mothers. The world needs theatres.
As Maya Angelou says: “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.”
May this space become a hurricane in her perfect power, a force of change for this school. The world needs more mothers. The world needs more theatres. May her arms remain open forever. May her doors never close.” ~ Kirsten Harris, Creative Director
CAST & CREW OF BORN NAKED
Kopo Jake Nathane
Kirsten Harris (Director)
AT KINGSMEAD THE MUSIC NEVER STOPS
Last week Friday in the Junior School Music assembly, the girls shared their thoughts about what Music means to them. The line that was repeated by most students, was ‘At Kingsmead the music never stops’. In a world that has been upside down and wrong way around for more than a year, we have tried to make music a constant positive for our students and community; something to bring joy, to look forward to, to keep us going and give us hope. We certainly hope that this has been the case.
One of the members of our community wrote this beautiful poem that expresses the power of music so well:
The Senior School Head of Arts, Mogethoa Tebeila recorded a beautiful rendition of our anthem. I am sure the images in the video will restore your pride and hope for the future in our beautiful country. Rebuild SA!
CONCERTS IN THE LOUNGE
WELL DONE to our musicians who performed in our Concerts in the Lounge over the last few weeks!
Click on the links below to watch the concerts:
Subscribe to the Arts & Music YouTube channel! Click on the YouTube icon to go to the channel:
The Music department wishes the Kingsmead community a wonderful August break and look forward to see you again in September!
Director of Arts & Music
Debunking Disney Module – Grade 9 Subject Choice Article
When given a choice, the hard thing is not making the decision but it is rather thinking about the end results of what you have decided. Knowing that making any choice in life always comes with a consequence is a frightening concept to grasp. Especially when that choice may be life-altering. Every year the Grade 9s have this constant thought embedded in the back of their heads, as they slowly but surely approach the third term of their Grade 9 year. They are tasked with making the choice of which subjects they will take for the rest of their school journey.
Although this choice may appear as one that is clear and straightforward, the journey along the way can be quite daunting and continually carries a feeling of uncertainty. Simply researching the wide variety of future career paths you may endure and being aware that you have to choose one is an overwhelming feeling all in all. Thankfully, Kingsmead and its staff are remarkably mindful and considerate when it comes to these emotions, as they have their own past experiences to help guide us along our way. This term, the Grade 9s had to explore the career world, with Kingsmead’s subject choice process, which is not to scare us but rather provide additional assistance and advice for students in order to make a final, steady decision.
We were asked to do research on a career that we showed interest in and write a 1 to 2 page essay regarding it. Our first task was to interview a Grade 11 or 12 student, as they are most mature and familiar with the feeling. Their personal experiences and encouraging advice helped to answer many of our curious questions. Their opinions were supportive and reassuring, which we, as the Grade 9s are very thankful for.
Another task we were given was the Myers-Briggs personality test, which is a series of questions that gave us perspective on our personality and information about certain characteristics. This would help indicate what type of career we would be best suited to, based on our personality. We spent many hours, which Miss Meyer kindly provided for us to complete the last part of the required research. We, collectively as a grade, agreed that this was the best part. We were directed to obtain as much in-depth information on our chosen career field, as we could. Researching the different courses, opportunities, academic requirements and more aided us in knowing just how these choices may impact our lives.
Finally, we gathered our analysis, along with detailed information, ready to write the essay. Seeing our final essay being completed and jotting down our own personal touches felt immensely rewarding and worth every bit of the time we spent discovering the world outside school. We realised not only how hard it is to make a choice this big at such a young age, but also how very grateful we are to have our teachers aiding us in this process. We are looking forward to making our final choice in September of Term 3. Remember, you should not be afraid because, “With great power comes great responsibility,” – Uncle Ben
Grade 9 Student
The results are in for the 2021 South African National Geography Olympiad (SANGO) which took place on 18 May 2021.
Kingsmead College entered 29 candidates from Grade 10 – 12. Kingsmead did exceptionally well and placed 3rd in the Top SANGO Schools for 2021. We had four candidates achieving Gold certificates, five Silver and two Bronze. Congratulations to all the students who participated and a special mention again to Aadila Babamia for being placed in the Top 25.
Mandela Day is a global call to action to give 67 minutes to impact your community and the world at large. Celebrated on the day of Nelson Mandela’s birthday and commemorating the 67 years that he has fought for social justice; we always heed the call to make a difference.
Due to the pandemic, the focus was shifted from giving 67 minutes of your time, to donating 6 or 7 items to Hotel Hope. Despite the troublesome week in our country leading up to Mandela Day, many parents and students made their way to an empty campus to donate and a sizeable donation was made to Hotel Hope.
Donation bins will be available at Music Reception until the end of the term.
Lockdown has paid off on the knitting front and 72 knitted/crocheted blankets were donated thus far, with another 10 blankets being sewn together by parent volunteers and more squares being donated daily. This has been a record number of blankets donated and the beneficiaries include Hotel Hope and Dlala Nje among others.
Dlala Nje has been struggling to continue activities in their community centre because of lockdown regulations impacting on the inner-city adventures they offer to fund the community centers. The families at Dlala Nje were also severely impacted by the looting and protest that happened in the inner city of Johannesburg.
Please support a family at Dlala Nje by packing a Meal-in-a-Bag that will feed a family of four.
Director of Service