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Dear Parents

These past few weeks have been interesting in terms of the weather with Spring Day passing in a flurry of grey cloud and rain! It does mean, however, that indoor time has been the order of things and for our Grade 11 and 12 boys that is good in terms of their preparation for the upcoming exams. Our Grade 12s are writing Mock Matric and the Grade 11s a Mock Grade 11 exam and we wish them well for these assessments, the first formal assessment of the year. 

We are often asked when all the boys can return to school full-time. We would like nothing more than to have all our boys back but we simply cannot jeopardise their health and the health of our teachers. As long as a social distancing protocol of 1,5m is in place, we cannot fit the entire school in to all our classrooms and the smaller venues would not cope. We surveyed 12 high schools – public and independent, in Cape Town and Gauteng and 10 of the 12 schools were doing almost exactly what we are doing which is staggering a return to school. Only two of the schools we surveyed were back in full and the one reported attendance of less than 70% due to fear from the community of infection. We will not compromise the safety of our boys and staff and ask for your patience. I know our boys are desperate to get back to school (who would have thought??!) and so are you but we need to be safe. We are looking at creative ways of doing this as soon as possible and will keep you informed.

The anonymous reporting app, The Guardian, has been launched this week and a letter was sent by Mr Westwood to parents to explain the purpose of the app. This gives our boys an opportunity to report something they may be uncomfortable doing in person and for us to address issues more completely. Please encourage your son to use this app responsibly. Part of the concern raised by our Matric boys was the need to report unacceptable behaviour in a space they felt comfortable in and we hope this app goes some way to give them that comfort.

I am aware that the achievements of our boys are mentioned below and they are indeed all remarkable but I do want to highlight Rohan Naidoo’s coming first in the world Debating and Public Speaking as simply wonderful and commend him on this outstanding performance!

Covid times are unusual times where so much has been turned upside down and expectations shattered. Which is why we are going to turn things upside down as well and make Winter Colours Awards despite virtually no games being played. Many will argue that you cannot make awards based on no performances but we are going to – based on modified criteria that reflect the potential and promise shown by our boys. They know that this is the season that wasn’t, but we acknowledge them and pay tribute to them in the awarding of sports colours.

Kind regards

Antony Reeler


An extraordinary man taught me a lesson once…

It is remarkable how often a single encounter with a person can shape your thinking and how chance encounters can change you forever. Around fifteen years ago in 2005, when I was Principal at Pinelands High School, I was sitting in my office one afternoon when a man came to see me unannounced and without appointment. He spoke to my secretary and asked to see me – this I could see from my office through the open door. She asked him why and I couldn’t hear that part of the conversation but as things turned out she asked me if I would see him. I agreed and this elderly and vaguely familiar-looking gentleman walked into my office, introduced himself and we chatted for 30 minutes or so.

The reason he wanted to see me is that his grandson was in the school as a pupil in Grade 10 and his grandson’s friend had been in trouble at school. He had done something wrong and I was directly involved in his punishment. This gentleman thought that I had dealt with the matter too harshly and wanted to speak to me. He was not there for his grandson and the friend knew nothing about it. He just heard about what happened and about how I had handled it and was concerned that my actions were too harsh and unforgiving.

I explained the incident and I explained how important it was that an example was set to deter other pupils from doing what this child did. He disagreed with me and said that the child involved had learned the lesson already, didn’t have to be chastised forever and that in his experience “setting an example” was often not a deterrent at all. He said that despite us jailing thousands of people for theft, stealing still continued and he argued that someone who broke rules was probably going to break them anyway. He said that compassion and kindness in discipline often had a far greater effect on the community in terms of example. We agreed to disagree on some points and the gentleman left my office but I was deeply affected by the conversation and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting thinking about what he said and perhaps more what he didn’t say.   

Here was a relative stranger who took up an issue on behalf of someone else who didn’t even know he was doing so. He felt there was injustice and spoke up. He did so quietly, respectfully and in a manner that showed he listened as well. Here was a human being of deep compassion. This interaction changed my thinking particularly when it comes to discipline and consequences for teenagers, who as we all know are works in progress.

This extraordinary man died three years ago. He was indeed a remarkable man – quiet, humble, gentle, sincere, a true servant to people and a man who believed deeply in rooting out injustice and wrong. He was a special man who helped shape our new country. He was Ahmed Kathrada.

Such was his influence that Jonathan Jansen wrote:

“Show me another country where the Anglican Archbishop prays at a Muslim funeral; where a white man chairs the proceedings to remember a leader from a black liberation movement; where the widow of the black man being buried is a white woman who gave her life to the struggle for freedom; and where Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other faiths come together in a broad swathe of South African humanity to remember a man who fought for all of us.

Where on and off the stage no one racial or ethnic or religious group dominated the event.

For a moment, just a moment, it felt good to hope again…”

“In one man’s dignified funeral, (we had) a moving reminder of who we are and what we can still be.”

I had the privilege to meet Ahmed Kathrada, this extraordinary person, for 30 minutes in a one on one conversation that changed my life – he taught me about forgiveness. He taught me about caring. He taught me to think differently about things. He taught me about kindness – all in one 30 minute encounter. I tell you this story because you will have these encounters too. You may meet extraordinary people, but you will also meet ordinary people. And you may just meet someone one day that teaches you something you never forget. Cherish connections with people and the chance to learn.  


Congratulations to NoteShare for making a difference

We would like to recognise and commend the excellent initiative NotesShare and the tremendous impact that they have made to learners across South Africa during this pandemic. For those that don't know, NotesShare is a free web-based, note-sharing platform started by our two GIN (Global Issues Network) chairpersons Luke Rissik and Rohan Naidoo who have been joined by Jonty Wright and Joe Kirsten to form the core team. 

How it works is that, it is strictly student-authored notes which are uploaded and shared with thousands of other learners from different schools nationwide. There is a rating system of notes and teachers can sign up as moderators to ensure quality control, ultimately this platform is run by students, for students. They are working hard to eventually get this platform zero-rated so that it can be accessed by students across the country at no data cost. 

In the past two months our NotesShare team has signed up over 1 700 site members and has been accessed over 10 000 times.  They have been on numerous radio shows, interviewed on eTV twice and most recently have formed a partnership with iSchoolAfrica and the #MyFuture campaign who are delivering 10 000 ipads to matrics across the country, equipped with NotesShare preloaded onto the devices.

The team encourages all boys to get involved if they haven't already by visiting and signing up. We would like to congratulate the NotesShare team for their outstanding initiative and showing such leadership in creating this fantastic program.


VUSA has more stock of the Browns’ Gold olive oil available. This exceptional A-Grade oil was donated to VUSA by the Brownell family and 100% of proceeds will support VUSA programmes. Please support us and purchase, at the incredible price of R100 per bottle, pop into the Prep or College reception to collect a bottle or two and support our academy.

Email to collect. Payment can be done by snapscan.

The click to pay link for Snapscan is:


World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships

As mentioned in a previous assembly, seven of our boys competed in the World Championships (online) over the last two weeks as part of the South African team. The results were announced on the evening of 31 August, and our boys have done an outstanding job. In the finals, Rohan came second in Persuasive Speech, second in Interpretive Reading, and first in Debating. Luke Rissik came third in Interpretive Reading. The overall rankings (Top 20) were as follows:

John Smith - 8th and Luke Rissik - 14th

Rohan NaidooCONGRATULATIONS to our new World Public Speaking and Debating Champion for 2019/2020 - an absolutely marvellous achievement indeed; the first ever South African to win this competition in 33 years!

Well done to all our boys, we are extremely proud of your achievements!


Budding composer, Matthew Newton (G10 Birt), recently entered a competition hosted by the White Rose Creative Project.

We are thrilled to report that Matthew won the composition section for his work, The Defiance of a Mere Rose.

It is scored for trumpet solo, harp and strings. The piece seeks to depict the resistance of the White Rose movement and their fight against the Nazi regime during the Second World War. The adjudicator for the competition was so impressed by the work, that he said it was worthy of being performed by the Cape Philharmonic.

SA Mathematics Olympiad Round 3

Congratulations to: Nicholas Ammann, Robert Kotze, Cameron Clark, Brian Daniel, Khelan Dheda, Robert Dugmore, Gabriel Dyssell-Hofinger, Dieter Karlein, Sanjan Naidoo, Christopher Macdonald, Joseph Ruiz von Walter and Chris Scheepers on making it to round 3 of the South African Mathematics Olympiad. This is no small feat and we are extremely  proud of all of these boys for this amazing achievement. They are part of the top 100 seniors in the country that wrote Round 2. The final round will be written the 10th September and we look forward to receiving fantastic results.

New House Logos

We felt that the time had come to give our house logos a much needed facelift. We are proud to present to you the new look for each House.

Boarding Houses

Day Boy Houses



Congratulations to Johnny Roche on being appointed as the 1st XV captain for 2021. His two vice-captains are Nassar De Kock and Suleiman Hartzenberg.

Inter-House Golf

The Bishops Inter-house Golf Competition was played on Sunday over 18 holes at Steenberg Golf Club.

Congratulations to Founders House for finishing in 1st place and collecting the trophy.
2nd place – Gray House
3rd place – School House

Individual awards:

1st place – Josh Brummer
2nd place – Chris Gutuza
3rd place – Josh Mansfield
Best rookie – Kimon Botoulas
Best net – Rowan Howard

We are still waiting on word for what our new Principal shot. Perhaps we should leave that there…..


Congratulations to the following boys who have received their colours for the 2020 'season' which sadly hasn’t been much of a season:

2020 Rugby Colours:

Full Colours:
Mike Ford
Connor Evans
James Bolton
Keagan Blanckenberg
Sam Rudston
Sacha Mngomezulu
Sam Marthinussen
Ollie Jones

Half Colours:
Ross Vintcent
Euan Groenewald
Dan Kirsten
Joe Kirsten

2020 Hockey Colours:

Full Colours:
Mustapha Cassiem
Jock Buchanan
David Allardice
Ben Cheminais
Oliver Diggle
Liam Hoffman
Timothy Kotze
Caleb Oliphant
Uzayr Sonday

Half Colours:
Connor Dempers
Matthew Guy
Robert Ferreira
James Henderson

Caleb Oliphant is awarded a Distinction Tie. Caleb was selected to represent SA U18 at a tournament in April, however the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19. As a result of his selection he is awarded his distinction tie.

2020 Soccer Colours:

Full Colours:
Harry Gilson
Nic Powell

2020 Drama Colours:

Full Colours:
Callum Stegmann

Campground Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700
Phone +27 21 659 1000 | Fax: +27 21 659 1013