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Dear Parents/Guardians

I hope that the start of the new school year has been a good one for you and your son(s) and that he has settled back into the school routine. It has been wonderful to have 80% of our College back and to see the boys enjoying being at school again.

On Monday, we will have all five grades returning for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020. We made this decision after consulting medical experts and other schools in our area. We are confident that we can manage having the boys back, provided they comply with the well-established Covid protocols. We will be enforcing these protocols strictly but there will be times when boys are on their own and have to practise self-discipline or help those around them to do so. We believe that schools are the best places for our boys to be.

We repeat our plea for parents to enforce Covid regulations at home by keeping your son(s) in the “family bubble”. Almost all our reported cases at the College have come from when boys are socialising, dropping masks and sitting close to others. With all boys back at school, we need to work together as a community to keep it that way. Should cases climb again, we would face another period of online learning, something our boys, teachers and parents desperately want to avoid.

The transformation journey began last week with the report back from Lele to the parent community from the survey. While she and I have attempted to answer as many questions as we can, it is clear that many remain. These and other questions will be addressed as the process unfolds. The survey report back was just that and was a starting point for many more discussions and debates. The staff at the three schools have had feedback as well and we will now begin the process of training facilitators to work with the boys. The rest of the programme was outlined in my previous newsletter. I urge parents to be part of the process, to comment constructively and to add to the experience. It may be uncomfortable for some, but the rewards are working toward an environment where all feel they belong. If any parent missed the presentation, the recording is on the Bishops parent portal along with the slides.

We have appointed a new PA to the Principal, Mrs Shelley Windell. Shelley has worked as a PA to a Principal before and joins us from her current employment at the Sunflower Fund. She begins on 1 March and we thank Mrs Wendy van Heerden for standing in so capably this past month.

It is not often that I quote from the same person two weeks in a row, but I read Amanda Gorman’s poem she read at the Superbowl final and was touched once more by her wisdom and her humanity. In paying tribute to three chosen individuals, a community worker, healthcare worker and a teacher for their role in the pandemic, her last stanza read as follows:

“Let us walk with these warriors,
Charge on with these champions,
And carry forth the call of our captains!
We celebrate them by acting
With courage and compassion,
By doing what is right and just.
For while we honor them today,
It is them who every day honor us."

It is my wish that we too remember those who have such a vital role to play as we experience this pandemic.

I wish you well for the weeks ahead.

Tony Reeler


“I am an African…”

These words are the beginning of an extraordinary speech I read again recently, delivered by then Vice President, Thabo Mbeki, on the occasion of the launch of the new Constitution of South Africa – itself a remarkable document. Both are well worth reading – his speech and the Constitution (now 25 years old).

In Mbeki’s address he speaks of the heritage of our country, from its first recorded inhabitants through the arrival of various other peoples to then present day (1996), tying us all together with the common thread of African-ness. While my roots and ancestors come from a different place to Mbeki’s and yours, I feel part of our country and our continent. I too am an African.

Then I watched a Ted Talk featuring another wonderful African, Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author who spoke of the dangers of a single story, where she defines a single story as an initial impression based on looks or where you come from – preconceived ideas we have of each other. She told her own story of how, when she studied overseas, people judged her based on her being from Africa and from Nigeria. They assumed a single story for her based on their prejudices of Africa and things African. Her talk reminded me of how we as a continent are often underestimated, undervalued and underappreciated by the world but also of how we undersell ourselves. And I think it is because we don’t tell our own story, so others have told ours for us.

So, this week was a self-proclaimed week of Africa and being African! I re-read Mbeki’s speech, I re-read the Bill of Rights, I am reading one of Adichie’s books and, to continue that theme, I went searching for African inspiration for today’s assembly and came across a website of African proverbs.

Africans are storytellers and some of the most wonderful proverbs come from African culture. From Afrikaner to Zulu, our stories and proverbs are usually linked to the earth or nature and have deep wisdom in their simplicity. I share one with you today that stuck with me:

“The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones.”

Tswana proverb

This spoke to me of influence of families, of community, of teachers and adults in general on the minds of young children. It tells us how important it is that we realise that influence and treat it carefully. I think of how opinions of developing teenagers are shaped significantly by the adults and older siblings around them, how they act, what they say and how they think.

There are two messages for me from this proverb – one for the young bird and one for the older ones.

For the developing minds, the “young birds”, realise that you are being influenced every day both positively and negatively by adults around you and start developing a critical mind. Nurture independence of thought, thinking widely as you develop ideas and beliefs. Take what is good as your own song.

For those of us who are older, remember that we have enormous influence on young, developing minds who look to us for example. That example can be good, but it can also be bad. The young bird will crow when it sees the example set by us “older birds”. We must not forget that many songs the young will sing will come from us. Our prejudices, our fears, our angers, our sadness but also our goodness, our kindness and our humanity.

And so, I close this message with the words we know so well.

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika

God bless Africa.


Essay Competition
Progress South Africa recently ran a competition in which they asked young people aged 14 to 30 to submit essays to answer the question “Is South Africa at a fork in the road and which road should we take?”.
Many thought-provoking submissions were received, in which young people wrote about what they think is wrong with South Africa and what we ought to do in order to fix it.  Jacob Fried,  Grade 9 (Mallett House), won first prize in the 14 – 18- year-old age group. The title of his essay was “Opportunity over obedience – constructing an open society”.  Well done Jacob!

Here is a link to the Tatler article, and here is a link to the announcement, including Jacob's essay itself.

Virtual Tour
Over the past few months we have been busy with an exciting new project, which elevates our online offering by the way of a 360 degree virtual tour. Please click on the link to have a look at a full view of the school facilities.

Click on the link to take an online tour

Grounds Team
Turf Tech, our new grounds contract team, has been on site now for 2 months and difference in our fields and campus in general, in such a short time, is vast. The sports fields, common areas and gardens are looking more beautiful than ever. We are pleased to have them on board.

Founder's Week and Annual Golf Day
Due to the pandemic hitting a second wave, the PA and ODU made a decision to postpone Founder's Week and the annual Golf Day to a later date in the year. Once a new date has been set, we will communicate accordingly.

Law Society
The Law Society at Bishops is one of the newest societies and is very vibrant. The Society aims to provide a wide selection of both social and educational trips and events. The Law Society will meet twice a term to immerse itself in contemporary legal issues.
Being a member of the Law Society and attending these events is an excellent way to meet boys with an interest in law, and who would possibly like to pursue a legal career. The Society also engages with the OD Union and the Bishops community at large to create learning and networking opportunities for boys.
The values which drive the Law Society are entrenched in the Constitution of South Africa, and the value system which is celebrated by Bishops. The Law Society aims to promote the Bill of Rights within the school while engaging in learning opportunities for the boys, within a legal context.
The Law Society committee is made up of representatives from every grade.
The Law Society’s events include:

  • Moot Court Sessions
  • Hosting legal experts as keynote speakers
  • A trip to the Cape High Court
  • Career talks
  • Practical sessions: Drafting legal documents, etc.
  • The Annual Law Society Dinner

Academic Awards
Congratulations to the following boys on their achievements.

The Ten Club
The Ten Club was announced last year at final assembly, and the boys received their ties this morning.

Khelan Dheda
Gabriel Dyssell-Hofinger *absent at the time this picture was taken
James Elliott
Gus Farara
Daniel Holgate
Sanian Naidoo
Nicholas Pabst
Joseph Ruiz von Walter
John Smith
Dylan Wood

Academic Ties - Grade 9
Matthew Brodziak
Dylan van Coeverden De Groot

All-Rounder Ties
Ben Halle
Ethan Topat
Timothy van Heerden

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