From the Principal’s Desk – 10 August 2017

Dear ISH Community

Yesterday we celebrated National Women’s Day. While there are many jokes about why there is no “Men’s Day”, the reality is that Women’s Day in South Africa commemorates the march of twenty thousand women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9th August 1956 to petition against the legislation that required black people to carry a ‘pass’; a law which had come into force under the Urban Areas Act of 1950. A pass was needed to be allowed access into “white” areas. These women stood outside the door of Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom for thirty minutes in silent solidarity with all South Africans in their fight for equality, whatever their skin colour.

“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.” So said Marian Wright Edelman, activist for the rights of children and the first African American admitted to the Mississippi Bar. John F Kennedy in his inaugural address, on 20th January 1961, pointed out that civility is not a sign of weakness – and sincerity is subject to proof. Although Kennedy was speaking in the context of world power and arms negotiations, his words – as also those of Marian Edelman – should remind us that a school education is not just about classroom learning of the basics and technicalities of Language, Mathematics, History, Geography and Science. School learning is as much about inter-personal skills and how to get on with others, how to help oneself by helping others, respecting the views of others even when we disagree with them. Whilst the value of a good degree speaks for itself, as a member of an international chain of educators, ISH has always sought to provide a well-balanced approach to life skills – one that includes good manners, courtesy, consideration and a basic understanding of human values.

I encourage all of us in our school community to follow in the vein of those brave Women’s Day marchers, of Marian Edelman and John F Kennedy and many others, as you go through your daily routine. Consider each other, care for one another, make someone’s day a little brighter by putting them first. Remember, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile!

Ms. S de Robeck
Acting Head of School