April 21, 2021

Rector’s eNews – 21 April 2021

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It is wonderful to have well over 600 intelligent, lively and energetic boys back on the Michaelhouse campus and engaging with all school has to offer: the boys are particularly excited about the prospect of the winter sports season ahead and this has brought fresh direction to their endeavours. In this regard, our 1st Hockey XI, as well as the U16A and U14A, will be playing in a tournament this coming weekend in Durban, but the rugby players whose Senior, U16 and U15 squads have been back training since last Thursday will need to wait until 8 May for the first official match of the season, away at Kearsney as part of their Centenary Celebrations. The calendar for the term will reach you shortly, but I must indicate that a number of alterations/adjustments have been needed because the state schools had a later academic start to the year than we did and so our term dates are not aligned; this has resulted in a recent decision that the winter sports’ season is to be carried over into our 3rd quarter by two weeks as we have elected to have two Michaelhouse-Hilton fixtures, as well as having a requirement to fulfill responsibilities to state schools. The two Michaelhouse-Hilton fixtures are scheduled for Saturday 12 June (home) and Saturday 24 July (away). Because it is not feasible to hold the Matric Ball on the evening prior to the second of the Michaelhouse-Hilton fixtures, this event (held over from the 1st quarter) has had to be altered to 30 July. This change has, in turn, had an impact on other events in a tight calendar and, without going into the details, we hope that this provides an insight into why a number of events have been reshuffled – all clearly in the interests of the boys being at their best in a variety of different circumstances.

A big feature of discussions between the schools is that spectators are not going to be allowed from outside a school at matches at this stage. We will do whatever we can on each occasion to record or stream the matches where we are able to do so. We will liaise with you further in this regard at a later stage.

At our assembly yesterday, I picked up on some of the themes which I had addressed at the beginning of the year with the boys. In particular, I’ve made three suggestions regarding the term ahead:

I suggested that they should be realistically ambitious: by this I mean setting high goals in every field of endeavour but ensuring that these goals are achievable as it is no good striving for a goal that is way above what it is possible to achieve: it would leave one deflated and disillusioned if one is not able to get close to that goal. However, I pointed out the need for boys to push themselves out of their comfort zones if they were to grow as people. We spoke about exams coming at the end of the term and a consideration of what could realistically be achieved with hard work every day towards academic goals. Grit and determination are also necessary to achieve success in other activities, such as in sports and the co-curricular sphere. Secondly, I spoke about being proud but certainly not arrogant. Boys should be proud of themselves, their family, their team, their House and of Michaelhouse. This entails presenting themselves in the best possible way in terms of manners, attitude to life and what they are setting out to achieve. I posed a question for them to answer as to what they would ideally like people whom they really respect to say about the person that they are and what they are trying to do during their time here at Michaelhouse. I suggested they should be hungry and determined to do the right thing, conscious of the privilege which they have, and mature enough to realise that expectations of them are high. Thirdly and finally, I encouraged them to be disciplined because nothing substantial can ever be achieved without discipline. It is no good their deciding that they will go to the HPC at a certain time three days a week in the early morning and then keeping it up for only a week. I used that as an example of poor discipline. We need personal discipline and we need corporate discipline and we need to develop a sense of the importance of those and other aspects of discipline.

During the course of the holidays, Mr Ncamani, Housemaster of East, and I visited Siyabongakonke Buthelezi in the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, as did other boys from East and other Houses, including the Head of East, Connor Sesink Clee. We have heard, subsequently, that Siyabonga is better than he was two weeks ago, but still has a long way to go and we continue to pray for him at Michaelhouse.

During the course of the holidays we were saddened to learn that one of our housekeepers in Pascoe, Thoko Shelembe had died. We are not aware of the circumstances at this point but it is not suspected to be Covid-related. Joanne Kissoon, in our Bursar’s Department, also suffered a holiday bereavement in losing her husband, regrettably to Covid. Our sympathy goes out to both families.

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