Last weekend Benjamin Reid, Grade 11, was a guest soloist at the Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind
Ensemble's (CPYWE) Concert at Artscape. According to reports, his performance was brilliant! Well done, Ben!

Jordan Brooks, Grade 10, was also a soloist at the same concert. Jordan has been performing
regularly all over Cape Town in the last few months. You can find several videos of him on Youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxacjMJ4VcY)

The previous weekend, Robert Dallas, Grade 12, Hanna Todd, Grade 11 and Marguerite Ruttmann, Grade 9, played flute trios in the Tokai forest at a World Parks Week event. Flutes in the forest, quickly became fruits in the forest! Much
fun was had by all. Well done, flutes.

 

After five years at Westerford High School, the result is generally a dynamic young adult with the tools to engage with the world in a meaningful way. But what is next for our matriculants?
Certainly, there are countless viable options and unique spaces for Westerfordians to excel and continue to learn after Grade 12. However, most pupils choose to pursue formal tertiary studies and there is no dispute that the University of Cape Town (UCT) is a post-school destination to which many Westerfordians aspire. Westerfordians need not stray far for a quality university education; this is a message that UCT’s newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, made very clear last Tuesday as she addressed parents, pupils and staff in the Noel Taylor Hall.
Taking charge of this historic institution as it emerged from a time of crisis, she has a clear view for the future of UCT.
“Excellence requires transformation for integrity,” the VC affirmed throughout her talk, when dealing with her approach to the
turbulence brought about by the #MustFall Movements in recent years, as well as the potential of universities as a tool for
nation-building.
Prof. Phakeng underlined that the significance of universities in South Africa is greater than any measure of academic
achievement. With the country’s painful history, and considering socio-economic disparities, one has to go beyond narrow
subject focuses when studying today. The intelligence that comes from understanding broader issues around representation,
food security, housing, funding and overall accessibility are perhaps as relevant to university students as quantum physics
and legal frameworks, she said. The Vice-Chancellor sees efforts to contextualize academia (and activities in broader society)
as essential for attaining higher standards of education in South Africa in future. She also stressed that after the ruptures of
the past few years at UCT, her mission now was to build an inclusive and united institution which could ground and make
sustainable this new transformative vision.
With her irreducible credentials, energy and distinctively accessible style, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng spoke for an hour and a
half to an entirely captivated audience. It was a privilege for the History and Current Affairs committee to host a leader who
will surely be remembered for her authentic efficacy at South Africa’s leading university.

Nadia Odendaal, Grade 12

 

On the 15th of March 2019 two-hundred-and-eighty pupils from Westerford marched to the houses of parliament, taking a stand against climate change.

On this day school pupils from all around the world stood up for what they believed in and voiced their concerns to their governments about climate change. There were over 1.6 million people who took part in the strike in more than 125 countries. This global strike was inspired by a girl called Greta Thunberg. She is a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden who has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. On the 20th of August 2018 she stopped attending school, rather choosing to strike outside the Swedish parliament, demanding her country reduces its carbon footprint.  In December 2018 she was invited to address the United Nations Climate Change Conference; she was adamant that policy changes are necessary and that if the older generation is not going to do anything to bring about much-needed change, then the responsibility fell on us, the youth, to stand up.

Here at school, after many meetings, a significant amount of time and effort put in by the organisers, and an initial hold-ups, the go-ahead was given. Train tickets were bought, posters were made and Westerford prepared itself to take part in the Cape Town Climate Strike.

In the week leading up to the march, we had an assembly talk on climate change, took part in poster making events, and organiser,  Matthew Peddie, along with GSI and the prefects blocked off Founders Field in order to raise awareness of the long-term effects on our environment of current lack of awareness and international government apathy  .

We left school on the 15th of March after our final assembly and caught the train to Cape Town station. From the moment we arrived in the centre of town we began to feel the excitement and thrill of being part of something bigger and something so important.

Our support and presence was noted: Westerford High School brought by far the most pupils of any of the  attending schools. We believe we truly did ourselves proud and took the first steps towards taking the future into our own hands.

It was an incredible experience to be part of a global movement and it felt powerful for us as young people to be calling on government to make a change. We hope to build on this foundation, with the march as a starting point for the change to come.

by Matthew Suter