speeches and performances at founder's day

introduction of guest speaker

By Mrs K. Stear 

Introduction of Guest Speaker
Dr Lisa Dondashe was born in Uitenhage. She attended College Hill from grade R to grade 3. In Grade 3 she won the ambassador’s award which was such a proud moment for the 8 year old Lisa and it was then that she decided that she wanted to become a doctor.
She then attended Riebeek College from Grade 4-12 and matriculated in 2009. She was both a junior and senior school prefect and was the Headgirl in her final year. She was actively involved in many spheres of Riebeek life, including debating and drama. She gained full colours for Public Speaking and was placed in the Top 15 of the De Beers National English Olympiad. When asked what lessons or values she had learnt from Riebeek that have stuck with her, she responded, and I quote;
I learnt how to always carry myself with elegance and grace and to treat others with respect. It also taught me to dream big and that it doesn’t matter where you come from; all that matters is where you are going.
After matriculating, Lisa studied medicine at the University Of Cape Town Medical School and became a doctor. After university she moved to Johannesburg where she did her internship at the Far East Rand Hospital from 2016-2017. Her Community service was done in the casualty department of Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth in 2018. This year She secured the post of Medical Officer in the 72 hour observation unit at Dora Nginza.
  At present, she is enrolled for a Master of Science in Medicine in Health Law and Bioethics at Wits University. She is currently also preparing for her diploma in mental health exams in July.
Lisa’s future plans include doing a doctorate in health economics and health policy at Oxford or London School of Economics or in the United States at Harvard, after completing her master’s degree in 2020. It is her intention to become a health policy maker in the Department of Health and to one day work for the United Nations or the World Health Organisation. 
She is incredibly passionate about all things women; particularly gender based violence. She hopes to start a foundation to help survivors of gender based violence. Lisa also has a passion for mental health which is why she is in her current job; she is always advocating for the underdog. She hopes to raise awareness about mental illnesses, especially in the context of the patients she sees.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Dr Lisa Dondashe.

messages, apologies and well wishes

Founder’s Day messages
The Class of 2004 has requested that special mention be made of their class mate Amanda Forrest, who remains in their hearts.  Amanda’s brilliant acting and drama work is immortalized at Riebeek with a trophy awarded to an inter-house performer who plays a brief but dynamic role.  We remember fondly how Amanda directed her house play in her matric year sometimes from a sick bed but always with a clear vision that the show will go on. 
Class of 1969
Apologies received from:
ELizabeth (Muller) Nieuwoudt - Portland, Oregon,USA
Trish (Pat Algeo) Dewit - Michigan, USA
Merryl (Goldblatt) Bromand - Israel
Norma (Dawson) Heidrich - Cape Town
Barbara (Nance) Black - Grahamstown
Suna-Marie (Kilian) de Lange - Johannesburg
Constance (Ludwick) Chipps - Jeffreys Bay
Adrie Stockdale - Jeffreys Bay
Valerie (Meyer) Wellman - Johannesburg
Loraine (Koch) Meiring - Cape Town
Adele (Brunsdon) Schott - Port Elizabeth
Arlene (Cunningham) Muller - Johannesburg
Linda (Blignaut) Walker - Johannesburg
Ingrid (van Deventer) D'Eathe - KZN
Jenny (Loftie-Eaton) Baker - PE
Marlene (Preller) Nel - Cape Town
Merle (Weiman) Haddad - Cape Town
Veronica (Vermaak) Mey - PE
Today the class of 1969 remember the DECEASED of their class:
Adele Lawson         1973?
Lesley Mannell.       2010
Lesley Paxton.         2016?
Valmai (Dollery) Bubb  2017
Virginia(Greenwood) Warner. 2018
Class of 1969
JENNY (van Niekerk) O’CONNOR
- immobilized at home with a badly broken foot
- never misses a reunion formal or informal
- her Mom Beryl (Galloway) van Niekerk was also an Old Girl
To students and educators

I quote Nathan Scott: It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you are 17 and planning for someday, and then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today, and that someday is yesterday. And this is your life.

I am proud of Riebeek College as an institution of excellence, being a past pupil myself and witnessing my two daughters being prepared for their careers confirmed this.

I can recall a motto once used by a matric class being: IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME. Ten of some of the most powerful two-letter words, which have inspired me.

Now it remains for me to wish all the students at Riebeek College
 exam results which reflect your dedication, sustained effort and preparedness during 2019.

To the matric class of 2019 may you be rewarded, after hours of study, according to what makes each one of you feel prepared, with expected results.

With fond memories

Elizabeth (Liz) Muller Nieuwoudt

To Class of 69

After attending many reunions in the past, I am confident our 50th will be a blast from the past.
Not being there in person will be unfortunate, for me, but this will not stop me from celebrating in spirit with a glass or two!!!!!!

I am sure you share the same belief that I do: growing old is for other people, the definition of “old” is at least ten years older than I am, and I’m going to go on forever.At least I hope so.

Thinking about our last day, before our 40 days, makes me smile and chuckle to myself. Miss Bartlett trying to recover captured hostel classmates, ,after they were kidnapped by some pranksters, just accompanying others while serenading , or so the story went. Arriving late for the assembly in our honor and not being honorable participants, but disgraced students, is another memory I recall from  those days.

Looking forward to meeting up, if possible when next in South Africa

God bless you all and your families
Elizabeth (Liz) Muller Nieuwoudt

Just letting you know, in case you guys have not yet heard, that Florah Williams (nee Rielly) died last week. Was born in 1936 which should give you an idea about when she matriculated if indeed you need that info. I know about her death because I’m a member of the same church.
 That gets me to the next thing: unfortunately I’ll miss my 50th Reunion, as I’ll be at the funeral. Could not miss it, particularly as I’m the organist... So wish to give you my apologies.
 Wishing you all a wonderful, happy Founders’ Day, and may it all go smoothly!
 Adrie Stockdale (Class of 69)
Reunion Co-ordinator Thanks
You have been a cheerleader, begger in chief, organiser, correspondence guru, detective, and everything in between.  Riebeek values your contribution immensely in making Founder’s Day a success.  It has been an absolute pleasure working with such driven, selfless individuals and your efforts are much appreciated. 
Thank you so very much.
The Class of 2009 fondly remember today the late Catherine Immelman whose life inspired them in their personal lives and careers to seek happiness and to remember that life is fleeting.  Her legacy lives on in them as she taught them much in her life, and they appreciate life with all its complexities more fully because of having known her. 
Flowers received:
Riebeek would like to thank Claire Becket from the Class of 1999 for the lovely flowers sent to the school for Founder’s Day.  Claire was head girl in her matric year.
Message from Lesley Young Bright:
Would you please wish the class of 1989 all the best from me? I am so sorry that I will miss tomorrow. Good luck and hope you have a fabulous day!
Message from Renee Baard, Class of 1967
Hi there! Just thought I'd let u know I'll be attending ceremony tomorrow am - on behalf of class of '67 & representing my daughter -Carine Baard/Parks as it's their class's 25th anniversary & sadly she's just relocated from UAE back to UK so cannot make it! Gd luck - enjoy the celebrations!
Biography of guest speaker:
My speech is called the The Roadtrip; a look at life after high school and the many routes one can take to live a fruitful life. I’ll be looking at the different aspects of a Roadtrip in relation to my life and how my own personal roadtrip has been.
A little information about me: 
Born and bred in Uitenhage; I have one older sibling who is 9 years older than me. Early schooling life- went to khanyisa pre-school for crèche and then moved to College Hill for grade R-3. In Grade 3 I won the ambassador’s award which was such a proud moment for 8 year old Lisa who at that point decided she wanted to become a doctor.
Grade 4-12 were done at Riebeek College. 2010-2015- UCT medical school. 2019- present, enrolled in a MSc Med in Health Law and Bioethics at Wits University. Currently also preparing for my diploma in mental health exams in July.
Work: after university I moved to jhb where I did my internship at Far East Rand Hospital from 2016-2017.
Community service was done at Dora Nginza Hospital in 2018 in the Casualty department and then I got w medical officer post in the 72 hour observation unit in 2019 at Dora Nginza.
My future plans are to do a health economics and health policy PhD either at Oxford or London School of Economics or in the US at Harvard after completing my masters degree in 2020. My intention is to become a health policy maker in the department of health and to one day work for the UN or WHO. 
I am incredibly passionate about all things women; particularly gender based violence with hopes of starting a foundation to help survivors of gender based violence with a acquaintance. The start up process has been very slow. I also have a passion for mental health which is why I am in my current job; I am always advocating for the underdog. We are hoping to raise more awareness about mental illnesses especially in the context of the patients we see.
Milestones- finishing my medical degree; getting into masters degree.

Principal's Address at Founder's Day 2019

BY Mrs K. Stear

• Our guest of honour, guest speaker Dr Lisa Dondashe,
• Those who hold the premier award of the school, the Freedom of Riebeek College,
• Special guests, 
• especially our reunion groups and 
• two past Principals, Mrs Natalie Stear and Mrs Marilyn Dodd Woods 
• Ladies and Gentlemen
• and young Ladies of Riebeek College.
I welcome you all to this 32nd Founders Day Service and the anniversary of the founding of our school 142 years ago.
As I look out onto the audience, I am aware that I am about to address our Old Girls as well as the present learners who all come from different generations and life experiences. What do you say to a mixture of the young and the old, the learners and the learned, who come from different generations with different life paths and cultures? The one thing you all have in common is an all-girls education.
Going back in time to 1877, Dominee Braam Steytler, the founder of our school, established a quality school for girls only. He saw fit to fight for his belief in establishing a school for young girls. Today I want to look at exactly why this struggle for a single sex school was so revolutionary at the time and so beneficial over time. 
Recently, one of my friends asked for my opinion on where her daughter should go to high school. It makes sense; you ask a mechanic about a car, so ask an educator about a school. However, she added, “I want to know what is the best option for a girl in this day and age?” This led me to think about the successful woman I know and what immediately sprang to mind was our Founder’s Day. We hear the success stories of our Old Girls and our present learners are inspired by these ladies. It is a powerhouse day of women demonstrating present power and potential power. As Emily Taft Douglas wrote: “If women understood and exercised their power they could remake the world”.
Boys take risks far more than girls. An example of this is, if a project to build a bridge is given to groups, boys will experiment, build and fail, and go on until they get it right. Girls tend to plan first, think the problem through and then build. They also get it right, but by a different route. Both methods are correct and our world needs both types of thinkers. Research shows that girls learn differently from boys, which means you are advantaged attending a school that teaches you according to how your gender functions best. Margaret Thatcher said, and I apologise in advance to the men in the hall today: “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” 
At a girls’ school, there are fewer distractions. Teenage girls just do better when there is no boy in a nearby desk causing hormonal distractions. Fewer distractions mean a girl can focus on being herself, finding out who she is, exploring new lines of thinking and can think outside the box with relative impunity. A certain woman I know who attended an all-girls’ school was asked what the best part of the experience was and she answered, only half-joking, “I rarely had to shave my legs.”
When a school does not have to accommodate both sexes, it simplifies the running and organisation of the school. The only focus is girls and their needs. A Riebeek girl benefits from teachers who understand how girls learn. They provide the kind of nurturing and encouragement a girl needs to become all that she can and wants to be. One of our teachers remembers reading a novel to Riebeek Grade 9s. While reading, she noticed that the girls were in tears. She was horrified that something terrible must have happened. It turned out that the girls were crying about the sadness of the story. At a co-ed school the boys would have laughed. The girls would have stayed detached because crying about a book would not have been cool. A teacher at a co-ed school can really shout at her class and call them losers and insult them, and the reaction from the boys would be laughter and agreement. But in a girls’ school, just telling a learner that you are …. Disappointed … is enough to traumatize the class.
Career aspirations will no longer be limited if there was more single sex education. Women in politics and at the top of the corporate ladder are still somewhat of a novelty in this country. Imagine how much different our world would be if there were more women at the top of all these careers? The thinking skills which women bring to the table would be a refreshing counter to all those years of stubborn, egomaniacal males who have done a less than stellar job of running just about everything. Girls need to be told and made to believe that they can run things. They can be a president or a Hollywood star or the breadwinner in the family or an astronaut – if they can dream it, they can be it without gender bias. Girls’ schools are designers of dreams.
When girls go to single-sex schools, they stop being the audience and become the players. This is the bottom line and one of the most compelling reasons why girls benefit from a single sex school setting. A Bristol University study found that girls’ schools encourage “improved self-esteem and psychological and social well-being in adolescent girls”. Girls in coed schools suffer lower self-esteem and greater pressure to be thin.
Girls at girls’ schools are taught not to sit back and be passive. Girls are given the courage and the experience in school to face the challenges ahead with equanimity and aplomb. Leadership and strengths blossom in a girls’ school environment. The opportunities for student leadership positions are doubled for girls in a single-sex school. In a co-ed school, there is an equal division of leadership positions between girls and boys. 
I personally love girls’ schools because they are aspirational. They focus on teaching girls what they can achieve in the world and the difference they can make. They are noisy places. There is a tone, a volume, a pitch that speaks to self-confidence and exuberance. It is a noise that can do your head in as a teacher, but it is a noise I like. It sounds like girls becoming women with something to say and the confidence to choose a life they’ll love. 
The thing about an all-girls school is that it’s a sisterhood. It is great not to feel the pressures of a co-ed school, where girls dread being left out or noticed. Girls are entitled to feel secure, safe, and confident in a single gender school. 
Girls are more comfortable to be seen as academic in the absence of boys. In fact, girls’ schools tend towards a culture where academic achievement is highly valued. Girls also take greater learning risks in the absence of boys. They are more inclined to ask questions and be creative in their thinking. Therefore, they thrive. Girls’ schools do very well academically. I just want to drop something in here – remember that Riebeek has a 100% pass rate and learners who obtain 6 to 7 distinctions in the matric exams. Just saying! Girls are three times more likely to take pure mathematics and science in an all-girls school. In a co-ed class, boys receive up to eight times as much teacher time as girls. Girls are called on less often and they are asked their opinion less often. When teachers ask boys question, they give them a longer time to answer than they do for girls. There are also more behaviour issues among boys that take up the teachers’ focus and time. 
Girls are more likely to participate in sport in girls’ schools. Many teenage girls stop playing sport in coed schools. They also limit which sporting activities they will participate in. In a co-ed school, factors such as distractions, uneven skill levels, uneven strength levels, self-consciousness, embarrassment, peer pressure, and intimidation were identified as negatively influencing girls’ participation and performance in Phys Ed. While at a girls’ school, the biggest phys ed challenge is to convince the male phys ed teacher that you and the whole class are all on the same cycle every time there is phys ed. 
We are brought up in a culture that indirectly promotes male chauvinism. But not at Riebeek! They say it’s natural for men to show superiority, dominance and aggression and for women to be weak and servile. Really? The truth is, these stereotypes can all be changed and are changed at Riebeek. The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine in a world where it is sometimes believed that she cannot.
Our founders did well to choose the feminine queen bee as the school emblem. The Bee is one of our important traditions and it has become a tradition to read, at Founder's Day, Mrs Rose Loggenberg Hartman’s letter written in 1999 recounting the origin of the Silver Riebeek Bee Pin motif. She wrote: “Miss Brehm, who was a staff member of the school, while on a visit to London, commissioned a jeweler to fashion the “Bee” into a brooch, intending that it be worn as part of the school uniform. This idea proved to be non-feasible and she contented herself that only one be made for her. One day, while on a visit to our home, she presented this to my sister, Dorothy, who treasured it as a gift from a valued family friend. Subsequently, Dorothy handed “The Bee” to Miss Bartlett, intending it should be held in trust for each succeeding Headmistress of Riebeek College to be worn when the occasion deemed it fitting. I think this was a happy gesture lending an added charm to the tradition. It only remains for me to wish you a most successful, memorable and joyous linking of hands with the past on this day, and that Riebeek College continues its successful path into the future.”
Diane Mariechild said: A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. Thus, Riebeek was born in 1877 and over the years has created, nurtured and transformed through balancing old and new, tradition and transformation, conformity and change, history and adaptions, and all of that with a belief in the importance of girls’ dreams. We salute this school for her strong actions in women empowerment.

 May 05, 2019
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Mrs K. Stear

Introduction of Reunion Groups 2019

BY Administrator

Riebeek has a reputation of being a place of stars; and today is more Hollywood than Uitenhage. The movie A Star is Born resonates with the reputation of Riebeek producing stars. Jackson says in the film “All you’ve got is you and what you have to say to people.” and today the volume and excitement in the corridors have proved you have a lot to say, reunion groups. We are pleased to introduce you as you have gone out into the world with what you have to say and made positive, awesome contributions.
Introducing and welcoming our reunion groups is a bit like a movie. It’s “lights, camera and action” in that we will shine a light, metaphorically, on each reunion group. The camera moment is them standing as we gawk at them like fans of movie stars. The action part is where we give them a round of applause.
Our most mature group is the Class of 1969 who celebrate their golden 50th reunion. The reunion co-ordinators are Denise Mowatt du Plooy and Bev Serfontein Fourie and 10 ladies join us with Jenny Inggs Elliot from Australia. They remember humming in Afrikaans class and telling the confused teacher that it was bees. If this group were to be a movie, you might think Driving Miss Daisy, but they are Fast and Furious as they are not your typical retirees with class get togethers, an active Facebook group page and much spirit with Denise Mowatt du Plooy, who travelled from Johannesburg arranging a reunion for Gauteng ladies later this month.
Class of 1969, please stand.
The Class of 1979’s perfect movie fit would be Lost in Translation or Finding Nemo without the finding part as we have searched for them for their 30th and 40th year reunions. If you find them, tell them the hall was rebuilt after it burnt down in their matric year and let them know to find us here for their 50th.
The Class of 1989 celebrate their 30 year reunion with Lauren Gouws Frueholz serving as reunion co-ordinator of the 11 ladies. Natalie Bright Wilmot joins us and will be back soon as Elizabeth House Day guest speaker as an autism awareness advocate. Hendrin Hamilton Germishuys’ self named nickname was DUMB BLONDE – we are pleased to report that career-wise she is a high ranking supervisor and the nickname was not self-fulfilling. She was the cover girl of the 1989 school magazine, and admits she is still a social butterfly. Lauren and Hendrin remember that it was a challenge to pinch extra sarmies from the boarder girls sandwich box when they felt they had not packed in enough. If we were to give this lively group a movie title, it would be Dirty Dancing encapsulating some of their school antics and the nostalgia they carry about their school days. Like Baby in the film, nobody puts the members of the class of 1989 in a corner. They are too active for that! They have, however, in spite of their Dirty Dancing label, cleaned up their act well.
Class of 1989, please stand.
The Class of 1994 celebrate their 25 year reunion with Suzanne Rudman Dixie as head girl and reunion co-ordinator with a function last night for 10 and 4 attending today. In her first year at Riebeek, Miss Krohn, newly appointed English teacher, took on the editorship of the school magazine and as proof that she survived this horror, we are pleased to welcome her from New Zealand on her first visit back after 20 years. Sharing their anniversary of leaving school with the anniversary of the 1994 elections probably makes Long Walk to Freedom their movie. But for the first time in 22 years after long years of swimming, in 1994, Eleanor finally won a gala.
Class of 1994, please stand
Celebrating their 20 year reunion is the 18 ladies of the Class of 1999. Reunion co-ordinator Dr Janelle Vermaak is a lecturer at NMU and recently presented a workshop to our media girls on fanship. The school motto was Great Expectations so the did great as expected. This class is no Silence of the Lambs movie as they are horrifically good at remembering the gossip and low down of their teachers at school.
Class of 1999, please stand.
The Class of 2004 celebrate their 15 year reunion with Cindy Rabie Emmett as head girl and reunion co-ordinator and 6 ladies in attendance. Cindy van Deemter Watson is the daughter of our loyal Governing Body chairman Danie van Deemter and a farmer’s wife having settled somewhere near the middle of nowhere. Cherise Louw Swanepoel is our former English teacher spreading love in pastor work and as mom to her precious one year daughter. Anthea du Preez Wepener is mom to a Riebeek grade 4. Ma-asha Ismail switched recently from a successful career in journalism with its bad news crime reporting to the good news creating of being a school teacher. This group’s movie would have to be Dead Poet’s Society as so many of them were inspired by Old Girl, journalist and a Riebeek teacher, Beth Cooper Howell; and because of their dramatic school antics.
Class of 2004, please stand.
The Class of 2009 celebrate their 10 year reunion with Dr Lisa Dondashe, head girl, reunion co-ordinator and guest speaker, and 19 ladies in attendance. This group is a bit like the movie Titanic – larger than life, doing things on a grand scale, heading off on grand adventures, defying things the way they were done before and filled with eccentricity. Unlike the doomed Titanic, with global warming we feel confident no iceberg will get in their way. From this class comes the warm Miss Caryn van der Westhuizen, our Grade 6 teacher. In their matric year, they took part in the drama production Take Me Home complete with an impressive airport scene and a big plane. It is good to have them home today.
Class of 2009, please stand.
Also attending today are Old Girls not in official reunion groups.
Seventy years later, Mrs Rose Minty Young from the Class of 1949 is back at school, brought here by her son, Mr Dave Emslie.
Four ladies from the Class of 1984 are here including head girl Dennise Mattioda Shaberg and deputy head girl Penny Lithauer. Cathy Simpson, one of our most loyal Founder’s Day supporters, was driven here by “hart se punt” Mrs Myburg, our well travelled LO teacher. It must have been quite a trip this morning! There are a number of shy staff who are Old Girls reluctant to stand when we ask in case the girls research their age. And there some Old Girls here as guests or moms. This motley crew can collectively be thought of as the Braveheart movie cast, as they loyally support us.
We ask all Old Girls here today who have not already stood to be recognized to please stand now.
Susan Gale said, “Life should be like a good movie, a little drama, a little romance and a lot of laughter.” May today, reunion groups, feel like a 5 star feel good movie. Whatever role you play, remember your alma mater believes in your bright stardom as you are part of our star studded cast.

 May 05, 2019
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Riebeek - place of dreams

BY Administrator

Following requests for the video that played at the start of the Founder's Day ceremony, narrated by Miss O. Mxoli, here is the link and the words of the video:
Following requests for the video that played at the start of the Founder's Day ceremony, narrated by Miss O. Mxoli, here is the link and the words of the video:
A school like Riebeek is a place of dreams. When the girls walk through the school gate, they bring with them hopes and goals. These dreams are nurtured by a passionate staff, dynamic leadership and a full programme. 
Dream making is evident in the hostel offering week-day accommodation, packages for exam times and a day care facility; the appointment of sports co-ordinator, Mr Selwyn Seale, intern, Miss Olwethu Mxoli, Riebeek Old Girl and a News24 Mandela of the Future and Miss Sanelisiwe Klass, Staff Development Seminars by Mr August and Dr Ally of NMU and Miss Nerine Looke, Riebeek’s consulting psychologist, on Cultural Competence and Sensitivity Empowerment, well being and team-building; and the Class of 2018’s 100% pass rate: Sinovuyo Madlavu with 7 distinctions and Kyla Van Deventer and Valentina Longari with 6 distinctions each realised their dreams.
Riebeek’s mission statement has proved timeless: “To prepare our learners to meet the challenges of a changing world by providing relevant education of a high standard and instilling sound values in a stimulating and happy environment.” 
Mrs Kieran Stear, principal of Riebeek, said, “Education faces challenges. We need to be steadfast in pursuing our mission with the right blend of a sense of belonging, tradition and transformation. I have a dream of our school maintaining its reputation as a prestige school. We live in negative times. That should not make us angry, but should inspire bold dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The school has beautiful dreams and a wonderful future because, when a million dreams converge on the school each year, Riebeek embraces the opportunities to design the world according to the dreams of the girls who pass through her doors. Since 1877, Riebeek prides itself as being the maker of designer dreams.
A school like Riebeek is a place of dreams. When the girls walk through the school gate, they bring with them hopes and goals. These dreams are nurtured by a passionate staff, dynamic leadership and a full programme. 
Dream making is evident in the hostel offering week-day accommodation, packages for exam times and a day care facility; the appointment of sports co-ordinator, Mr Selwyn Seale, intern, Miss Olwethu Mxoli, Riebeek Old Girl and a News24 Mandela of the Future and Miss Sanelisiwe Klass, Staff Development Seminars by Mr August and Dr Ally of NMU and Miss Nerine Looke, Riebeek’s consulting psychologist, on Cultural Competence and Sensitivity Empowerment, well being and team-building; and the Class of 2018’s 100% pass rate: Sinovuyo Madlavu with 7 distinctions and Kyla Van Deventer and Valentina Longari with 6 distinctions each realised their dreams.
Riebeek’s mission statement has proved timeless: “To prepare our learners to meet the challenges of a changing world by providing relevant education of a high standard and instilling sound values in a stimulating and happy environment.” 
Mrs Kieran Stear, principal of Riebeek, said, “Education faces challenges. We need to be steadfast in pursuing our mission with the right blend of a sense of belonging, tradition and transformation. I have a dream of our school maintaining its reputation as a prestige school. We live in negative times. That should not make us angry, but should inspire bold dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The school has beautiful dreams and a wonderful future because, when a million dreams converge on the school each year, Riebeek embraces the opportunities to design the world according to the dreams of the girls who pass through her doors. Since 1877, Riebeek prides itself as being the maker of designer dreams.

 May 05, 2019
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Founder's Day address by guest speaker

BY Dr Lisa Dondashe

The Roadtrip
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference in the world.” Robert Frost.
Honoured guests, Riebeek girls, my dearest family, staff and to the class of 2009, especially, a glorious morning to you all. Thank you so much Mrs Stear for that introduction. In case you may have missed it, my name is Lisa Dondashe, head girl of 2009. It is an incredible honour and privilege to be standing here today. I used to joke about 2019 with my friends in matric because it seemed like it was a lifetime away. I always wondered who the guest speaker would be when we returned. Lo and behold, you are all stuck with me today.
Before I start, I would like to greet a special person, someone that inspires me everyday to show up even when I do not feel like it, someone who looks at me like I am a real-life hero. My dearest niece, Sibonile. I hope you know how proud I am of you. I hope I also get some cool aunt brownie points today because this is all for you.
The day I was asked to be the guest speaker I initially agreed to do it without hesitation but then I started having doubts and the Imposter Syndrome suddenly started to set in. Quick side-note, the imposter syndrome is a group of feelings or thoughts that makes someone doubt their accomplishments with this persistent fear of feeling like you’re not good enough or you do not belong. It affects almost everyone on a daily basis, and I am here to tell you that it is fake news. Anyway, I diverge, I couldn’t understand how someone as young as I am, yes girls 27 is young, could be asked to come and give a talk about life because, well, I don’t feel like I have lived enough. Then on discussion with one of my colleagues and a few friends I realized that maybe my story would be more relatable to the Riebeek girls. I set about trying to find a topic that would be as inclusive as possible. And this is how I chose the title of my speech.
In trying to plan my class’s reunion and in discussions with those who may or may have not attended their own reunions I discovered a commonality in the reasons given. In medicine this would be group of symptoms which together would lead me to a diagnosis. This diagnosis is this- people are afraid to go to their reunions out of fear of what other people may think about them or their lives. I too am one those people. The thing about life, though, is that the older I become the more I realise that life is a journey. Earlier on I started with a quote by Robert Frost and it may have seemed irrelevant at the time, but it is actually the core of my talk today. The journey to a fuller and happier life is this- taking the road less travelled and living intentionally. With that said I’d like you to all join me on a roadtrip- the roadtrip that is my life; the roadtrip each and every one of you will embark on after high school; the roadtrip the rest of the guests here today are currently on. This may seem slightly confusing at first but I promise you will each have clarity when I conclude. Because, much like life, every successful roadtrip requires planning and consequently it is also this similarity that needs one to be prepared for possible detours, potholes and stops along the way. I am about take you through the five elements that I consider to be essential for a successful and memorable roadtrip and how I have likened each of these elements to life. These are:
• (A) destination(s)
• A map/GPS
• Mode of transport
• Passengers 
• A driver
The destination
In our economy, unless you have money to waste which I am pretty certain no one does, you cannot just get into the car and drive aimlessly without an end destination. Not only is that futile but it is also a waste of resources. It works exactly the same in life- you can’t just be moving forward without an end goal in mind. Life, too much like a roadtrip, has a series of destinations and milestones along the way; reaching a new grade, getting to matric, getting into varsity, a job, a promotion, trips overseas, starting a family and the list is endless. Earlier I mentioned living intentionally and what does that mean you may ask. It means you need to set goals for yourself and you need to have a strategy in place that gets you to those goals. My strategy is simple; I speak things into existence. I tell myself I am going to do/achieve something and I work continuously at getting to that particular destination for that goal. My becoming a medical doctor was never a mistake; it is a goal I set when I was 8 years old. At that age my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I apparently said I wanted to be a doctor. In grade 4 we then had to do an oral in Mrs Ossher’s class on what we wanted to be in the future and that was the first time that Kumantha Naidoo and I discussed studying medicine at the university of Cape Town- and our 9 year old reasoning was simple, we liked the mountain and we liked the sea therefore we wanted to be closer to the sea that had the mountain. That was in 2001- 18 years later we are both medical doctors that graduated from, yes you guessed it, UCT.
On this journey called life, there are also many pitstops and detours that will happen; the final destination may change along the way or you may get there to find that you still have more petrol to keep going. It may take you longer than you expected to; you may have to take a long break to refuel. If you find that any of the above happens, I pray that you keep going. I think that many of us, in matric, thought that by 25 we would have the house, partner, family, degree and the money but unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. For the longest time I was anxious about the direction that my life was headed until I learnt to celebrate the circumstances I had found myself in as, in that very moment, that was where I was meant to be. Too often we compare our journeys to those of others without any idea of how it is they have found themselves on that road. There are things that are out of our control that are going to try and veer you off the road, change your direction, delay your estimated time of arrival, but no matter what happens, not only should you keep going but you should also never compare yourself to others. Upile Chisala once said, “get into the habit of celebrating yourself from skin to marrow; you are magic.” And when you do reach one of your destinations, because not everyone arrives safely, I hope you celebrate yourself loudly. In a world where women, black women especially, are still second-guessed, I hope that you don’t end up doing the same to yourselves.
The map/GPS
Now that you have your destination you need to know how to get there. I have always said that I don’t believe in chance happenings; I believe in intentional living. This is your map or your GPS- it gives you the option of choosing the best route for your trip. This includes the planning and the research you do, the people you talk to about what is needed to reach your destination. It is never too early or too late to start. From a young age, I taught myself to see every situation as an opportunity to learn and to grow from. Getting into the degree I wanted to study, although very blessed and fortunate to have done so, was not by chance- it was because, having done research years prior to applying, I knew the kind of candidate the university would be looking for. Once again, it is never too late or too early to start; “know that you can start late, look different, be uncertain and still succeed” – unknown. The correct directions for you will take you on the road you need to travel.
The passengers
What’s a memorable roadtrip without passengers? The passengers in life are the people you take along with you on your journey to reaching your goals; you need passengers that are going to help you drive when you fatigue; that are going to encourage you along the way; you need passengers that are going to give you directions when your life’s GPS is failing you; that are going to help you refuel. These passengers should be easy to identify in your earl life but other important ones you may only meet well into the trip. Of course you won’t take all of them with you to your destination because some people are only meant to be with you for a short journey and they get off at their own stop while others are meant to ride with you all the way. You also pick up new passengers along the way and you keep it moving. What I loved the most about my class was how supportive we were of each other and how we took care of each other. I remember how Abongile’s Njiyela’s phone rang in her blazer pocket in Matric in Dr Boucher’s class and how the entire class suddenly started coughing to mask the sound of the noise and the vibration so her phone would not get confiscated; my girl was also fast asleep so she didn’t even hear our coughing and eventually Dr Boucher heard and the phone was taken away but we really did try. Abongile was also the same person who introduced me to the people I call best friends now when we were at medical school and the same person who made sure I ate during exams because I picked up a bad habit of forgetting to eat when I am stressed.
These passengers also come in the form of friends that you keep- lifelong friends are what we made in high school; Kaylin Human’s inside blazer pocket was probably my favourite thing about high school because it contained every type of sweet the tuckshop had to offer. Kaylin used to feed me everyday, even when she swore it would be the last time she gave me food. I still don’t understand how Mrs Bean missed us eating smarties right under her nose; after all we did sit in the front row. Kaylin still feeds me every time she’s in town for a weekend and she still calls regularly to remind me who I am. I also think the general consensus about high school here is that if you are the friend that forgets to eat, find friends that feed you.
Ra-eesa Wicomb and I have been friends since grade R at College Hill. She also inspired me to pursue my dream of getting a Masters degree after she obtained hers in 2017. Once I started it though I became increasingly overwhelmed because not only was I one of the youngest people there but again this feeling of “you don’t belong here” overcame me. One of my friends and old classmates, Vuyolwethu Gxotiwe texted me something which changed my perspective on how I view myself- she said, “you always knew exactly what you wanted to do, let the universe know and did just that. That is something I wish to learn from you” and simply by those words she had encouraged me to keep going again. I don’t think she realized what those words meant to me. We also don’t realise the impact we have on others. Maybe what I have said today might inspire you to either find friends who stash sweets in the blazers or to do a Masters degree- the opportunities are endless.
These passengers exist in the form of your family because if they aren’t helping you get to your destination then who is. A supportive family is undoubtedly the most important thing in the world. Those who know me will know how much my mother means to me. If my mother says I can achieve something then I believe in myself even more. In grade 2 I lost a spelling competition because I could not spell the word uncle and that devastated me; my mom told me that the following year the spelling trophy would be mine. I did in fact win it the following year and I must say my spelling is still e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, excellent. My family has travelled everywhere for and with me to show their support; they’re even here today and that always gives me the strength to continue driving towards my goals. None of the goals I have ever set for myself have ever been too silly or too big for my family; for them it has always been a matter of asking “how do we help you get there?” I mean just last night my mother was helping me with name tags because she is still the headgirl’s mother 10 years later.
Be thankful, also, for the teachers we have here at Riebeek. They have groomed some of the best in the country. Their beliefs in our talents, skills and abilities is remarkable. I sometimes think teachers believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. In Grade 12 I was too lazy and afraid of entering the English Olympiad, because there goes that feeling again, ‘I felt like I would not do well enough” so Mrs Peltason entered on my behalf. I still did not want to write but we came to an agreement; I would at least attend the practice sessions and we could decide nearer to the Olympiad day if I would go through with it. I ended up writing and came 7th in the country. Imagine if she had actually given up on me. Mrs P clearly saw something in me that I couldn’t see myself. There are so many teachers that have touched each one of us tremendously. Mrs Woods taught us to be assertive but to always be kind; Mr Hoare taught us that tackling difficult situations requires you to “start at the very beginning; because that’s a very good place to start”; Mrs Gerber encouraged us all to join drama and unlocked leadership potential in all of us; Mrs Stevens’ brilliance motivated us to aim higher; Mr Jonas encouraged the development of problem solving skills through his famous statement which he would say when you forgot your homework and it went something like this, “my dear, don’t make your problems my problems; now sit down please”.
And then as you grow older too, you select your passengers in the form of mentors. I have found that not only is it useful to have mentors in the career you have chosen but to also have those outside of. This has helps create a network of people who are wiser, reliable, efficient and who are further along on their own journeys but are still willing to assist with directions. My consultant, boss, role model and mentor is the kindest most compassionate man and medical doctor I know. When community service was drowning me last year, he encouraged me to take a break and to try again when I had the strength to continue; he encouraged me to pursue my current position. He has also taken a genuine interest in each of the exams and courses that each of us are doing. And every morning we start the day off by finding out how each person in the unit is coping. In a world where parking your metaphorical car on the side of the road and resting is seen as a sign of weakness, my boss encouraged me to pause, reset and to start again. He also taught me the true meaning of what happens to be my favourite human quality, kindness; a quality that I actively try to improve on daily. And as you go out into the world you will find that no one else will prioritise your mental health for you, you have to do that on your own. But that one act of kindness could not only save someone’s day but it could also save their life. There is a quote by Mandy Hale that says, “be good to people; you will be remembered more for your kindness than any level of success you could possibly attain.” And I firmly stand by that- the kindness you put out into the world, the universe will reciprocate that ten-fold. I hope your passengers treat you with kindness and you the same to them.
The transport
For those who have been on roadtrips know the pre-trip full inspection to ensure that the transport carrying us to our destination is roadworthy. You need to check the tyres, the oil and water, ensure there is enough fuel and even if your car is brand new it is something that is done by almost everyone. Your journey to your goal destination is the same- you need to check your transport; in life this works in two ways- the first one is the actual physical work that goes into obtaining your dreams. This ranges from studying, to internships, to short courses, moving to different cities and countries, reducing or changing habits that do not support the life you’re trying to create. At its core, it involves making sacrifices. The other aspect of this transportation involves the spiritual realm or a higher power- whatever that may be for you. There is also a variation in how people approach this. It could be in the form of praying, fasting, meditating, singing praise and worship, taking a vow of silence, a special ritual, lucky item of clothing, whatever works for you. Let your spirituality meet your hard work and let magic happen. My form of transportation has always been this: I have never done a written or oral exam, interview or speech without talking to and praying with my mother. I could know the entire textbook cover to cover and my preparation would still be inadequate if I haven’t spoken to my mother. My final exam in final year of medical school was a paediatrics clinical examination (you had to examine a baby for a set number of minutes and then a specialist consultant would ask you for your diagnosis and question you further on what you found and how you proved that this is the right diagnosis- nerve- wrecking stuff). I had been suffering from severe headaches that made it difficult for me to study for the last two years of med school and before this particular exam they had become more frequent. Still, I was confident in my knowledge because despite the adversity I had put in sufficient work. As the time to go to the hospital for the exam approached my mother, who was busy when I initially called, still had not returned my call. I started to panic. My poor mom was stuck in town and was struggling to find a quiet place to call me so we could pray. But who are mothers if not god’s gift to humanity; she went into a dingy corner and called me so we could pray and off I went to do my exam. And I am certain you know how the rest goes because here I am today.
The driver
For any roadtrip one needs to have a driver; in this case that driver is you- each and every one of you. Excluding factors beyond your control, you determine the road you will travel and whether you will reach your destination or not. The preparation that goes into having a successful roadtrip is purposeless if the driver is not prepared for the journey at hand. As with any long distance travel, you will fatigue, get lost, you will doubt if you’re making any progress, you will need rest and recover but you cannot turn back. As the driver of your life, understand that you are an everchanging multifaceted being; the dreams you may have had at age 13 may be different to those you have at 18 and even further from those you’ll have at 28 and the older you get. You must be willing to accept that change. There is one quote that I have lived my life by since the first time I read it and each time I feel like I am no longer the one who is driving my life I go back to it and I pause, reset and restart my expedition. The quote is by F. Scott Fitzgerald and it goes, “for what it’s worth, it’s never too late or in my case too early to be whoever you want to be. There is no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things that you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you are not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” The world will try to put you in a box, to contain you so that they can limit your greatness. Don’t ever let them. You must be steady in pursuing your dreams and even when you or others doubt you. Your passengers can assist you as much as they humanly can but as the owner of the car the onus is on you to reach your destination.
I hope you also do not limit yourself, as the driver, to only one destination. The notion of not being able to have it all is untrue; please note that you can actually be a well-rounded woman who excels in all aspects of her life. Being at Riebeek College taught me a great deal about seeking to be an all-rounder in life, about how to carry oneself, how to see women in leadership roles as the norm and it helped me understand that this is in fact a woman’s world. Beyonce once said, “we need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.” I urge you all today to resume the driver position of your cars and to take the lead.
I hope that the next time I see some of these faces again, we all will have stories to exchange of we have lived some more and that our lives will be filled with intention. There is still so much more to do, see, dream and achieve. I still want to run a marathon before I turn 30 which is right around the corner and I am so incredibly unfit; I want to raise more awareness on mental health and gender-based violence, go and do my PhD overseas, come back and be a policy maker in the country, spend a summer in New York, an spring in Japan, and specialize in psychiatry one day. I want to be a world changer and I see world changers in this very room today.
I am so honoured to have been given the opportunity to be here today. I feel immense pride because I come from a school that is rich in tradition but still strives for change. I hope my short stint at life after high school has given everyone something to think about. I hope that when you choose the road you have to travel, you don’t merely follow the one that everyone is taking. May you indeed choose the one less travelled even it frightens you to do so. And because “life is not about who you once were but rather about who you are or have the potential to be”, should you find that you are not on the right road, I hope you always have the courage to start over.
To the class of 2009, I am so proud of the women you have all grown into. You are all ambitious and driven but most importantly, you have all always remained true to yourselves. To the Riebeek learners, I wish you all of the best in all your endeavours.
Thank you.

 May 05, 2019
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Dr Lisa Dondashe

Founder's Day 2019


Calling  the head girl or a reunion co-ordinator from the Class of 2009, 1999, 1989, 1984, 1979, 1969, 1959, 1949 to make contact via jrgerber@isat.co.za.  Any other classes planning a reunion to please also make contact with us so we can include you in the planning and keep you updated on plans. 


Founder’s Day 2019
Friday, 3 May 
The Principal and Staff of Riebeek College Girls’ High School invite you to join them in celebrating their Founder’s Day in the school’s 142th year. All past pupils of Riebeek are invited to attend all the events of the day, with the reunion groups especially requested to attend. Our Old Girls did not have to matriculate with their class to be part of their reunion group. Reunion groups are also especially requested to attend the lunch hosted by the school for them.
Times for the day: The traditional hockey match between the School’s First Team and an Old Girls’ Team will be played at 08:15 on the College Field. Tea will be served in the Beehive Student Centre at 09:30 and the official reunion photographs will be taken between 9.30 and 10 on the stands at the hockey field. There will be a special assembly at 10:30 in the Sholto McIntyre Hall. There will be an Old Girls’ Lunch at the Uitenhage Golf Club at 12.30 for 1 at a cost of R160 for a three course meal. Reunion groups are especially requested to attend. Make a payment with the reference being your surname followed by year of your reunion group. Proof of payment MUST be forwarded to bursar@riebeekcollege.co.za along with any seating, dietary requests, maiden name/ married name and class year. Do cc your reunion co-ordinator when confirming payment. 
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 539 712 843 52
BRANCH CODE: 210 316
The deadline for payments is 25 April 2019.
⃝ Please do bring new or second hand books to donate to the school library. Do fill in your name and maiden name and married name, if applicable, and your year of matriculation so that our present ladies will know who donated the book and feel the legacy of our Old Girls. 
⃝ Note that copies of magazines of your year (if available) and other years are sold at the school on the day of the reunion for R100 each or with a discount for purchases of a few magazines.
⃝ We urge all our Old Girls to use the MY SCHOOL CARD and to have Riebeek as a beneficiary. MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is one of South Africa's biggest fundraising programmes and allows you to make a difference, just by shopping. Every time you use your card at any of the partner stores they'll give back a percentage of your purchase value, on your behalf, to Riebeek at absolutely no cost to you! Get your free card today. Every swipe counts! You can apply online at https://www.myschool.co.za/supporter/apply. Partner outlets include Altech Netstar, Cartridge Recycling: greenOFFICE, Engen, kalahari.com, MegaMobi, MySchool Holidays, Power24.co.za, Reggies, Toys R Us, Waltons, Woolworths, Woolworths Rewards.
⃝ LIKE and SHARE our posts on the official Riebeek facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RiebeekCollege (look for the badge as the icon) 
⃝ Visit our website. https://www.riebeekcollege.co.za
⃝ Here are the links to our social media platforms and attached is a poster of the links. Do encourage the Old Girls to like, follow, join as more Founder’s Day hype and information will appear there periodically.
Riebeek College Girls' High School
https://www.instagram.com/ - riebeek_college_girlshigh
⃝ Should you wish to make a donation to your alma mater, whether you are attending the reunion or not, you can make a deposit into the school bank account using these details and reference
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 539 712 843 52
BRANCH CODE: 210 316
When forwarding proof of payment to school please use the email bursar@riebeekcollege.co.za indicating your name, maiden name, married name, contact details esp email, reunion group year
Reunion groups who wish to make a donation to the school should contact Mrs Stear to discuss a specific item or could make a financial donation to Mrs Stear for her to allocate the funds to a project on our list. Our project wish list includes Water tank/s, Benches for the grounds, Mini grandstands for the sports fields, “Bus shelter” inside the grounds for girls waiting to be fetched that offers some protection from the rain/ elements, a branded gazebo for sports days, the installation of CCTV cameras with sound in the classrooms and a control panel, the upgrading of the learners’ cloakrooms behind the hall, the re-surfacing of the quad on the side of the Harem Walk.
Traditionally, the head girl or a volunteer or a group take on the portfolio of reunion co-ordinator.
Please could you provide your contact details to us if you are willing to take on the portfolio: first name, maiden name, surname, year of matriculating, cell number, work number, home number and email address/es by emailing it to jrgerber@isat.co.za for our records.
Key Responsibilities:
Collect all the particulars of the Class with first names maiden names and married names (if applicable) and email addresses and then indicating on the list who is attending and who is not, who is coming from far and any information about the Old Girls that could be interesting to share with the school. 
Collect photographs (scanned in for digital versions) for sending to jrgerber@isat.co.za; and create the posters for the boards for display in the foyer on Founder's Day.
Be the cheerleader for the group begging and persuading ladies to attend Founder's Day.
We will require your assistance in making sure that the official photograph is taken on the day. 
A display for the foyer is required, if possible. The measurements of our black boards are 1.37m (height) by 900cm (width) and we have larger white trestles that measure 1.2 m(width) by 1.8 m (height).
We request that you arrange name badges for the ladies in your reunion group. A table will be set up at the student centre (next to the hockey fields) where you could place your name tags and distribute them. Should you not wish to arrange name badges, there were will be stamp with name tags and pens at the student centre. 
Ladies who did not matriculate with the class but attended school with the class are welcome to be part of the reunion group.
Please email the following information to jrgerber@isat.co.za : photographs; names of those who have passed away between May 2018 and May 2019 (not necessarily from your class: first name, maiden name, surname, year of matriculating); names of those who have travelled far, those who have passed away from your class and any special messages of goodwill or greetings from your reunion groups; a list of any special memories of your school years to include in our speeches, names of those attending. This can be sent in stages as you collate your information.
After the event, we ask for a school magazine article from you about the reunion and your school memories, some photographs form any follow up reunions you had over the weekend and assistance with the caption for the official photograph (which will be emailed to you).
Help us to keep a check on the numbers for each table at the lunch by asking the girls to let you know when they have paid and to let you know too of any special dietary or seating requests made so we can be sure your table is well organised for the reunion lunch.
You can also collect questionaires from the ladies for possible inclusion in the school magazine and you could use bits and pieces of them to make up a MEMORIES BOOK in print or digital version to share with your grade.
Riebeek College Girls' High School 
46 North Street Uitenhage 
041 9922442

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