looking back

Mrs M. Woods: A tribute to Mrs Woods in her retirement year


To Marilyn, with Love: A tribute concert to Mrs Woods in her retirement year

 Going back in time to 1877, Dominee Braam Steytler, the founder of our school, made what I think was one of the best decisions in his life – to establish a quality school for girls only. Together with the synod of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk of the 1860s and ‘70s, they saw fit to fight for their belief in establishing a school for young girls. At the time, this was most unusual, as co-educational schools were then the norm. Their visionary insight and perseverance in striving to establish a quality school for girls only has stood the test of time.  
 
I know that our forefathers, past head-mistresses, teachers and young ladies who have graced the portals of this school over all these years, are proud of not only our continued academic success, but also the type of young ladies, who after  ringing the Valedictory Bell in the foyer and leaving the gates of the school for the last time, graduate as mature, well-educated ladies who have a sound moral compass. The ladies received an education imbued with the necessary values to become good, knowledgeable, moral citizens of South Africa, who will be able to make sound choices throughout their lives. It is the foundation on which the rest of their lives is established.
 
In 2006, Val Donald Bell, a Riebeek Old Girl and an accomplished actress as  Madam, in an SABC sitcom, Madam and Eve, wrote after spending the morning at the school as our guest speaker on Founder’s Day:  “I will always brag about the joyful enthusiasm that flows through the veins of Riebeek girls. I am proud to be one!” A wonderful testament to all of us, past and present.

 

Our founders could not have chosen a better emblem to represent the Riebeek girl!  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 jeweller 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.”
 
 

 

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