St John's College

The English department takes pride in the diverse role it plays within the fabric of the school. Our aim is to stimulate intellectual, emotional, social, political and academic growth.  We try to confront our pupils’ sensibilities, challenge their values and expose them to different and often conflicting viewpoints. Our most powerful weapon is the exposure they get to many and varied texts: this promotes curiosity and a love of reading. We also introduce opportunities which expose them to people and ideas beyond the walls of their homes and school. 

The best of our boys’ creative writing is published annually in The Scribbler, edited by a small pupil committee under the watchful eye of the department. Several pieces from this anthology find their way into English Alive, an annual national publication of the best school writing in South Africa. 

Public speaking activities continue with full participation in the Speech and Drama Guild (SA) Festival. 

The department has also revived the prize for declamation and situated this in the Lower IV year; where is arises naturally from their study of Julius Caesar. Recent winners have shown just how powerful the spoken word is. The annual event is held in the amphitheatre, a fitting venue to show off one’s rhetoric.

The English department also has the Pickwick Club, an annual celebration of a famous but less-well-known literary figure. The first evening celebrated Charles Dickens; and at subsequent events  the life and work of Rudyard Kipling and Herman Charles Bosman came under the spotlight.