26 September 2018
Dear St John’s Community,
In the last few years, South Africans have had to face the important questions of what it means to transform our society appropriately. St John’s College is no different in having to wrestle with this concept and, as an Anglican South African School, play our role in building an equitable society rooted in justice for all.
Over the last few years, we have had to navigate the complexity of diversity and take important steps towards ensuring that our school is on the right path. Recent experience has taught that there are lessons to learn and we must have the courage to broach the challenging conversations needed for appropriate transformation to occur. It is imperative that this robust dialogue must be coupled with decisive interventions.
In line with its strategic vision, the Council of St John’s College has taken the following steps in this regard:
- Reconstituting our Transformation and Diversity Committee.
- Transformation Office
As per the Independent Representative Interim Committee’s (IRIC) recommendations we have taken the decision to reconstitute the Transformation and Diversity Committee to be representative of everyone within our community. In addition, the committee must be functional and influential. It serves as a sub-committee of Council reporting directly to the highest decision-making body within our community. The Transformation and Diversity Committee has been structured to represent and interact with all important formal entities within our community, namely:
- College, Prep, Pre-Prep, The Bridge and Sixth Form leadership
- The Chaplaincy
- Academic Staff in the College, Prep, Pre-Prep and The Bridge
- Support and Catering Staff Representatives
- Extra-Curricular and Pastoral Care in the College, Prep, Pre-Prep and The Bridge
- OJA Representatives
- PA Representatives
- Student Representatives
In our initial deliberations we have applied our minds to the areas this committee must explore and we will be focusing in particular on the following working groups:
- Community Engagement
- Extra-Curricular and Pastoral Care
- Music and the Arts
- Heritage, Culture, Signs and Symbols
- Old Johannian Association
- Parents and Community
- Staff Recruitment and Retention
- Student Forum
- Support and Catering Staff
These focus areas encapsulate all aspects of community life. Each working group will formulate a strategy and, through sound research, commitment and with the understanding of the day to day needs of the school, will work diligently to transform each area consistent with the ethos and founding values of St John’s College.
We are making a call to the entire community to be involved and volunteer their services for the working groups. These groups will report to the Transformation and Diversity Committee which will, in turn, report to Council. For those interested in offering their skills and expertise to building an institutional culture steeped in our Christian ethos and that truly speaks to our motto of Lux Vita Caritas please click on the link to motivate your application.
Following a rigorous selection process including input from external experts in the field, St John’s College has appointed skilled professionals to drive transformation within the school in the form of two Deputy Heads: Transformation and Diversity. Mrs Dudu Mashele has been appointed in the Preparatory School and will chair the Transformation and Diversity Committee and more recently, Mr Mbongeni Allan Magubane has been appointed in the College. Council is delighted with these two appointments and fully endorses both Mrs Mashele and Mr Magubane to oversee and expedite this important process and we appeal to the Johannian community to partner with us as we journey together.
We would like to appeal to all members of our community to stand alongside us as we build a future worthy of St John’s vision. Our Christian heritage behoves us to, “Love one another. As I have loved, so you must love one another” John 13: 34. This scripture encapsulates the essence of our School Prayer and Hymn. We are reminded by the moving words of the prophetic poet Maya Angelou that “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Together we will continue to work to produce young men and women rightly trained in body, mind and character.
Dr Jon Patricios, Chairman of Council and Mrs Dudu Mashele, Chair of the Transformation and Diversity Committee