At our Prizegiving held last week, our Headgirl for 2019, Siyamthanda Nomoyi made a powerful speech to the school, council, parents and friends of the College.
“Molweni, my name is Siyamthanda Nomoyi, UMagatyeni, umamali, UNdondela uNkomezi bomvu.
As you see me today, I may come as one, but I stand as 10 thousand. Today I stand for those who came before me, and I stand for the legends who fought to earn their voice. Today I want to speak for the voiceless.
Before I address vast crowds, I often acknowledge those who accompany in me power, those whose journeys ended on earth; however, lived on in spirit.
And so I acknowledge past legends who carved the way for me and have made it possible for me to gain the strength to stand up and use my voice.
One of these legends are:
My Grandparents, who would’ve never imagined it possible for one of their own to stand up in front of a large number of people as a leader and address them. To them, this image would be a dream. Growing up in an oppressive society, the scene of a black woman having the courage and sharing their story seemed almost unimaginable, let alone their very of granddaughter uNosisi.
And so in the name of
Winnie Madikizela Mandela
Lastly most importantly my Lord and personal saviour
I greet you
Welcome to Mrs Hornby chair of the Kingswood Council, Mr Collier, Mr Vorster, to the respective Heads, Councillors, Invited guests, parents, staff and fellow Kingswoodians.
As Michele Obama would say, “There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
So I believe that as we go through life, we carefully craft our own unique story. And so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to take you through my Kingswood experience.
My arrival at Kingswood was the beginning of a long, fruitful story. Walking into the gates of this palace, I was a little 14-year-old who longed for a fresh start. However, it never left my mind that many sacrifices were made for me to be here and so I was determined to use every opportunity available to me; as a result, I had to run far away from mediocrity.
Finding the spiritual foundation of Christ in our school helped me settle in much easier I realize that God indeed had a plan to elevate me and had everything in his hands. I’d like to share a bible verse that has carried me through my journey and has brought me to wear I am today. Jeremiah 1:5
The LORD said to me, “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.” I answered, “Sovereign LORD, I don’t know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say that you are too young, but go to the people I send you to, and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
This discovery marked the beginning of my story of becoming.
On my first few days on this campus, several experiences opened my eyes to this new culture, and I must admit I had to learn quite a lot.
The terminology used in this school completely threw me off. I had to get to used using the terms
“Banter,” and saying “I oath” more often
When I thought I’d learned everything I had to adapt to the religion of eating chicken with a knife and fork, and my fellow Kirkby Grade 12s could attest to my struggle to conform. After a while, I gave up and I stuck to what I knew, unapologetically.
Even though the culture may be different (the people too), Kingswood is where one discovers themselves and chooses which path they want to take, which will later shape their future. There are places for everyone, even those who tend to gravitate to their shells.
Looking around on campus, we find that there are platforms for sportsmen and women, academic geniuses, musical gurus, dramatic kings and queens, environmental warriors, storytellers, and abantu bevosho.
The platforms are there; the facilities are provided; however, as youth, we often feel the need to “fit in” and find comfort in hiding behind the masses. I want to take the time to encourage every one of you and remind you that your uniqueness is your power; you are valuable. You do not have to conform; the real and raw version of you is enough.
Society does an excellent job of creating stereotypical boxes in which to put people in. May we be the first school to break these barriers and allow our fellow pupils to express themselves freely, assuring them that their stories matter too. Being in all the 1st teams is impressive, and being the top student in the class is incredible, but that’s not all there is to you; there is more.
We tend to put ourselves in boxes that limit our involvement. You can be in a first-team rugby team and still love ballroom, and you can be as intelligent as can be and be the best actor one could find. May we not limit ourselves, authenticity is the key, and as I always like to say “DO YOU BOO” all the time.
Some of us haven’t discovered our purpose in life because we think fitting into the “squad” is cool. It stops with us. It is high time we value individuality, uniqueness, and celebrate our diversity.
We all come from various backgrounds, cultures, and so with that, we often have ideas and opinions that differ, rightfully so. However, I have always been empowered our ability to challenge social norms as pupils. The discussions in boarding houses, outside the dining hall, cops lawn, and history classes always left me mind-blown.
Among us, we have future leaders who are going to change the world: young people who will become world-renowned advocates, actors, sportsmen, and women, even presidents.
As we see our current state in South Africa, we all know that a lot of work needs to be done.
· Until justice is served to all victims of rape; we have not yet arrived at our destinations
· Until young black children from rural parts of the country have access to good quality education; we have not arrived at our destination.
· Until racial inequality and systematic injustices are faced head-on, we are still far from paradise.
However, the pupils sitting in front of me allow me to have a sense of hope. Our nation is in powerful hands as these pupils are capable of putting an end to all the injustices we face globally.
I look forward to seeing my fellow pupils flourish as they transform societies and take a stand against matters that affect our nation.
There is an African saying that goes as follows: “It takes a village to raise a child and in our journey at Kingswood, we are raised by many, including our support staff, who are our brothers, sisters, mothers, personal diaries, and prayer warriors. I, for one, can say my life has been changed by them who have taught me the importance of Ubuntu; they welcomed me as their own and treated me as their daughter.
In my journey, there have been particular characters I will never forget.
Mr. Dial’s voice will never leave my mind after hearing him shout, “LEFT RIGHT AND CROSS” every morning. He has been our protector for years, and his smile and energy are by far a source of light even in my darkest days.
Mam Ruth in the San goes beyond the call of duty to ensure that even in times of sickness, the love from a mother is felt. Even though she is behind the scenes, her passion is felt across the campus. She is indeed, heaven-sent.
To all the kitchen staff firstly thank you for looking after my belly secondly just a little tip for the younger grades, “The bigger the smile, the bigger portion,” but that’s beside the point
In them, I didn’t just meet people who work in the kitchen; I gained brothers, ooButhi Lunga, who are always looking out for me.
Sisters, ooSis Mpumi, who are still ready for a chat and ooMam Muriel, who never fail to remind me that I’m falling off the rails, and I need to hit the gym. They often played along in my 5-second diets that fell flat as soon as saw the pap and lamb chop combination on the menu.
All of these relationships created on the foundation of being able to value people, as we say in Xhosa “Mazi umntu”.
And so I hope that you take the opportunity to hear and acknowledge the many souls who have stories to share, even the ones often overlooked. Say hi, ask them how they are, and anticipate the wisdom that will fall upon you afterward.
Before I step down, I’d like to make the following acknowledgments to Mrs. Van and Dr. V.
These two strong women have been role models to us as a team and have invested their time in grooming us as leaders, and so for that, I thank you.
To my parents, you have been my pillars of strength and my unwavering support system. You have made many sacrifices for me to come to this school and for all of this. Mama noTata ndiyabulela.
My main goal was to make you proud, I hope I’ve come close to that, there’s still more to come so sit back, relax and watch your flower as it blossoms. To my team Benzo, Amzo and Mr. C, thank you for making this yet one to remember. Thank you for the banter, the laugh and inspiring, thought-provoking conversations. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with. I cannot wait to see you flourish in the big world.
To Tsepo, Destine, Jocelyn, and Matthew. The amount of faith I have in your leadership has the power to move mountains. Leading a school will not be easy; however, there is plenty of strength in numbers. Just remember that 2020 is your year. Leave your footprint. Do not mimic past leaders but rather authentic, new, and vibrant.
You are all talented beyond imagination, feed off of each other to ensure that your pour into the empty gaps because that relationship created between you can take the school to new heights.
To the pupils, supporting staff, and all the teachers, I thank you all for adding to my growth. As I go out in the big world, I promise to cherish the relationships I built in this school.