At our annual Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture today, the Neil Aggett Memorial Award was awarded to our 2020 Head Boy Tsepo Ponoane for his service to the school and the greater community.
About the award:
The prestigious Neil Aggett award was founded by members of his Class of 1970 to foster a spirit of ‘individual service above self’ in young men and women of Kingswood College. It pays tribute to the recipient’s true commitment to a wider social responsibility within the College, as well as to the greater community of Grahamstown and South Africa.
Citation – Nkokoto (Tsepo Ponoane)
Throughout his journey at Kingswood, Tsepo has demonstrated an empathy and understanding of service above self.
He is generous with his time and energy and has epitomised and represented servant leadership in all that he does. Through his understanding of the needs of those around him, he has promoted and initiated projects that serve to uplift the community.
His involvement across a plethora of service-based activities is well known and he has always advanced the cause of service-based societies at Kingswood. Tsepo has been an Interact committee member for the past two years and in his role as deputy head of Interact has supported many community based projects. He takes initiative in planning and implementing projects and shows leadership when involved in community work. He has chaired ICOG (Interact Clubs of Grahamstown) and through this position initiated a successful ‘jersey’ drive community project both at Kingswood and in other Grahamstown schools.
He has been involved in the Mary Waters High School Maths project over the past three years and as Tsepo explains it, this interactive project between the Kingswood volunteers and the Mary Waters pupils aims to give our pupils the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Mathematics as they share and learn together.
He initiated an Easter egg project at Kingswood last year and has this year initiated the drive in his home town of Queenstown, getting various Interact and Early Act clubs involved. His belief is that “there really is no better exercise for the heart than reaching out and lifting people up”, and he strongly believes that the youth in South Africa have a huge role to play in learning from and adding value to each other’s life experiences. As he said about the Easter egg drive, “It’s more than just an Easter celebration. It’s a special experience… one that we have become accustomed to, but more importantly, one that we need to share!”
Over the past two years Tsepo has been involved and active within the #SIZIMBOKODO initiative which aims to inspire and empower young women in our society and those beyond the borders of our specific community. He has been involved in the President’s Award, is a Chapel Steward, and also the president of SCA. Tsepo’s dedication and commitment to serving other people goes beyond what is expected of a young man of his age. He is all about improving other people’s lives, and his faith is the pillar of his strength.
Through his leadership as Head Boy of Kingswood College in 2020, he has shown an understanding of the key issues impacting on his community. He has stood on the side of fairness and social justice in debate around the well-being of his fellow pupils. Tsepo has shown bravery by challenging and standing up for issues he believes in even when it is not the popular view. He is mature in his views and takes time to consider all aspects and opinions surrounding a situation. He is also capable of accepting new information and leads with integrity, empathy and accountability.
All of this – combined with his deep sense of serving others, his understanding of UBUNTU and the embodiment of the principles of selfless giving to a cause greater than himself – mirror the qualities found in the late Neil Aggett and make him a worthy recipient of this Memorial award.