As part of the gender-based violence awareness campaign, a black flag was raised at Clifton on Thursday 6 August, signalling our school’s stand against gender-based violence. The flag will fly alongside the South African National Flag for the month of August.
Longest-standing member of staff, Galidjah Hendricks, raised the flag. The black flag temporarily replaces the Clifton flag.
Guest speaker, Her Excellency Carmen Smidt: Ambassador to Finland and Estonia, addressed our online assembly, focusing on a message of thanks to the gentlemen at Clifton for standing up against discrimination against women and gender-based violence.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that as a country we are facing two pandemics, one being the COVID 19 pandemic and the second being gender-based violence. As part of this Women’s Month, as a school we are taking a stand against gender-based violence by requesting each member of our community to wear black every Thursday for the month of August. This is a nationwide campaign that stands against violence and calls for communities where women can live without fear of being abused, raped and even murdered.
The assembly this morning included our inaugural memorial lecture where we aim to honour women in our history who made an impact in their world and uplifted their communities. This year we are commemorating Mrs Nokukhanya Luthuli, the wife of Chief Albert Luthuli, for the role she played in uplifting the women of South Africa.
From a letter to the Clifton community by Executive Headmaster Mr David Knowles: As we approach the tragic anniversary of the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, I reiterate the following:
“I am conscious that this issue, this scourge of femicide, this problem, this epidemic – words that somehow don’t seem enough to describe what is happening – this crisis,
perhaps – is something that men must solve – we cannot stand back and expect women to solve this alone. Whatever we might have done in the past clearly was not enough.
As an advocate of boys’ schools, and working as we do in a boys’ school, which is intentional in its aim of producing “good men”, I know that we need to redouble our efforts, be more proactive and more vigilant for any sign of misogyny or gender disrespect. We must be unambiguous in our message that the current situation and mindset has to change, and as individuals and as a school community, I believe that we need to reflect on how we treat women in our own lives and take responsibility of our own attitudes and our unconscious bias. We need to reflect on our current culture, our attitudes and our actions, as men, and indeed all of us who work and learn here, and role model the behaviour we want to see.
As teachers and as a learning community we know the power of education. It’s not that education changes the world, but rather that education changes people, and people change the world. As such we commit to educating our boys to be good men, who will be good boyfriends, good husbands and partners, good fathers, good citizens and good people, who will speak out and make a stand when they witness any such abuse.
We commit to the values of respect, care and dignity, and strive to build a community where compassion and the concept of gentlemen in its truest sense are foremost in our hearts and minds”.