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Address by The Headmaster – 26 November 2020

26 November 2020

This is it: school is done.

Dear Class of 2020,

When most of you were born, in 2002, a few things happened:

  • Mark Shuttleworth became the first African, and the second tourist, in space;
  • Hansie Cronje died in a plane crash in 2002;
  • Zachie Achmat embarked on a protest not to take antiretrovirals until the treatment was made available to all who suffered from HIV;
  • Arthur Chaskalson – SA’s first Chief Justice and a Hiltonian – together with Constitutional Court judges, ruled that the state had to provide anti-retroviral drugs to pregnant women and that the smoking of dagga under the guise of religious practices was illegal;
  • Membathisi Mdladlana introduced the minimum wage bill and a social security safety net for the most vulnerable workers in South Africa;
  • Natalie du Toit, a South African swimmer who had her left leg amputated after a car accident won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games;

So, what will the history books say about you in 20, 30, 40 or 50 years’ time?

Will they tell a story of an inspired group of people who have made our world a better place?

Will the privilege of your lives and that of this place be a hindrance or a help?

Our world remains desperate for people (especially young people) to be the difference.

Live every day as if it were your last but plan as if you will live for a long time. Use your privilege – you can plan – many cannot, they are sadly too poor to do so and live day to day, meal to meal.

Restore the dignity of manhood. Restore society’s faith in a manhood that values and espouses empathy, chivalry, compassion, equality, humility and servant leadership.

Never be as obnoxious nor as arrogant as some people in the public eye…some trump others in this regard.

Peddle humility, it always wins in the end.

Will you wear pink? Will you swim against the tide when you need to do so?

What will 2020 be remembered for? … Covid! But perhaps even a time of reflection, a time of reassessment, a time of recalibration, a time of realisation? Our world hurtles towards precipice after precipice and bold decision-makers need to make bold, difficult decisions. You can begin in your own circle of influence – your life, then your family and perhaps the country and the world. When you find yourself in a position of influence you need to do your part to ensure our trajectory is one which gets us all to a better place. We are counting on you.

Enjoy the freedom of finishing a chapter in your lives. Enjoy the feeling of completing something, of getting to the end, of breaking the tape at the finish line. It’s an unbelievable feeling, an achievement worth celebrating. But, in borrowing an analogy from Hlumelo, it is also but the beginning of another circle of life in our ever circling worlds.

Stay connected to each other, make new friends, try new experiences, use sunscreen, give generously, choose wisely, dream audaciously, read books, listen to good music, admire art, buy art, colour your world, cry easily, laugh often, sing loudly, gaze at sunsets, drink good coffee, love your family, commit for life (when you do), own a Land Rover once in your life, be the best friend you can be, as often as you can, serve whenever you are able to do so.

Thank you for serving Hilton College, Class of 2020, you have made us proud.

Hambani Kahle.


George Harris

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