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LETTER FROM THE BOARD

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS TO THE ST ANNE’S COMMUNITY

15 August 2020

Dear St Anne’s Community,

Since our communication of 6 July 2020, a board Sub-Committee has had several engagements with a team from the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) in order to contextualise the racism challenge facing St Anne’s and agree on the broad terms of engagement by both parties. We are pleased to advise that the NMF has agreed to partner St Anne’s in our transformation journey to develop and implement a model for a Christian girl’s high school in twenty-first century South Africa. The Board is committed to a dynamic process over the next year that will include broad engagement across all of our stakeholder groups in partnership with the NMF.

Whilst the process to address the Letter of Demand by the Old Girls is underway, the Board has commenced with a number of initiatives highlighted in the letter. Firstly, the Board has commenced an assessment of its composition, its Sub-Committees, the alumni, staff and parent bodies. The process to appoint members to the Board has been enhanced and will fall within the terms of reference of the Social and Ethics Sub-Committee under the chair of Dr Ulime Moseneke. Committed, service orientated people with skills and experience in areas that include risk and governance, legal and financial will be sought to serve voluntarily in various school committees in due course.

Furthermore, the “Fearless Girl” statue presented to the school by the 2018 matric leavers sparked an evaluation of the symbolism within the school.  The point of this new symbolism is the acknowledgement of the reality that not only has South Africa changed but St Anne’s has changed too. Further work, led by the senior girls, will now commence to build inclusivity and unity within all aspects of the rich fabric of the learning environment at St Anne’s.

The transformational journey will run as a core theme through the school and a number of aspects such as those described above will run in parallel and in support of the journey in consultation with the NMF. Please see attached the agreed process and the profiles of the NMF team.

Thank you all for the part you have played and continue to play during this time, it is greatly appreciated. We look forward to this next phase of St Anne’s and know that with God’s guidance and our effort, we will create a school that we are all more proud of.

Mrs. Kari Greene

(Chairperson)

Mr. Brendan Bournes-Harper, Mr. Peter Ducasse, Mr. Mark Ferguson, Dr Graham Herbert, The Venerable Paul Mosdell, Dr Ulime Moseneke, Mrs. Grathel Motau, Mr. Andrew Waller

NMF PROFILES

We are looking forward to working with St Anne’s on a twelve-month transformation project. For us, racism is an apparatus of power which excludes and in other ways oppresses black people and people of colour. It is an apparatus that we see manifesting in the broader society and in our country’s institutions. It intersects with other systems and structures of power – for instance, patriarchy. Transformation is about dismantling these apparatuses and replacing them with ones which are what we call liberatory – ones which are inclusive, participative and empowering. This is complex and difficult work. But it is the only way to address effectively the root causes of harmful attitudes and behaviours. It is the only way to build soulful and thriving institutions. And it is the only way to make just societies.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation Team:

 

 

Obenewa Amponsah is a certified coach, facilitator, and speaker whose work enables transformational processes in individuals and institutions. A Ghanaian-American, Obenewa has lived in South Africa since 2006. She has served as the Executive Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies’ Africa Office, as well as the CEO of the Steve Biko Foundation, among other roles. She is a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Institute at Oxford University and an alumna of the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity.

 

Verne Harris hails from Pietermaritzburg and heads the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s leadership and knowledge development processes.  He was Mandela’s archivist from 2004 to 2013, is an adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela University, and has authored or co-authored six books.

Patronella Nqaba Associate Director at the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity based at Columbia University in the City of New York, US and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, SA. As a researcher at the NMF, she works on the NMF’s anti-racism activities and democracy building work. She has worked as a researcher at the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) associated with Wits University and UCT where she worked on Public Procurement Reform and Local State Formation, among other roles. She has produced academic research publications and opinion pieces as thought leader. She has experience in communications and brand management. She holds a Bachelor of Economics degree (Hons) and a Masters in Politics and International Studies qualification from Rhodes University.