Dear Parents, Guardians and Significant Others

“I write this message not as Head of School, not as a Hiltonian, not even as a South African. For the crisis we face today is one that transcends a position, badge or flag. Today we face a human crisis. So, I write to you as a fellow human being. We face uncertain times, and now, more than ever, our view of the next few months is blurry. Our generation has grown up surrounded by the comforting power of the internet, advanced science and technology. Therefore, we have always had ’20-20 Vision’ on what is to come and so this degree of ‘not-knowing’ is frightening. When met with fear, essentially, we have two choices:

We can choose to indulge it. To let it consume and paralyze us. To let the fear win. Or we can choose to rise above it. To deny it the victory of defining us.

Already, I have seen so many inspiring acts of humanitarianism that show the desire of our nation and the world to choose the second option. You don’t have to go far, on social media, to see videos or photos of people setting up homeless shelters, running huge donation drives or even just using this quarantine as a time to reconnect with family and loved ones. If we are to truly overcome our current difficulties, it is important that we maintain and grow this spirit of compassion and empathy. It won’t be easy. It is always easier said than done. Fear has a way of making the problem appear more formidable than it is. This is only exacerbated by the conditions of the current lockdown. Being confined and separated from our friends and family often leaves us feeling alone. Undoubtedly, there will be moments in which we feel an enveloping darkness and hopelessness and often these emotions are difficult to ward off.

In these moments, I ask that we remember, that we are not alone. As I write to you, hundreds of millions of people all over the world, are experiencing these very same feelings. Many may see this as a debilitating fact but I rather see it as an empowering one. For the first time in many decades, the human race is unified by the plight of a common struggle. Find strength in this commonality. Allow it to fend off the darkness of your anxieties and fears. Use it to find peace and calm in the chaos.

Alone, we may stumble and fall. However, together, as a collective, we have the strength to pick ourselves up again and move forward and upward.

Matrics, I ask that we do not let our current circumstances immobilise us. We have to move on as best we can until we work our way out of the morass. We’ve put in 11 years of hard work and we need to build on our efforts. Let our year group stand as a beacon of determination to succeed against all odds and produce extraordinary results. Let it be us that epitomises the characteristics of grit and perseverance.

To all, please adhere to the current lockdown and hygiene regulations. Our government has carefully crafted these procedures, not to punish us, but to try and protect us. Like governments all over the world, they are swimming in unchartered waters and trying to find a way to contain this plague. No matter how well designed these policies are, they will not work without our complete support. Remember, millions of health professionals risk their lives daily, treating those in need. Do not let their sacrifices and hard work be in vain. Stay at home, take this as an opportunity to pause, refresh and reconnect. The choices and sacrifices we make now are for something bigger than ourselves. It is for our friends, family and fellow humans.

I don’t know how the situation will look in the next week, month or year. But I do have an unshakeable faith in you and in the hearts of our fellow South Africans and human beings. Stay at home, stay safe and stay healthy.”

Hlumelo Notshe

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