The Ridge School

The Ridge School
No. 25 DECEMBER 2014
Private Bag X10 Parkview, 212 2
26 Woolston Road, Westcliff, Johannesburg
Telephone (011) 481 5800
Fax 086 299 1964
Website za
Email [email protected]
Many people have asked me why I am leaving headship now and, to be honest, there are many
times I ask myself the same question. I can vividly recall crossing the car park from home to
school one day reflecting on what would be my ideal job: one where I work close to home; work
with great people; laugh often; feel a passion for the institution, am stimulated; have awesome
right hand support (Liz Wallis and my Executive); have enough to get by on; and am largely the
boss. It dawned on me that I was already in that privileged position; I had my ideal job. Janet Fox
once put it into perspective for me when she said: “It’s not where you are but who you’re with.”
Well, we have been with the most wonderful folk; too many by far to mention individually.
All I can say about leaving is that it seemed a good idea at the time. More seriously, though, I feel
it is time for me to do something completely different. My previous Chairman, Peter Surgey, used
to tell me one of my strengths was that I was able to keep re-inventing myself, so I thought I’d go
for broke this time and put it out into the universe and see what happened!
It is, indeed, time for something different; I have been at schools for 53 of my 56 ½ years. With
the exception of 6 months out as an estate agent, I have never left school from the age of 3! As
I mentioned in the last HORiZONS, at the age of 18 I started as a stooge at a little prep school
in London, down the road from the very prep school I attended as a boy; and they asked me to
stay on as a teacher and so I did the first of my degrees/qualifications the hard way by driving
up to London University 4 nights a week for 4 years and continued in similar vein with other
studies for about 12 years culminating in my part-time MBA at UCT. It seems like madness now
but, at the age of 20 I was heading up the English, History and PE departments at this little prep
school in Harrow and, long before the Health and Safety drive, leading ski-ing trips abroad. How
on earth did sensible parents entrust their precious sons to this youngster? Well, that was all a
very long time ago now, and I’m unlikely to be considered too young for many jobs these days!
Viv and I have been just so blessed to be a part of The Ridge community for the last 18 years. My
sincere thanks go to the Board, the PA as well as all the staff, parents and boys for all they have
done to make our time here such a special one. I have no doubt that the School will continue to
go from strength to strength in the years ahead, and I wish Richard and Lucinda Stanley well as
they “come home” to The Ridge.
Paul Channon
Thirteen and a half years have flown by! Who knows where all the years have gone when one
looks back, but the changes are there for all to see. The school has expanded in size, in facilities
and in all it has been able to offer fortunate Ridge boys. I have been blessed to be a part of the
lives of so many boys and families over the years. What a delight it has been to see boys grow
into Grade 7 leavers, become college boys, university students and fine young men. Just last week
several of the 2004 leavers were back for their reunion and what a talented group of happy,
promise-filled men they were.
We ask the Grade 7 boys each year to reflect on their moments of truth, times at The Ridge
forever etched in their memories. I have so many, with only a space for one or two:
The Grade 7 Shakespeare productions, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar; those late winter evenings trying to get boys to
take on their roles with some solemnity and sophistication.
Football seasons, where boys play together and revel in their lithe young bodies, get fit and develop their skills. Such a celebration of all it is to be a growing boy.
Seeing the joy in the eyes of boys as stories were read:The Monkey’s Paw, Lamb to the Slaughter,
The Gift of The Magi, to name a few of the favourites, both mine and the boys’.
I have loved the people and I have loved the learning at The Ridge. I have never experienced a
dull moment. My family, my gorgeous wife Claudia and special son Mitch, has grown here and
I can think of fewer places more idyllic and nurturing than the Ridge. So, in words that cannot
express my gratitude, I thank every person who has contributed to our experience. I might be
off to different challenges, but I am glad to know that I will get to interact with staff, parents and
boys as my new school competes against The Ridge.
A few parting, random snippets for those who choose to listen:
The Art of Possibility: Rule 6 – “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”
“Prepare the boy for the path, not the path for the boy”
i thank you, god, for most this amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky
and for everything which is infinite, which is natural, which is yes!
e.e. cummings
Simon Curtis
Head of Senior Prep
My brief for this edition of HORiZONS was to write a Christmas message and rather than tell
you what I think, I wanted to hear what the boys thought, so, I interviewed three Grade 0 boys
about some of their Christmas Art:
Griffin Schroder (0R)
MH: Tell me about Christmas.
GS: Christmas is really special to me and I celebrate it cause I like it a lot…. and it really is nice.
MH: Tell me about your picture
GS: (pointing) Here’s Joseph, here’s Mary, here’s the angel, here’s
Jesus, here’s the moon and the shooting stars!
MH: Why do we celebrate
Christmas Griffin?
GS: Cause Jesus was born on that day.
William Boland (0J)
MH: Tell me about the picture that you painted.
WB: Well, I drew two kings and an angel and I drew baby Jesus and a shepherd.
MH: Why do we celebrate Christmas?
WB: So that we can we remember baby Jesus.
MH: What do you do at Christmas time?
WB: We get presents!
Sizwe Sibotshiwe (0C)
MH: Why do we celebrate
SS: To remember that God loves us.
MH: What is in your picture?
SS: It’s a about when Jesus was born and about the star that shined on Jesus for the 3 Kings and the shepherds.
MH: What does Christmas make you feel in your hear?
Mandy Herold
Head of Junior Prep
Dear Mandy and Grade 0 teachers
On behalf of the Santa Shoebox Project, but mostly on behalf of the children who receive these boxes,
I wanted to express my extreme gratitude for your support and hard work in getting all our grade 0
boys to prepare a Santa Shoebox.
It is very rare that a school project runs this smoothly (I speak from years of experience!) and literally
each and every family supplied the complete list of items on time! The generosity of The Ridge families
was Unbelievable, and I believe our boys also really enjoyed the experience.
On Friday last week the children at Salvazione Christian School received their gifts and there was not
a dry eye in the room! They were so excited and grateful, the noise level with the shrieks of joy was
quite something!
It is only with the support of amazing families like these, that we can put a smile on these kids’ faces.
Thank you thank you thank you, what you did is so appreciated.
??????? who is this from????
On Friday 14 November, over 45 members of the school staff (academic, estate, admin, kitchen,
and grounds) dusted off their tekkies to run a metaphorical mile for Paul Channon to raise
awareness for the Kgololo Academy in Alexandra.
The running route encompassed parts sections of Woolston and Pallinghurst roads, plus the final
section of the infamous Westcliff Steps.
The winner of the event was Mr Shannon Diedricks who received a FitBit, kindly donated by
The Kgololo is Paul’s charity of choice, and the PA have generously guaranteed that future profits
from sales of Kupped Coffee will be donated to the Academy as an ongoing legacy.
As is our tradition, every class and every boy has his moment to shine on either the stage or at
the Carol Service. This year our Grade 0 boys entertained us wonderfully with their concert “A
fly went by”. It was pure joy and happiness. The boys were fabulous, sang and acted beautifully
and displayed their great love of all they have done in their first year at The Ridge. Being part of
these little people’s lives has to be the reason why we have the best jobs in the world. Thanks to
all concerned.
The Nativity Play showcased our Grade 1 to 3 boys, as they told the much loved and poignant
Christmas story, but this year from the point of view of ‘the flies or rather the bugs on the wall’.
It was beautiful and colourful with fabulous costumes, a glorious set and brilliant singing.The stage
was full with almost 200 gorgeous boys who thrilled and delighted their proud parents and visitors. These boys really gave it their all and I was immensely proud of each one of them.
The Carol Service as has become our tradition, took place at St Martin’s-in-the-Veld Church.
Our senior choir and senior orchestra were in particularly fine form and gave the most outstanding performance. The church was choc a block full and there was the most extraordinary
atmosphere. As a change from the norm, and as a special ‘treat’ for Mr Channon, a piper, Robert
McMurray piped the choir and procession in to ‘Highland Cathedral’. There was a gasp as he began. He was joined by that most regal of instruments the organ. This was so beautiful and such
a glorious way to start the service. The boys sang exceptionally well, the readers read perfectly
and the orchestra were fantastic. Thank you for making the start of this Christmas season so
DVD’s of all of these performances are available.
Please enjoy special family time and we wish you all a blessed and happy Christmas.
Janet Fox van der Poel
Director of Music
Hilton College
Ross YamminDeputy Head Boy
Jack Walters
Thomas Fenn
Jack Hird
Luke Judge
Prefect Founders House
Prefect West House
Prefect West House
Prefect West House
Pierre Joubert
James Allsop
Alastair Fletcher
Prashant Venkatakrishnan
David Gundelfinger
Michael Reed
Joseph Savenye-Terblanche Jordan Wheeler
Matthew Behrens
Angus Mackenzie
Zaid Bhayat
Chris Maree
Head of Fleming House
Hill House
Clayton House
Clayton House
Thomson House
Alston House
Alston House
Alston House
Clarke House
Clarke House
Fleming House
Fleming House
St John’s College
Andrew Gilbert (2012)
We have just received Andrew’s Grade 8 results from ABRSM and I am pleased to say he received a distinction. His overall mark was 139 out of 150.
Tiaan Gilliomee (2012)
Annemarie Novello (Tiaan’s mother) writes to us:
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that at the Central Gauteng Judo awards evening that was
held at Wits on Friday 7 November, Tiaan received Judo South Africa Colours for being selected to represent South Africa in Belgium, he also received Judo South Africa colours for winning the South-African
open in the Group 3 U66kg weight division as well as for winning the SA schools championship in the
Advanced Group 3 66+kg weight division. Tiaan also received full provincial colours at this event.
In addition to the above, Tiaan won an Excellence award (which is very hard to achieve over one year),
the provincial Merit award for being the overall top group 3 player, awards for being the top provincial
player in both the under 66kg as well as the 66+ kg weight divisions as well as certificates of recognition for his international participation in tours to Botswana and Belgium this year.
News from Hilton
James Beart was selected for the U15A Cricket Team.
Ryan Chamberlain was awarded Half Colours for Academics and selected for the 1st
Basketball Team.
Dan Dix was awarded a Gold Certificate in the National Afrikaans Expo and placed in the Top
100 in the National Life Science Olympiad. He was awarded the Headmaster’s Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Langa Dubazana was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Culture. He was awarded a SASMT
medal in recognition for the highest distinction received in the Pietermaritzburg region in his
external practical exam - Rockschool Junior Award.
Jordan Epstein was awarded Half-Colours for Culture.
Ryan Griesel was selected for the U15A, the 1st Water Polo Team and selected for the
KwaZulu-Natal U15 Water Polo Team. He received a Certificate of Merit for Water Polo.
Alex Johannes was awarded Honours for Academics and a Service Tie for performing duties and
being of great assistance to the Library. He was selected for the 1st Tennis Team and awarded
Half-Colours for Tennis. He was awarded the Headmaster’s Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Nicholas Loxton was awarded a Service Tie for performing duties and being of great assistance
to the Library. He was awarded Honours for Culture and for Athletics. He was awarded a Silver
Certificate in the National Afrikaans Expo and placed in the Top 50 in the National Life Science
Olympiad. He passed his level B2 international French DELF examination which goes well beyond
Matric requirements and was awarded the Headmaster’s Award for Outstanding Leadership.
Matthew Mackenzie was selected for the 1st Water Polo Team and awarded Colours for Water
Nick Martin was awarded a Service Tie for performing duties and being of great assistance to
the Library.
Bhavik Morar was awarded Colours for Academics.
Lex Pienaar was awarded a SASMT medal in recognition for the highest distinction received
in the Pietermaritzburg region in his external practical exam - Rockschool Junior Award.
Lawrence Umunna was selected for the U15A Basketball Team.
Thomas Webber was awarded a Silver Certificate in the National Afrikaans Expo and was
awarded the Headmaster’s Award for Outstanding Leadership.
With thanks to Percy Ying (1994) for arranging this gathering.
On Wednesday 19 November, we hosted a special morning tea with some very special Old
Boys. Pictured below is Paul Channon with Mr Denis Maxwell (1931), Mr Malcolm Wilson
(1960) and Dr Desmond Sonnenfeld (1938).
~ Former Chair of The Ridge Board ~
July 8, 1928 – June 5, 2014
Tony Fleischer was born in South Africa on the New Modderfontein gold mine, the younger son of Colonel
Spencer Richard Fleischer, CBE, DSO, MC and Di Wilma Duff. At the tender age of six he was sent to the Ridge
as a boarder, where he thrived under the watchful eye of Miss Edna Dunn. It was the start of a life-long connection with the school, which included three sons, two grandsons, and five years as Chairman of the Board of
Governors (1984 - 88). (Not to mention 18 happy years living with his family in Lawley Road, across from the
playing fields.) He went from the Ridge to Michaelhouse, and in 1950, with a BA from Wits (and after a year
at the Royal School of Mines in London) he went up to Lincoln College in Oxford to write a B. Litt. thesis on
migrant labor in southern Africa.
He was quite an athlete: a competitive gymnast, oarsman and rugby player, he rowed for the Wits first eight,
which won all major races in SA in 1949 and was the first Wits crew to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta.
His Lincoln first VIII made three bumps in 1951. He played rugby for the Greyhounds, touring in Wales, Cornwall
and in France, where he made the local press with his danse Zoeloe after one of the games.
His Oxford thesis led to his first job: recruiting workers for the Transvaal mines as an employee of Wenela, the
Transvaal Chamber of Mines’ labor organization, for which he travelled rural Southern Africa for several years.
He was later recruited as the General Manager of South African Associated Newspapers. He ran the business
and supported the editors of four newspapers which opposed apartheid, and was for a while together with Rand
Daily Mail editor Laurence Gander and reporter Benjamin Pogrund stood accused in the famous Prisons Act trial
resulting from publishing reports on conditions in prisons. He developed enduring conviction that a free press
matters, and an interest in the business of media, and so he saw early the future of on-line publishing, a subject
which intrigued him and for which he was recently an ardent proponent.
After SAAN he was invited back to the mine labor organization as President. Although he represented an
employers’ cartel in a controversial sector, he used that position to move the industry away from many of its
historical practices, cajoling both the mining companies and neighbouring governments for better working and
living conditions, improved medical care, better pay, fairer treatment of deferred pay, and the rights of migrants to
return to work. It was a time of transition in which he was visionary, not only in the treatment of mineworkers,
but also in the role of his organization. His liberal, forward-looking and outspoken views put him in conflict with
some of the mining houses and, thwarted by his board, he retired in 1987 to do what he for so many years had
wanted - to write full time, in Portugal and in Cape Town.
Tony’s abiding interest throughout his life was the written word and his subject the people of Africa. He was
consistently optimistic about South Africa, deeply concerned about the fate of its people, particular the rural
poor. First encouraged to write fiction by the Keith Murray, Rector of Lincoln College, he wrote ten novels. His
first “The Skin is Deep” was published by Secker and Warburg in 1958 under the pen-name Hans Hofmeyer. The
book was was acclaimed in the Times Literary Supplement but banned in South Africa. In 1958 he joined International PEN, and became President of SA PEN in 1960, leading it until he died, inspiring donors and volunteers
to identify new writers and create a publishing platform for them, producing 8 anthologies of their work. Several
writers have since become widely known.
He regarded himself as a white African, speaking both Afrikaans and Zulu well. He loved the African land too,
preferring wild nature to civilization. He was a very early member of the Peace Parks Foundation (member #72),
convinced that the vision of trans-frontier parks could protect nature and encourage political co-operation. Happiest near the sea, or at least by water, he would catch fish anywhere possible. For many years he travelled with
a collapsible fly rod, just in case.
His themes in conversation were often integrity, candour, free expression, free association, the rule of law, and
free enterprise: he had a classic liberal outlook - suspicious of institutional power of all kinds and trusting in the
individual. Unsurprisingly, he did not care much what society thought. He disdained superficiality, self-promotion,
and name-dropping. He relied on his intuitive sense for the warmth, honesty and integrity of individuals he met.
He preferred to spend time with people he liked, who were interesting, and who would talk to him straight and
give him a good debate.
He was passionate about his work, about literature, politics, and the two schools he governed, but often said his
supreme achievement was his marriage of 62 years to Lores (Dolores Carlotta Kent de Paiva Rapozo) .They had
three sons, ten grandchildren (who he regarded as clear evidence that each generation is better than the last),
and one great-grandson.
He expected “to drop” suddenly - but melanoma took him slowly, probably from too much time under the African sun. He was curious, generous, engaged and vocal to the end.