On the morning of Friday, 25 March, the College of St David’s Marist Inanda held the first Conversation Assembly of 2022.
The Conversation Assemblies have become embedded in the social fabric of the College, and encourage our students to engage in meaningful dialogue and debate on significant topics, promoting learning beyond the classroom and school day. These conversations promote the concept of our school being an institution that helps boys become active citizens, both as schoolboys and as men in later life, willing and able to make meaningful and positive changes in our communities, our country, and society as a whole.
The focus of this first Conversation Assembly was ‘The Role of Elite Institutions in Facilitating Social Change’. We were extremely fortunate to have a panel of three esteemed individuals with a great deal of experience and knowledge within this sphere of focus, and were able to facilitate an insightful and stimulating conversation across the entire College. Forming today’s panel, was Dr Mark Bussin, Mr Rekgotsofetse Chikane, and Mr Allan Magubane.
Dr Bussin is the current Chairman of our Board, and the CEO of 21st Century. He has written 12 books, authored over 80 published articles, and holds a doctorate in Commerce from the University of Johannesburg. Mr Chikane studied at the University of Cape Town and Oxford University in the United Kingdom as a Mandela-Rhodes scholar, and is currently studying towards his PhD at the University of Witwatersrand. He teaches public policy at the Wits School of Governance and is a Sacred Heart Marist College alumnus. Mr Magubane is Deputy Headmaster at St John’s College, in charge of transformation and diversity. He is an alumnus of Rhodes University. He is currently working towards his masters degree in Philosophy.
The conversation grappled with the idea of privilege and its multi-faceted, intersectional nature, and how to use this societal standing to raise others and further the project of human dignity, equality, and freedom through empathy and respect. As an all-boys Catholic private school, situated in the heart of Sandton – the richest square mile in Africa – these are concerns at the forefront of our mind, integral to the future of the school, and informing the path of transformation, sustainability, and opportunity that the St David’s Marist Inanda Community is walking.
This echoes the foundation of Marist schools, as envisioned by St Marcellin Champagnat: places of learning that center around giving all children, particularly those from under-resourced and marginalized communities, access to quality education that equips learners to enter greater society one day and enact great change.
The conversation inspired much thinking among our students and staff, and many fascinating and erudite questions were raised by our College boys to the panel. It is evident that this discussion only began at assembly, and will most definitely continue beyond today, permeating classrooms and discussions between peers at break, travelling throughout the school grounds and beyond our gates.