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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

It's a celebration!

Undeterred by a sudden October thundershower, 250 supporters of the trust, including current Ruthies and alumnae, heads of feeder schools, donors, teachers, parents, family and friends congregated in a magnificent marquee (thanks to the Matric Dance four evenings prior) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust on Tuesday 19 October 2021.

The full programme included performances by Jeppe Marimba Beat, the Jeppe Hlabelela Choir, and Michael Charton’s narrated visual presentation of the Women’s March of 1956, “You Strike The Rock”.

Some highlights from the evening included:

“Ruth First was a woman born in a ‘man’s world’ and had to face this injustice every day. She did not let this stop her because she didn’t see this as a locked door but rather a door that simply needed to be opened.” Nchongator Besong, Grade 8D

“If one takes a closer look at the alchemy of the achieving person, two distinct virtues pop up, besides perseverance and hard work. These are pioneering spirit and willingness. Our guest speaker tonight personifies this. Coupled with an impressive background, it was not therefore surprising that she became devoted and very instrumental in launching the Ruth First scholarship programme in 2010.” Chiamaka Obi, Grade 11E, introducing the guest speaker, Maria Ramos

“Today we celebrate the many achievements of the recipients of this scholarship. We celebrate courage, determination, resilience, the relentless pursuit of knowledge and learning. We celebrate the need to grow and live, to explore, to give back, to be part of something bigger and better. We celebrate the true spirit of ubuntu. We celebrate girls who grow up to be confident, resilient, determined young women, emboldened by what they have learned here, supported by the opportunities provided by the scholarship and imbued with the values of Ruth First: leadership, courage, determination and the ability to influence their community positively, and yes, a fierce determination to live with integrity and values always.” Maria Ramos, guest speaker

“Thank you for reminding us of the courage and the power that lie within us. Thank you once again for encouraging us to never fail to remember to try, and for encouraging us to be fearless. We have the power to change any situation, which can ultimately change the world.” Lucky Geluk, Grade 11D, thanking Maria Ramos

“We have all been allowed unique opportunities that have set us apart from most people our age; and we will matriculate having grown significantly and with many opportunities knocking on our doors. This is because of the remarkable skills we have gained by being at Jeppe High School for Girls. We acknowledge that all of this would have not been possible if we did not receive the funding from our various sponsors. To all the businesses, families and individuals who have so graciously and consistently funded us, we are truly grateful and hope we have made you proud. Thank you all for unlocking our futures.” Tshaamano Mabuba, Grade 12E and 2021 Head Girl, thanking the sponsors

“What can one say about Mr Tait? In the words of Ruth First ambassador, Carolyn Steyn, he ‘eats, breathes and sleeps education’. His passion for changing the life trajectories of young women with high potential to realise their dreams through top quality education at Jeppe High School for Girls is the bedrock of the Ruth First Trust. He deserves not only a medal, but a Nobel Prize in recognition of his contribution to girls’ education.” Dina Gonçalves thanking Kevin Tait for his contribution to the Ruth First Trust over the past ten years.

The concluding event of the evening was a gift handed over to the school by Mr Tait of a beautifully framed copy of the citation and replica of the insignia of the Order of Luthuli in Gold, bestowed posthumously on Ruth First by the President at the Presentation of National Orders in 2014.

The glittering marquee, seamless sound and lighting production, and heart warming, meaningful presentations resulted in an evening to remember, and a fitting tenth anniversary celebration.

Above: Our ten Matric Ruthies paying tribute to our sponsors, with Mr Tait behind.

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