Round Square International Conference 2017 - Cape Town, South Africa

17 October 2017

The Windermere School delegation flew out to Cape Town, SA, on the evening of Thursday 28 September. The Annual Round Square International Conference was hosted by three schools, St Cyprian's, St George's and Bridge House. 

The opening ceremony took place at the Cape Town Convention Centre where over 200 schools gathered from across the globe. Charlotte Salisbury carried the school flag as part of the ceremony and His Majesty King Constantine (the RS President)  declared the conference open in a short speech. We were also treated to some amazing displays of dance, music and singing from the host schools and we all enjoyed being part of a wonderful drumming ensemble conducted simply by sign language.

The theme of the conference was "Reunite to Ignite the Fire Within" and we were certainly inspired by a number of impressive key note speakers.
Loren Sulcas, the Big Cat Guy motivational speaker, former longtime game ranger and an acclaimed photographer. 
Dr William Fowlds is a renowned South African wildlife vet and rhino specialist who is passionate about wildlife conservation.
KK represented the school at the Prince Alexander Project Fund lunch and handed in Windermere's pledge to raise money for the RS International projects.

The students were put into Barazza groups and discussions were led by the student leaders, and an Amazing Race throughout the waterfront in Cape Town enabled all students to get to know each other better. Cape Town is experiencing a serious drought at the moment so it was lucky for them but not so lucky for us that on Tuesday the heavens opened and it rained. Sadly the kayaking with the penguins trip had to be altered, but the girls were still able to visit the beach and photograph the penguins.

The highlight of the conference was the Service Day where we all went into schools in various townships surrounding Cape Town and were engaged in painting murals, gardening, debating, playing sport and generally making a difference to the actual school facilities but more importantly, meeting with the children from these schools.

The programme included being hosted by a family from St Cyprian's School and this was another highlight for the girls as they were able to talk and learn more about RS at St Cyps and were treated very generously by the host family. (Mrs Hesford's highlight was meeting the Springbok Rugby Union team following their training session prior to the match against the All Blacks!)

At the end of the conference, we were lucky enough to spend some time in Langa, another township in the city, where we experienced first hand the living conditions for some of the community and were told how many people remained living in Langa, despite being able to afford to move to other neighbourhoods. 

On Friday afternoon we finally got to the top of Table Mountain, where the views were spectacular and the sunshine therapeutic! Looking down on the St Cyps' campus at the foot of the mountain, we reflected on our adventure and were inspired by the natural beauty around us. We even decided we would all like to "reunite" in Cape Town again in the future as we had certainly had the fire ignited within us and wished to continue in the spirit of Round Square and make a difference in our own community (watch this space....) 

Next year's RSIC will be in Toronto, Canada, so all those who are interested in being involved next September, please take the opportunity to talk to any of this year's delegation. 

Mrs Hesford, Round Square & Service Coordinator 
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