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Thursday 15 & Saturday 17 November: both groups A & B returned safely after 110 kilometers on foot through the Cederberg Mountains in nine days, and a day’s labour in service to the community of Bosdorp -, footsore, sunburnt, and in desperate need of home cooking, and (dare we say) a hot shower.
Head of Grade 10, Mr Chris Moore explained the tradition of the annual Challenge: “ … it is just that, to challenge our next leadership group both physically and emotionally so that they develop into young men equipped to overcome any test that life throws at them, and prepare them for their roles as senior students at the school. They build friendships, learn to respect their surroundings and get an opportunity to give back through a community service project. 12 life changing days in the Cederberg Wilderness.”
Setting out from the base camp at Algeria, the Groups set off two days apart, heading in opposite directions on a trek led by guides from Bosdorp who know the mountains and weather better than Google could ever learn. The Challenge Team, as it soon became, boys and staff alike, camped at Warmhoek, Boontjies, Crystal Pools, Driehoek (meeting base for both groups), Sneeuwberg (from where all made the essential hike to the Maltese Cross rock formation, iconic symbol of the Cederberg), Riempies, and Onderkruis.
Cold nights under the Swartland stars, blistering sun, the weight of backpacks, cooking for themselves, living without phones and technology, and finding strength in friendships and sharing will be remembered by all for years to come.
In enforced personal solitude, our Wynberg Men opened their letters from home. The emotional intimacy of a handwritten note from those one loves, read alone by torchlight or in the lee of a cragg sheltering from the sun, was welcome strength to all. Few, if any, failed to shed a tear. Within two years, as Matrics, our Grade 10s will pen their own personal letters to their families for Valedictory 2020 when they perform their final rite of passage to becoming Wynberg Old Boys.
At Bosdorp, the community supported over years of Grade 10 Challenges, maintenance to the shade structures in the public recreation areas was undertaken, clearing overgrowth around the mountain stream, building and repairing of fences, and painting of a building earmarked to become an essential shop to serve the broader community was completed.
In keeping with the call to ‘leave only footprints’, a wholesale litter collection at both the Algeria and Bosdorp recreation areas signalled a clean finale to the 2018 Challenge, as they team boarded the buses for the long road back home.
We extend our grateful thanks to to our Guides from Bosdorp, the staff of organisers, Landscape Tours, Wynberg Old Boys Greg Andrews (2013) and Liam Didcott (2016), and our intrepid Wynberg leadership of Rob MacLean (former Head of Physical Education), Ms Cayleigh Huggett, and Messrs Julian Taylor, Neil Eddy, Gareth Searle, Stefan Potgieter, Chris Rushby, and Myles Campbell, our recently arrived exchange student from George Watson’s College in Scotland.
A #WynbergMedia report with thanks to Mr Chris Moore