Founders’ Day, Friday 14 August 2020: The honour of delivering the annual John McNaughton Address was shared between two stalwart Wynberg staff who leave us this year, Mr Rodney Inglis, Vice-Principal Service, who takes retirement at the end of the 4th Term, and Mr Ben Thompson, Vice-Principal Academics, who leaves us to take up a new position abroad.
Please use the tabs below to read the transcripts: Introduction of the speakers by Mr Moser, and the speeches by Messrs Inglis and Thompson.
Introduction by Mr Larry Moser, Deputy Headmaster:
This Founders’ Day will be remembered in the way that is is so different from all the others, for many different reasons. But one of them is that today we have two speakers addressing us for the John McNaughton Address.
Mr Rodney Inglis
In 1997, Bruce Probyn appointed a new Afrikaans teacher, who came with a broad teaching experience in both History and Afrikaans. Rodney Inglis soon became an indispensable part of Wynberg and added value to the school in ways we had not even thought of at the time.
Wynberg, like South Africa, was welcoming in a new era, the late Mr Mandela was in the middle of his term of presidency and every facet of South African life was undergoing momentous change. Education was turned on its head, and subjects like History, in particular, underwent a metamorphosis. Rodney was ideally placed to give substance to the new curriculum.
I remember how Kallie Pretorius and Rodney shared the teaching of History in the Grade 9 class, explaining to our mixed multitude how the different sectors of people experienced life in the old South Africa. Each was able to paint a vivid picture of what life was like for those who benefited, and for those who suffered in life under apartheid.
Rodney was very involved in the melding together of the different clubs and school in the Western Province Cricket after 1994. He was actively involved in building bridges and helped in bringing communities together. He has an amazing ability to see life from someone else’s view point and to bring people together who hold disparate views.
He is a genuine people’s person, and seems to know everybody in Cape Town. Rodney has placed his stamp on many areas of Wynberg life. Apart from his teaching duties, he’s worked on creating the school timetable, coached hockey and first team cricket, been a tutor and a House Head, and ended up finally as a Vice-Principal running the service portfolio.
Rodney spent almost a quarter of a century at Wynberg and will be fondly remembered by many Wynberg Men. He always sees the bright side of life and remains positive. In spite of some serious physical ailments through which he has suffered, there is none more affable I would want to have with me on a sports tour as he has a wonderful way of making everyone feel at home, no matter where they are.
Rodney has seen firsthand the changes Wynberg has been through as we moved into the new South Africa and it is only fitting the he addresses us today on his final Founders’ Day as a member of staff.
Mr Ben Thompson
In 2007 a young and enthusiastic Science and Maths teacher joined the Wynberg staff. He was an instant success. Ben Thompson through himself headlong into everything that Wynberg had to offer. He became immersed in the school teaching Science, Maths, Technology, running a tutor group, heading up sports teams and doing outdoor hiking trails, he embraced the Wynberg culture.
14 years later it is true to say he has had a significant impact on the way Wynberg has progressed. Much of the modernisation of the school has been because of his initiatives. He has been at the forefront of the digital revolution regarding education believing we need to prepare our boys for the real world with the use of electronic devices as ubiquitous. He has strengthened our recruitment process, actively seeking to appoint staff representative of the whole of South Africa. He ensured we became a training ground for teachers by implementing an intern programme. He expanded our academic offerings by allowing boys to do an extra subject through to matric.
The Engineering and Design Building currently being built will be his legacy as he wisely advocated and drove the vision for this project.
Ben is a true supporter of Wynberg Boys, he is often seen down at the Jacques Kallis Oval keenly watching our cricketers for an hour or two. Afternoons see him on the Silverhurst Fields chatting to boys as they are put through their paces by the athletics and rugby coaches. Every Saturday he is here watching our sportsmen crafting masterpieces on the green canvas of the Wynberg Fields.
Although Ben is truly and international man, he has embraced Wynberg, and indeed South Africa as his home. In fact, his only faux pas was when he wore a white rugby jersey to school on one particular Friday in November last year.
Everything else he has done has been through his own sacrifice to make life better or easier for others. He has sought to make Wynberg and South Africa a better place.
I can think of no-one better to speak to us on this Founders’ Day than Ben Thompson.