Thursday 29 July 2021: As reported in June, Mr Roland Rudd leaves WBHS to take up the position of Headmaster of St Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein. Mr Jan de Waal wrote last week, “A significant event over the holiday period was the moving forward of Mr Roland Rudd’s departure from Wynberg to the end of July this term …”
In a flurry of hastily arranged farewells, Mr Rudd took leave of our boarders at Littlewood House, the combined school via a live-streamed assembly, his colleagues, and his friends as 15 years lived at the heart of Wynberg Boys’ High School abruptly came to a close. With Mr Rudd’s blessing, we share his spoken farewells on the tabs below.
Farewell, and Godspeed to Roland, Karen, Olivia, and Daniel.
A Message to My Littlewood Boys:
Wednesday 29 July 2021: Today is the last time that I speak to you in my capacity as your House Head and a Master of Littlewood House. On Friday morning, before the bacon and eggs are prepared and before the wake-up bell goes, all the Rudds, including our hounds will have left Littlewood, and the sun will rise to greet us on the N1 as we make our journey to Bloemfontein.
Before I get to the end, I would like to take you back to the beginning. In 2005, I met with then headmaster Mr Richardson, who was on tour to Grey College for the annual Nomads Hockey Festival. He took the decision to risk appointing a young 4th-year University of the Free State student to Wynberg and placing me and my wife in Littlewood. Now more than ever the words of Brutus are fitting: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” (Act-IV, Scene-III).
Brutus means to say that the key to success in life lies in knowing when to seize the opportunity. We packed up our life, left behind all that we knew, and departed to Cape Town.
On arrival to Cape Town, I was met by head boy Mbasa Kukula with a big smile. A mountain of an IsiXhosa man. I was immediately struck by how immaculately he was turned out in his uniform. I remember thinking to myself this young man was immensely proud of his uniform and the school must be doing something right. I have seen 16 years’ worth of Grade 8s making their way through the school – some from just up the road and others as far as Namibia and Botswana.
I want to start by thanking each of you and those who have gone before, for making me and my family feel at home at Wynberg and Littlewood. Littlewood has been home to my family for 16 years. My children only know Littlewood as their home. They have been privileged to grow up amongst the Littlewood boys and have benefitted greatly from their interaction with you and those who have gone before. When Karen and I arrived, we threw ourselves fully into life at Littlewood and Wynberg. As a boarder you know that the friendships made, the bonds formed, and memories made are those that you hold onto and carry with you for the rest of your life. Boarding really is the backbone of the school and contributes immensely to the school’s spirit. It gives you a unique experience to grow as a man in a safe environment. I have been privileged to have been given a lifetime of memories. I will carry a piece of you and these memories with me on my journey, looking back fondly on our journey together.
In my time at Littlewood, I have tried to be a role model to the boarders in terms of being a good man, a good husband, and a good father. This has been my North Star at Littlewood and has shaped me on my journey and my vision for Littlewood. I have had the privilege of having parents entrust their most precious possession to me. I have watched the future leaders of the country, the doctors, lawyers, musicians, sportsmen, philanthropists, and politicians grow and develop during their time at Littlewood. I was given the opportunity to look after you in your formative years so that I would be given the opportunity to have you look after me, my family, and South Africa as our future leaders. I am immensely proud of the achievements of Littlewood boys from all walks of life, now business leaders or prominent figures in society. Even more important to me, is Littlewood men who go out into the community daily and are “gewone mense”. People who are good fathers, good husbands, good brothers, and people who make a difference every day through their actions. Dean Cain summarizes it well in his quote where he says, “Real heroes don’t wear capes.”
I am going to miss you all and I hope that you will stay in touch with me. If you are ever in the Free State, I would expect you to pop in and visit me. I look back now, and I know I am going to miss the New Boarders’ Tea at the start of the year, the marching to Joe’s Milk Bar for a coke ahead of Sports Day, the Easter Egg Hunts, the Christmas Dinners, the hostel food, the camaraderie within the boarding house, the touch rugby matches on the field, the late evening swims at WBJS, the soccer and cricket matches on the astro under lights, the surfing and super tubes at Muizenberg, the paintball expeditions vs other houses, the egg fights in the streets of Wynberg, the hostel Obstacle Course, the late night televised sports in the common room, the outings to watch Dalin Oliver, the meals at Hudson’s and watching movies at the cinemas. I am going to miss the hostel mischief, it kept me on my toes, forcing me to always look left and right and training me to sleep with one eye open. These lessons learnt have grown me as a person and as a leader. It has taught me that nothing is ever black and white, and one always needs to look for the “grey” in every situation. Because of our different lived experiences, one set of outcomes for a particular boy or group is not always applicable or fair to another. I have always tried to be fair and just, and I have always tried to handle situations with respect and dignity, and when I have come short, I have always made a point of apologising to those I have offended.
I have been privileged to have boys grow up in my house, whether it be because they had nowhere to go or just because they enjoyed spending time with us. I am privileged to say that there are many Littlewood Boys I am proud to call my sons. It has been a wonderful journey, and I had hoped that my time to leave would not have come so early, but “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”.
Although I am sad to leave, I am not sorry for the journey we have travelled together. I am at peace with the move and believe that I have been called to my next adventure at St Andrew’s in Bloemfontein. Alex Cravens says “Every person in all of history has been placed in the time that they were in because of God’s sovereign plan. Don’t let your fear steal from the Greatness God has placed in you”.
I salute you and bid you farewell. It has been one awesome journey. You have my love and respect. I look forward to visiting when next in Cape Town. Until we meet again, I pray that Littlewood and the Wynberg community are blessed abundantly and that you will remember and strive to do what Micah explained – “Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God”.