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Peterhouse Girls

Newsletter FFW (Current)



Dear Parents and Guardians,

Speech Day was a glorious occasion, albeit a little colder than expected! My warmest thanks go to Laura Albertyn, our guest of honour for the day. Her speech, along with the Head Girl’s speech and my report are included at the end of the newsletter.

Nomkhosi Malaba (Head Girl) and Primrose Matembo (Deputy Head Girl) have done an excellent job of leading their Prefects, the VIth Form and the School over the course of this year. The Prefects of 2017 have been a delight to work with and have worked hard to ensure the girls all have a better understanding of our School Values. Both the School and House Prefects have worked incredibly hard throughout the year and we thank them for their dedication. The Prefects of 2018 have an excellent base upon which to build as we work towards living our values better in the year ahead.

The selection of School Prefects has been completed and I have included the Office Bearers 2018 at the end of the newsletter. Congratulations to all the girls who have been selected either as School Prefects or House Prefects. We are in the process of finalizing all other positions such as Captains of Sports and Heads of Clubs and my hope is that all VIth Form will find their own way of developing their leadership skills and serving the school in their final year.

I would encourage you all to use the link from Savannah Studios to look at the school photos they have taken. If you would like the school to facilitate the ordering of photos, please return the completed form after the FFW so your account can be charged.

Enjoy the last FFW of the year.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Tracy Blignaut


Dear Parents & Guardians

By now you will have received your child’s fee statement. If you have made a payment which is not reflecting, please contact Peggy Morgan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Juliette Kwesha (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) as soon as possible, so that we can rectify our records.

If you have any queries regarding charges on your statement, please may you contact Peggy or Juliette as soon as possible so that they can assist you.

Fee Clearance Letters were emailed to Parents on Tuesday 7th November for pupils who have a fee statement balance of $400 or less for PHB & PHG Pupils, and $360 or less for SVH Pupils. Fee Clearance Letters will also be issued for those pupils who have a balance greater than the respective limits, but are in line with their Payment Plans with Peterhouse. Kindly contact the accounts department if you have not received a FCL.

It is vital that we always have up to date contact information for each pupil, so please check that the contact information at the bottom of your child’s statement is correct, and if any changes are to be made to them, please advise Sue Heathcote (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Now that the market has settled we are able to accept payments via RTGS towards the first term’s fee of 2018. This however, will be subject to a top-up should there be a fee increase. Please note that the school fee for the first term of 2018 will shortly be discussed at FINCO AND EXCO for submission to parents later this month. Rest assured that the budget preparation for 2018 is taking into consideration the challenging economic environment that parents are facing. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We would like to wish you all a lovely weekend with your children.

Kind regards

Mark Whitaker
Business Director


Savannah Studios have completed all photographs for Peterhouse Girls 2017 and they can be viewed at:
Password phg264
Attached is an order form which can be printed out, filled in and returned by scan to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Contact Savannah Studios on 0714278196.
Please get your order form in on time and remember to complete your daughter’s details on the form along with the photo selections. The charges will be put on your account and the cut off for this is the 24th of November 2017.

Please ensure that your daughter returns to school after the weekend with her dress for the Christmas dinner. The theme this year is ‘A Vintage Christmas’.



Vs PE. Juniors lost 6 – 15. Vs PHB. Juniors lost 0 – 13


Cock’s ties: Tabitha Madziwa, Susan Li, Tinashe Heri, Denise Dowa, Tadiwa Mataranyika, Michelle Mwenje

Service Ties: Audrey Bore, Tanya Chimhandamba, Gamuchirai Shumba

Distinctions: Nomkhosi Malaba, Solethu Sibanda, Fadzai Saravoyi, Matinatsashe Hove, Kayla Rouse, Bekezela Mbofana, Megan Hough.
Service ties: Makanatsa Mtausi-Gwaradzimba, Fadzai Saravoyi
Cocks Ties: Caroline Mufanebadza, Megan Hough, Amber Charles, Chipo Chidakwa, Anusha Chonzi, Rufaro Songore, Matinatsashe Hove, Stephanie Lawrence, Danai Mandebvu, Mufaro Mutangadura, Shannen Wilson
Half Colours: Atida Jena, Anusha Chonzi, Matinatsashe Hove, Stephanie Lawrence, Danai Mandebvu, Jaivika Sharma, Megan Hough, Chipo Chidakwa, Mufaro Mutangadura, Rufaro Songore

Service Ties: Tanya Chimhandamba, Celina Dhobbie, Shyline Kambarami, Rumbidzai Hodzonge, Primrose Matembo, Kafuma Nyumbu, Ashley Chanetsa, Leocardia Nyamayaro.



NASP Archery Tournament – Hellenic
Sallie Kloppers came first in the 3D shooting category and Shirea Brits came 2nd in the 3D shooting category.
Overall Peterhouse Girls came 2nd out of 8 schools in the competition. Congratulations to the following girls who received the team runner up prizes: Sallie Kloppers, Shirea Brits, Ria Pareekh, Tawana Banda, Tayana Mhishi and Abigail Davy.

Horse Riding Eventing at Arlington
Emily Wood came 1st in the 70cm Hunter Trials
Katie Loubser came 1st in the 80cm Hunter Trials
Erin Elliott came 1st in the 90cm Hunter Trials

Emily Wood, Katie Louber and Erin Elliott also received 1st places in the show jumping and cross country in each of their classes.

Karate – Kofukan National Championships
Girls 12-13 Kata
Gold Medal - Anne Kirkman

Girls 12 -13 Kumite
Gold Medal - Anne Kirkman
Silver Medal - Aimee Barron
Bronze Medal - Natasha Kambani

A Teams Tennis vs Watershed
U14A won 7-1
U15A won 5-3
U16A won 7-1

A Teams Tennis vs Hellenic
U14A won 5-3
U15A won 7-1
U16A lost 2-6

B Teams Tennis vs Gateway
U14B won 5-3
U15B won 8-0
U16B won 8-1

Volleyball vs Chisipite
1st Team lost 0-2
U16A lost 1-2
U15A lost 0-2
U14A won 2-1

Waterpolo vs Hellenic (friendly)
U15 vs Hellenic U14B PHG lost 1-7
U15 vs Hellenic U14A PHG lost 1-15
U16 vs Hellenic U15 PHG lost 3-7
U16 vs Hellenic U16 PHG lost 1-6

Waterpolo at Hellenic
U14 vs Hellenic U14B PHG won 6-0
U14 vs Hellenic U14A PHG lost 1-10
U16 vs Hellenic U15 PHG lost 1-6


We translocated a male giraffe into Gosho last week and he has settled well. Our fence is almost done which will improve the security of the park and animals. We have put in place ‘Ecocash’ for park payments and also parents and staff may now put their payments on accounts – forms are at the security check point. Gosho membership tickets for visitors are available from Mrs Steynberg on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – 6 months or a year entry for the holder of the ticket plus vehicle – single, family and pensioners. These would make a good Christmas present for someone who enjoys Gosho.


Michaelmas (3rd) Term Ends Thursday 7 December
Trinity (1st ) Term Begins Monday 8 January 2018

6. SPEECH DAY 2017

Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr Stuart Mattinson; Chairman of EXCO, Mr Simon Hammond and Mrs Nikki Hammond; Rector of Peterhouse Group of Schools, Mr Howard Blackett and Mrs Suzie Blackett; Guest of Honour, Mrs Albertyn, Mr Mark Albertyn, and your beautiful family; governors, ladies and gentleman, girls of Peterhouse, welcome to the Peterhouse Girls Speech Day, 2017.

An especially warm welcome to two of our past Head Girls who are able to join us today:

Ms Lara Vandoros – Head Girl of 1994 and Miss Linda Midzi, now Mrs Mabika – of 2005.

There are many important days in the calendar of a school:

The first day of term, where we welcome the new contingent of D Block girls and usually a number of other girls further up the school too; Open Day, where we enjoy showcasing our school to those who are making the difficult decision of where to send their daughters for High School; Leavers’ Service where we say farewell to our VIth Form and wish them well on the next stage of their journey, and many more days which are important to different people for different reasons. But none is as important as Speech Day. The most formal, the most prestigious, the most of everything. The day where we take time out of our busy schedules, come together as a community and celebrate all that has been achieved in the past year – and, indeed, there is much to celebrate.

The year started off by welcoming a full house of 80 into D Block along with 21 other girls further up the school. Our Vth Form was the largest it has ever been and indeed is still our largest year group in the school.

Shortly into the term, examination results were released and the girls outshone themselves - a 99.7% pass rate at A level, a 91% pass rate for the current VIth Form pupils at AS level and 95.4% IGCSE pass rate.

Special thanks must go to the staff at Peterhouse Boys for working so hard to help the girls achieve their fantastic A and AS results. I remember this time last year being very proud of our Vth Form for having broken through the 90% barrier with their 92% pass rate, and this year’s Vth Form pushed the bar even higher – the 95% pass rate is indeed record breaking for Peterhouse Girls and is a result of hard work both by the girls and their teachers.

The current A Block, Vth and VIth Form certainly have a lot to live up to. Some have worked incredibly hard and will achieve the results that they are both capable of and deserve. A few, rather sadly, will simply achieve what they deserve.

Our Cultural Department has grown in strength this year under the careful leadership of Miss Shamiso Whitcomb. The Head of Culture, Tinashe Heri, has indeed achieved what she set out to do which was to raise the profile of Culture in the school.

Buckland Arts has been revamped to streamline it for the future without it losing its over-arching principles and the new category of “installations” led to some… “interesting” creations by the Houses.

The Duke of Edinburgh International Award continues to grow with just over 40% of pupils from C Block and above actively involved. Four girls have achieved Silver Awards this year, six are working towards their Gold and we are especially proud that two girls are to be awarded their Gold Awards today - a first for Peterhouse Girls and a tremendous achievement for the girls.

The Music Department has been incredibly busy this year both with PHG30 celebrations – which I will come to later – and the day to day running of a busy and important department. The Eisteddfod was particularly successful with Peterhouse being awarded a total of 13 trophies: the girls’ choirs were involved in five of them and Chiwoneso Mvududu was awarded three individual trophies.

The Library Club has really developed in leaps and bounds this year. Mrs Harriet Nel has led the way and the Head of Library Club, Leocardia Nyamayaro, has spearheaded a variety of activities including book swaps and poetry writing competitions. World Book Day was great fun and everyone really got involved – including the four Wallies and at least everyone now knows where the library is!

Whilst the management of the Sports Department has undergone change with the departure of Stewart Saint, we welcome Kiara Cordy and her family to the Peterhouse community and I am confident the Sports Department will continue to thrive under her guidance.

The sporting year has certainly seen its highs and lows and Golden Girls was probably both.

The semi-finals match and the final were excruciatingly painful to watch, but exhilarating too. The grit and determination of all the girls – both Peterhouse and their opponents – was inspiring.

Vince Lombardi - a famous American Football player, coach, and the founder of “Lombardi Time” is quoted as saying, “We didn’t lose – we just ran out of time!” which perfectly described the final for us.

Basketball has had a great season. The 1st Team remained unbeaten and won the League convincingly. This is quite an achievement – especially as their opponents all play basketball in the Lent Term as well as the Trinity Term, something we are considering for the future.

The insert in your programme gives you detail of the various sports throughout the year, highlighting that our girls continue to do well both at provincial and national level. We have 49 girls representing their province in 5 different sports and 38 girls representing Zimbabwe in 9 different sports, giving many of them the opportunity to travel to countries such as South Africa, Tunisia, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Namibia and Zambia.

Let us not forget that we offer 14 different sports throughout the year and whilst there have been plenty of highs, there have been lows too and we should not ignore them. Water polo remains a challenge, with no easy or quick solutions in sight. For archery, the girls have joined PHB for the time being, after the departure of the Saints to Zambia and the search for a swimming coach continues.

Just two years ago, the decision was made to reintroduce the prefect system.

Before I go any further, may I assure you, I understand how difficult the selection process is. I understand that sugar coating disappointment, still tastes like disappointment. To the Vth Form, I mean this from the bottom of my heart when I say that I want each and every one of you to find your niche, your way of serving the school and your way of developing your leadership potential. But the physical structure of our boarding houses, lends itself to the House Prefect system and so forty House Prefects were announced just a week ago. If you were not one of the forty, I urge you to bounce back and find your way of serving and leading. It is often in disappointment that our greatest learning can take place- if we let it. I want to support you and I want you to support your school in your final year here. To use the phrase most loved by the current VIth Form – “FINISH STRONG!”

When we reintroduced the prefect system it was important to us that we did not go back – but rather go forward – to learn and add value from the experiences gained from the leadership structure that preceded it. Therefore the principles of servant leadership remain the most important guiding principle for our prefect body, and for the VIth Form as a whole. It is perhaps worth taking a moment here to explain what we mean by servant leadership.

At times we strive to attain a higher position because from the outside it seems to provide more of the comforts of life: money, perks, power. This is perhaps the focus of prefect systems from the past – to seek the title, the badge, the kudos. “I have earned it. Now I can sit back and enjoy the perks of my hard work”

However, “the cost of real leadership is self-interest.” Servant Leadership is about service first, leadership second, self-last. A quote from Simon Sinek an author and motivational speaker, perhaps sums it up by saying, “Leadership is not a license to do less, it’s a responsibility to do more.” A principle we would all do well to remember.

Our prefects this year, led so admirably by the Head Girl, Nomkhosi Malaba and the Deputy Head Girl, Primrose Matembo, have truly embraced servant leadership and have taken the responsibility of leaving a legacy truly to heart. The prefects and leadership system would also not be what it is without the guidance and wisdom of Mrs Hough who is always so supportive, and has such an eloquent way of explaining things to the girls.

Structurally, we are of course now enjoying the fruits of the development plan whilst also paying for it! However, smaller projects, within the scope of constrained budgets still move the school forward.

The dining hall has been decorated to create a warmer environment for the girls. Local artist, Brigette Straw, has done a great job here and I thank her for her vision and patience!

I hope the new gym will be enjoyed by many of the girls. This is a great use of the JBC Pavilion, once looking out over the rugby fields of Springvale and now in the centre of Peterhouse Girls boarding life.

A lifelong love of sport is great, but an ability to remain fit and strong in the years ahead is vital. Remember girls, middle age comes quicker than you think! Enjoy your youth but also invest in the future by looking after yourself financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically – they all pay dividends in the long run.

The pastoral welfare of the girls continues to be of paramount importance. The counselling structure at the Girls’ School is now working well and creates a support for the girls whilst also supporting the very staff that help them.

We are also working hard with the girls to help them to communicate more effectively about the challenges they face. The next step will be to make them each accountable for creating a kinder, more loving environment in which all may be happy and strive.

I was reading a BBC news article giving advice to parents on what to look for at School Open Days and a number of things struck me about it.

The first point given was – “Quiz those hand-picked pupils who show you around”. We do not hand pick the pupils – we have no need to. The Vth Form always do an exceptional job. The first time for many that they have been called upon to represent their school in such an open and official capacity and they always do themselves, and you, their parents proud. This year was no exception and we received numerous compliments from prospective parents on how much they enjoyed their conversations with the Vth Form. So from me to you, girls – thank you for doing a great job, but really thank you for being yourselves.

Another point raised was – “Take a good look at the teachers: Good leadership might be key, but it's teachers who'll have the most day-to-day impact on your child.” So let us take time to look at our teachers, see what each of them sacrifices for the good of the school and for the good of the individual pupils here. Teaching is rewarding and thankless in the same breath. But boarding school teachers take commitment and sacrifice to a whole new level. They make the school what it is, whether it be on Open Day or any other day. I applaud each and every one of them for making this team such a great one to work with and for.

The management structure of Peterhouse Girls has remained steady this year and we have grown in strength and experience. My personal thanks to Michelle Scott Elliot, Chipo Mtakwa and especially Claire Hough – you are my colleagues, my team, my friends – and make coming to work an absolute pleasure, and often very good humour.

And in the office – Candice for the first half of the year, who is here today; Diedre, who rode the storm as we made the transition; and Tanaka, who has stepped in and helped steer us forward. Thank you to each of you for your support, hard work and patience! May I also take this time to thank the many others who make this school the beautiful place to work that it is: The grounds are looking as glorious as ever thanks to Leon and the estates team, and Jo Baxter and her gardeners. Introwise – now managed by Upenyu Magumisa and Housekeeping led by Loice Sachinda also do a great job here, often unthanked and unnoticed; the Transport, Accounts, Maintenance and Marketing teams continue to serve us well.

The school continues to be well-supported by the management of the Group of Schools and my personal thanks to Mr Blackett who continues to be a wise and patient mentor. The Board is also incredibly supportive and we are delighted so many of them could join us today. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing group of people working for the good of Peterhouse.

The same article also suggests – “Listen to the Head’s Speech”. Advice some of you are probably struggling with right now!

It then goes on to say – “Ask the Tough questions” and gives examples such as:

"What are they doing to improve attainment and improve progress?” “What strategies have they got to ensure that children learn and achieve well?” What are they doing with those youngsters who are underachieving?"

This, however, is where the article concerned me. Yes of course, ask the tough questions, be concerned about academic improvement and progress but if that is all we measure a school by – and ultimately your daughters by – then we have done them a disservice.

The academic accolades awarded today are of course incredibly important but if we look at the aims of Peterhouse, academic success is only one of 9. There is so much more to a school in the modern sense, so much more to the potential and indeed the happiness of your daughters.

It may be surprising that I have yet to mention our PHG30. But it is not that it is our 30th Jubilee that makes this year special. It is the school and the girls over these many years which make the PHG30 year worth celebrating.

When Peterhouse was founded, as a boys only secondary school, by Fred Snell in 1955 there was no intention of it becoming the Peterhouse Group of Schools. Peterhouse was founded as an Anglican boys’ country boarding school. Its aims were to promote the ideals of Christian manhood, academic excellence and social responsibility.

In the early 1980s, however, it became apparent that there was a demand for the re-opening of Springvale School (under the name Springvale House) and the establishment of a secondary girls’ school. Springvale House was opened in 1985 and Peterhouse Girls two years later, and so we came into being and 30 years later here we stand.

About a year ago, the PHG30 Committee was formed after Sarah Cremer was encouraged (or coerced) into being the Chairlady. Who would have known the economic environment we would be working in when we discussed the programme of events some 12 months ago, and who could have told we were in economic crisis when we had a beautiful high tea just a few weeks ago.

The year has been a challenging one – not least because girls tend not to support their old schools in the same way boys do. This is not a criticism, simply an observation. A psychologist friend once told me that boys are designed to follow a cause, whereas girls are more relational, and it absolutely makes sense.

The programme of events has however been incredibly well-supported in what has become increasingly trying economic times. I must particularly thank the committee for their fortitude in this regard. To manage to achieve a break-even budget in this economic environment is truly remarkable.

The PHG30 brunch in the second term was a beautiful affair and a special time to be shared with parents and Petreans. The 1st Team hockey game was nail-biting; it was very fitting that it ended in a draw and the “Pearl Trophy”, donated by Chisipite in celebration of our 30th was awarded to both teams.

The Christmas in July Ball was perhaps the highlight of the year for the Petreans, giving them an opportunity to get together, reminisce over old times and let their hair down. Sarah and her committee did themselves proud and great fun was had by all.

‘Sister Act The Musical’ was a huge success, with performances both here at Fieldsend Hall and at Reps Theatre in Harare. The last two nights at Reps were both full houses and received standing ovations.

To all who played their part – too numerous to mention – thank you. Special mention must be made of Billy St John whose vision it was and who’s responsibility too. He and his team did a great job and it was a fitting extravaganza of dance and song for Peterhouse Girls’ 30th.

The Festival of Music, Food and Wine was also a very successful event and special thanks must go to Corralee and Leon Greeff for almost single-handedly organizing the event, whilst Billy also did a great job of organizing the musical line-up.

To the PHG30 Committee, a huge thank you from us all, but especially from me personally.

Please may I ask the committee members to stand so the girls may bring a small token of our appreciation. To Sarah, the Chairlady, may I ask you to come up and receive a token of thanks.

It is fitting that the stained glass windows be installed in this beautiful chapel in this special year. The chancel windows have been installed and the rose window will be installed in the very near future. Our thanks go to Mr Chris Patterson, who has been the driving force behind this project and who has dedicated a great deal of personal time and energy to ensuring its success. The windows are indeed a gloriously colourful addition to our St. Francis Chapel and both Peterhouse girls and Springvale children will enjoy and appreciate them. The rose window, depicting St Francis will remind us of the Saint after whom the chapel is named, sometimes forgotten by the day-to-day reference to the PHG chapel.

It is also fitting that this year we have introduced a new Honours Brooch for girls who receive the Honours Award. Whilst the tie was always very special, I am sure it was seldom worn and I hope in the years to come the Brooch will become recognizable as a symbol of all that Peterhouse girls aspire to be.

And so to the future.

The prefects this year have, during the course of the year, presented each of the school values in assembly. We have made great progress in knowing the school values – loyalty, honesty, decency, humility, service, self-sacrifice and respect. As we move forward, next year I want us to focus on living our values – not just knowing and understanding them. Zimbabwe is facing a tough year ahead, and it is in such times that we must stay true to our values, to our moral compass. For us to be valued and valuable members of our community we must always strive to do the right thing. I remind our girls too, that if we want our school to be a kinder, happier place, that requires each of us to be kinder otherwise it will never happen. To live our values will give us the direction we need.

To the leavers of 2017, you now know what we will be focusing on in the year ahead, so I challenge you to do the same. You will of course be on a path of discovery – but be sure to develop your own set of values, constantly check and amend them as you go along, but essentially stay true to yourself and the values you have.

And so, as a closing to my Head’s report, may I finish with a story for the VIth Form ...

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately at quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe." But what does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, you idiot!" he says. "Someone has stolen our tent!"

The moral of the story girls is that it doesn’t always pay to try to be clever- sometimes the simplest explanation is the right one!

And that concludes my Head’s report for 2017.

I would now like to take a few minutes to introduce our guest speaker.

Mrs Laura Albertyn grew up in Zimbabwe. She is married with four young children, whom she homeschools. She loves the privilege and challenge of parenting, and from one who has watched it first hand, she is indeed one of life’s natural mothers.

Laura worked in the private and state sector of education in the UK for 6 years before returning to Zimbabwe with her husband.

7 years ago, they set up a charity together called Makomborero which aims to help very low income, high achieving pupils to obtain their A-levels and go onto tertiary education.

Laura’s passion is her family, her Makomborero students and the rights of the under privileged in Zimbabwe. She is often teased about being an activist for those who don’t have a voice.

110 students have been through Makomborero, 54 have obtained scholarships around the world (even Ivy League universities) and 25 study at local universities doing Medicine, Engineering, Pharmacy and Actuarial Science.

Laura loves to see students become more than just their examination results and believes that the future is so bright with the incredible young leaders that they come across. Laura’s home is a haven for many of her students and her kids refer to their Makomborero students as their brothers and sisters.

The reason I invited Laura as our guest of honour is because she and her family truly give of themselves for others. Peterhouse Girls prides itself in developing a culture of service but I challenge each of us to be more like Laura and live a life of service in any way we can.

I am always humbled by Laura’s generous nature and it is with great pleasure I welcome her to address you all this morning.

Thank you to Mrs Blignaut, the senior leadership team, the board, parents and pupils – it is an honour to be here today. A celebration of these wonderful young woman! Today I would like to address the girls.

I’m a Zimbabwean girl, grown up in a life of privilege. Love this journey of life I am on – I could never have imagined this would be my life. As I thought about what I wanted to talk about today, I reflected on my own life and who I was as a teenager – the lessons I’ve learnt. So let’s talk woman to woman!

My identity – who I am is something that has been somewhat of a journey of discovery. Often labels have hindered me and prevented me from really letting Laura come to the fore front. Or they cause me to not take risks for fear of failure. What are these labels?

Maybe you’ve been labelled the academic student, so to step out and try something new and risk failing will shatter that identity of who you have been built up to be – so you don’t take risks. Failure needs to be viewed as a stepping stone!

Maybe you have gone through most of your school career believing you are not academic and have nothing to offer because you work incredibly hard but just feel like you are not clever. I was that girl! I believed the lie that I had nothing to offer the world because my academic achievements were mediocre.

Maybe you are desperate to post the perfect selfie – seeing how many likes and comments there are on that photo – that validates your worth.

We are living in a world where we as woman are bombarded with what society is portraying woman should be like. So often these images of who we should be are based on our appearance. What other people will think of what I’m wearing, how I’ve done my hair, my makeup, my figure etc. The world has essentially objectified woman so much that we find it hard to separate ourselves from these labels.

Guess what the first thing that went through my head was when I was asked to speak at this function – “oh my goodness what am I going to wear?”

I’m nearly 40, am happily married to a man who still thinks I’m great even though I’ve had 4 children and I’m 21 years older than when we met! Why should it matter???

Did you know that 6 out of 10 girls in this room probably feel that they are not good enough based on their appearance? 31% of you will withdraw from class debate based on how you feel about your looks that day. I struggled with terrible acne and I remember being in class on a bad day and thinking, “there is no way I’m putting up my hand and contributing today as the first thing everyone will see is the third eye which has magically appeared on my forehead.” Fortunately, I didn’t risk in those days having a terrible photo of my acne being plastered all over social media and dying of embarrassment like you all do today!

We are daily bombarded by social media with what the image and identity of a women should be and it can lock us into a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing or we begin to live for things that are surface level – that get the likes and comments we want.

I want to challenge you today as young woman to make a stand against this onslaught. It took me until my early 30’s for me to feel mostly comfortable with who I am and what I look like. You have so much more pressure in this area than I do! You know what helped me get there? When the focus of my life became more than just me and my success in life and what others thought of me.

I have a little exercise for you to do – think of the thing you are most passionate about doing? Often our answer is something that is very me focused – I love photography, rowing, swimming, reading, sky diving?

It is wonderful to have passions but when our passions become more that just about me – this is where we find our true identify, this is where we find our purpose in life.

So think about that thing again and I will ask you a few questions:

How could you use this passion to involve other people?
What could people need from you with regards to this passion?
How do they change as a results of what you give them?

As soon as our lives take on an outward focus we can start to silence the world’s objectification of woman and in turn silence the banter that is often present that focuses us to judge women at face value. We can start to dig deeper and see people as people rather than just objects that meet the grade or don’t.

So my challenge to you is – YES, pursue your academic dreams and what you want to be and become but also pursue a passion that will impact people along the way. It will look different for each of you but will give you purpose beyond what the world claims is success and right standing. Do what is valuable that helps others.

Find people who need a skill you have and that you can freely offer. You will be surprised at the beautiful people you will encounter that will enrich your life and teach you so much! Success is not just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s also about what you inspire others to do.

“A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” (Unknown)

My biggest joy is working with people who have lived a very different life to me, whose daily struggle for survival is real and so heart breaking but who have loved and opened their hearts to me. I give my knowledge and expertise to hopefully change families lives forever, in turn, they give me their love, their brokenness that is rising from the ashes. My life is rich – I have 4 biological children but I really have sooooo many more. One night my husband and I risked everything starting Makomborero. It has been brutal at times but I would not change it for the world and I have found who I am along the way. I call children who I never carried in my womb my own and they call me mum. My heart bursts with pride at their accomplishments but also seeing them extend themselves for others. They will tell greater stories than I could ever imagine and they breathe life into me. I’m not perfect, I mess up and I’m learning all the time but I’m secure in my identity – mostly!

Life will throw curve balls at you, there will be tough times but if you are continually looking beyond yourself it will be rich and beautiful too! That little girl who looked in the mirror and kissed herself – take yourself back to that little girl – can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be! The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. What we cultivate in our minds become a part of how we live. Be courageous women, stand up for each other, choosing to break the mould that the world tries to put us in and show the world that we are powerful, beautiful women who can change lives and find our purpose and identity in more than just our achievements, looks and the labels others sofreely give us!

Nomkhosi; When I say Peterhouse you say Powerhouse
Nomkhosi: Peterhouse!
Queens: Powerhouse!

That was just to wake you up. Now that I have your attention, let me begin with the reason why we have assembled here: my speech. A pleasant morning to our guest of honour, Mrs Laura Albertyn; Chairman of the Board, Mr Mattisson; Chairman of EXCO, Mr Hammond and Mrs N Hammond; Board of Governors, The Rector and Mrs Blackett, Mrs Blignaut, Mr and Mrs Peebles, Peterhouse Girls Staff, Parents, Peterhouse Queens – past and present.

Your heart starts beating before you are even born and only stops twice: when you die, and before you make a speech.
What is Speech Day? For the people on my right, it means eagerly awaiting a handshake and prize for their respective accolades. For those on my left, another opportunity to serenade our ears with their sweet symphonies. For the teachers, yet another chance to show that they are accomplished individuals clad in their graduate robes, and for the beautiful display of faces in front of me, it means sitting through three speeches that you may or may not fall asleep to. For me, it is the last time I get to address you and unfortunately, it is without amusing anecdotes of Annie the A Blocker or sassy stories about Sally the Sixth Former.

So here I am, with a few minutes in which I get to explain the beautiful metamorphosis and lessons that have come about in my journey through this school.

You cannot come to Peterhouse and not love it, or at least some aspects of it. You cannot come to Peterhouse and not learn from it; be it culturally, physically or spiritually. You cannot come through Peterhouse and not be changed by it. If you don’t believe me, here’s a testimony of a girl I used to know. She was ranked one of the meanest girls in C Block. By B Block, she’d had three gatings and as if all that wasn’t enough her determined breach of protocol had her summoned to the headmaster, Dr Bradshaw’s office. Today, she addresses you. She is me!

This school has moulded me into the type of young lady that, despite the challenges presented by the world, is versatile enough to prosper in any situation. I assure you, that should you take every opportunity with an open mind and willing heart, it will do the same for you. You have the opportunities, you have the foundation, but if you do not build your house on it, a foundation it will always be. You need to take action and move forward. Success is you working together with your environment to unleash the optimal version of yourself. You are the spark that ignites the fire that is your destiny.

Many times, I’ve been asked what I love about Peterhouse – one of the things is the family atmosphere. Allow me to break it down for you. We have the baby sisters, otherwise known as D and C Block, who start off young and impressionable, and are groomed by the nurturing hands of the seniors. We have the 2nd borns, the sufferers of middle child syndrome - B and A Block. Then there are the big sisters, Fifth and Sixth Form, who think and act like they run the school, when they fall below the aunties and 4 uncles - Mr Carter, Mr Heuer, Mr Trewartha and Mr Whitcomb. Our enthusiastic father, Mr Blackett, who always visits on select evenings to check up on us and mummy, Mrs Blignaut who writes us personal birthday cards and always does her best to make us feel at home.

This is our home or rather, our queendom. This place is not the residence of the ordinary, it is the dwelling of those who are destined to be great. Our blue, is no ordinary blue. It is royal blue. A colour synonymous with sapphires. Like us sapphires are valuable, rare and precious, but there’s something else sapphires are known for – their flaws. I know it’s hard to admit, especially as Peterhouse students, but we have a lot of flaws. We are incomplete, scratched up in some places, jagged around the edges. However, flawed sapphires are often better than flawless sapphires, because the flaws show authenticity and character. You are rare and unique. Let yourself be flawed. Go proudly and confidently into the world with your blinding hues showing everyone who’s boss. Look at your pocket. The crown that sits on our hearts is not accidental. It sits there as a reminder that although we lead, we do so to serve and with the humble kindness that lives in us.

It is with that and on behalf of all of the girls I would like to thank the staff - including the sekuru’s and aunties - for their support and encouragement in driving us to academic and sporting excellence. Mrs Blignaut and Mrs Hough, thank you for making this year that much easier and for allowing me to serve this amazing place I’ve learnt to call home. To Miss Hall, the ultimate life coach, thank you for your guidance, for having my back and for never letting me go astray. Gen, Chido and Gabby, my angels thank you for the early mornings, the sweet notes and for being the best little sisters anyone could ask for.

To those who wear golden - striped ties, the ambassadors of a Corinthians 1:13 kind of love, the “werkers not perkers”. It has been my greatest pleasure paving out, with you, great paths for those that remain to follow. My right hand; Primrose, some say wisdom is defined by age, I’m proud to say that you have deemed this thesis incorrect. Kafuma Nyumbu, my best friend for richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. Through Peterhouse and to forever.

Thank you to you, our parents, for sending us here. We see you work tirelessly, we see you strive to give us more than you had – we see you – and we appreciate you more and more every day. An especially big thank you to my parents:
Mum, your strong beliefs and high standing morals have been an incredible example for me to follow. Daddy, you are my rock, my inspiration, my first love. I’m so grateful that God chose me to be your daughter. I have the greatest pride, respect and appreciation for what the both of you have done for me.

So, who are, who are, who are we? What does it mean to be a Queen? To be a Queen is to serve, to sacrifice comfort for the benefit of the community as a whole. It is to strive continually, to follow your dreams, to work hard and persevere remembering that heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Personally, I would not have been able to carry the weight of the crown without the support of 57 very special individuals: school prefects, house prefects, war cry captains and Chelsea, this school would not be able to function without you. To my block: D Block of 2012 and Leavers of 2017, you are phenomenal people. From the beginning of our time here at Peterhouse, we have done nothing but achieve the seemingly impossible. In 2012 and 2013, our commendations had to be announced in two groups because the chapel was too small to hold our academic achievements. We came, we saw and we conquered everything that attempted to stand in our way. On a side note, we as the first inhabitants of Elizabeth House would like to formally apologize to Mrs Fantiso for the stress we caused. Thank you for your patience, tolerance and unwavering loyalty on which we erected pillars of faith, comradery and success.

VIth Form of 2017, please stand. We are royalty, we have been set free, and now we are going to shake history.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the ground breakers, the change makers, the leaders of tomorrow.

To the Peterhouse Queens who remain: Do your best in whatever you set out to achieve, and no, that doesn’t mean leaving behind a legacy of being the loudest block ever. Instead, act like the royalty you are. It is never too early to start achieving your goals and it’s not too late either. It is not too late to be the impact and positivity you want to see in this school. It is not too late for you to be the better that you want the school to be. Not next year, not tomorrow, now! The life of a breather may be appealing now, however, by virtue of admission into this school, mediocrity is not your calling. Complacency is the thief of growth. Whether you are at the bottom of the food chain, or top of the food chain, sitting idle gets you eaten. Move! Progress! Advance!

They say the proof is in the pudding. I say the proof is in Peterhouse. So, as the baton is passed onto those we leave, we say run! We say conquer the uphill, demolish the downhill, and cross the finish line. The heat will try and blind you, the curve will try and slow you down, but a race finished, is a race won.

I’ve heard five head girls’ speeches before mine and every year, the head girl has quoted something meaningful for everyone to take away and hopefully my ending doesn’t fall short. So today, the quote is – ‘You’. The very people that make Peterhouse, Peterhouse. That wake-up call at the beginning was not just a wake-up call. The word you shouted was Powerhouse. A powerhouse is a source of light, a source of strength and as you grow in this world, be powerhouses. Go out and inspire! Go out and prosper! For the sake of the crown and to God’s Glory.

Thank You


Head Girl Mazvita Mtausi-Gwaradzimba

Deputy Head Girl Georgina Lock

Head of Culture Haley Kingsley

Head of Sport Ruvimbo Dobbie

Head of Vth Form Julie Foot

Head of A Block (Elizabeth House) Yemurai Machacha

Head of B Block (Margaret House) Hailey Hawkins

Head of C Block (Kathleen House) Lindsay Edwards

Head of D Block (Tatanga House) Jessica Broxham

Deputy Head of D Block Deeyana Patel

Head of Eland Jamie-Lee Soper

Head of Impala Hazel Chitere

Head of Kudu Ruvarashe Nyika

Head of Sable Julia Lagesse

Tracy Blignaut