Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 29/2019

4 October, 2019

Back on Campus

You may be aware I only returned to school after the holidays at the start of this week due to ill health. Thankfully I am over the worst, and back to work in good health. I would like to thank everyone, staff, students, parents, and governors for the well wishes and specifically for the seamless start to Term 3 while I was away. It feels great to be back to school! Our community remains vibrant, aware and active. Earlier on today the students who lead our Climate Kids initiative met with the Prime Minister  of the Kingdom of eSwatini  to hand over a petition that calls for leaders to act to stop the effects of global warming. I commend the students for their commitment to peace and a sustainable future. It’s sometimes easy to believe that these issues of climate change don’t affect us in Africa, but it's these actions by our students that remind us that environmental sustainability is an important issue.


Making a Difference in the Local Community

Wednesday’s assembly was made memorable by the Choir Commserve. We were treated to a wonderful musical performance from three primary schools from around Mbabane: Sifundzani, John Wesley and Mpolonjeni. Our IB2 students lead this community service initiative, which involves outreach to the local schools through music. Together, they compose and practice songs that are eventually performed during the Choir Commserve Assembly. It was gratifying to the soul to hear the music and to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they enthusiastically rendered their performance during the assembly.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our students and staff as well as the three schools for this delightful performance. This Commserve may look like child’s play to some, but its effects are far reaching and it plays a significant role in linking Waterford to the local community. Community Service is a core part of the curriculum at WK. We do not get involved in Community Service as an act of charity; the purpose is to give practical opportunity to our students to live the UWC values of embracing diversity in the local community of eSwatini. We are building leaders for Africa and beyond, leaders who will have a sense of community responsibility. The Commserve Choir is a unique opportunity to make a difference through music.


Staff Experience at Waterford Kamhlaba!

As a UWC, diversity is a key value that we pursue and it extends beyond the type of students we enroll. Recruiting highly qualified and committed staff members who come from diverse cultures and backgrounds is equally important. One of the most important things for me, as principal, is to ensure a great environment for our staff to deliver the required results. One of our new teachers in the Maths department, Ms. Dieter from the United States, had this to say:

“I have been at Waterford for 14 weeks now, and I have been very warmly welcomed by my colleagues and students alike.  This campus is so vibrant and full of life. Every school assembly that I attend I’m blown away by student creativity and performance. Each week there is something new, whether it be a spoken word, a dance or song; even just weekly announcements are put into a skit!

I’m impressed with the curiosity and engagement of the students. They are eager to learn and always give respect to any adult in the community. As a teacher, I’ve been able to throw out more open-ended tasks and see amazing thinking come from them! I also appreciated chaperoning a recent sports trip to see students engage in activities outside of academics.

Coming from Minnesota, where the weather is below 0° C for at least 3 months of the year, our schools are completely indoors. That’s been one of my favorite changes relocating here. The outdoor campus is open and spread over this beautiful hillside. I’m outside several times during the day, walking from class to the office, staffroom and amphitheater. It’s lovely to get so much fresh air throughout the day.
It’s been a whirlwind coming in mid-year but I’m
looking forward to learning more about this amazing place as I settle in.”

Ms. Dieter has been a great addition to our academic staff and I implore those of you whose children are in her class to come and meet her in person at the next Parent’s evening.


The SRC Social

The SRC will host a social tonight starting at 7:00pm. There will be a bus for the day students departing town at 6:00pm. Please take special note that day students must be collected from school by parents and guardians as follows: Form 1 to 3, by 10:00pm the latest and Form 4 to IB2 by 10:30pm the latest. There will be no bus taking day students home at the end of the social. 


IBDP Visual Arts Exam Exhibition

The IBDP Visual Arts Exam Exhibition takes place on Sunday 6th October 2019. Curatorial practice is a course requirement and the exam exhibition will showcase works by Izma Anwar, Ruby Bailey, Iyara Cook, Elie Kayobe Monyombe, Sakhokuhle Littler, Ruby Mulgan, Hang Nguyen, Kirsten Taylor.

Date: 6th October 2019

Venue: Sheila and Richard Attenborough Fine Arts Centre

Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm


From the Music Department

Concert on Friday 11th October at 7pm

On 11th October the Music Department will hold a major concert which will celebrate learning from the year. There will be music from our ensembles - Choir, Jazz Band, Orchestral Ensemble, Mbira dze Mugomo, and the Marimba groups. There will also be performances from Form 1, 2 and 3 curriculum classes showcasing ensemble performance work from the year. It will be a lovely event. Please help us to keep the evening free for participants, and please make a note in your diary.

Instrumental Lessons

Our Instrumental and Voice teaching programme continues in Term 3, with some allowances for circumstance. These are the details:

Form 5 and IB 2 students are not expected to continue their lessons. However, they may make other arrangements with their teachers if they wish to continue.

Form 1, Form 2, Form 3, Form 4 and IB1 students are expected to continue with their lessons. There is an expectation that students in these grades commit to eight lessons (rather than ten) during the term. This means that students would not be expected to have a lesson during an exam week, and there is a little flexibility around third term trips arranged by the school. Lessons have already begun. 

We have some spaces available for students to begin instrumental and voice lessons this term. In particular we have opportunities for girls to have vocal lessons with Dahyun Suk, our fabulous soprano and alto specialist. We also have some spaces for violin and drum-kit lessons. If you are interested and would like your son or daughter to learn, please let Mr. Bradshaw know by email as soon as possible and we'll make it happen (mark.bradshaw@waterford.sz).

ABRSM exams

ABRSM exams are on the 24th October. Please encourage your children to practise. Mr. Eze and Mr. Bradshaw will mentor students through the preparations and help to get them ready, alongside the instrumental staff.


Parent’s Evening and Meetings

On Thursday 17th October, there will be a Parent’s Evening. The Phase Coordinators will send out invitations to parents and guardians who teachers wish to meet to discuss the progress of a student. If you do not receive an invitation and would nevertheless still like to meet with teachers, please contact the Phase Coordinator:

Forms 1 – 3: Mrs. van Rensburg:  kirstie.vanrensburg@waterford.sz

Forms 4 – 5: Mr. Muyambo:   igcse@waterford.sz

IBDP:  Ms. Cummergen:  elizabeth.cummergen@waterford.sz

There will also be important meetings for Form 2, Form 3 and Form 4 parents and guardians on 17th October:

16: 30:  Nyatsela Meeting for Form 2 Parents and Guardians in the Michael Stern Assembly Hall

17. 30:  Meeting for Form 4 parents and guardians in the Lecture Lab to discuss planning for their children’s education after IGCSE.

17.30:  Meeting for Form 3 parents, guardians and students in the Michael Stern Assembly Hall to discuss subject options for Form 4.


IB2 Graduation

The school’s IBDP Class of 2019 graduation ceremony is scheduled for Saturday 23rd November 2019, starting at 17h30 at Esibayeni Lodge. Esibayeni Lodge is located near the Matsapha International Airport, off the main Mbabane highway. This year’s graduating class is a cohort of 117 students, representing 42 nationalities. The event will include presentation of certificates, speeches and a variety of musical and dance performances. The ceremony will be followed by dinner served around 19h30 and further entertainment by students. Further information about the graduation events will be provided in the coming weeks.


University Visits

This evening we have Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) visiting the campus. Next week Thursday we will be visited by Concordia and Connecticut universities. All presentations take place at Emhlabeni residence; starting at 06:30 pm. Parents are welcome to attend.

University Fair

On Monday 14th October we are hosting 19 universities from 7 countries. They will exhibit and answer questions from our IBDP students. Parents are more than welcome to attend. The fair will start at 3pm in the Cafeteria and conclude at 4.30pm. We look forward to seeing local parents there.


Sporting Activities

Volleyball: Today, our under 14 and 16 boys and girls teams left for a tournament at the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ) in South Africa, and  they will return on Sunday.

Basketball: Our under 16 boys and girls teams are participating in a tournament at Enjabulweni High School in Manzini, eSwatini, tomorrow.

Athletics: This weekend we host AISJ for International Athletics Competition that will take place on Waterford campus tomorrow.

We wish our teams the best of luck.


Reminder of important dates

        Sunday 6th October – IBDP Visual Arts Exam Exhibition

        Friday 11th October – Music Concert

        Sunday 27th October – PSA Golf Day

        Friday 15th November – Form 5 Graduation

        Saturday 23rd November – IB2 Graduation


School fees

I know our continual appeals about outstanding school fees occasionally feels like harassment by some of our parents, but please bear with me. There is a very simple relationship that determines the education we offer our students. 65% of the fees paid by our parents are used to pay teacher (and other staff salaries) and 35% are used to pay for other costs (transport, supplies, maintenance, energy, etc.) Quite simply if we don’t collect the fees, then we cannot pay the teachers.

Earlier today I met with the Bursar and Debtors clerk to go through the list of those that owe the school over E10, 000. In summary a total of 238 students (nearly 40% of our total enrolment) are owing a total sum of E10.727 million (12.9% of our annual turnover). Please can I appeal to all our families to meet their obligations to the school, and please make sure you are in touch with Mrs. Fraser to discuss a payment plan if you are struggling to meet your obligations. I am afraid we also had to make hard decisions today about fee exclusions, which will be communicated to the affected parties in the next few days.

Your assistance in this regard is greatly appreciated.


Any Questions?

If you have any questions and feedback, please don’t hesitate to send an email to principal@waterford.sz. If the question is of broad interest, it will be published (with the permission of the writer and without the name) in the newsletter.

Parents are also encouraged to be in touch with their child’s tutor or residential head for any matters about which they may be concerned.


Kind Regards

Stephen Lowry


© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2020

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