An Update from the President, Mr Grant Little
Highlights of 2020 & the Year Ahead
Good day fellow OCs around the globe.
I trust this messages finds you and your loved ones in good health and positioned for a great 2021.
2020 was certainly filled with a number of challenges, but as the old African proverb goes, smooth seas do not make good sailors.
Smooth seas is something that our intrepid explorer – Grant Blakeway (1982) is hoping for on the last few days of his epic single handed row across the Atlantic – follow his escapades, which started on the eastern Atlantic on 12 December – and now almost 8 weeks later, he is expected to arrive in La Gomera, Antigua, some 5000 km later, on around 7 or 8 February – which will be livestreamed and hold a MCOBA connection! – https://www.facebook.com/teamblakeway
While 2020 certainly saw a few sad events with a number of notable OCs passing, and sadly Mr Dave Beetar, recently retired Head Master of Merchiston whom the MCOBA had just awarded Honorary Membership to, but sadly he passed on before we could give him his certificate. May all these men rest in peace, and may their families have the strength and peace that surpasses human understanding in this time.
Reunion and branch functions also were put paid to, and the idea of sharing a drink on Goldstones after the 1st XV match, the really successful mentoring program for the junior boarders and our annual Veteran’s luncheon all fell in the wake of government social distancing and lockdown regulations.
However, not to be daunted, the College Dog emerged and the MCOBA office and Exec knuckled down to start delivering and providing value to our community.
Delivery, Engagement and Communication have become the buzzwords guiding us and we trust that you have experienced some of this in your personal space. I’d like to highlight a list of some of the achievements attained by the MCOBA in 2020 – and trust that this will make YOUR Association more relevant and value adding to you as an old boy.
- Appointment of Sue Buchanan-Clarke and Zinhle Cele in the office
- First virtual AGM attended by OCs from around the globe
- Entrenchment of the working relationship with College Business (an operational support team within the school)
- Restarting the Weaner project aimed at assisting College rugby primarily
- Mentorship program for the boys held 2 sessions before lockdown
- A new Vice President (and with the new Virtual environment we operate in, the first not based in KZN – but rather Cape Town)
- New IT infrastructure and laptops for the office
- Documentation and policies developed for key areas such as Communication, College Connect. database management etc.
- Celebration of the 1st recorded rugby match on African soil (150 years ago versus Hermannsburg) – consider this when seeign the England RFU celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Calcutta Cup only this week
- Initial preparation +for the 125th anniversary of the MCOBA in 2022
- Reunion 2021 planning – we await government guidance on this
- Revisited the MCOBA strategy and alignment with all school bodies (Indaba 2.1)
- A mandate to donate R1 million to the 100 Million for College campaign once it kicks off again
- A vibrant newsletter with a diverse set of interviews with global OCs, from airline pilots, doctors on the forefront of COVID in Khayelitsha to OCs on staff now. This will continue to be a monthly feature and we plan to expand the format and content to meet your needs
- R300,000 was donated from the Weaner project and MCOBA funds to assist the school with their improved rugby programme
- R280,000 was donated to the school to upgrade and improve the High Performance Centre and gym facilities
- Induction of the Class of 2020 took place with the presentation of a special lapel pin to each boy
- An online shop for MCOBA was launched and a range of exclusive memorabilia is now available for shipping globally (https://www.mmsmarketing.co.za/product-category/mcoba/)
- The MCOBA logo, tie and blazer has been standardised to ensure consistency between various logos that were in circulation
- MCOBA contributed to the School Alumni association of SA (SASSA) conference as a speaker
- We were represented on a number of key initiatives around the school, including the boarder and dayboy admissions; the appointment of the Manager of College Business & the Director of Rugby interviews; The school Social Awareness Committee; Strategy research groups and all the other associated bodies
- The presentation of a replica trophy from the Dubai Desert Classic (concluded this past week with OC and Club Captain Boyd Edmondson handing the trophy to the winner Paul Casey
- We held a few branch functions, including a trip to parliament with the Western cape branch
While this list is not exhaustive, it certainly highlights the fact that the MCOBA is not sitting idly waiting for the situation to change. We are driving the change and preparing the path forward.
I thank you for each and every one of you who have paid your subs, have contributed to our various initiatives and remained in contact with the office.
I thank you for the privilege of being able to lead this dynamic Executive Committee to serve our Association. I ask that as we are looking to engage and deliver a relevant and value adding service to you, that you too, return that engagement and provide us with the valuable inputs and feedback that we need. I thank you for your time and wish you all a safe, prosperous and successful 2021.
Hoping to hear from you in the near future as we take the #RedBlackWhite onwards and upwards.
Jimelayo Ji – Pro Aris et Focis