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Current Petrean News

Speech Day 2020 – Guest of Honour – Mr Vic Paunganwa

The Chairman of the Executive Committee Mr. Simon Hammond, the Rector Mr. J Trafford, The Headmistress of Peterhouse Girls Mrs. C. Hough, Governors, my former colleagues - the esteemed staff of Peterhouse Boys and Girls, the young ladies and gentlemen of Peterhouse, invited guests. It is indeed a delight and a privilege to share this special occasion with you all. After all that has happened or should I say not taken place this year, I am glad that we have managed to recognize and reward the accomplishments of these high achievers. Congratulations to all the prize winners of 2020.

I was one of those lucky teachers who always seemed to end up on a tour. While I was here at Peterhouse I must have held the record for the most tours attended (maybe Mr. Banda may have done more because he also organized national team tours). Annual Triathlon and Hockey tours to South Africa; a rugby tour to England; I even got roped in to a B Block Chimanimani trip. I have fond memories of climbing up Kweza mountain with Mrs. Shoesmith and a bunch of B Block Boys, singing ‘Jayz on my feet’, just to take the mind off the pain. I thoroughly enjoyed these adventures and it was in these settings outside of the classroom that the true character of Peterhouse pupils was molded and truly revealed. Allow me to reminisce and share with you some of our experiences and what I came to understand about Peterhouse boys and girls.


I will never forget the 2006 tour to Michael House, KwaZulu-Natal. Of course, it was Mr. Banda and I taking the boys first team hockey side on yet another tour. The regular coach Mr. Scott-Elliot was unable to travel with the team because Mrs. Scott-Elliot had just had Chloe. This is why I was requested to be stand in coach. The top SA private schools were at this prestigious Easter Festival and our first match was against St John’s (JHB) who quickly showed us that we were in for a tough weekend by destroying us 8-0. Since our brother school had come out to support us, later that day we returned the favour and watched Michael House beat that same team that had left us in disarray. You can only imagine what was going through the minds of our boys as they knew that their final match would be against Michael House. I don’t know what Gareth “Chappy” Chapman, our captain said to the team that night… maybe he called a ‘School Meeting’… but you could clearly see the desire and the determination to succeed in their faces when they ran on against St David’s for their second match, the following morning. We drew 2-2 with St David’s College and this further lifted the team’s belief that the mountain that was Michael House could be moved. For the sake of time I will not go into the details of our final match of the festival but we were victorious… 4-3. I saw that day that House Kings never give up and when they pull together and work as a team with a common purpose, nothing is impossible.

The tour to England was the most glamorous of all the tours I have been on because we played some of the most impressive schools in UK; Oundle, Uppingham, Oakham, Selbourne and Bryanston. I want to encourage you, the leavers, to keep and maintain the network of friends which you have developed in your time here. Get involved in Petrean events and always look for ways to support each other in your various endeavours. That tour in 2012 was made possible due to the Peterhouse connections in all these schools. At Oundle the House Mistress of senior girls was the daughter of Alan Megahey the third Rector of Peterhouse. After leaving Peterhouse Rev. Alan Megahey went on to be chaplain at Uppingham the second school we played. At Oakham we found, an ex-Director of Sport Mr. Ashley Denman who helped us immensely with our logistics. Our tour kit was sponsored by Savoy, a company owned by a friend of Mr. Hough and we spent our first week at Hartpury University training, due to the friendship which Miss Mansfield had with one of the leaders there. We had a superb tour where we were victorious in three of the five matches played, however, I would like to highlight only the second match against Uppingham. Their 1st XV, which included some England U18 players, had just returned from a tour in SA where they had been successful so they were confident that they would make ‘mincemeat’ of us. At half time the score was 0-19 in their favour and when the boys gathered for drinks and a team talk, they were looking like they had been in a war zone. I don’t entirely remember the half time talk but I clearly recall Mr. Scott Gray, our head coach, taking the fly-half Brendon Mandivenga to the side and having a quick one on one with him. The second half witnessed some of the best school boy rugby that I have ever seen. Young Mandi was absolutely outstanding, putting on a thrilling and jaw dropping performance. He displayed his true potential and scored 21 points to win us the match. The Oundle coach whose son was the England U18 fly-half told us after that match, that Brendon would comfortably take his son’s place. As you go out into the world, don’t ever believe that you are inferior to your counterparts. This great school produces young men and women, including you, who can achieve incredible things on the global stage. Don’t hold back from shining your light and being the best, you can be. To be brilliant does not make others feel inadequate but rather lifts and inspires others to also shine. Because our play maker was outstanding in that second half, every player in the team raised their standard resulting in a memorable victory for the team.

In 2014 I saw in a triathlete display a level of hard work and perseverance which I had never seen before. Serena “Beanz” Rendell had not been the fastest swimmer at Peterhouse Girls, nor was she the leading distance runner, she wasn’t even the best triathlete in her age group in Zimbabwe but she had a big dream, a strong desire and she decided that she would do whatever it took to get to the Youth Olympics. After dedicating much of her time to training she achieved her dream and represented our nation in Nanjing China. It is hard to believe that our small triathlon club, from little old Marondera could produce such a world-class athlete. What makes my heart sing, is that PHG continues to produce young ladies of a very high caliber, who are focused and determined to be the best that they can be while pursuing their dreams. One of your peers, Andie Kuipers is an example. She is absent today because she is already in pursuit of her dreams.

I hope that these three true stories, of a small part of my experience here, will encourage you to go forth with confidence in the knowledge that you are fully equipped and well able to excel at anything that you set your mind to.

My heart goes out to you the Leavers of 2020. What a strange year this has been, however, much has been gained from all the adversities faced. We have all been in the same storm but definitely not in the same boat, so our experiences differ. May I quickly highlight what this year has proved true to me… Time is precious and we ought to value it more. If you, the leaders of Tinokura and Tatanga, had known that you had only one term to pass on the values of this school to the D Block, you would have done more with them. If you all knew that you would go six months without seeing your teachers, you would have used your time better in Vth form and in the first term this year. If you had known that there would be no winter sports in 2020, you would have given more time to improving your skills so that you could get a chance to represent your teams at the highest level in 2019. I could go on and on but you get the message. Make the most of the time and the opportunities you have so that you live with no regrets no matter what storms come your way.

This year has proved the real value of teachers and that this type of education is still the best in the world. We have seen many industries disrupted in recent years and some even destroyed by technology. However, I am sure that all stakeholders, whether parents, staff or pupils will agree that they would rather have the girls and boys here than working online. I encourage the older teachers though, to expand on what we have learned this year and make technology an even greater component of our everyday lessons.

Lockdowns also proved and reminded the world that we are relational beings who cannot live without being in relationship with others. As I have mentioned earlier, keep in touch with your friends. Not just on gadgets, but in real life. Attend Petrean functions wherever you end up in the world and return for reunions and the annual Petreans’ weekend…even if you know that Falcon will win (I had to throw that in for my friends). Keep in touch with your teachers, we do love to hear from you. Most importantly stay connected with your family. Family is more important than any money you will make or anything that you will achieve in this life.

Thank you for embracing this Falcon boy, my wife and my children, into the extended Peterhouse family and thank you for granting me this incredible privilege of being your Guest of Honour. Congratulations once again to the prize winners of 2020. May the Lord Bless you all indeed.

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