Pinelands High School introduced a new school crest and motto after ditching the old ‘Van Riebeeck’ crest which created was when the school was first established nearly seven decades ago.

“This is a historic day in the sixty-nine-year history of our school, as over three years of work and consultation come to fruition in a new symbol which we believe captures the spirit and values of our school”.

Pinelands High School

Pinelands High School crest: What you need to know

Outdated ‘Jan Van Riebeeck crest

Bethany Toohey, the representative council of learners (RCL), explains that a group of students on the RCL raised concern about problematic symbols and the meaning of the school’s crest back in 2017.

Toohey said it was established on review that “there were problematic symbols in the crest related to South Africa’s colonial past”. The original crest included symbols from Jan Van Riebeeck’s family coat of arms.

The process was very tedious but very communal and democratic. We tried to communicate as much as we can with the school community… It’s been a long process but to see it come now while I’m still serving at Pinelands is an honour.

Bethany Toohey, RCL chairperson

Designing a new crest

The school, therefore, agreed to “reimagine a new crest” which would represent the school’s true values. Head student Connor Smith that a competition was launched and 21 designs were received from students, staff and parents.

Three designs were shortlisted by the Pinelands High School governing body. He explains that the chosen designs were given to a professional design agency “to be refined and show consistency in the quality of the design”.

The result? A school crest which features politically-neutral symbols such as a book, a protea, Table Mountain, and a sunburst which now more accurately conveys the school’s spirit and values, according to Principal Dave Cambell.

The new crest tells a story of growth, development and upward movement.

Head Student Zanele Guga

Pinelands High School motto

In addition to the crest, the school also needed a new motto. Many felt that motto at the bottom of the crest was outdated and inaccessible. The design agency also advised that the motto should be reviewed.

The new motto is “Diversity, Eenheid, and Ukukhula” to represent the school’s African relevance. Translated to English: “Diversity, Unity and Growth.”

Zanele explains that “these words will represent the progression from [the school’s] diversity to its unity, to its growth”. It also incorporates the three major languages in the region: English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

Speaking to John Maytham on Cape Talk, Principal Campbell said “it was a necessary change and the right thing to do”. He acknowledged that some might not understand the change, and see it as “erasing history”.

“I think the response to that is we are not trying to erase history. We are recognising history and also recognising the injustice of the past”.

Principal Dave Campbell

Now read: Port Elizabeth has a new name – Gqeberha

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Presh JM Reporter

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