Thirty years is an incredible milestone and a wonderful occasion to celebrate the many achievements and changes since that initial period in 1984. South Africa was a very different place thirty years ago: the United Democratic Front had just been launched, many of our leaders were behind bars, the apartheid system was firmly entrenched and as a result, future prospects for young people like those at Spine Road High School were very limited.
Thirty years on we find ourselves in a South Africa, where we will celebrate twenty years of democracy, we have put in place several provisions not to dismantle the apartheid system but also to rebuild our society. Building our democratic society has not been easy and we have not yet reached the goal of improving the life of every South African. However, we live in a country where it is possible for young people to have a very different future to that of their parents and grandparents but only if they choose it. For South Africans to have a better future, our young people must understand that by their actions today they can transform the future. The seeds you plant, whether it is academic competence, sporting ability or artistic talent, will bear fruit in the future. As with building our democratic society, it will not be easy, it will require a great deal of determination on your part. Scientists have found that quite often highly successful people spend about 10 000 hours practicing their passion – I’m not suggesting that you do that but simply that you can only achieve whatever you set out to if you choose.
The past 30 years has seen Spine Road High grow into a school where it is able to compete with the best that the country has to offer. I wish you every success for the next thirty years.