A new school crest was introduced for Pinelands High School because the previous one had symbols directly linked to South Africa’s colonial history.
The original school crest was launched in 1952, which was the same year of Pinelands High School’s establishment.
Principal Dave Campbell said: “Some students and staff members approached the school management in 2017 to indicate that they were unhappy with the link between the symbols and South Africa’s colonial past. This was the catalyst that set in motion a process to develop a new crest.”
He said the crest has three yellow annulets (circles) which came directly from the Van Riebeek family crest. The designer of the founding crest noted that it was done to coincide with the tercentenary of Van Riebeeck’s landing at the Cape which was linked to colonialism.
“Having a crest with symbols linked directly to our country’s colonial past was clearly problematic. We are a diverse, inclusive and progressive school which strives in our vision statement ‘to be a school which is rooted in Africa’. We want to be a school where all students are able to wear their badge with pride and know that they belong,” said Mr Campbell.
A competition was launched at the school to design a new crest while following a detailed brief of the school’s mission, culture, colours and values. The competition was open to all the staff, pupils, parents, guardians, alumni and members of the broader community.
The new crest has a book, a protea, Table Mountain and a sunburst.
Mr Campbell said: “The book is the universal symbol of learning, the protea is part of our unique Western Cape fynbos as well as our national flower, Table Mountain roots us in Cape Town, which is the backdrop to our school and our lives and the sunburst represents light and hope for the future.”
He said a change of this magnitude in the life of the school needed careful management, discourse and collaboration. The approach was to consult widely, to obtain professional advice and to ensure that stakeholders were constantly communicated with.
The entire process took just over three years. This involved early discussions in late 2017 until the final design was completed.
“A process which started with some stress and pain has ended in peace, harmony and a sense of hope for the future. The new crest has been greeted with excitement and approval by the majority in our school community, including our alumni,” Mr Campbell said.
Bethany Toohey, chairperson of the Pinelands High 2021 Representative Council of Learners, said: “It’s still quite surreal that as the matrics of 2021, we will leave with the knowledge that we got to witness history being made. The whole process of changing the crest started when we were in Grade 8. As said before, changing the crest was not aiming to completely cover up our past but to truly represent the values of our school and show who we are now and what we would like to become.”
She said the whole process of producing the crest has shown that if the school was able to listen to the pupils and acknowledge the missteps in their journey then there really isn’t anything stopping the school from creating a brighter and better present and future.