Floreat Primary School celebrates a rich history of 50 years.

The Floreat Primary School Family

Today I was privileged to participate in Floreat Primary Schools celebration of serving the Steenberg community for 50 years. I sat there as the school shared their rich history with us. The storytellers were principals, teachers and students who helped to build the school's identity.

school choir

Storytellers link past to present

Each storyteller added a layer of memories that forms the Floreat Primary School narrative. Mr Ellis, a  past teacher shared the origin of Floreat Primary school. He described how the first principal, Mr Combrinck, demanded that the school be built of brick and mortar, else he was not prepared to head the new school. At the time, 1965, forced removals were well underway and the school was meant for the coloured Steenberg community. Had Mr Combrinck not insisted on a solid structure for the school building, Floreat Primary school would probably have been a prefabricated structure. This said Mr Ellis, would have been an insult to the community and an acceptance of the second class citizenship status that the then Apartheid regime subjected blacks to.

Spiritual dancers

Current students dressed in the elegant Floreat uniform welcomed guests to the Thanksgiving service.  The head girl and boy presented us with the South African flag and led us when we sang our national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' IAfrika.  Past students opened the ceremony with prayers and their fellow students of 2015 entertained us with music and dance. Past students paid homage to their teachers, recalling memories from way back when Grade 1 was Sub A while a new alumnus shared her Floreat journey that ended in 2014.

 Every speaker acknowledged the role Floreat Primary school had played in shaping their identity. We heard how teachers have influenced the speakers' character and their career choice.

In his speech, Noel Isaacs, the current Head of the school, acknowledged the contributions of principals, teachers and students of the past and the present by presenting each group to the receptive audience. This touching moment spoke volumes. The joy and connectedness were priceless.

It is important to know your history.

Our past is our legacy. Our history is our storehouse of memories, reminding us where we come from, what experiences shaped us to be who we are today and how we can use those lessons of life as we carve our future. It is our cultural heritage; our connection with those who shared our lives. 

To ignore the richness of your past is to dismiss your roots to help you define who you are. If we want to build relationships and understand ourselves and others, we need to reconnect with our past - good and bad - and use our shared memories to carve new directions.

We should continue telling our children all our stories all the time so that they know the wealth of memories that they already have. Withholding the glory of our shared histories is the biggest injustice we will commit against our future generations. 

The extended members of the Floreat Staff


Floreat's 50th anniversary celebrations serve a much bigger purpose than ticking the party box. Today we saw the power of what a committed community can achieve. Floreat Primary School has a solid foundation and a shared vision of offering superior education for the young people they served, are serving and will be serving in the future.

Well done to Noel and his broader school community for keeping the Floreat Flag of Excellence flying high.

Zaida Johnson, an HOD at Floreat Primary School


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