20 Oct 2017

More than 1000 delegates from over 180 schools across 50 countries heard the call to “Unite to Ignite the Fire Within” and converged on Cape Town, South Africa, for this year’s Round Square International Conference. Among them, representing College, were Year 12 students Junie Wee and Cameron Jones.

“It was amazing, totally awesome. Travelling to Africa, meeting people from all over the world, sharing ideas and experiences … it was a real eye-opener,” says Cameron.

The conference was hosted and organised by local schools St George’s Grammar, Bridge House and St Cyprian’s. They ran both combined and simultaneous programmes under the overarching conference theme, with activities that also reflected the IDEALS of Round Square.

Four keynote speakers gave participants plenty to think about. Lorne Sulcas – The Big Cat Guy – applied his observations of the animal world to human experience, suggesting patience and planning would ultimately lead to success. Wildlife vet and anti-poaching crusader Dr William Fowlds talked about his efforts to save the critically endangered rhino and the importance of caring for the environment. Caleb Swanepoel described the trauma of losing a leg in a shark attack and how surviving such a horrific experience sparked his strong sense of gratitude and passion for life. Singer-songwriter Zolani Mahola, lead singer of South African band Freshlyground, spoke about the importance of unity, of listening to each other’s stories and understanding our common humanity.

Other activities included an “Amazing Race” around Cape Town’s waterfront and tourist attractions, sharing ideas in “baraza” (meeting place) discussion groups, a service day spent helping out at a school in need, and an adventure day. Cameron went surfing at Muizenberg Beach and was thrilled to spot a pod of whales swimming offshore, while Junie trekked to Cape Point, the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent.

Both Junie and Cameron agree it was an unforgettable, inspirational trip, and being part of the Round Square network of schools opens up extraordinary opportunities. RSIC 2017 ran from Saturday 30 September to Thursday 5 October.