Our House System
Transforming our House Names
Recently, in conjunction with Wynberg Girls’ High School (WGHS), we committed ourselves to a journey of transformation, with a view of creating a more inclusive space.
The renaming of the Houses within our school was part of this process. While for some the previous House names did not have a huge impact, the reality was that many of the original WGHS Houses (with some shared by WGJS) were named after things associated with the Duke of Wellington, and therefore, could have been hurtful as they are associated with Wynberg Girls’ Schools’ colonial past (as a collective).
In this way, the original names of the houses were extremely problematic to some of our past and present learners and staff, and evoked feelings of exclusion. In changing the House names we did not intend to erase or change anyone’s memory of their time at Wynberg, but rather aimed to acknowledge the hurt that the names inflicted for some and change them to something more relevant to our South African community and heritage.
We collaborated with Wynberg Girls’ High School whose House Renaming Committee was tasked with creating new categories from which new names would be chosen.
A number of factors were considered when choosing the various categories that would be up for a vote. These included, but were not limited to: the need for 8 potential names from one category (to account for WGHS’ eight houses; the translations of categories and their potential names and the meanings thereof – to ensure that none could be potentially offensive; the ability of potential category names to be used as chants and so on.
The first round of voting appealed to students, staff, parents and alumna members to choose their favourite category. Flora was the winning result.
Another round of voting then saw the Wynberg community consider various potential names for their houses, all from the Flora category. Name options were provided based on species that are endemic to the Western Cape, and most specifically, the Constantiaberg region, as well as names that did not have potentially offensive translations or meanings and that were also able to be chanted easily.