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Keep Going, Don’t Stop Running

“So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy… just keep going. Don’t
stop running. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where
“there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop” – Phil Knight, Shoe Dog.

Over the years, it has become a sentimental Nova Pioneer metaphor to liken the organic growth of the
schools to that of a baby. By gradually opening new campuses, introducing new grade levels and
continuously expanding our horizons, Nova Pioneer has slowly learnt how to crawl, walk and fend for
itself in a fast-changing world. But given the supreme operational and academic performance of the
school in the past year, I would suggest we have gone a step further – Nova Pioneer has been running all
along. In our relentless pursuit of High Expectations, we have definitely done ourselves proud in the most
challenging of times.

On exciting developments, I wish to extend my congratulations to Nova Pioneer Ormonde in electing its first female Student Committee Chair, Zewande Phiri. Having had the honour of being Chair myself in 2019, I firmly believe Zewande’ leadership prowess, social intelligence and stellar academic record make her the immaculate, well-rounded individual needed to lead the school’s student body. I wish her, along with Emmanuel Manzini, Zanele Mlambo, Zainub Butt, Chinedu Edward, Atiyyah Ally and Declan Watson, all the luck, energy and will-power in guiding the student body in this difficult moment in time. The Class of 2021 has always left an uplifting impression on me in demonstrating an unrelenting willingness and enthusiasm for leadership – now embrace your roles as model custodians and servant leaders with the same vigour you have shown over the past 5 years. You are nearing the finish line – keep going, don’t stop running.

In the most challenging of periods in history, Nova Pioneer has successfully adapted to the changes forced by the pandemic. The psychological strength shown by all stakeholders during this difficult period in human history has inspired me beyond comprehension. In the most arduous periods of our short history as a group of schools, we have not lost our values or ethics. In the face of calamity, we have not stopped running. Moreover, the anticipated opening of a secondary school in the Midrand reinforces this truth. In spite of the cataclysmic happenings around us, we have not lost sight of our mission to have 100 schools across Africa within 10 years. I celebrate the global leadership team, school managements teams, ground staff, admin staff, all educators, students and parents for their ‘Solutions First’ approach and unabating efforts to steer the organisation through the darkest of times.

It is no surprise that our alumni, or living founders, are placed in the best universities, colleges and leadership academies on the continent and abroad as well. This speaks to an inherent resilience and intelligence, as well as the infinite post-school possibilities Nova Pioneer offers its students. In this regard, it is imperative that a formally constructed and recognised alumni network across Africa is acknowledged as a necessity. Establishing an official platform for former students to interact, network and collectively find solutions to Africa’s challenges will be a seismic step towards the African utopia we all strive to witness in our lifetime. It is without doubt that creating and revitalising the synergy between Nova Pioneer alumni such as Jeanne Sere, Wairimu Wahome, Ntando Makwela, Phillip Mburu and Taskeen Hoosen, just to name a few, would be a significant stride not only for Nova Pioneer, but the African continent at large. Ensuring access for alumni to a pan-African network of alumni and resources to keep them running beyond the finish line per se of a Cambridge A Level certificate, is a path we ought to explore. This is because, as a pan-African network of schools, we ultimately have a decisive responsibility to develop lasting mechanisms to ensure that our alumni collaborate in creating ground-breaking African solutions for African problems.

Lastly, I wish to extend to you a recommendation to a new platform – The JM Podcast – where we have conversations that will narrate and shape the trajectory of Africa’s future. In the spirit of Greater Together, the podcast will be run by myself and Kagiso Ramaboea, a fellow living founder of Nova Pioneer Ormonde. Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that External Relations Associate Manager at Nova Pioneer Kenya, Robert Omondi, who has recently been offered a scholarship at Duke University, will feature in season one of the podcast alongside Vahin Naka, a student at our Ormonde campus. This podcast is an expression of our vision of a unified, connected and self-reliant Africa. Be sure to integrate an hour of the profound insights and ideas from The JM Podcast into your weekly routine.

My final words to you are – ‘keep going’. Never let up. Whether this be in our personal lives which are fraught with eternal struggle, or your academic or professional career which pushes you to your limits – any aspect of your life which requires your strength and endurance. Never let up. Class of 2021, don’t stop running; put in the extra hours that will guarantee you success. Keep going; you will do it. Nova Pioneer, let’s keep running for the betterment of our continent, of its future and of its people. Let us never lose sight of our crucial role in the unending pursuit of the pioneer dream.


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