Wynberg Boys’ schools’ flag reaches South Pole

Andre Conradie unfurls the Wynberg Boys’ High and Junior schools’ flag at the South Pole. Photograph: supplied

The Wynberg Boys’ High and Junior schools’ flag was unfurled at the South Pole by past pupil Andre Conradie on Friday January 12.

Mr Conradie, 61, of Plumstead, carries on a tradition of taking the schools’ spirit and pride to all corners of the earth.

The Follow the Wynberg Flag campaign was envisaged as a build-up to the schools’ 175th celebrations and saw the flag criss-cross towns, cities, and continents carried by current and past pupils, staff, and the school’s extended community.

According to Chris Merrington, the school’s digital media coordinator, the campaign started in 2014, during the schools’ founders’ day celebrations and was given an official send-off by the then premier, Helen Zille, at her official residence at Leeuwenhof. The flag officially returned during the school’s 175th anniversary Heritage Week in August 2016.

In July last year, the campaign saw the flag accompany the high school’s economics department tour to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and it is also set to be carried to the Olympic Games in Paris later this year by two old boys who coach the Indian men’s hockey team, says Mr Merrington.

In August 2021, the opportunity arose for Mr Conradie – the junior school’s former estate manager who now works for a tour operator that runs expeditions to Antarctica – to carry the schools’ flag there, but this was thwarted by the narrow weather windows for just over two years.

“Being a Wynberg old boy and a member of the Old Boys’ Union, I have been following the flag, so when the potential arose to get the flag across to Antarctica, I jumped at the opportunity… This all had to align with the weather window, space availability and the actual flight planning,” said Mr Conradie.

“I started my schooling career in what was then Sub A and completed my matric 12 years later in 1980. I have been to many old boys’ dinners, both in Johannesburg and Cape Town.”

His wife, Nicki, still works at Wynberg Girls’ Junior School as the principal’s personal assistant, and both of the couple’s daughters attended Wynberg Girls’ High School, the youngest having just matriculated.

“So Wynberg campus of schools is in my blood,” said Mr Conradie.