Limpopo – Leandrè Buys: Merensky High School Speech Title - IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE The Prophet said: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another. **** Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am Leandré Buys, and I will show you that the search for excellence begins within each of us, for the vision of one man lends not its wings to another. **** I believe that I can aspire to excellence only – if I have the responsibility to do what I have to do, if I have the wisdom to choose correctly, and if I have the perseverance to continue when everyone else has given up. Who is your teacher, your guide, the one who awakens your inner search? Who leads you to the threshold of your own mind? Is it a god, a fairy-godmother, the Holy Trinity, or your conscience? It doesn’t really matter who or what it is, the important thing is that something or someone guides you, to do what you have to do to choose correctly to persevere whatever happens. Do I have the inner strength to rise above all circumstances, to be the best person that I could possibly be? When I was a baby, I became very sick, and my parents worried and cried. But I pulled through. Was it my own inner strength that saved me, or was it pure grace? I don’t know. I do know that both my parents overcame great difficulties in their lives, and grew stronger and stronger. I surely hope that I inherited some of their resilience! We all have mutual role models who have shown remarkable courage and strength, and I will face the future with them in mind. There is Nelson Mandela, who endured 27 years in prison and became one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. There was Dr Chris Barnard, who did the first successful heart transplant, and Oscar Pistorius, who without any legs became one of our greatest sportsmen. Mark Shuttleworth, our own space man, who came back to earth and invested millions to educate our young. Miriam Makeba, who went into exile for her beliefs, and the Jazz legend Thandi Klaassen, who overcame that terrible tragedy during her teens when someone threw acid in her face. Don’t forget the great newspaper man Aggrey Klaaste, editor of the Sowetan from 1988 to 2002, who started the wonderful nation building initiative, culminating amongst other successes in this very young communicators project. And President Jacob Zuma, who grew up from a shepherd boy into our current State President. Even seemingly ordinary people can be our role models. On election day, Wednesday 22 April, the Sowetan carried a most inspiring story of such resilience and courage. On 21 April, during the special voting day for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women, an old lady of 134 years voted in Limpopo. Moloko Temo had been blind for more than 50 years and was believed to be the oldest person alive. Don’t you think that she showed true character and excellence in her last days on earth? Moloko died peacefully in her sleep on 3 June this year – just a month before her 135th birthday! Each of these courageous people acted responsibly; each of them made a conscious decision to strive for excellence; each of them persevered against all odds. I started my speech by quoting from Kahlil Gibran’s famous book The Prophet. Allow me also to conclude with his thoughts. **** The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm, nor the voice that echoes it. For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another.