St Stithians Girls' College Shines at RSIC2023 in Kenya

October 27, 2023 | Girls’ College | Author: Esme Momberg, St Stithians Girls' College

In a global gathering of young minds, St Stithians Girls' College represented South Africa with grace and intellect at the RSIC2023 (Round Square International Conference) in Kenya, held in October 2023. The event brought together students from around the world to discuss critical global issues, foster cultural exchange, and forge lasting friendships. The Saints delegation, comprising Caitlyn Bosman, Tolamo Modise, and Erin Shipway, made their presence felt on this international stage.

Accompanied by their dedicated mentors, TC Nkosi-Mnanzana and E Momberg, these inspiring young leaders embarked on a lifetime journey, leaving a profound impact on the conference attendees.


The RSIC2023 started with the pre-conference expertly arranged by Mrs G Maruggi of St Stithians Boys' College. The serene and picturesque Mara Simba Lodge in the heart of the Maasai Mara was chosen for the pre-conference activities. Here, the students engaged in building bonds with fellow delegates from various schools around the world, while absorbing the spectacular natural beauty that surrounded them.





St Stithians College was joined by five like-minded schools from different corners of the globe:

●      St Cyprian's School, Cape Town: A distinguished institution from the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa

●      Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, Atlanta, USA: Representing the United States with their intellect and charm

●      Woodleigh School, Langwarrin South, Australia: Showcasing the educational excellence of the Land Down Under

●      Begemann Schule, Munich, Germany: Bringing a taste of German precision and innovation to the conference

●      Landheim Ammersee, Schondorf am Ammersee, Germany: Further enhancing the international flavour of RSIC2023

One of the highlights was visiting the Maasai villages where we engaged with the locals and learned about their way of life and their art and dance.


The large variety of souvenirs on offer at the village market made it difficult for us to be discerning buyers.


Nairobi, Kenya, was the vibrant setting for the Round Square International Conference (RSIC2023) hosted across two Brookhouse campuses, Karen and Runda, from the 8th to the 14th of October. With the captivating theme, "The New Africa," the conference welcomed delegates from around the world, providing an immersive experience into the continent's rich history, culture, and its dynamic role in the 21st century.


Brookhouse: Karen Campus


Brookhouse: Runda Campus

The RSIC2023 journey was set in motion with the opening ceremony, graced by a special guest, H E Margaret Kenyatta, the former First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. Her dedication to women's health, empowerment of the girl child, and her tireless efforts in environmental and wildlife conservation epitomize true servant leadership. In addition, we were inspired by two Brookhouse alumni:


Nikita Kering: An award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress, Nikita's success is an inspiring testament to the talent and potential of young Africans and Richard Turere: A TED speaker, children's author, and inventor of Lion Lights, Richard's journey showcased how innovation and determination can create meaningful change.

The conference mascot Kipekee, the Okapi, brought smiles to all the delegates' faces.



The RSIC2023 schedule was designed to offer a diverse and enriching experience. All delegates united for the Opening and Closing days, while the middle three days were dedicated to smaller group activities. Adventure, Service, and Democracy days provided an opportunity to explore Africa from different angles.

For St Stithians Girls' College, the adventure began with a memorable "Adventure Day" where students camped under the African skies in Nairobi National Park. The day included thrilling wildlife game drives and barazas with a strong focus on environmental conservation, immersing students in Africa's unique natural beauty and challenges.

Democracy Day at RSIC2023 was a celebration of African achievers. A remarkable lineup of guest speakers, each making a significant impact in their respective fields, shared their experiences and insights:

●      Larry Madowo: A CNN International correspondent and host of African Voices Change Makers and Playmakers series.

●      Bright Simons: A technology entrepreneur and President of the mPedigree phone-based system.

●      Ambassador Amina Mohamed: A former UN diplomat and founder of Amina Leadership, Integrity, Values & Excellence Foundation (ALIVE).

●      Christian Lambrechts: An environmentalist and Executive Director at Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, Kenya.

●      Peggy-Mativo Ochola: An educational entrepreneur and Executive Director at PACEMaker International.

●      Smriti Vidyathi: A broadcaster, news anchor, and host of NTV Wild Talk.

●      Dr Paula Kahumbu: Chief Executive Officer of Kenya/USA Conservation NGO Wildlife Direct and a Patron of Brookhouse School.

●      Pattern Odhiambo: A technology innovator and Electrical and Electronic Engineer.

●      Waihiga Mwaura: A Kenyan journalist and BBC presenter of Focus on Africa.

●      Jafer Abdikadir: An emerging technologies specialist and Software Engineer.

●      William Kamkwamba: An environmental entrepreneur, author, TED Fellow, and co-founder of Moving Windmills.


Democracy Day was followed by a homestay opportunity, fostering cultural exchange and understanding among delegates. The Brookhouse hosts from both the prep school as well as the high school were excited to show our students true Kenyan hospitality.

Service Day allowed participants to actively engage and serve in three different primary schools in Nairobi, connecting with local communities.




The conference reached its grand finale with a closing ceremony featuring keynote speaker Henry Wanyoike. Despite losing his sight overnight due to a stroke at the age of 20, Henry did not lose his vision. He aspired to be a world champion athlete and ventured into distance running, winning gold and silver medals in the marathon, half-marathon, 10 km road race, the 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters, and the 1,500 meters. His time of 2:31:31 at the Hamburg Marathon in 2005 remains a world record for blind runners.

RSIC2023 was a remarkable journey that celebrated Africa's dynamism, innovation, and culture. Delegates left with a deeper understanding of "The New Africa" and a renewed commitment to global unity, inspired by the outstanding stories and achievements they encountered. The legacy of RSIC2023 will continue to shape the next generation of leaders, leaving a lasting impact on the world.

As the RSIC2023 concluded, the students from St Stithians Girls' College returned home, enriched by their experiences, more globally aware, and equipped to be the leaders of tomorrow. This conference not only celebrated the unity in diversity but also showcased the immense potential of the youth in shaping a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

St Stithians Girls' College, along with their fellow delegates, are now more determined than ever to work together and bring about positive change in their communities and beyond. The RSIC2023 was not just a conference; it was an inspiring journey that has set the stage for a more united and harmonious world.

The official Round Square Conference video can be viewed here.

In their own words...

Caitlyn Bosman

The Round Square International Conference for 2023 was based around the theme of The New Africa. Hosted in Kenya, the conference focused on developing the theme through the ideals of Service, Democracy and Adventure.

Students from all over the world came together to discuss current issues, provide service to the community, immerse ourselves in the Kenyan culture and make ever-lasting memories.

The conference had many highlights, a few of which included the homestay evening. We were lucky enough to have families let us stay in their homes for one night, and it was a truly welcoming and enjoyable experience. We were also fortunate enough to be able to stay in the game reserve situated within Nairobi for one night to celebrate the spirit of adventure and gain insight into Kenya’s beautiful and diverse wildlife.

Along with the enriching and interactive activities and speakers, the International Conference allowed us to make lifelong friends all around the world and gain experiences that will never be forgotten.

Tolamo Modise

The Round Square Conference in 2023 was a life-changing experience that I will forever be grateful to have been a part of

The theme was the New Africa and based on Service, Democracy and Adventure

I got the opportunity to have many new and exciting experiences such as staying in a Kenyan home with amazing hospitality and was very welcoming. Having amazing and inspirational guests and speakers come and educate and inspire us. Going to the game reserve for the pre-conference and seeing all the beautiful views and animals on the game drives.

Seeing how beautiful Kenya and Africa can be helped me learn more about the world. Learning from all different cultures meeting people from different parts of the world and the amazing friends I made will forever be in my heart.

Round Square is a beyond wonderful experience that I will never forget

Erin Shipway

This year the Round Square International conference was hosted by Brookhouse School in Nairobi, Kenya. This conference was based on the theme of “A New Africa” which was focused on the themes of Democracy, Adventure and Service. I was lucky enough to be allowed to experience this conference and all it had to offer.

We had the most incredible time in Kenya throughout the 10 days we were there. We started off our tour with a three day Pre-conference in the Maasai Mara, where we were with 7 different schools including the Saints BC and GC. It was an unforgettable experience, with all the incredible animal sightings, going into a Maasai Village and seeing how they live as well as making new friends from all parts of the world.

After the Pre-conference, we started the real conference at the Brookhouse School, with a beautiful opening ceremony and two amazing campuses, Karen and Runda. Being able to meet people from all over the world, have conversations with them, exchange pins with and learn about different cultures. This was an experience of a lifetime for me.

Each focal point of a Free Africa was in turn allocated a day for our individual Barraza groups to learn about. My first day consisted of Adventure, where we went to explore the National Park of Nairobi. We stayed inside the park under the stars and went on game drives. The sightings were amazing as we saw Rhinos up close, a female lion on the hunt and many giraffes and zebras grazing with the buffalos.

On my second day, we explored Democracy. This was a day of fun activities set inside the school, such as an Amazing race. As a team, we needed to figure out where the task was placed and how we were going to solve the task. After the fun day of activities my friends, from Argentina, and I decided to jump into the pool as it was a boiling hot day. That evening, we were lucky enough to stay a night with a student from Brookhouse.

My homestay was so nice. Kela is 7 years old and attends Brookhouse. The Magawa family were so welcoming and caring, as they took me into their home as one of their own children. I enjoyed meeting them and learning about what they do and how their lifestyles differ from mine.

On our second last day, we explored the concept of Service. Service consisted of our groups going to less privileged schools and helping them renovate their facilities. We sanded down walls, painted and helped lay concrete. After we finished these tasks, we played with all the kids on the soccer field. Playing all sorts of games, braiding hair and telling stories. It was definitely a day to remember.

My best experience from this trip was being able to make new friends from all around the world. I think it would be one of the best reasons for this trip. Not only do you get to explore a new country but you also learn about so many more with only one experience. I can’t wait to see my new friends again and go and visit them as well as them visiting me.

Congratulations and thank you to #OneAndAll.

#InspiringExcellence #MakingAWorldOfDifference #HappyFulfilment #StrongerOneAndAll #PurposeInspired #PassionDriven