Henley Business School Africa has declared Friday, 17 December 2021, the day after South Africa's Day of Reconciliation, a Henley Africa Day of Remembrance to remember the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic and the price everyone has had to pay.
The day will be a fully paid holiday for staff, allowing them to enjoy an extra-long long weekend off before Christmas or to let them start their year-end break early.
Explaining the decision, Henley Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley told the staff they had been inspirational throughout the country-wide 20-month lock down.
“You have really been resilient in these difficult times since March 2020. During this period not only have you managed to work and keep Henley thriving but you’ve also had to endure significant challenges and, in many cases, tragic losses due to Covid-19, both in your own lives and with family and friends.
“As a result, I’ve decided to make Friday, 17 December, a Henley Africa Day of Remembrance for all staff. I hope this will allow you to reflect on what we have had to endure, remember those who have passed, be grateful for what we have, and to appreciate yourselves for the qualities of resilience and endurance you have.”
The business school was the first in Africa to pivot to fully online virtual learning, transitioning a full 10 days ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s imposition of the nationwide state of emergency in March 2020. It was the first of many innovations for the school, Foster-Pedley said, including its acclaimed 21 lessons for 21 days; seminars of hope as South Africa faced up to the unknown.
This, in turn, inspired a free webinar series by global experts for current and aspirant SME owners among a raft of new short and long courses reflecting the changing needs of the country from agricultural management for subsistence farmers to telemedicine and virtual health for analogue medical practices.
The lockdown had been an incubator of innovation and research for Henley Africa, said Foster-Pedley, leading to ground-breaking work planning for the re-opening of campus which included fundamentally researching the spread of the pandemic and then investing in a multi-million rand cutting edge heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system as part of a multi-pronged approach to make in-person teaching and learning as safe as possible.
“This has been an incredible time for us at Henley, but none of this would have been possible without the support, loyalty and dedication of our faculty and staff. It’s time to recognise that and, as importantly, to reflect too on what we have all gone through.”
- Henley Business School Africa is a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the only business school in Africa to hold quadruple international accreditation. It holds level 1 BBBEE status. It has the number 1 business school alumni network in the world for potential to network (Economist 2017); and is the number 1 African-accredited and -campused business school in the world for executive education (FT 2018, 2020), as well as the number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021).