John C. Barry

My reminiscences, thoughts, and travel experiences

Category: Travel

Barry’s on TV in the USA

After arriving in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA, some 35 years ago, Linda and I were interviewed twice due to political developments in South Africa.  One of our local television stations, TMJ4…

After arriving in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA, some 35 years ago, Linda and I were interviewed twice due to political developments in South Africa.  One of our local television stations, TMJ4 (WTMJ-TV), is an NBC affiliate.  For the first interview, news team Melodie Wilson and Mike Jacobs were on air, and reporter Bob Nenno interviewed us at our home.  The discussion was lengthy.  After editing, we were on T.V. for a couple of minutes.

(5 minutes 36 seconds).

Linda and I were on T.V. twice, the first on August 14, 1989, when PW Botha stepped down, ceding political control to F.W. de Klerk, and the second on February 11, 1990, when Nelson Mandela got released from prison.  The second time Elizabeth Kay was the network anchor, and Jeff Fleming interviewed us at home, where we were living at the time.

Pieter Willem Botha (January 12, 1916 – October 31, 2006), commonly known as P.W., was a South African politician. He served as the last Prime Minister from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive State President from 1984 to 1989.  Botha resigned from the state presidency on August 14, 1989. 

Frederik Willem de Klerk, born March 18, 1936, is a retired South African politician who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996.  As South Africa’s last head of state from the era of white-minority rule, he and his government dismantled the apartheid system and introduced universal suffrage.

The second interview took place after Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990.  Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, statesman, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state elected in a fully representative democratic election.  His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. 

Leaving Victor Verster Prison on February 11, Mandela held Winnie’s hand in front of amassed crowds and the press; the event broadcasted worldwide.  Driven to Cape Town’s City Hall through crowds, Mandela declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority.  Still, Mandela made it clear that the ANC’s armed struggle was not over and would continue as “a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.”  Mandela expressed hope the government would agree to negotiations so that “there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.”  Mandela insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the Black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections.

South African Ballot, shown in two sections for more accessible display

South Africa’s general elections were held between April 26 and 29, 1994.  Linda and I drove to Chicago, Illinois, to the South African Embassy to cast our vote.  I assume that there is no doubt that we voted for the Democratic Party.  Nineteen political parties took part in the elections, only seven gained seats in the national assembly.  The African National Congress (ANC), still the current ruling party, took 62% of the vote from 19 million voters, gaining 252 parliamentary seats of the 400 allocated.  The Democratic Party gained 1.73% of the vote that awarded them 7 of the 400 assembly seats.  Today, the newly constituted Democratic Alliance holds 84 of the 400 seats (21%).  The ANC holds 230 of the 400 seats (57%).  South Africa has 14 active parliamentary parties today.

Our family became citizens of the United States of America on May 29, 1998, the day that Wisconsin celebrated its sesquicentennial (150 years) anniversary after becoming the 30th state accepted into the union.

Sadly, Melodie Wilson Oldenburg passed away from cancer at 59 on November 9, 2009.  Mike Jacobs started at TMJ4 in 1977, served for 37-years, and retired in 2015.  I could not find current information about Bob Nenno, Elizabeth Kay, or Jeff Fleming.

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My Cape Town Conundrum. Factors in deciding an investment decision

The contrast: the United States of America with South Africa In a moment of irrational exuberance, I thought of buying an apartment in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.  My…

The contrast: the United States of America with South Africa

In a moment of irrational exuberance, I thought of buying an apartment in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.  My sanity cautioned me, so I will not do it.  Why not?

In and around Cape Town, with views of The University of Cape Town, Cape Point, Franschhoek, and Paternoster

I was born in Cape Town, or more accurately Claremont, a southern suburb of Cape Town 7 miles (12 kilometers) from the city on the peninsula.  After marriage, Linda and I stayed in an apartment in Claremont.  A year later moved to an apartment in Green Point, a 10-minute drive north of the city, next relocating to Johannesburg 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) northeast of Cape Town.  We returned to the Cape to live in a rented house in Rondebosch East and then in Tokai, 13 miles (21 kilometers) further south from the city on the peninsula.  Our final move within South Africa was relocating back to Johannesburg.  Our daughter was born in Johannesburg, our son in Cape Town.

The fire damage is seen at The University of Cape Town, Mostert’s Mill, and Rhodes Memorial Restaurant

I compulsively follow South African online media reports daily, as I do to keep up with American news, and have subscriptions to two U.S. newspapers, one local and one national.  My Facebook page shows numerous daily photographs and videos originating from Cape Town and its environs.  In addition, I get daily updates from family and friends overseas regarding current developments.  The recent fires on Table Mountain that destroyed the library at the University of Cape Town, my alma mater, and historic Moster’s Mill, along with the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and tea garden, are tragic examples.  For the record, I do not obsessively follow developments in Johannesburg, where we lived for several years, including building our own home and from where we emigrated.  Please understand me; I love the Cape and environs.  I love our regular trips “home.”

If you have never had the pleasure of traveling to Cape Town, then it may be hard for you to comprehend the stunning beauty of this city and the surrounding areas in the Western Cape.  They have fantastic weather to amplify the splendor. 

Wisconsin, United States of America

In December 1986, we moved to Brookfield, Wisconsin, United States of America, a city 14 miles (22 kilometers) due west of Milwaukee located on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Milwaukee is a city two hours’ drive north of Chicago in the Midwest of the U.S. Overtime; we owned two houses in Brookfield and 13-years ago moved to our current location, a condominium in adjacent New Berlin.  You can learn more about our condo here:

There is no doubt in my mind that emigrating to the U.S. was one of the wisest moves we made in our lifetime.  The education system for our daughter and son was the best available.  After excelling at junior and high school, they attended private universities graduating cum laude in four years.  They both hold executive positions within their respective companies.  Only 41% of students graduate college or universities in four years in the U.S.  Now retired, Linda and I go for 40-minute walks daily in all weather conditions.  It is essential to understand that we adapted to a four-season climate over our 35-years in Wisconsin, the Dairy State.  We transform from the extreme cold with below-freezing weather in the middle of winter with the need for our central heating to the heat and humidity of summer with central air conditioning.  Our home provides year-round comfort.

Consequently, we have clothing to dress appropriately in each stage of the varying climate.  At the change of each season, we rearrange our wardrobe to keep the required clothing front and center.  I must add that when you look at the weather patterns in the U.S., we are in the perfect location not to experience tornadoes and other extreme weather conditions that impact communities to the south and east of us.  Our weather is the motivation for us to drive a symmetrical all-wheel-drive Subaru Outback, the safest vehicle to handle all types of weather conditions. 

We have not forsaken South Africa and almost every year travel to visit family and friends.  2013 was a unique year for me.  We flew to Cape Town on vacation; I returned in March for the 50th anniversary of our high school reunion, returning in November to attend my dad’s funeral.  Strange as it may seem, sometimes people will quiz me in grocery stores in Cape Town to ask my country of origin?  I suspect my word usage and some pronunciations have changed over time.  It is a traffic light, not a robot!  It is a trunk, not a boot!  It is a schedule (sked-ule), not a schedule (shed-ule)!  After our children started grade school in Brookfield, we attended a parent-teacher conference, and the statement was made, “your children sound normal.”  We are too old to change our accents.  Add to our situation, Linda and I speak to each other “normally,” which inhibits accent change.  Charlize Theron did a better job of adapting to a U.S. accent.  She moved from South Africa with her mother to Europe and a year later, in 1993, at age 18, to Los Angeles.  As an actress, she was motivated to adapt to a local accent quickly.  Trevor Noah moved to the U.S. from South Africa in 2011 at age 27 and has not altogether lost his accent. 

As a result of the bitter cold in winter with snow and ice, principally from December through February in 1999, we purchased a one-week timeshare in Florida for use during our winter months.  Our week could be extended to a two-week stay using the lock-off unit for a week and the large unit for the second week.  The investment provides us with flexibility.  We could trade our home location to stay in other resort locations such as Hawaii, the Caribbean, South Carolina, and southern California, each locale that we enjoyed over the years. 

Our desire and attraction for a warmer climate in our winter had me thinking of a more permanent place in Cape Town to support our annual visits.  I have a school friend who lives in the U.S. with a holiday home in Cape Town.

As we venture into our neighborhood, we are completely secure, with absolutely no concern for our safety.  That said, The United States of America is no utopia. 

Racism and gun ownership are significant problems in the U.S.  Police; stopping blacks while driving has led to several killings.  Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States is increasing, with a total of 292 civilians having got shot, 62 of whom were Black, in the first four months of 2021.  Our local and national TV news features the latest victims daily.  In 2020, there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in 2019 there were 999 fatal shootings.  Additionally, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 36 fatal shootings per million of the population as of April 2021.  There are 330 million people in the U.S. with 393 million firearms.  More guns than people!  According to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, there were 19,379-gun violence deaths in the U.S. in 2020, including 300 children who were shot and killed.  The statistic excludes suicides involving guns, which consistently account for an additional 20,000 to 25,000 each year.  A further 39,427 people received injuries by firearms in 2020. 

Of one thing that we can be sure of, Republicans will never address gun violence in America. 

U.S. Congress passed the Second Amendment on September 25, 1789.  It was ratified December 15, 1791, and states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  More than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serve in the United States in 17,985 U.S. police agencies, including City Police Departments, County Sheriff’s Offices, State Police/Highway Patrol, and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.  Aside from law enforcement, the U.S. has a Department of Defense (DoD) comprising Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard are the armed forces of the United States.  The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components.  With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 718,000 civilian personnel, the DoD is the nation’s largest employer.  Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. 

Why do we need each home to be a militia? 

The U.S. has moved on since 1789, but Republicans still hold the firm view and belief that we live in such danger that we need more guns than people in the country.  The resulting carnage be dammed.  Understand, too, that automatic and semi-automatic rifles with magazines that can hold more than one hundred rounds of ammunition have helped our communities’ mass shootings.  There have been 2,128 mass shootings since 2013, roughly one per day, where four or more people got killed in one incident.  Police killed 1,127 people in 2020, 121 shot dead after police stopped them for a traffic violation.  Our compassionate President Joe Biden wants to address the gun violence issue, but Republicans who control the U.S. Senate will never allow reform.  The Republicans are beholden to the bankrupt National Rifle Association (NRA), who help fund the elections of compliant Republicans, and a few Democrats and invest heavily in lobbying Congress to follow their will. 

When relocating to the U.S., we were forbidden from bringing guns or wine.  I was the owner of three handguns in South Africa.  I had participated in training and firearm sport and experienced limited hunting using both a shotgun and rifle.  I spent hours reloading bullets.  I will readily admit that with that experience, I am firmly against gun ownership in the U.S.  Why is it necessary?  Certainly not for protection in a safe country.

Growing up in South Africa, we were experts in biblically supported racism through apartheid (separate development) policies.  We learned that blacks could not go to heaven because they do not have a soul.  Frankly, it did not prepare me for what we discovered in the U.S.  Throughout this country’s history, the hallmarks of American democracy – opportunity, freedom, and prosperity – have been primarily reserved for white people through the intentional exclusion and oppression of people of color.  The deep racial and ethnic inequities that exist today are a direct result of structural racism: the historical and contemporary policies, practices, and norms that create and maintain white supremacy.  The U.S. has not won the fight against racial residential segregation.  The U.S. has scarcely begun a serious fight against the concentrated poverty that remains the most toxic legacy of American apartheid.  Racially exclusionary zoning practices persist.  Public housing authorities perpetuated segregation well into the 1990s; such methods have not ended just because they are illegal.  Illegal discrimination against black and Hispanic renters and owners goes on.  And whites still seek out and are steered to predominantly white neighborhoods.

We purchased our home in the upscale neighborhood of Brookfield in October 1986, a few months before permanently relocating.  The house was two years old and had been repossessed by the bank because its owner, a builder, had declared bankruptcy.  After we arrived, we learned from neighbors that they had significant concern as the rumor mill spread the message that the home had been purchased by “Africans.” The neighbors knew that the value of their homes would collapse, and the neighborhood would go to hell due to our presence.  Once they realized that we were white Africans, they arranged a block party to be introduced to and meet our friendly neighbors. 

I am puzzled by the fact that, as whites, we need to keep our race pure.  If any person is the product of a mixed race, they are no longer allowed to identify as white!  Famous mixed-race people in America include Barack Obama (white mother and black father), Kamala Harris (white father and Indian mother), Tiger Woods (black father and Asian mother), Malcolm Gladwell (white father and black mother), Trevor Noah (speaks seven languages with a white father, and black mother), and Megan Markle (white father and black mother).  Nationwide, approximately 2.4 percent of the population, over 6.8 million Americans, marked an identification with two or more races.  According to, my DNA shows 92.2% European, primarily French and German descent, 2.9% East Asian and Native American, 2.7% Sub-Saharan African, and 2.0 % Central and South Asian.  My father was of British and Dutch descent, and my mother French and Portuguese.  I am not too sure where the other ancestry originates.  Can I honestly classify myself as purely white?  In my South African days, under the white apartheid government, the pencil test was critical.  If they placed a pencil in your hair, did it fall out?  If yes, you were white; if not, you were black.  Very conclusive!

The United States is the wealthiest country globally, and it has the most significant wealth gap.  The United States leads the world in the growth of financial assets and booming stock markets.  Its wealth distribution is more disproportionate than any other country.  On average, Americans between 45 and 54 have a net worth of US$727,500, while the median is $124,200.  In 2020, about 580,466 homeless people were living in the United States.  On our recent trip to Florida, we witnessed people living under the bridge.  Florida is an attractive destination because of favorable weather conditions.  Locally in Milwaukee, we have approximately 970 homeless people where meals are provided, and homeless shelters can accommodate some of the needy.  As a wealthy country, Republicans will not support the poor because this is a free-market democracy where we all need to fend for ourselves.  Socialism to the Republicans is intolerable unless to help the top 1% wealthy and huge corporations.  In today’s paper, I read that our Republican state senator, Ron Johnson, reputedly worth $10 million, with a base salary of $174,000 (or $3,346/week) for doing nearly nothing in Congress due to COVID, wants to block the unemployed in Wisconsin from getting a weekly $300 boost to their benefit.  According to Johnson, the benefit will stop the unemployed from looking for work!

The Department of Homeland Security has advised that the greatest threat the U.S. faces is white supremacists.  Having a xenophobic, narcissist, alleged rapist, past president Donald Trump recording 30,537 lies over his four years in office, who by his admission, “loves to grab women by their pussies.”  As President, Trump fueled hate groups that ultimately led to the insurrection of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.  Trump’s followers attempted to overthrow our Congress, with the wild notion of installing Trump as a lifelong dictator.  The action resulted in five deaths and significant damage to our Capitol Building.  Trump fueled division in the country, religiously expounding his “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him because of all the illegal voting in the country, a situation not experienced previously with any other president.  Trump refused to attend the orderly handing over ceremony to Joe Biden, a first in U.S. history.  Republicans, by and large, hang onto his every word and deed to reform Republicans into Trump’s image.  My prediction is that Trump will successfully split the Republican Party in two, those racists pro-Trump, and the balance pro-America who honor the constitution.

So, where are we culturally or politically in a very divided United States of America?  We live with far-right-wing extremist radio presenters, for example, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck.  Then we have T.V. channels such as Fox News, OAN (One America News, describing itself as one of Trump’s most significant supporters), and Newsmax.  More right-wing influence with Internet sites such as Drudge Report, and The Daily Stormer, to identify a few.  All these media channels are sources of unfounded conspiracy theories.  Many followers of these sites are less educated Americans who do not read or travel to broaden their perspectives.  Suppose we take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.  In that case, the Trump following and Evangelical Christians believe in conspiracy theories spouted about how bad it is to wear masks or subject themselves to getting vaccinated.  The result impacts the U.S. from gaining herd immunity and moving closer to society to socialize, shop, travel, and return to previously everyday life.

Taxes: The wealthiest 400 Americans pay a lower income tax rate than working-class Americans.  The richest 1% are paying the lowest income tax rate since World War II.  The wealthiest 1% hold a larger share of the nation’s wealth than in more than a century.  Biden’s capital gains tax, if passed, would only affect the top 0.32% of Americans.  The 2017 Trump tax law cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and shifts toward a territorial tax system, in which multinational corporations’ foreign profits largely no longer face U.S. tax.  Fifty-five of America’s largest corporations did not pay a cent in federal income tax.  These tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit wealthy shareholders and highly paid executives. 

Overall, it is hard to identify any inflection points around the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), which Congress passed in December 2017.  Despite the Trump Administration’s rosy promises that the post-TCJA economy would boom, it had instead grown on many dimensions at roughly the same steady, unspectacular pace as it did before the passage of the tax law, according to Mr. Burman.  He was a Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration.  However, he said, “If there are positive economic effects that I didn’t expect, I’m not aware of those.”  By cutting taxes, the law gave businesses and individuals more money to spend, expanding the economy.  But Mr. Burman says the long-run benefits the law’s authors promised—business investment and significant real wage growth—have not materialized.  Business investment rose in 2018 but has started shrinking in recent quarters amid uncertainty over trade policy.  And even that economic stimulus has not been particularly well-targeted, he said, because too much of the tax cut went to high-income taxpayers who are less likely to spend any additional money they get.  And the law’s hefty price tag has not been offset by more tax dollars flowing to government coffers.  Corporate tax receipts are down 23% since fiscal 2017.

The Congressional Budget Office projected the Republican tax cuts would widen the deficit by $1.9 trillion over a decade.  To be exact, Trump deemed his tax cuts “rocket fuel for our economy” that would kickstart a “rebirth of American industry.”  That rebirth did not arrive, as evidenced by various indicators of economic growth and labor-market health.  The tax cut linked to the record-low unemployment rate seen before the pandemic ignores several previous years of expansion.  The growth that ended in March 2020 predated Trump for several years and was the longest in U.S. history; job creation from 2012 to 2019 trended at about 2 million to 2.5 million nonfarm payrolls per year.  Trump also claimed his tax policy would supercharge business investment, but data details an increase that paled compared to prior expansions.  Domestic business investment climbed by roughly $251 billion from the first quarter of 2017 to its peak in the first quarter of 2019.  Yet gains were just as significant and more sustained during the dot-com boom of the 1990s and in the immediate wake of the financial crisis.

QAnon is spreading amongst evangelicals. QAnon is a virtual cult that began in late 2017. According to the conspiracy theory, former President Donald Trump is secretly working to stop a group of child sex traffickers. And an anonymous government insider called “Q” is believed to have shared secret information about that fight via cryptic online posts. Q allegedly last posted online on December 8.  Q’s messaging tactics draw from many themes in Christianity.  As Daniel Burke, CNN’s former religion editor, wrote, “According to the religious view of QAnon, Q is a postmodern prophet, “Q drops” (aka his messages) are sacred texts and Trump is a messianic figure who will conjure “The Storm,” an apocalyptic revelation exposing evildoers.”  Conspiracy theories find believers in many faiths. But the QAnon conspiracy theory is more popular today among evangelicals than people of other religions, according to a study by the conservative American Enterprise Institute.  “The Biblical worldview is that there’s a God who’s in control of the whole world. And one day Jesus is going to come back, he’s going to judge the wicked,” Kendall said. With QAnon, “there is a Q that knows everything, and Donald Trump is going to come back and judge the wicked, set up his rule, and his followers are going to live in their little Utopia.  But members of the flock aren’t the only ones susceptible in church communities. Some Christian pastors are also preaching to them.

Who is Donald J. Trump that the Republicans revere and hold in such high esteem?

When Trump falsely asserted that Barack Obama was born in Africa and thus illegitimate as President, it was permission for racism to blossom and fester. When he claimed he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Centers, it was a vicious lie to feed prejudice and never happened.

Trump followers worship him because he is proud to be white, dumb, a liar, uninformed, sexually obsessed, clueless about important critical societal issues, exhibits extreme right-wing political views, hatred, and loathing for Obama, disdain for international and economic matters that he clearly does not understand, nor cares to learn, uncivil, inarticulate, self-centered, hateful, vindictive, racists, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobia, pseudo-religious, faux wealthy, contempt for the rule of law including the constitution, very loyal to his version of the Republican Party and their loyal supporters, and is always the maligned, harshly criticized, suffering victim.  His track record shows that he cruelly mocked the disabled; Trump is willing to tweet in ways that provide red meat to his base of deplorables, changing his views constantly to appeal to the seemingly disenfranchised.  Everything they see in Trump is what they see and pride in themselves.

The United States situation is puzzling where 40% of the population worships the ground that Trump walks on.  He got elected on the premise that as a businessman, he would perform better than any politician.  How could the Evangelical Christians fall for such a hoax?  There is so much speculation about the hold Trump had over the recent former leader of the Evangelical Church; Jerry Falwell, Jr.  Jerry proclaimed that all the faithful must vote for Trump.  We later learn that Jerry watched his wife repeatedly having sex with the pool boy.  Another athlete came forward from Liberty University with a similar accusation.  That got Jerry fired from Liberty University with a $10 million golden parachute, and worse yet, the loss of income for his immediate family, who was drinking from the same well.  When Christians prayed over him, Trump told Bob Woodward, “can you believe that insane stuff?”

Trump told more than 30,573 lies during his time in office.  The site lists lie by category showing the number of times lies were repeated.  Trump’s father gave him $1 million to start his business.  That should read $400 million; just another blatant Trump lie to make himself out to be a phenomenally successful businessman.  Mary Trump, who wrote about her uncle Donald is currently suing him for dramatically shortchanging her on her portion of Trump’s father Fred Trump’s estate when he died.  Donald said his father’s net worth was about $30 million.  It turns out Fred’s estate was at least $400 million.  Trump has said that he is worth more than $10 billion but is the only President to refuse to divulge his tax returns.  Then again, Trump has so many business failures: Trump Airlines, Trump beverages, Trump game, Trump Atlantic City Casino, Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Trump Marina Casino, Trump Plaza Casino, Trump Riverboat Casino, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Trump Magazines (Trump Style, Trump World), Trump Mortgage, Trump Steaks, Trump Travel (, TrumpNet, Trump Tower Tampa, Trump University, Trump Cologne, Trump Menswear, Trump Mattress, and Trump Vodka.  The tally of losses and the impact on suppliers and contractors is incalculable.  Many franchise products were dropped when Trump called Mexican’s rapists and criminals, and at the same time, the NBC TV network dropped his Apprentice program.

Trump repeatedly calls women names, including a phony, disrespectful, radical, extreme, and gold digger.  Trump’s name-calling of women black and white is not new.  He insulted Congresswoman Liz Cheney (for not supporting his “Big Lie”), Megan Markle (Duchess of Sussex), Elizabeth Warren (Senator), Hillary Clinton (former first lady), Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House of Representatives), Carly Fiorina (CEO HP), Omarosa Manigault Newman (former White House Aid), Megan Kelly (Fox TV host), Heidi Klum (supermodel), Alicia Machado (Miss Universe), Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post), Cher (musical artist), Anne Hathaway (actress), Maxine Waters (US Representative), Christine Blasey Ford (professor), Samantha Holvey (pageant contestant), Jessica Leeds (groped by Trump), Ivana Trump (first wife—raped), Kristin Anderson (photographer—groped), Jill Harth (businesswoman—groped), Lisa Boyne (entrepreneur—Trump looked up her skirt and commented on her underwear and genitals), Jessica Leeds (sexual conduct), Rachael Crooks (sexual conduct), Mariah Billado and Victoria Hughes (ogling at them in the nude in their dressing room while Miss Teen USA contestants), Temple Taggart (Miss Utah—Trump forced repeated kissing), Cathy Heller (mother with husband and children at Mar-a-Largo and forceful kissed her), Karena Virginia (yoga instructor—grabbed her breasts), Tasha Dixon and Bridget Sullivan (Miss USA contestants—ogled the girls while nude in the change rooms and hugged inappropriately), Melinda McGillivray (grabbed her buttocks during a concert at Mar-a-Largo), Natasha Stoynoff (People Magazine reporter, Trump sexually assaulted her and demanded an affair), Jennifer Murphy and Juliet Huddy (both kissed on the lips without consent), Ninni Laaksonen (Miss Finland groped backstage at Letterman show), Jessica Drake (adult film actress—grabbed and kissed her inviting her to his penthouse), Summer Zervos (The Apprentice contestant—grabbed her breast and kissed without consent), Cassandra Searies (USA Pageant—grabbed her buttocks and invited her to his hotel room), Alva Johnson (campaign staffer—kisses her without consent), Karen Johnson (kissed her, groped her, grabbed her genitals while at Mar-a-Largo), E. Jean Carrol (advice columnist—sexually assaulted her forcing his penis inside her in a dressing room).  What is very troubling is that former Attorney General Bill Barr used taxpayer money in his attempt to get Trump off these rape charges.  The incident took place before Trump was sworn into office.

In his years as a reality TV boss on “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, according to show insiders who said he rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.

In 1999 Trump wanted his father to change his will to cut his siblings out because Trump’s finances were in a dire strait, and his first wife was suing him for a fortune.  A legal case will proceed regarding this matter.

For Trump, the law has been a weapon, a tool, that he has used with abandon to advance his interests and attack those of others. “I know lots about litigation,” he once declared. On another occasion, he restated the point colorfully: “I’m like a Ph.D. in litigation.” By the time Trump became the presumptive 2016 Republican nominee for the presidency, he had been involved in, by one count, 4,096 lawsuits.  Trump has not been selective in the choice of targets or reluctant to pursue suits of dubious merit.  The range of his targets over time is exceptional: He has sued people over unpaid royalties in licensing deals.  He has sued Miss Pennsylvania.  He has sued Bill Maher.  He has sued the creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.  He has sued Scotland.  He has sued New Jersey.  He has sued New York City, and he has sued New York state.  He has sued Palm Beach, Florida.  He has sued an architecture critic from Chicago.  He has sued the secretary of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission.  He has sued people for using his surname in businesses even though it was also their surname.  He has sued and been sued by longtime business partners.  He has threatened to file countless lawsuits he then has not filed.

To repeat, how can American’s support this dotard?  Are we in lockstep to be like other countries living under a dictatorship?

As one commentator put it somewhat succinctly:

  • The “billionaire” who hides his tax returns.
  • The “genius” who hides his college grades.
  • The “businessman” who bankrupted three casinos and lost over $1 billion in 10 yrs.
  • The “playboy” who pays for sex.
  • The “virologist” who knew more than Dr. Fauci.
  • The “leader of the free world” who said he “fell in love” with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
  • The “Christian” who does not go to church.
  • The “President” who committed treason by turning a blind eye to Russian bounties on our soldiers.
  • The “unifier” who calls white supremacists fine people.
  • The “philanthropist” who defrauds charity.
  • The “patriot” who dodged the draft five times.
  • The “innocent man” who refused to testify.
  • The “President” who took no responsibility against COVID-19.
  • The “tough, strong” man who wears makeup and hairspray.
  • The “deal maker” who never closed a deal.
  • The “ex-president” who calls for sedition against America’s legitimate elected government.

As Republicans tell the story, this was a few visitors touring the Capitol on January 6, 2021

The most egregious is the role Trump played in causing the insurrection of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.  Trump promotes the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him through fraud and illegal votes.  In Arizona, they are inspecting the paper to see if it contains bamboo, a sign that ballots were sent for Asia!  After numerous court cases, no fraud was identified.  Republicans have proposed 250 new laws in 43 states to limit mail, early in-person, and Election Day voting.  Essentially laws aimed at disadvantaging Black, Hispanic, and Asian voters who tend to vote Democrat.  To read more about the origins of the Big Lie, go here: The making of a myth.

Trump’s legacy will include the fact that he was impeached twice as President but saved by Republicans.  Trump dismissed the COVID-19 pandemic as a China virus, nothing more than flu, that could be treated by ingesting disinfectant.  The Chinese virus comment led to attacks on members of the Asian community in the U.S. and Canada.  Due to Trump’s contempt for the virus, more than 686,000 Americans died by September 2021.

After I retired, I took a position at a Subaru dealer selling vehicles, a brand that we already owned.  It was not for the money, as the income was mainly commission-based, but more for the socialization.  I only stayed four months.  During my initial interview, I explained that we had plans to travel to South Africa for three weeks at year-end.  The manager said that he could accommodate my request.  Once I joined the privately held company, the manager who interviewed me had left to take a position with a competitor.  My new manager, the owner’s son, informed me that each employee only has a one-week vacation allowance twelve months after the anniversary date of joining.  He recommended that I resign and guaranteed that I will be rehired once I re-apply after my overseas trip.  Frankly, I was mortified to hear how this manager treated our team, including women, dropping F-bombs in every sentence, and that was sufficient for me to elect not to rejoin this company.  Working in the U.S. can be a shock.

Additional indignation, for the first time in my life, I was an hourly employee.  I had to clock in and out by logging into a computer terminal when I arrived at work and before I left after my shift.  Heaven help me if I forgot to log in or out—that would be an incident report on my personnel record!

I had quite a learning curve after our relocation to the U.S.  The company that hired me facilitated our immigration through local immigration lawyers and only provided one week of vacation after the first year of employment.  The company owner helped in many other ways, in that he spoke to a bank manager who facilitated financing, allowing us to purchase a home in October 1986 and provided a line of credit enabling us to purchase two new vehicles, a Pontiac 6000 for me, and Honda Accord for Linda.  A few years later, after I started my business, I provided company cars to personnel that required travel to clients for sales or consulting purposes using my South African experiences.  They could select any vehicle as long as they were not outrageously expensive.  We covered all running costs, including insurance and maintenance.  Only later I learned that it had negative tax consequences for the staff.  They certainly enjoyed their vehicles.  One wife commented that her husband did not require a salary as far as she was concerned, but she loved the car. 

Please do not misconstrue my words.  We have enjoyed our 34-years in the U.S.  There have been notable exceptions.  The night of “Shock and Awe” when George Bush decided to bomb Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, March 21, 2003—the day I ended my allegiance to the Republican party.  I am grateful that we now have a compassionate president in Joe Biden who has already overturned many of Trump’s insane executive orders.  Having laid out the case that the U.S. is not a total paradise, especially after four years of Trump, already rated as the worst President ever, how does South Africa stack up in general, and Cape Town in particular?

Cape Town, South Africa

On April 6, 1652, Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Cape Town to create a supply station for the Dutch East India Company, suppling ships sailing between The Netherlands and the Far East.  They represented the first European settlement in what was later to become South Africa.  Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias was the first European to reach these shores in 1488 and named it the Cape of Storms, later renamed Cape of Good Hope.  Vasco da Gama, also Portuguese, recorded his siting in 1497.  Human occupation dates to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago.

The Dutch controlled this region until 1795 when the British took control.  It was returned to the Dutch in 1803 but occupied again by the British in 1806.  Cape Town was permanently ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814, now the capital of the Cape Colony.  The Cape got its parliament in 1854 and its local Prime Minister in 1872.  In 1910 Britain established the Union of South Africa, and Cape Town became the legislative capital of the union, one of three capitals.  Cape Town was the most racially integrated city when the Nationalist Party won elections in 1948 based on apartheid, racial segregation.  Cape Town has a population of 4,710,000 (in 2020).  Cape Town’s demographics feature 42.4% Colored, 38.6% Black, 15.7% White, 1.4% Asian or Indian.  Colored was a legally defined racial classification during apartheid.  Coloreds are a multiracial ethnic group native to Southern Africa who has ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoisan, Bantu, European, Austronesian, East Asian, or South Asian.  Because of ethnicities, different families and individuals within a family may have various physical features.

After establishing the Union of South Africa in 1910, it became a member of the British Empire in 1934.  The country became the Union of South Africa on May 31, 1961, now a republic ending its allegiance to the British Commonwealth.  In April 1994, the African National Congress (ANC), a black majority political party, took power after one-man, one-vote elections.  The presidents included Nelson Mandela (May 10, 1994, to June 16, 1999), Thabo Mbeki (June 16, 1999, to September 24, 2008), Kgalema Motlanthe (September 25, 2008, to May 9, 2009), Jacob Zuma (May 9, 2009, to February 14, 2018), and incumbent Cyril Ramaphosa (February 15, 2018).

On March 16, 2018, the director of public prosecutions confirmed that Jacob Zuma would face 18 charges of corruption, including more than 700 counts of fraud and money laundering.  Zuma’s political allies within the ANC and Tripartite Alliance protested the prospect of a corruption trial.  On February 3, 2020, a court issued an arrest warrant for former president Zuma on corruption charges.  For nearly three years, South African investigators have been unearthing a web of corruption around former President Jacob Zuma in a public inquiry that has captivated the country.  Zuma’s bribes were exchanged using top-shelf whiskey, luxury cars, and a cash-stuffed Louis Vuitton bag.  High-ranking officials distributed lucrative government contracts in exchange for monthly handouts.  That era of graft drained tens of billions of dollars from state coffers and has become one of the most infamous chapters of South Africa’s post-apartheid history.  Now, the country’s highest court will determine whether Mr. Zuma can be held accountable for contempt of court, and an era of consequence-free corruption, in a hearing that represents one of the most significant tests for South Africa’s democratic institutions in recent years.

Our South African homes. The home my parents built in Claremont, Cape Town with significant upgrades to security in recent years. The home we built in Edenglen, Edenvale, a secure gated community, outside Johannesburg with significant upgrades to the home after we left South Africa.

I liken South Africa to a Chinese water torcher.  Drip, drip, drip.  Over the years since we left, security is an evolving issue where people need to live in their homes as if they are in jail.  High walls surround each property, most topped with electric wiring as an added deterrent.  Homes are organized indoors with zoned safety areas, so you only move in certain parts of the house after the security alarms are set, once asleep but not in other portions of the home.  Within a residence, the first requirement is to ensure every window and external door has burglar proofing to guarantee no one can force entry.  Reinforced windows and door glass are essential.  Alert dogs sleeping outside on the premises are mandatory.  When I am in Cape Town have my taser and a very sharp pocketknife for protection.  I keep questioning, is this the way to live—in one of the most beautiful cities in the world?  Where are the police? 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is the national police force of the Republic of South Africa.  The provincial borders share 1,138 police stations in South Africa, with a Provincial Commissioner appointed in each of the nine provinces.  SAPS employs 193,692 people.  I attempted to use their services when I was pick-pocked in March 2013.  The security offices in the shopping center had video footage of the theft and, naturally, the criminals.  Reporting the incident to the nearby police station was a waste of time.  For them to follow up would have entailed work.  With the SAPS being so inept, what are South Africans to do?  They have supported a booming security industry.  The Security Association of South Africa is a body representing private security companies.  At present, over 9,000 security companies render residential, commercial, and industrial security services, which comprises guarding, electronic monitoring, armed response, and asset in transit services. There are currently more than 500,000 security officers in the employ of these companies.  Security companies exist because of the high level of crime and South Africa and the total ineptitude of SAPS.

As a result of corruption endemic in South Africa, the State-Operated Enterprises (SOE) are primarily bankrupt.  These include:

  • Transnet (freight logistics),
  • SAA (the South Africa Airways),
  • South African Express (airline),
  • Eskom (world’s eleventh-largest power utility in terms of generating capacity, ranks ninth in terms of sales, and boasts the world’s largest dry-cooling power station),
  • Denel (armaments and military equipment manufacturer),
  • SAFCOL (forestry),
  • Alexcor (diamond mining). 

There are many reasons why these SOEs are in trouble.  One is reverse discrimination.  Whites in critical positions in these organizations were terminated or demoted.  I have friends and family impacted through this action.  Political appointments were made into executive positions, many or most without the skillset to manage their respective operations. 

I will use Eskom as an example, a company I provided with software consulting services.  At the time, Eskom produced the most reliable electric power at one of the lowest rates globally.  Today I have an app on my iPhone, “EskomSePush.”  Eskom cannot provide uninterrupted 24X7 power countrywide to consumers consistently.  They operate what is known as “load shedding.”  Eskom has four stages where each stage will drop service for two-and-a-half hours.  The app allows the consumer to key in their location and discovers when power will be cut.  If you were lucky, it could be late at night or early morning, but sometimes mid-morning or afternoon.  Planning around power cuts is near impossible because there is no logical repeat pattern.  If you operate a business and require power, then you are out of luck!  Generally, hospitals are spared this power outage.

A Powership deal locks South Africa into a 20-year contract to purchase expensive, dirty power when the cost of clean, renewable energy is falling every year.  South Africa has abundant sun and wind.  The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) estimated this deal will cost South Africa R218 billion (US$15 billion).  A Powership is a ship on which a power plant is installed.  They anchor just offshore to provide ship-to-shore electricity to countries unable to generate enough of their own.  These are generally failed or failing states such as Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Beirut, Iraq, and Pakistan, currently using Powerships on contracts of two to five years.  Under Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe’s deal, South Africa will be paying R2.30 (US$0.16) per kilowatt-hour.  At the same time, Saudi Arabia has just signed a power purchase agreement for solar power at a record-low of $0,0104 per kilowatt-hour, which is equivalent to US$0.15 per kilowatt-hour in South Africa.  The alleged involvement of the family members of Minister Mantashe and senior government officials in the bid process must now trigger an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the bid.  Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has revealed that the Turkish company supplying the country with floating power plants to address power shortages is supplying 1,220 MW.  The Powerships are located in three coastal areas stretching from the Eastern Cape to the town of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.  The total combined power output/capacity of the three floating Liquefied Natural Gas Turbine, or Powerships, projects appointed as Preferred Bidders under the Risk Mitigation Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPP).  More potential corruption. 

On May 7, 2021, Eskom, the South African power utility, said it had suspended a senior manager in its coal procurement division after an investigation revealed corruption in its coal supply chain.  The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found the senior manager was in control of a bank account with a balance of nearly R12m (US$ 830,000).  It followed a whistle-blower tip-off that prompted Eskom into a preliminary investigation.  The funds had been deposited by some of Eskom’s suppliers in the coal division, the utility said in an announcement on Friday.  To be clear, this is the tip of the iceberg.  The corruption runs deep within the utility.

The Institute for Security Studies in South Africa stated, “In 2011 the former head of the Special Investigation Unit, Willie Hofmeyer, reported before parliament that between R25 billion (US$ 1.7 billion) and R30 billion (US$2 billion) was lost to the government procurement budget each year due to this type of fraud.  Moreover, there is evidence that incidents of corruption are increasing.  A report by Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (Africa’s largest law firm) based on documented fraud and malfeasance cases presented to parliament and contained in Public Service Commission reports found that the amount involved increased from R130 million (US$9 million) in 2006/07 to over R1 billion (US$70 million) in 2011/12.  So there is evidence that the heart of the problem lies in the lack of accountability for maladministration and corruption.  Corruption Watch states that this problem starts with President Zuma – while there are various efforts by the government to tackle corruption, “these actions were countered by the continuing impunity on the part of those who were politically and financially powerful.”  In particular, it was explained that the “Gupta wedding saga and ongoing fiasco surrounding the President Zuma’s private Nkandla residence are indicators in the past year of impunity in operation.” Little symbolizes the nature of our public sector corruption challenge better than the scandal of R215 million (US$ 17 million) of public money being diverted away from the public good to upgrade President Jacob Zuma’s private homestead.  President Zuma is not solely responsible for all corruption in the public sector, but he certainly has impeded any progress that could have been made in this regard.  In addition to his shady dealings with people like convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik, he has repeatedly appointed people of low ethical standards to key positions in the cabinet and the criminal justice system.  As a result, citizens are less trusting of their national leaders.  It is reflected in the recently released 2013 South African Reconciliation Barometer survey undertaken by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR).  The survey revealed that since 2012 there had been a 10,8% decrease in citizens’ confidence in the national government.  There has also been a 13% increase in the proportion of citizens who feel that government does not care about “people like them.” The sad reality can partly explain that some in the ruling elite have jettisoned principles for political power. 

The Washington Post reported “South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has intensified the country’s anti-corruption drive with the suspension of his African National Congress (ANC) party’s secretary-general, who is facing corruption charges in court.  The decision made this week to suspend Ace Magashule and implement a policy that forces leaders charged with corruption to resign is largely seen as a victory for Ramaphosa against his political rivals.  Magashule is facing corruption and fraud charges for allegedly benefitting from an R255 million (over $18 million) contract to eradicate asbestos houses in the Free State province when he was a premier of the province.” 

Pieter-Louis Myburgh wrote a book “Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.”  The book was written before Ace moved to an executive position within the ANC.  The corruption never stops–it is too lucrative for the chosen few.

The reality is that after many years, I can enumerate many policies that have impacted business in South Africa to favor the ANC.  I will use one to illustrate a situation.  South Africa has a BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) policy that encourages businesses to integrate black people into the workspace, upskill and mentor, and support black businesses.  A great principle in theory but abused in practice.  I had dealings with a successful family-run automotive dealership.  The ANC government insisted that the family donate for free a portion of their business to a black man.  Refusing to dilute the family’s decades of blood, sweat, and tears, they sold the business.  One result of the BEE policy in general, and treatment of whites by the ANC, is that since 1995 at least 800,000 have left the country.  We left in an earlier wave.  Can the nation afford this brain drain?

The nonprofit organization, Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG), has published its inaugural good government index, measuring the effectiveness of governments in 104 countries globally.  The index takes a non-ideological and non-partisan view of governance.  The index does not prioritize any form of government over another by focusing on state capabilities and performance.  South Africa was ranked 70th on the list, behind other Sub-Saharan countries such as Mauritius (30th), Rwanda (53rd), and Botswana (57th).  Some of the critical areas where South Africa is falling behind the rest of the world include the Ability to attract investments; International trade; Education; Health; Personal safety; Income equality; Social mobility; Non-discrimination; The macroeconomic environment.

Couriers must stop delivering packages under 1kg in South Africa – Post Office.  The S.A. Post Office (SAPO) and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) want to stop private courier companies from delivering packages under 1kg in South Africa.  It is one of the main talking points which emerged from a recent Gauteng High Court case between PostNet and ICASA.  SAPO employs over 16,480 people and operates more than 1,400 postal outlets throughout the country.  PostNet was founded in 1994 when there was an urgent need in South Africa for an operation that could deliver a range of efficient business solutions.  The South African Post Office is in the process of permanently closing 130 branches across the country.  The figure was confirmed by Post Office CEO Nomkhita Mona during a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on May 26, 2021.  This comes after the Post Office was declared commercially insolvent, with its 2019/2020 financial results showing it had incurred losses of more than R1.7 billion (US$ 120 million), while its liabilities exceeded assets by R1.5 billion (US$107 million). Today, PostNet is S.A.’s largest privately owned counter network in the document and parcel industry, trading across 400 owner-managed retail stores.  PostNet serves more than 70,000 “walk-in” customers per day, countrywide. There are five product types within PostNet; Courier, Copy & Print, Digital, Stationery, and Mailboxes.  The reality is that PostNet offers a reliable service with a guarantee for mail and packages to arrive at their destination. 

Murders in South Africa remain high, with a 1.4% increase in 2019/20, to 21,325 reported cases.  It works out to 58 people murdered in the country every day, at a rate of 35.8 people per 100,000 population.  South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, with some 65,000 rapes and other sexual assaults reported for the year ending in March 2012, or 127.6 per 100,000 people in the country.  South Africa has a high record of carjacking when compared with other industrialized countries.  Cash-in-transit (CIT) heists have at times reached epidemic proportions in South Africa.  From 1994 to 2020, South Africa experienced 13,000 farm attacks, during which 2,000 commercial farmers were killed besides others who were injured or wounded. “AfriForum’s research reports 63 farm murders in 2020, as opposed to 45 farm murders in 2019,” said Andrea Muller, a researcher at AfriForum. 

The U.S. Department of State carries warnings on their travel website for South Africa.  Do not travel to South Africa due to COVID-19.  Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for South Africa due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.  Violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and “smash-and-grab” attacks on vehicles, is common.  There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark.  Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently.  These can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events can turn violent.  Additional detailed information is published at this site.


My problem is that I love the beauty of South Africa, the people with dear family members and friends, its lifestyle, and the weather.  On the other hand, I’m not fond of the country’s insecurity and that one must always be on your guard.  When I rent a vehicle, I pay all insurance options, including liability insurance, to ensure that if I get hijacked, the car broken into, or the vehicle gets stolen or damaged, I will not need to pay excess damage.  Despite all I have written, I will continue to visit, and possibly on an annual basis, especially when COVID-19 is history in South Africa.  That said, I am not prepared to risk an investment in an apartment in the Cape Town area, one that could accommodate our children and granddaughters.  I did not even mention the ANC goal of land expropriation without compensation—should that ultimately become law. 

There are no additional conditions for foreigners purchasing property in S.A.  The only pre-requisite is that the money must be brought into South Africa through the South African Reserve Bank.  The foreign national will receive a Deal Certificate as proof if he or she ever sells and wants to repatriate the money out of the country.  When purchasing property, the purchaser pays the legal fees and the government transfer duty (approximately 8% of purchase price).  The seller pays the agent’s commission.  There is a contract.  Once the seller accepts the buyer’s offer, it is a binding contract.  South Africans pay monthly rates and taxes to the local municipality, approximately 6% of the municipal valuation.  One may rent out a property, subject to income tax.  However, some gated estates do not allow short-term rentals for security reasons.  I have done my homework.  Should anyone convince me to make the investment and perceive that the security situation has improved, I might pull the trigger.  Quite frankly, the “snowbirds” in our part of the world escape our winters to Florida or Arizona.  If all things were equal, why not Cape Town?

If my son or daughter wishes to travel to South Africa with their daughters, I will encourage them to visit.  However, it would be my preference to accompany them to ensure their safety since I believe I have significantly more experience of risks involved.  I would never venture out driving at night on the R300 in Cape Town, a road that experiences several protests.

From within the United States of America, I see political developments as a pendulum swing.  After four horrible years with Trump doing all he could to destroy the U.S., I have complete faith in President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, the Democrats, and any reasonable non-racist non-bigoted Republicans who will put America first.  We will overcome.

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COVID-19: Science behind vaccination development. Weekly updates with statistics and the latest news

It took Moderna 48 hours to produce a vaccination.  It took 48 years to accomplish that feat.  As you read this account, did you or your children elect to forgo…

It took Moderna 48 hours to produce a vaccination.  It took 48 years to accomplish that feat. 

As you read this account, did you or your children elect to forgo vaccinations for Polio, Tetanus, Influenza, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Rubella, Measles, Whooping Cough, Streptococcus vaccine, Mumps, Chickenpox, and Diphtheria?  What about the pain inflicted from shingles, did you get your Shingrix shot?

Understanding the science behind the rapid production of the COVID-19 vaccinations is both fascinating and critically important to understand.  Recognizing the role of women in facilitating this scientific breakthrough is vital.  The average population is ill-informed about the steps leading up to the vaccination development process.  Some are ignorantly afraid, consumed with conspiracy theories, religious bias, political bipartisanship, and a strong opinion that the vaccination was produced too quickly.  Their invalid conclusion, therefore, is that it is unsafe, ineffective, especially by not understanding that development took decades.  Half the voters who supported Trump in the last U.S. elections refuse to get vaccinated, a demographic of less-educated whites.  Many are consumed by conspiracy theories that the vaccination will result in a chip being inserted in your body so that Bill Gates will track you or that the devil will reside within your DNA.

In a New York Times article, they discuss how white Evangelical’s vaccine refusal could prolong the pandemic, impacting the need for herd immunity where at least seventy percent of the population is vaccinated.  Their objections included: “She believed it contained aborted cell tissue.”  A preacher “received a divine message that God was the ultimate healer and deliverer: The vaccine is not the savior.” Another: “she did not need the vaccine because God designed the body to heal itself if given the right nutrients.”  There are about 41 million white evangelical adults in the U.S.  According to the Pew Research Center, about 45% said in late February that they would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, making them among the least likely demographic groups to do so.  Some high-profile conservative pastors and institutional leaders have endorsed the vaccines.  Franklin Graham told his 9.6 million Facebook followers that Jesus would advocate for vaccination.  Pastor Robert Jeffress commended it from an anti-abortion perspective on Fox News. “We talk about life inside the womb as a gift from God.  Well, life outside the womb is a gift from God, too.” Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, president, tweeted a photo of himself receiving a vaccination.  Across white evangelical America, reasons not to get vaccinated have spread as quickly as the virus that public health officials hope to overcome through herd immunity.

By the end of March 2021, more than 551,000 Americans died of COVID-19.  Within my one immediate family, seven got infected from this virus, with one dying.  On March 31, 2021, 2.4 million Americans are getting vaccinated daily, yet cases and deaths are trending up again. 

On January 11, 2020, Chinese researchers published the genetic sequence of the virus. Moderna finalized the mRNA vaccine in about 48 hours.  The reality is that the science of genetic engineering started in 1972.  It is what preceded this January 2020 date that is critical in understanding how the vaccine could be developed quickly.  The vaccination topic piqued my curiosity.  What role did science and technology play in bringing the vaccine to market in under one year?  That is the subject of three books that I read recently, identified below.

On March 22, 2021, while watching The Late Show on CBS with Stephen Colbert (7 minutes 15 seconds) interviewing Walter Isaacson to discuss his newly published book The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, I decided that I needed to know more.    It is a phenomenal work, a great read, and I recommend everyone who has the slightest interest in this topic to read Isaacson’s book.  Isaacson’s book was published on March 9, 2021.  During this interview, Walter describes Jennifer’s work with CRISPR and gene editing.  With my understanding that Pfizer and Moderna used this technology to develop their vaccines to fight COVID-19, I was interested in learning more.

“Look at the halo of letters—GCACGUAGUGU—on the cover of this book. It is a snippet of the RNA that creates the part of the spike protein that binds to human cells, and these letters became part of the code used in the new vaccines.”

After additional research, I requested from the library A Crack In Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A Doudna and Samuel H Sternberg, published August 21, 2018.

To put it mildly, I was so impressed with Jennifer and Samuel’s work that I purchased the book for my 14-year-old granddaughters.  I encouraged them to read the book and added the following comments to the inside cover of their book.

If you read this book, I believe that you will learn the following:

  • Jennifer read a chemistry book at age 12 that established an ambition to study for an undergraduate degree, Masters, and Doctorate that ultimately led to a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.  (Update: the book Jennifer read was The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA, by James D. Watson.  See additional detail below).
  • Jennifer turned 57 on February 19, 2021.  She amassed numerous awards for her life work.
  • Jennifer is unquestionably an intellectual with deep thought, expressing cogent and rational arguments.
  • Jennifer did not do it on her own.  She stood on the shoulders of many people globally, clearly understanding the benefit of collaboration.  She published her research frequently.
  • The science was applied to horticulture, animals, fish, insects, bacteria, and eventually humans.
  • Jennifer’s book got published before the COVID virus, but her work led to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations that protect us today.
  • Jennifer attracted $500,000 investments for her team to carry out research.
  • There are many scientific and biological terms that you are unlikely to understand; I do not.  Read past them, but do not let that stop you from getting significant value from reading this book and understanding her process—words including Gene Editing, DNA, RNA, CRISPER, Cas9, GMO, and more.
  • The further you read, the more exciting and educational the book becomes.
  • One concern is if we use this technology to influence the characteristics of newborn babies, eugenics for short.  Jennifer screams aloud that human selection is unacceptable.
  • The bottom line: Reading the book will provide a way to universally understand science and government regulations controlling or limiting innovative thinking. An open mind helps.
  • As you read this book, could you be an author telling such a compelling story? (One twin has ambitions of becoming an author).
  • Remember, you can ask questions.  Try your dad, mom, or me—a pleasure to help.
  • Use Google to search “YouTube CRISPER” and other technology to learn more.

My motivation was two-fold in providing this encouragement.  When I grew up, I was not encouraged to study in any field other than engineering.  I was tested in high school and recommended by an industrial psychologist to follow a career in accounting.  While in engineering school, we had one female scholar in a class of over one hundred students.  Somehow, the thinking back in my day was, women do not have a place in science and technology.  A myth I wanted to be dispelled for my granddaughters.

After reading Jennifer’s book, I have dived into Walter Isaacson’s book.  I was blown away by his research.  He interviewed everyone that influenced Jennifer’s career, laboratory students appointed by her, competitors, scientific publishers, and business partners.  The book consists of noticeably short chapters that hold your interest with page-turning excitement—58 chapters in 476 pages, or 8.5 pages per chapter, on average.  The detail is reverting and exciting in the extreme.  Consider intellectual property patent intrigue.  Can you imagine a patent lawsuit being retried multiple times over eight years?  Jealousy and envy are terrible diseases in a competitive field, resulting in backstabbing.  Sadly, competitive relationships can become highly toxic, benefitting no one and creating a bitter relationship between former colleagues.  What about using this technology for terrorism?  What did the U.S. government invest in protecting or reversing nefarious use?  What position did religious leaders take?  How would or did politicians react to this technology?  How did the global community respond, vilify, or support?  What happens when a potential solution results in death?  What if international companies promote gene editing for newborn babies with desired characteristics?  What if the protagonist ends up being found guilty in a court of law with a heavy fine and jail time?

My mom died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2019.  Might it be possible to convert the APOE4 gene into a benign version?  The Alzheimer’s Association projects that by 2050 people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s will reach 12.7 million. The most significant protection against a person or laboratory using the technology to pursue eugenics, is lawsuits.

With Walter’s book, you do not require a doctorate or even an undergraduate degree in chemistry or biology.  Everything is explained in simple terms. It helps develop one’s understanding of the science involved with these breakthrough vaccinations.

Walter interviewed many collaborators, competitors, partners, and Jennifer’s team members.  Walter references 365 people in his book.  He provides cameos of multiple people, making the biographical story more human and exciting.  The text reads like a murder mystery, not that anyone got murdered, but some of the intrigues in the competitive laboratories are both exciting and entirely unbelievable.  Who stole ideas from whom?  Why the lies?  Could it be the result of competitiveness, who was the first to make a breakthrough scientific discovery? As with any scientific or technological endeavor, one must contend with charlatans out for publicity and fame.  The repercussions can be devastating, especially for the naïve coconspirators.  

The book challenges one on many moral issues.  If a deaf couple has a baby, it will likely be born deaf.  Should the medical profession take action to ensure the child is not deaf?  If technology allows the embryo to be altered so that the child will be a regular hearing child, is that morally acceptable?  Or what if you are a black couple wanting a light-skinned child?  Could Prince Harry and Megan Markle have made use of this process with Archie?  (Recall the troubling comments made during the Oprah Winfrey interview about Royal’s concern about the couple having a dark-skinned baby.  Racism anyone?).  Or short parents wanting to give birth to a tall child?  Should we morally establish a goal of inheritable gene edits?  Eradicate sickle cell disease?

I know that I have never been involved in this industry, and I am surprised when I read about the events that have taken place over the decades, how uninformed I am. 

If my granddaughters read Jennifer’s book, I plan to purchase Walter’s book for them to read.

Walter’s book is an essential read to understand what may be possible regarding baby selection in terms of desirable traits.  We cannot stop science or the inevitable outcome of what parents may choose within the characteristics and health of their offspring.  What if society becomes a robotic clone of each other? 

Isaacson’s book is an essential read.  I would challenge that the title Code Breaker is misleading.  The book challenges one to understand developments that have taken place in recent years in terms of genetics and the potential for how it could be employed in the future. What if this technology was only affordable by the ultra-wealthy?

I was so enamored with Isaacson’s book that I will reread it.  It is worth my time to gain even more knowledge after my initial read.  Think about the effort that went into multiple laboratories to develop a COVID-19 test.  None of the labs wanted the tests to be a moneymaking venture, only a way to isolate patients with the virus.

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA, by James D. Watson.  By identifying DNA structure, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won a Nobel Prize.  At the time, Watson was only twenty-four, a young scientist hungry to make his mark.  The book was first published in 1968 and republished on August 16, 2011.  I consider myself a detailed person.  With my engineering and computer background, I am used to reading technical information.  I found, in an amusing way, that Watson wrote like a raconteur.  Do I need to know which pub Watson had dinner in London and what he ate?  Watson uses this tactic to explain the process they went through on their path to their breakthrough discoveries.  I can only imagine that Watson kept a diary of what he did daily to document all this detail.  That, or he must have a phenomenal memory.  The book consists of noticeably short chapters, a few pages each, resulting in an easy and quick read.

As a reminder, Jennifer Doudna’s reading this book as a child set her career choice.  I appreciate the coincidence that the last three letters of her last name are “DNA.”

James D. Watson was born in Chicago on April 6, 1928. After graduation from the University of Chicago, he worked in genetics at Indiana University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1950.  He spent a year at the University of Copenhagen, followed by two years at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University, England.  There he met Francis Crick, and the collaboration resulted in their 1953 proposal of a structure for DNA.  After two years at Cal Tech, he joined the Harvard faculty, where he remained a biochemistry and molecular biology professor until 1976. In 1962, together with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, Dr. Watson was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.  It has been recognized that Watson and his colleagues did not correctly attribute colleague Rosalind Franklin for her contributions to the discovery of the double helix structure.

In Watson’s book, he is critical of Rosalind or Rose as she was known.  In a prologue written for the re-release, he apologized for his unkind words and recognized her contribution.

My message to my granddaughters.  Reading Watson’s book will teach you that scientific breakthroughs do not happen in a blink of an eye.  It is the result of years of dedication, disappointments, persistence, and ultimately a positive outcome.  It is not necessarily a guaranteed result.

To add to our interest, we watched the 1997 movie Gattaca.  DNA sequencing is a laboratory technique used to determine the exact sequence of bases (A, C, G, and T) in a DNA molecule.  Gattaca was made up of those four letters. “A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.” Well, it is science fiction but provides food for thought of the possibilities. 

Update August 15, 2021.  I discovered another worthwhile educational video.  Netflix Explained, Season 1, “Designer DNA.” 18-minutes, released May 23, 2018.  Scientific feat or a terrifying social experiment?  Specialists in the field discuss the high stakes and ethical controversies of gene editing.  Just 18 years ago, scientists successfully mapped the human genome, identifying all the genes that make us who we are. These genes determine our eye color and our blood type. They affect our height, our risk of heart disease, how strong our bones are, and even our body odor. And sometimes they cause life-threatening diseases like cystic fibrosis and breast cancer.  Now we have the technology to edit our genes. Scientists have figured out how to reprogram an ancient bacterial immune system called “CRISPR” to track down and edit genes in any organism, allowing us to tinker with the source code of life.

The bottom line: I am disappointed at the amount of disinformation and ignorant comments I have read about these life-saving vaccinations.  Get a life.  Get vaccinated.

I extracted partial information from the weekly text detail below to create the table to rapidly see COVID developments in the USA over time.

DateCOVID CasesDeathsFully VaccinatedOne-DoseVaccination Rate/Day
April 10, 202131,084,962566,23868,202,458114,436,0393.1 million
April 17, 202131,574,340565,26080,609,818127,743,0963.9 million
April 24, 202131,730,950567,35291,175,995137,234,8892.28 million
May 1, 202132,091,429572,190101,407,318144,894,5862.36 million
May 8, 202132,403,159577,041110,874,920150,416,5591.75 million
May 15, 202132,681,787581,573120,258,637155,251,8521.82 million
May 22, 202132,885,010584,975127,778,250161,278,3361.76 million
May 29, 202133,041,551590,212133,532,544166,388,1291.38 million
June 5, 202133,148,701593,377137,455,367169,735,4411.01 million
June 12, 202133,259,537596,572142,095,530172,758,3501.09 million
June 19, 202133,341,986598,713148,459,003176,290,2491.36 million
June 26, 202133,425,231600,859151,615,554178,491,147735,800
July 3, 202133,514,681602,731156,255,896181,650,6781.09 million
July 10, 202133,631,656604,251158,629,431183,542,871599,100
July 17, 202133,836,677606,190160,686,378185,424,899562,000
July 24, 202134,312,832608,113162,435,276187,579,557500,000
July 31, 202134,818,278610,264164,184,080190,509,183590,000
August 7, 202135,530,951613,658165,918,256193,764,457650,000
August 14, 202136,410,213617,787167,699,170197,081,471650,000
August 21, 202137,396,282624,213169,998,983200,421,787750,000
August 28, 202138,527,411632,786172,646,952203,475,192820,000
September 4, 202139,668,869643,405175,538,025206,461,869840,000
September 11, 202140,703,234654,409172,899,458208,704,230890,000
September 18, 202141,754,903668,442180,572,171211,097,597720,000
September 25, 202142,635,447682,646182,958,696212,861,380600,000
DateCOVID CasesDeathsFully VaccinatedBooster Doses Vaccination Rate/Day
October 2, 202143,409,950696,603214,597,6903,023,065720,000
October 10, 202144,105,375708,784216,573,9117,284,455930,000
October 16. 202144,709,010720,228218,318,05610,023,131950,000

Periodic Updates

Update June 16, 2021.  Pfizer had evidence the mRNA vaccine could stop the virus. The vaccine is composed of a lipid nanoparticle, a sphere of fat molecules encapsulating a strand of messenger RNA, which instructs human cells to make proteins that trigger antibodies and prime the immune system against future viral invasions.  But it would do little good unless Pfizer could rapidly take the new nanoparticle technology from lab to mass production — a feat never before accomplished — making immunizations available in America and around the world.  The company and its vaccine partner BioNTech would ultimately master the job of churning out large batches of mRNA vaccine, making it the clearest winner among drug companies to emerge from the pandemic. The company is producing vaccines in greater quantities than any other company and has secured an advantage in the quest to use next-generation mRNA technology for treatments of other diseases.  The company says it expects to make enough for 3 billion shots in 2021, twice as much as initial projections and enough of the two-dose immunization for 1.5 billion people. It has said it will make $26 billion in vaccine sales in 2021, which would make it the biggest-selling medicine ever.

Update June 27, 2021: Paddy Doherty, of County Donegal, Ireland, recently became the fifth person in the world to have cells deep inside his body altered by the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9.  Two researchers behind CRISPR won the Nobel Prize last year, including American scientist Jennifer Doudna, and it has already been used to edit blood cells removed from the body and infused back in, as well as genes in the eye.  But the trial Doherty participated in was the first time anyone’s whole body has been infused with the CRISPR tool.  It seems to have worked as planned.  In Doherty and five others with the same condition, the one-time treatment appears to have turned off a gene that was causing a fatal build-up of protein in their tissues. The three who got the lowest dose saw more than a 50% decline in their blood levels of the protein, according to a presentation Saturday morning and a publication in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Doherty and two others who got a three-times higher dose saw an 87% reduction. He thinks he was the one in the group identified as having a 96% reduction.  But if such CRISPR gene-editing continues to show as much promise, the results could herald a new era for transthyretin amyloidosis and dozens of other genetic conditions, including hemophilia, sickle cell disease, and a more common trigger for heart failure.  CRISPR/Cas9 (which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated endonuclease-9) has mostly been used as a research tool since its 2012 discovery.  Patrick Doherty had always been very active. He trekked the Himalayas and hiked trails in Spain.  The breathlessness on a hillside walk last fall wasn’t Doherty’s first sign of trouble, but it was the one that finally got him to go to the doctor.  Doherty, 65, a mechanical engineer, lost his father at age 67, and two uncles died young, too.  After months of appointments and scans, Doherty ended up with a devastating diagnosis: an inherited form of a disease called transthyretin amyloidosis with polyneuropathy. It meant clumps of proteins were slowly clogging up his heart and nerves, and after years of pain and progressive heart failure, would kill him.  So Doherty was thrilled when he found out that doctors were testing a new way to try to treat amyloidosis.

Updated July 8. 2021: New study on delta variants reveals the importance of receiving both vaccine shots, highlights challenges posed by mutations. New laboratory research on the swiftly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus is highlighting the threats posed by viral mutations, adding urgency to calls to accelerate vaccination efforts across the planet. A peer-reviewed report from scientists in France, published Thursday in the journal Nature, found that the delta variant has mutations that allow it to evade some of the neutralizing antibodies produced by vaccines or by a natural infection. A single shot of a two-dose vaccine “barely” offers any protection. But the experiments found that fully vaccinated people — with the recommended regimen of two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine — should retain significant protection against the delta variant. That echoes another report authored by a collaboration of scientists in the United States and published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Update August 13, 2021.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes extra vaccine doses for immunocompromised patients to bolster protection against the coronavirus.  Regulators took steps today to shore up the defenses of millions of vulnerable Americans against the coronavirus, authorizing extra doses of two widely used vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems.  Details about how the shots will be administered — and who exactly will be eligible for them — are expected to be hashed out on August 14, during a meeting of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisers.  The discussions have become increasingly urgent as the delta variant wreaks havoc in many parts of the country, and some studies indicate a waning of the vaccines’ protection over time.  According to the CDC, about 7 million people, are immunocompromised. Some, like transplant patients, take immune-suppressing drugs to prevent organ rejection. Others have blood cancers and other illnesses that damage the immune system. Still, others are on cancer chemotherapy. 

Update August 23, 2021.  Federal regulators granted full approval today to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine — a milestone that could help increase inoculation rates and spark a wave of vaccine mandates by employers and universities amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations fueled by the ferocious delta variant.  The Food and Drug Administration action marks the first licensing of a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has swept the United States in repeated and punishing waves since early 2020, exhausting nursing staffs, filling intensive care units, and raising fears among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.  The vaccine has been approved for two doses, three weeks apart, in people 16 and older. It remains available under emergency use authorization for adolescents ages 12 to 15.  In the end, the vaccine approval was the fastest in the agency’s history, coming less than four months after Pfizer-BioNTech filed for licensing on May 7.

Update August 31, 2021.  Another variant of COVID-19 detected in nine countries is causing concern among scientists because it is more transmissible and resistant to vaccines than other variants of the virus.  A pre-print study that emerged last week said the C.1.2 variant, which was first detected in South Africa in May, has since been found in Botswana, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland.  There are four other variants of concern of COVID-19 among scientists—Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta—and another four variants of interest—Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda—in global circulation. Alpha, Beta, and Delta have had the most impact globally in terms of transmission and immune evasion.  But the newly discovered variant seems to have an unusually high mutation rate and more mutations of other variants of concern (VOCs), the study, led by a team of South African scientists, noted. It also noted that it is more likely to cause severe COVID-19 than other variants.

Update September 10, 2021.  President Biden announced sweeping new coronavirus vaccine mandates Thursday designed to affect tens of millions of Americans, ordering all businesses with more than 100 employees to require their workers to be immunized or face weekly testing.  Biden also said that he would require most healthcare facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding to vaccinate their employees, which the White House believes will cover 50,000 locations.  And the president signed an executive order compelling all federal employees to get vaccinated — without an option for those who prefer to be regularly tested instead — in an effort to create a model he hopes state governments will embrace. He is also ordering all staffers in Head Start programs, along with Defense Department and federally operated schools for Native Americans, to be vaccinated.  Taken together, the moves represent a major escalation by Biden of the pressure against those who have resisted vaccination. The announcement comes amid growing signs that the highly contagious delta variant, and the persistence of vaccine resistance, are combining to drag out the pandemic, slow the economic recovery and prevent Biden from turning his focus to other matters.  The delta variant has upended calculations on the virus, sending new infections surging to more than 150,000 a day and daily deaths to 1,500.  The American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest teachers union, applauded the effort. “We stand in complete support of this plan and of the administration’s effort to protect as many people as possible,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.  Republican leaders in the United States are blasting President Biden’s sweeping new coronavirus vaccine mandates for businesses and federal workers, decrying them as unconstitutional infringements on personal liberties and promising to sue.  Republican governors from Texas to Missouri and Georgia threatened to fight back. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the mandates “an assault on private businesses” and said the state is “already working to halt this power grab.” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said he asked his state’s attorney general “to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power,” and South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem said, “See you in court.” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the group “will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties.”

Update September 23, 2021.  The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older and adults at risk of severe illness, an effort to bolster protection for the most vulnerable Americans against the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.  In addition to older Americans, boosters should be made available to people 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and those “whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to the virus puts them at high risk of serious complications from the disease caused by the virus, the agency said.  The agency said the extra dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be administered six months after its standard two-shot regimen.  In a rare move, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky late Thursday overruled her agency’s advisory panel and added a recommendation for boosters for people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.

Detail of COVID-19 Cases, deaths, fully vaccinated, one-shot, vaccinated by series, and rate of vaccination.

Update April 10, 2021. USA COVID-19 cases, 31,084,962, deaths 561,074.  Fully vaccinated 68,202,458, (20.5%) one-shot 114,436,039 (34.5%).  Currently, the concern is for a potential fourth wave, especially among younger adults.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 3.1 million per day

Update April 17, 2021. USA COVID-19 cases, 31,574,340, deaths 565,260.  Fully vaccinated 80,609,818, (24.3%) one-shot 127,743,096 (38.5%).  Currently, the concern is for a potential fourth wave, especially among younger adults.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 3.9 million per day.

Update April 24, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 31,730,950, deaths 567,352.  Fully vaccinated 91,175,995 (27.5%) one-shot 137,234,889 (41.3%).  Currently, the concern is a reluctance for people to get vaccinated.  Some states have more vaccinations available than people willing to get vaccinated.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 2.28 million per day.

Update May 1, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 32,091,429, deaths 572,190.  Fully vaccinated 101,407,318 (30.5%) one-shot 144,894,586 (43.6%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 51,134,807 Moderna 42,065,146 J&J 8,162,494.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 2.36 million per day.  Concerns that some people after receiving the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not returning for their second dose.

Update May 8, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 32,403,159, deaths 577,041.  Fully vaccinated 110,874,920 (33.4%) one-shot 150,416,559 (45.3%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 56,659,985 Moderna 45,501,811 J&J 8,665,290.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.75 million per day.  The best news is that the rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 14% daily cases for a positivity rate of 3.9%.  Our granddaughters, over the age of 12 will be vaccinated next week getting their first Pfizer dose, the only vaccination authorized for them currently.

Update May 15, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 32,681,787, deaths 581,573.  Fully vaccinated 120,258,637 (36.2%) one-dose 155,251,852 (46.8%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 62,113,204 Moderna 48,745,748 J&J 9,348,976.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.82 million per day.  Rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 20.6% daily cases for a positivity rate of 3.4%.  Our granddaughters, over the age of 12 received their first shot of Pfizer vaccination.

Update May 22, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 32,885,010, deaths 584,975.  Fully vaccinated 127,778,250 (38.5%) one-dose 161,278,336 (48.6%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 66,045,495 Moderna 51,727,326 J&J 9,951,785.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.76 million per day.  Rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 20.4% daily cases for a positivity rate of 4.7%.  Now states are bribing their citizens to get vaccinated.  Ohio offering a $1 million lottery prize, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut a “shot and free beer,” vaccinations in Wisconsin at a pub for a day.  New York offers a vax and scratch lottery worth $5 million, Maryland offers $2 million and West Virginia offering saving bonds.  Krispy Kreme a free doughnut, some dispensaries—free marijuana.  Is this all to reward irresponsible behavior? Democrat Nancy Pelosi instructed all members of the House of Representatives to wear masks because Republicans refuse to get vaccinated or admit they have been vaccinated.  Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a “$2 million Vax Cash promotion”. Every Marylander 18 and over who gets vaccinated will be entered into a daily drawing to win $40,000 from the Maryland State Lottery — culminating in a $400,000 drawing on July 4.  Meanwhile, the University of Virginia and Indiana University are joining a growing list of universities requiring vaccinations.  At least 389 colleges (universities) across that country have required vaccinations for at least some students or faculty, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.  For the first time since March 2020, the 7-day average for deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. has fallen below 500, White House coronavirus response senior adviser Andy Slavitt tweeted Friday. Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s comments Friday came as the country’s seven-day average of daily new coronavirus infections fell below 30,000 for the first time in almost a year; in late March, that figure was around 66,000.

Update May 29, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,041,551, deaths 590,212.  Fully vaccinated 133,532,544 (40.2%) one-dose 166,388,129 (50.1%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 68,735,221 Moderna 54,244,825 J&J 10,495,883.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.38 million per day.  Rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 22.4% daily cases for a positivity rate of 2.5%.  Abbey Bugenske (22) who lives in Cincinnati is the first winner of $1 million Vax-a-Million lotteries in Ohio’s bid to encourage more people to get vaccinated.  Abbey was one of 2.76 million Ohioans who entered the drawing.  14-year-old Joseph Costello of Englewood won a four-year scholarship to any Ohio college/university he chooses as part of the lottery.  California on Thursday became the latest state to announce huge cash prizes to incentivize vaccination against the coronavirus, offering $116.5 million in giveaways — many smaller payments as well as a final drawing for 10 winners of $1.5 million each.  California will also give out 2 million $50 “incentive cards” starting Thursday for as long as supplies last, officials said.  Anyone who receives their full vaccine regimen — two shots if applicable — can get a card.

Update June 5, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,148,701, deaths 593,377.  Fully vaccinated 137,455,367 (41.4%) one-dose 169,735,441 (51.1%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 70,597,177 Moderna 55,914,615 J&J 10,884,243.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.01 million per day.  Rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 32.8% daily cases for a positivity rate of 3%.  The country’s declining Covid-19 case rates present an unrealistically optimistic perspective for half of the nation — the half that is still not vaccinated.  The adjusted rates in several states show the pandemic is spreading as fast among the unvaccinated as it did during the winter surge.  For events like Covid-19 infection, rates are usually calculated by dividing the number of cases by the number of people in the population. For example, if there are 12 cases among a population of 100 people, the rate would be 12 people per 100. The Washington Post reduced the denominator to exclude most vaccinated people. So if 20 people got vaccinated, that would mean there were 12 cases out of the remaining 80 unvaccinated people, for an adjusted rate of 15 cases per 100 people.  Data shows vaccines are about 90 percent effective in preventing cases among people who have received the shot.  Cases among vaccinated people are called breakthrough cases.  To be conservative, The Washington Post estimated that up to 15 percent of the vaccinated population could still be infected.  So, in the example above, instead of removing all 20 vaccinated people, The Post removed 17.  That would leave 12 cases among 83 people, for an adjusted rate of 14.5 cases per 100 people.  But adjustments for vaccinations show the rate among susceptible, unvaccinated people is 73 percent higher than the standard figures being publicized.  The adjusted rates in several states show the pandemic is spreading as fast among the unvaccinated as it did during the winter surge. Maine, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Washington state all have Covid-19 case spikes among the unvaccinated, with adjusted rates about double the adjusted national rate.

Update June 12, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,259,537, deaths 596,572.  Fully vaccinated 142,095,530 (42.8%) one-dose 172,758,350 (52.0%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 73,593,112 Moderna 57,194,116 J&J 11,246,809.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.09 million per day.  Rates of COVID infections in the US are dropping by 11% daily cases for a positivity rate of 1.8%.  The latest CDC data shows that the gap between vaccination rates in Republican-controlled states and Democrat-controlled states is vast, and it’s only getting wider. Right now, the 10 Republican states that have fully vaccinated the smallest share of their residents are Mississippi (28 percent), Alabama (30 percent), Arkansas (32 percent), Louisiana (32 percent), Wyoming (33 percent), Tennessee (33 percent), Utah (34 percent), Idaho (34 percent), Georgia (34 percent) and Oklahoma (35 percent).  Meanwhile, the 10 Democrat states that have fully vaccinated the largest share of their residents are Vermont (60 percent), Massachusetts (57 percent), Maine (57 percent), Connecticut (56 percent), Rhode Island (54 percent), New Hampshire (53 percent), New Jersey (51 percent), Maryland (51 percent), Washington (49 percent) and New Mexico (49 percent).  The vast majority of the 100 U.S. counties with today’s highest per capita case counts (COVID infections) are in Republican conservative areas.  According to the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, more than three-quarters of Democrats (76 percent) say they’ve already been vaccinated, while less than half of Republicans (49 percent) say the same.  A full 28 percent of Republicans say they will “never” get vaccinated.  The Biden administration is buying 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world as the United States dramatically increases its efforts to help vaccinate more of the global population.  The first 200 million doses will be distributed this year, with the subsequent 300 million shared in the first half of next year. The doses will be distributed by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to share doses around the globe, and they will be targeted at low- and middle-income countries.  Pfizer is selling the doses to the United States at a “not-for-profit” price.

Update June 19, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,341,986, deaths 598,713.  Fully vaccinated 148,459,003 (44.7%) one-dose 176,290,249 (53.1%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 77,705,677 Moderna 58,962,325 J&J 11,725,891.  Unknown 2-dose 65,110.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.36 million per day.  Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced Vermont had become the first state to vaccinate 80 percent of those eligible with at least one dose. Vermont has given out 131,473 doses per 100,000 population. By contrast, in Mississippi, only 35 percent of the overall population has received at least one dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the Mississippi vaccination rate at less than half that of Vermont, or 61,278 administered per 100,000.  Where vaccine coverage is strong, the pandemic is receding.  The new delta variant is significantly more contagious and may lead to more severe disease than the earlier variants.  The worry is that those who are hesitating to get vaccinated now will be sickened in the fall.  The announcement that a new two-dose vaccine in the United States, developed by Novavax, is 90 percent effective in a large-scale clinical trial is a reason for hope. 

Update June 26, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,425,231, deaths 600,859.  Fully vaccinated 151,615,554 (45.7%) one-dose 178,491,147 (53.8%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 79,671,066 Moderna 59,859,140 J&J 12,017,294.  Unknown 2-dose 68,054.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 735,800 per day.  Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who were not vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.  Vaccination rates vary enormously across states: Some states have given at least one dose to two-thirds of the people, while others have given it to slightly more than one-third.  In Wisconsin, 48% were vaccinated.

Update July 3, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,514,681, deaths 602,731.  Fully vaccinated 156,255,896 (47.1%) one-dose 181,650,678 (54.7%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 82,684,230 Moderna 61,148,426 J&J 12,352,133.  Unknown 2-dose 71,107.  The current rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 1.09 million per day, a 52% increase over the week before.  CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a Thursday White House briefing that preliminary data reviewed by her agency suggests 99.5% of the people who died from Covid-19 over the past six months were unvaccinated, a stunning statistic in support of her assertion that nearly every virus-linked death is now preventable.  Several states and the District of Columbia have reached the 70 percent target, and more should follow soon.  Many states, particularly in the South and Midwest, are still far from reaching the threshold.  Infections and hospitalizations have been rising in many places with low vaccination rates.  Local officials are sounding the alarm over an increase in Covid-19 infections just as the nation prepares to celebrate a Fourth of July holiday that many hoped would mark the start of the resumption of normal life.  With July 4th holiday coming up and eventually kids going back to school, we have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue.  And if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of Covid-19 here in the state of Arkansas,” he said.  More than 90% of active virus cases are people who have not been vaccinated, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during the briefing.

Update July 10, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,631,656, deaths 604,251.  Fully vaccinated 158,629,431 (47.8%) one-dose 183,542,871 (55.3%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 84,127,283 Moderna 61,840,480 J&J 12,587,850.  Unknown 2-dose 73,818.  National vaccination rates have slowed considerably from their mid-April peak of 3.3 million doses administered daily, on average.  In the last week, an average of 599,100 doses per day was administered, a 45% decrease over the week before. The vaccination campaign has slowed, and the delta variant is spreading rapidly.  New infections, which had started to plateau about a month ago, are going up slightly nationally.  Surges are likely driven by pockets of dangerously low vaccination rates.  The number of people catching the virus has risen in more than half of the states over the past two weeks. And 18 states have greater numbers of new infections now compared with four weeks ago, including Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma, where new daily cases have doubled. In the last week, an average of 593,800 doses per day was administered, a 47% decrease over the week before.

Update July 17, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 33,836,677, deaths 606,190.  Fully vaccinated 160,686,378 (48.4%) one-dose 185,424,899 (55.9%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 85,373,703 Moderna 62,435,576 J&J 12,799,762.  Unknown 2-dose 77,337.  A doubling of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks suggests the United States has entered a fourth wave of the pandemic.  Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the seven-day average of coronavirus infections soared nearly 70 percent in just one week, to about 26,300 cases a day. The seven-day average for hospitalizations has increased, too, climbing about 36 percent from the previous seven-day period, she said.  Florida emerged as a national hot spot, accounting for 1 in 5 cases in the past week. Four states were responsible for more than 40 percent of cases in the past week, health officials said. And 10 percent of counties have moved into “high transmission risk.”  More than 97 percent of hospitalizations are among those who are unvaccinated, Walensky said, and almost all covid-19 deaths — which climbed 26 percent in the past week — are among people who have not received a shot.  The delta variant has become the dominant strain worldwide and is responsible for the majority of U.S. cases, said Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Update July 24, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 34,312,832, deaths 608,113.  Fully vaccinated 162,435,276 (48.9%) one-dose 187,579,557 (56.5%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 86,495,061 Moderna 62,870,544 J&J 12,987,754.  Unknown 2-dose 81,917.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the U.S. is 0.50 million per day, down from a peak of 3.3 million doses administered per day in April.   Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a stark warning Thursday about the spread of the delta strain of COVID-19, saying the variant is one of the “most infectious respiratory viruses” scientists know of.  People infected with the variant appear to carry a viral load that is more than 1,000 times that of those infected with earlier forms of the virus, allowing the virus to spread rapidly among unvaccinated people, scientists have found.  The dire message comes amid urgency from public health officials that Americans get vaccinated.  The daily average of confirmed coronavirus cases has roughly quadrupled during July, from about 13,000 per day at the start of the month to 43,243 now.  The CDC said earlier this week that cases of the delta strain now make up about 83% of new infections in the U.S., and a majority of deaths from the disease are among unvaccinated people.  The strain is much more transmissible than the alpha strain, or the initial version of COVID-19, and has led to surging case numbers in every state in the nation.  The number of new cases has risen almost 250% since the beginning of July, and states with low vaccination rates, including Florida, Texas, and Missouri, are experiencing some of the worst outbreaks three states with lower vaccination rates accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide.  Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Alabama have more than doubled this month, with 213 patients in intensive care units, up from 79 on July 1.

Update July 31, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 34,818,278, deaths 610,264.  Fully vaccinated 164,184,080 (49.5%) one-dose 190,509,183 (57.4%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 87,580,002 Moderna 63,322,317 J&J 13,195,772.  Unknown 2-dose 85,989.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.59 million per day, down from a peak of 3.3 million doses administered per day in April.  It is time to shift how people think about the pandemic.  The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.”  It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.  One thing is finally grabbing the attention of millions of unvaccinated Americans — the invasion of the hyper-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. The document strikes an urgent note, to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.  Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.  There is a higher risk among older age groups for hospitalization and death relative to younger people, regardless of vaccination status.  Estimates suggest that there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 164 million vaccinated Americans.

Update August 7, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 35,530,951, deaths 613,658.  Fully vaccinated 165,918,256 (50.0%) one-dose 193,764,457 (58.4%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 88,685,831 Moderna 63,726,330 J&J 13,415,537.  Unknown 2-dose 90,558.  In the past week new daily cases rose 40.4%, deaths rose 49.1% COVID-related hospitalizations rose 29.5%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.65 million per day.  Dr. Anthony Fauci has a sobering prediction: “Things are going to get worse.”  The White House chief medical advisor made those remarks amid rising Covid cases nationwide, due largely to the virus’s newly dominant and more transmissible delta variant.  Though it’s tough to imagine a situation direr than the country’s current surge, “we’re looking to some pain and suffering in the future because we’re seeing the cases go up,” Fauci said.  Delta has run rampant through the U.S. in recent weeks, surpassing last summer’s peak of new daily cases and hitting the country’s relatively large population of unvaccinated people — 50% as of Thursday afternoon — particularly hard.  So long as a virus can spread, it can mutate and create more dangerous variants. And while the Covid vaccines in use appear to work well against current variants, “there could be a variant that’s lingering out there that can push aside delta,” Fauci said.  Most of the virus’s current ability to spread across the U.S. — which has a plentiful vaccine supply — is due to America’s large population of unvaccinated people. About 30% of the adult population in the U.S. has not received at least one dose, and roughly 33% of eligible children ages 12 -17 have yet to receive a shot.  New data from the CDC has also raised concerns about breakthrough cases, where vaccinated people can occasionally transmit the delta variant to other people.

Update August 14, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 36,410,213, deaths 617,787.  Fully vaccinated 167,699,170 (50.5%) one-dose 197,081,471 (59.4%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 89,857,077 Moderna 64,113,369 J&J 13,634,118.  Unknown 2-dose 94,606.  In the past week new daily cases rose 20.8%, deaths rose 26.8% COVID-related hospitalizations rose 22.6%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.65 million per day.  The highly transmissible coronavirus variant called delta is now the dominant strain in the United States.  Modeling shows that the variant now accounts for more than 90 percent of new infections, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has described the delta variant as a very different virus than the one that took hold last year, capable of generating infections even among vaccinated people, though those are likely to be far less severe.  “The delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us and to be an opportunist in areas where we have not shown a fortified response against it,” she said in July.  The CDC said that the variant may cause infections that are more severe than previous versions, and that vaccinated people can spread it.  Walensky has described delta as “one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of and that I have seen in my 20-year career.”  The good news, Walensky has said, is that all three coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States offer strong protection against severe disease and death from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Preliminary data from several states over the past several months suggests that 99.5 percent of covid-19-related deaths occurred among unvaccinated people, she has said.

Update August 21, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 37,396,282, deaths 624,213.  Fully vaccinated 169,998,983 (51.2%) one-dose 200,421,787 (60.4%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 91,440,711 Moderna 64,576,676 J&J 13,887,110.  Unknown 2-dose 94,486.  In the past week new daily cases rose 11.1%, deaths rose 43.4% COVID-related hospitalizations rose 11.2%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.75 million per day.  The United States on Wednesday became the latest country to embrace the widespread use of coronavirus vaccine booster shots, citing new data that shows the vaccines’ effectiveness waning over time.  The Biden administration said it plans to make booster shots available to Americans starting the week of Sept. 20, pending reviews by federal health agencies. Officials said those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can receive a booster shot eight months after the date when they got their second vaccine dose. Officials said they are waiting for additional data before setting a plan for people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Update August 28, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 38,527,411, deaths 632,786.  Fully vaccinated 172,646,952 (52%) one-dose 203,475,192 (61.3%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 93,259,507 Moderna 65,206,722 J&J 14,083,866.  Unknown 2-dose 96,857.  In the past week new daily cases rose 10.9%, deaths rose 34.9% COVID-related hospitalizations rose 5.8%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.82 million per day.  More than 100,000 people are hospitalized with covid-19 in the United States, a level not seen since Jan. 30 — when coronavirus vaccines were not widely available — as the country grapples with the delta variant’s spread.  Hospitalizations are highest across the South, where every state in the region has a higher portion of its population currently hospitalized with covid-19 than the national level. More than 17,000 people are hospitalized with covid-19 in Florida, which has the most such hospitalizations of any state, followed by Texas, which has more than 14,000.  Amid a raging debate over mask requirements in schools, current pediatric hospitalizations for covid-19 have reached 2,100 nationally, topping 2,000 for the first time since August 2020.  New coronavirus cases are being reported across the country at levels similar to those seen in January.  About 151,000 new daily cases were being reported on average on Jan. 30; on Wednesday, that figure was 148,000.

Update September 4, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 39,668,869, deaths 643,405.  Fully vaccinated 175,538,025 (52.9%) one-dose 206,461,869 (62.2%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 95,227,588 Moderna 65,942,167 J&J 14,268,555.  Unknown 2-dose 99,715.  In the past week new daily cases rose 4.9%, deaths rose 28.7% COVID-related hospitalizations rose 1.1%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.84 million per day.  Nationally, covid-19 deaths have climbed steadily in recent weeks, hitting a seven-day average of about 1,500 a day Thursday, after falling to the low 200s in early July — the latest handiwork of a contagious variant that has exploited the return to everyday activities by tens of millions of Americans, many of them unvaccinated. Top federal health officials have warned the White House that the Biden administration’s plan to begin offering booster shots to most Americans later this month may have to be limited initially, with third shots made available only to people who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to people familiar with the matter.  Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients on Thursday that their agencies may not be able to approve a more expansive coronavirus booster plan that they, along with other top doctors across the administration, endorsed last month.  Woodcock and Walensky told Zients they may be able to approve and recommend booster shots only for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  Americans were told they should plan to get a third shot eight months after they received their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Biden said people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would probably need a booster shot as well, but officials would need more time to analyze data.  Now, Woodcock and Walensky, who have faced criticism for endorsing a plan before FDA approval, have warned that their agencies may need more time to make a determination about recommending boosters for people who received the Moderna vaccine. The FDA has only partial data on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters.

Update September 11, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 40,703,234, deaths 654,409.  Fully vaccinated 177,899,458 (53.6%) one-dose 208,704,230 (62.9%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 96,782,513 Moderna 66,608,458 J&J 14,406,820.  Unknown 2-dose 101,667.  In the past week, new daily cases fell 10.8%, deaths rose 4.9% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 0.8%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.89 million per day.  Fights about wearing masks in schools intensified Friday, as the United States reported a record number of infections among children in recent weeks after schools reopened.  In Florida, an appeals court sided with Gov. Ron DeSantis to reinstate a school mask ban, while the Education Department said it is investigating whether the state was violating the rights of students with disabilities by preventing school districts from requiring masks. In Texas, attorney general Ken Paxton filed lawsuits against six school districts for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s order regarding mask mandates, adding that he expects to file more suits against noncompliant districts.  Nationally, Republican leaders blasted President Biden’s sweeping new coronavirus vaccine mandates for businesses and federal workers, decrying them as unconstitutional infringements on personal liberties and promising to sue.  Unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die of covid-19 than those who were fully vaccinated this spring and summer, according to one of three major studies published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Update September 18, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 41,754,903, deaths 668,442.  Fully vaccinated 180,572,171 (54.4%) one-dose 211,097,597 (63.6%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 98,509,241 Moderna 67,388,413 J&J 14,570,912.  Unknown 2-dose 103,605.  In the past week new daily cases rose 1.7%, deaths rose 24.2% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 7%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.72 million per day.  Expert advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Friday to recommend that the agency authorize a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine six months after vaccination for people 65 years and older and for anyone at risk for severe illness.  The raw number of deaths is horrifying – roughly equal to the populations of Las Vegas, Detroit, or Oklahoma City. So too is the proportion of Americans who have succumbed to the virus: 1 in 500.  It is a public health catastrophe that has taken loved ones from hundreds of thousands of families.

Update September 25, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 42,635,447, deaths 682,646.  Fully vaccinated 182,958,696 (55.1%) one-dose 212,861,380 (64.1%).  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 100,115,440 Moderna 68,051,592 J&J 14,685,582.  Unknown 2-dose 106,136.  In the past week, new daily cases fell 17.8%, deaths rose 1.4% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 7.6%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.60 million per day.  More people have died of covid-19 in the United States than are estimated to have died of influenza during the 1918 pandemic. More than 682,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States have been reported since Feb. 29, 2020.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that is roughly how many died of influenza in the United States from 1918 to 1919 — along with more than 49 million killed globally during the “deadliest pandemic of the 20th century.” (The coronavirus has killed nearly 4.7 million people globally.)

Update October 2, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 43,409,950, deaths 696,603.  Fully vaccinated 214,597,690 (64.6%) booster-dose 3,023,065.  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 101,414,770 Moderna 68,524,278 J&J 14,804,442.  Unknown 2-dose 108,926.  In the past week, new daily cases fell 10.9%, deaths fell 6.2% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 9.3%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.72 million per day.  Pharmaceutical giant Merck announced that in an international clinical trial, its drug, molnupiravir, reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half among higher-risk people diagnosed with mild or moderate illnesses. The company said it would seek regulatory approval as soon as possible, meaning the United States could have its first anti-coronavirus pill in a matter of months.  Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said in a news release they would apply for emergency use authorization for the drug.

Update October 9, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 44,105,375, deaths 708,784.  Fully vaccinated 216,573,911 (65.2%) booster-dose 7,284,455.  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 102,879,624 Moderna 69,003,393 J&J 14,923,459.  Unknown 2-dose 111,445.  In the past week, new daily cases fell 10.4%, deaths fell 8.3% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 7.9%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.93 million per day.  At least 120,000 American children lost a parent or primary caregiver to COVID-19, according to a study published Thursday in the medical journal Pediatric which examined the fifteen-month period between April 2020 through June 2021. The study’s lead author told NPR that the number is closer to 175,000 today.  “This means that for every four COVID-19 deaths, one child was left behind without a mother, father and/or a grandparent who provided for that child’s home needs and nurture — needs such as love, security, and daily care,” Dr. Susan Hillis, the lead author, and a researcher and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an interview with NPR.  Black and Hispanic children were particularly hard hit. They account for more than half of the children who lost a primary caregiver to the pandemic, even though their racial groups represent just 40% of the total population.

Update October 16, 2021.  USA COVID-19 cases, 44,709,010, deaths 720,228.  Fully vaccinated 218,318,056 (65.8%) booster-dose 10,023,131.  Vaccine fully vaccinated by series: Pfizer 104,091,511 Moderna 69,407,846 J&J 15,041,965, Unknown 2-dose 113,847.  In the past week, new daily cases fell 13.7%, deaths fell 8.4% COVID-related hospitalizations fell 7.4%.  The current average rate of vaccinations in the is U.S. 0.95 million per day.  An independent advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday unanimously recommended a booster dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for people 65 and older and for adults who are at high risk of severe illness because of underlying conditions or exposure on the job.  The recommendation will now be considered by FDA officials, who are expected to reach a decision on the Moderna booster within days. An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that makes recommendations on how vaccines should be used is scheduled to meet Wednesday.  Moderna presented studies of about 350 people who were given a booster dose six months after their initial shots.  Vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have risen by more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down.

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Marriott Ocean Pointe, Singer Island, Florida, Vacation March 2021

With trepidation, we planned to stay at our timeshare at Marriott Ocean Pointe, Palm Beach Shores, on Singer Island, Florida, for a portion of February and March 2021.

With trepidation, we planned to stay at our timeshare at Marriott Ocean Pointe, Palm Beach Shores, on Singer Island, Florida, for a portion of February and March 2021.  Our reluctance and hesitation were solely due to our concern for contracting COVID.  Reviewing videos Marriott had on their website describing their commitment to their guest’s safety, we decided to take a break from the cold of Wisconsin to enjoy the warmer weather in the Sunshine State. 

One year earlier, in March 2020, we vacationed in Cape Town, South Africa.  Our trip was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We endured a dramatic return to the U.S.  You can read about that harrowing adventure here:  Our lives were upended for the balance of the year.  We longed for a change back to normal everyday life.

Since we planned to visit Marriott Ocean Pointe for two weeks, we elected to drive to Florida, a one-way distance of 1,400 miles (2,250 km).  The strategy to save on airfare and car rental, with transportation services somewhat risky to use during this pandemic.  With 524,141 COVID-19 deaths at month-end February 2021, why take risks?  We religiously wore masks during the past year, kept our social distance, used hand sanitizers, washed our hands frequently, did not have close contact with our son, daughter, and granddaughters.  Our only means of communication have been through Facetime.  Our groceries have been bought online with curbside pickup.  With those considerations, we elected to stay at additional Marriott hotels breaking up our one-way 24-hour drive, selecting Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria in Georgia, and Marriott Courtyard, Lafayette, in Indiana.

All being well; next year, in March 2022, we will stay at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club in Oahu, Hawaii.  It will be a return trip, and you can read about our prior fun time here: (Update September 2021–we canceled this trip, again due to the ongoing COVID pandemic).

We invested in a timeshare with Marriott, Singer Island Beach Resort, in 1999.  Our motivation is to escape the cold of Wisconsin enjoying the warmth of Florida.  This year while at home, two days before our trip, we endured minus 18 Celsius (zero Fahrenheit) weather, and with the wind chill, it felt like minus 22 C (-7 F).  Without adequate protection, ten minutes outside results in frostbite.  That said, we bundle up and head out for our daily 40-minute walks to get our desperately needed exercise. 

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach, Florida is 28 C (82 F) and feels like 30 C (86 F)!  A 50-degree swing in Celsius, or 93-Fahrenheit!  The polar vortex with extreme cold covered the United States and Canada from February 2nd to 17th, 2021, and resulted in 100 million homes losing power.  It registered the coldest records varying from 10 to 100 years depending on geographical location.

When we travel to our timeshare for one week, we fly, rent a car, and rotate our vacation with Robyn or Sean and their respective spouses and daughters.  On those occasions, we reserve the double apartment.  The large unit for their family of four, while we use the interleading smaller lock-off.  On this occasion, we visit for two weeks without our children and granddaughters and drive the 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers), a trip taking a total of 24 hours.

We bought a timeshare in the platinum (high) season, where optionally in week one, we use the smaller lock-off room with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, with all the essentials we require.  The second week we move into a larger adjoining unit with a washing machine, dryer, lounge with sleeper couches, and more comfortable accommodation.  Our timeshare has a side ocean view.  The resort comprises five high-rise buildings with 192 total apartments.  We usually request a high floor in an 18-story building, but with the COVID-19 virus a reality, we asked for a low floor to avoid using the elevators as an added safety precaution.  There were 92 stairway steps to get to our fourth-floor unit.

Each timeshare unit comes with every amenity that one expects from a luxury resort.  The units are air-conditioned, with cable TV, internet, hairdryers, microwave, pots and pans, cutlery and crockery, a refrigerator with an ice maker, toaster, coffee maker, and a list too long to enumerate every necessity provided.  They thoughtfully provide trash cans and a recycle bin.  Barbeque grills are available outside each building.  There is a Tiki Bar in the pool area, providing liquid refreshments and meals.  You can relax at a firepit or in a heated spa pool.  A grocery store is on the premises with essentials you may have forgotten to bring or need to augment.  An exercise room and Spa are available, together with an option of three swimming pools, a kiddie’s pool, a Whirlpool Spa, and a splash pool, a few feet from the ocean.  The beach area provides deck chairs for comfortable sun tanning or reading.  Children are catered for with an activity center, arts and craft activities, and babysitting.  Want sport?  There is a putting green, tennis court, volleyball court, and miniature golf available.  Our comfort is assured.

One hugely enjoyable feature is the hot water feeding the bathroom and kitchen—provided on demand.  The reality in America is businesses do not want to be sued.  The water temperature is controlled not to scald yourself, offering a selection between warm and warmer.

The resort is located near many attractions.  There is a zoo, science museum, wildlife sanctuary, and a short drive to a lion country safari.  An international airport is located in Fort Lauderdale, an hour’s drive, with a local airport 15 minutes away.  The facility caters for meetings and weddings.  Why stay at a resort hotel to work?  If that is not sufficient to impress you, underground parking is available.

Marriott’s Ocean Pointe is located on Singer Island, a peninsula on the Palm Beach Shores’ Atlantic coast.  Singer Island was named after Palm Beach developer Paris Singer, a Singer Sewing Machine magnate Isaac Singer’s son.  Singer Island has parks, marinas, hiking, and bike paths, and 4.7 miles (7.6 km) of white sand beach considered one of the top five beaches in Palm Beach County.  Singer Island is 3 miles (4.8 km) from North Palm Beach, 5.4 miles (8.7 km) from West Palm Beach (home to Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Largo), 5.4 miles (8.7 km) from Palm Beach Gardens, 6.2 miles (10.0 km) from Juno Beach, and 10.6 miles (17.1 km) from Jupiter.  Linda and I walk the beach, but mainly along the road.  One sad observation is that we see a few homeless people living under the bridges benefitting from the magnificent weather.

There is a fascinating history about Singer Island to read here:

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Before 7:00 am (Central Time), we left the condominium and arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Atlanta at 8:30 pm (Eastern Time, or 9:30 Central).  Naturally, the 12:30 hour day was long but fortunately uneventful for the most part. Linda road shotgun.  Reviewing the Weather Channel and Google Maps, Linda provided a running commentary along the way via her iPhone.  Linda alerted me to speed traps, where accidents along the way would delay us by 15 or 30 minutes and where we would encounter severe weather conditions.  Fortunately, none of that came to pass.  It was fascinating that, driving from home to just before we arrived at Chattanooga, Tennessee, 700 miles (1100 km), the land was covered in snow.  To that point, the temperature was below freezing.  On Wednesday night before we left, our daughter Robyn had warned us to leave early morning or later in the morning to avoid the rush hour traffic around Chicago, a 90-minute drive from our home.  As luck would have it, due to COVID-19, the traffic was relatively light for Chicago.

During the time I ran my business, I traveled extensively across the Midwest.  Fortunately, I know the roads well.  Setting my GPS in the car, before we started our journey, the GPS recommended I use the shortest route to Indianapolis, Indiana, and drive through the center of Chicago.  Experience taught me that was a big mistake, and dutifully the GPS declared “recalculating” as I used the ring road around the Windy City. The GPS added 3 minutes to my arrival time in Atlanta.  I did have one regret after several hours of driving.  It never occurred to me to pack windshield washer fluid.  The road conditions with snow and ice showers were challenging enough to empty the car’s washer fluid reservoir.

Our journey on this first day took us from Wisconsin through Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, to Georgia.  The massive storms brought devastation to many parts of the country, especially Texas, where millions of customers lost power.  Residents were warned to boil their water, a challenge without electricity.  Greg Abbott, Republican Texas Governor, incorrectly blamed the reusable energy for the power failure, especially the wind turbines that stopped functioning because they got coated with ice.  The reality is that to save money, they elected not to add function to the turbines that would have prevented the ice buildup, admittedly a rare occurrence in Texas.  A condition that previously occurred in 2011.  The presence of wind turbines in Indiana, on both sides of the Interstate, is awe-inspiring.  The state generates 1,897 MW of electricity through 1,096 turbines. It yields 4.82% of the in-state electricity production.  Indiana is ranked 12th in the nation for wind power.  I am sure we see one hundred turbines as we speed south through the state.  At the U.S. research station in Antarctica, annual temperatures average zero degrees Fahrenheit but often drop much lower. There, near the United States McMurdo Station, a few wind turbines can provide enough electricity to power 100 American homes and avoid burning over 120,000 gallons (450,000 liters) of diesel fuel each year.  What a difference a bit of planning makes, and willingness to spend a few extra dollars to winterize essential equipment.  If they can do it in Antarctica, why not Texas?

We made two stops on the way to Atlanta.  Both to refuel the car and an opportunity to stretch our legs. Our first stop was in Columbus, Indiana. We wanted to stop in at Starbucks for coffee and a treat.  We were greeted with a sign at the door to say that bathrooms were not available, so we promptly turned around and shopped at Culver’s.  The greater shock was the Shell gas station.  The driveway was ankle-deep in snow and slush that they had not bothered to clear, making refueling the vehicle an unpleasant experience.  Our second stop at a Chevron in Guild, Tennessee, was less eventful.

Protea, the national flower of South African, the name for the South African cricket team, and Protea Hotel Group, a member of the U.S. Marriott Hotel and Resorts group.

My Subaru is five years old.  It has covered 32,000 miles (50,000 km) and has not been driven for more than two hours at a stretch in the past two years.  I found it fascinating that the longer I went, the more willing the vehicle seemed to run.  The Subaru was fully loaded with luggage and food for our two-week vacation, being reluctant to make purchases with the pandemic still claiming one life in the U.S. every minute.  Generally, the car was running at about 2,000 RPM (revolutions per minute) and very occasionally would need a burst to 3,000 RPM.  Our Subaru is redlined at 6,000 through 8,000 RPM, and we never needed to push the vehicle that hard.  Our alternate strategy could have been to fly to Fort Lauderdale and rent a vehicle.  That will have been a more expensive option, and with COVID, we would not have enjoyed a full occupancy flight.  Sadly, half the nation still follows Trump’s concept that the virus is a hoax and refuses to wear masks or take necessary precautions. 

We have been faithful to Marriott for many years.  I joined while running my business, calling for a significant amount of travel.  We trust their pledge that the rooms have been sterilized before our arrival.  It helps that I had both my Pfizer vaccinations, and Linda received her first dose.  Linda received her second shot after our return home. 

Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria made careful arrangements for guests to stay safe during this pandemic. Our room was located on the eleventh floor.  To access an elevator, guests had to stand six feet apart. Only one family was allowed in the elevator at a time, or if there were two people, who were not related, they could use the elevator but stand in opposite corners.  Guests always had to wear face coverings. One strange additional cost was to park outside netting the hotel an additional income of $12. Where could we have left the car for free?

I need to include a negative comment.  Our biggest disappointment is the condition of some interstates.  I know that we live in a climate with tremendous weather variations, from extremely hot to extremely cold.  Consequently, we encounter numerous potholes as we drive.  If I did not believe that much of the situation exists because of budget cuts, I may be more understanding.  Honestly, it is like living in a third-world country. I have traveled extensively in South Africa, and their national roads, the equivalent of our interstates, are in near perfect condition.  Wisconsin is rated 38th in the nation for the quality of its roads.  Speaking from experience, the suburban streets are in worse shape by comparison with major arterial routes.  Ratings for the states we traveled, where one is best, and 50 the worst, Illinois (28), Indiana (33), Kentucky (5), Tennessee (7), Georgia (26), and Florida (40).

Another observation from today’s drive was comparing the number of automobiles to 18-wheeler trucks.  On the open roads, between large cities, the ratio appears to be a 50/50 split. In the big cities, with their large proportion of commuter traffic, cars outnumber trucks. In our experience, it was smarter to stop at rest stops where the bathrooms were cleaner than going into town to refuel the car and use their bathrooms that were not always the most hygienic.

Mindful of the long day’s drive and not wishing to make any bathroom breaks, I skipped breakfast.  We had a single slice of wheat bread with an egg, and mayonnaise spread that Linda prepared in the early morning and stored in our cooler.  I supplemented my lunch with an apple and had a banana for dinner.  We bought a bar of dark chocolate at a stop for a treat.

Friday, February 19, 2021

We woke early in the hotel, showered, and picked up a “to-go” breakfast meal in the restaurant served in small plastic containers, one a yogurt and granola, the other fresh-cut fruit.  We made coffee in the bedroom first thing after waking.  By comparison to yesterday, the traffic pattern was quite different.  We saw a large volume of vehicles traveling north in the opposite direction of our travel, in Georgia and Florida.  Cars outnumbered the large 18-wheeler trucks.  We were puzzled if it was holidaymakers returning home.  I can only assume that there was an equal number of vehicles traveling south.  We filled up at a Circle K in Lake City, Florida, before the final drive to our timeshare.

The other big difference on this drive was the absence of potholes.  Linda kept checking for speed traps and weather conditions.  Possibly the most amazing sight was to see blue skies as we approached our timeshare.  To that point, we only encountered cloudy skies.  Then too, on this stretch of the drive, we repeatedly drove through rain showers that did not last long until we experienced the next one.

I said how impressed I was with our car.  I will readily admit that even if Subaru promotes their ergonomically designed seats, after 24 hours of driving, my butt was not sure that this was an accurate comment.

Driving through Palm Beach Shores neighborhood to Marriott Ocean Pointe

We arrived at Marriott Ocean Pointe at 4:00 pm after 10 hours of driving.  We were assigned a room on the second floor of the Sail Fish building with a view of palm trees outside our unit.  Due to COVID, we requested a low floor to minimize our exposure to the virus.  At a stretch, we could see the ocean if we leaned over the balcony.  Then the fun started.

Linda informed me that I was running a fever with an elevated temperature.  I was exhausted, dehydrated, and drained.  I could speculate as to why this happened to me.  Was it a reaction to the second Pfizer vaccination?  I doubt it.  It was more likely the effect of not drinking over the past two days to save my weak bladder so that I did not have to stop on the road every two hours.  Then too I had hardly eaten during the long 24-hour drive.  At any rate, Linda had me crawl into bed and sleep with painkillers for the next 14 hours. 

Postscript (Sunday 21st).  We watched a show on TV explaining one consequence of the vaccination, describing all the effects that I had experienced!  The nurse who administered my second shot stated that most people find the second vaccination has a greater after-effect than the first.  I dismissed her comment.  I appreciate now that she knew what she was advising. To put the timing in perspective, I received my second Pfizer COVID vaccination on Wednesday morning, then drove on Thursday and today (Friday).  Second postscript (Thursday, March 11th).  Linda felt a bit warm after her second Pfizer shot, but it only lasted for a day or two.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Waking up refreshed and ready to take on the day, we elected to have a quiet day after two days of motoring.  We debated breaking up the return journey between Atlanta and home with a stopover in Lafayette, Indiana, and made another Marriott reservation.  Not bad racking up points with 18 consecutive stays at Marriott.

The day was dedicated to doing as little as possible.  Going for our daily walk was essential, after sitting in the car for two days.  Our initial 50-minute walk to familiar places that we had not seen in five years.  We walked the inlet to watch the yachts and speed boats, followed by sightseeing the shops on the main road.  During this time of COVID, several businesses had closed permanently.  The walk was windy and warm.  Many people were wearing shorts to remind us that we were no longer in the subzero temperatures of Wisconsin.

Lake Worth Inlet offers easy access from the Ocean to the Port of Palm Beach, as well as local marinas.  The Inlet runs into the Intracoastal Waterway which continues north to New Jersey and south to the Florida Keys.  The sand dredged to create the Inlet was used to form Peanut Island.

The balance of the afternoon was spent reading indoors.  Linda did well by bringing food to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in our room.  At home, we do not have cable TV and enjoyed watching a movie on Showmax.  All in all, a very restful and satisfying day.

Linda and I have been married for 50 years.  We have never installed nor watched television in our bedroom.  This evening we crawled into bed at 7:00 pm and watched TV for three hours—the joys of being on vacation.  The breaking news item was the Boeing 777-200 departing Denver International Airport bound for Hawaii when an engine exploded on takeoff and required an emergency landing back to the airport.  Debris was scattered all over the neighborhood.  What puzzled me was how the plane could land fully loaded with fuel.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

We woke nine hours after a long night’s sleep.  This must be a record—the benefit of sea air.  However, we woke to a warm but very windy day and decided to stay indoors until midday when the wind subsided, and the temperature warmed for our walk.  Linda was delighted to see a rebroadcast of the Australian Open Tennis.  I had planned to watch a TV program on my PC but discovered that it is only available while at home on my Spectrum internet connection.

Linda did long-range planning today.  We will stay at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club 92-161 Waipahe Place, Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii, 96707, from March 19th, through 26th, 2022.

The day turned out to be unpleasant with the wind, so we stayed in our room all day and dedicated time to reading, writing, and watching TV. Relaxing.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Very Short Rendition. 9 Seconds

We woke to a great day.  Sadly, Linda had to delay our outing due to the time needed to respond to a lengthy legal document.  After lunch, we made it out for a 90-minute walk. Along the way, I took a short video of a street entertainer in very windy conditions that spoiled the sound. 79 F/26 C degrees. 

We had a productive afternoon.  We got the car washed and bought the needed windshield washer fluid that we drained on the trip south.  Suddenly it feels like we are on vacation—totally relaxed and even spent time watching a movie on the Hallmark Channel—a real cheesy G-rated romance movie.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Singer Island is one hour walk from the bridge, here in 4 minutes.

The good news to wake to is a warmup that continues for the next week.  Hot enough to start experiencing humidity. We elected to walk 3 miles (5 km) north to the bridge connecting the next island.  The Burnt Bridge, built in 1990, was dedicated to Army Captain Joseph M. Berkson.  Together with the return walk, it lasted 2 hours.  As we walk north, there are dozens of high-rise buildings on the east or seaward side.  There is a single 42-floor high-rise condominium, 43 high-rise buildings between 12 and 28 floors, and a dozen between 5 and 10 stories high.  On the west side are private homes, offices, and small businesses. Mostly the near west side of the peninsula consists of water.  If you are feeling wealthy, you can purchase a 4-bedroom 6-bathroom 7,500 square foot (700 sq meter) ocean view apartment for US$8.5 million. There is little doubt that this is a wealthy community based on the vehicles locals drive.  Many are top-end sport varieties of Mercedes Benz, BMW, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, Tesla, Range Rovers, etc.  We saw many people walking, jogging, and some pushing their dogs in a stroller.  Some wore face coverings.  We greet as we pass, reflecting a friendly and relaxed community.

Watching advertisements on TV, one sees the differences compared to our community.  One that fascinated me was to see Alfa Romeo’s advertisement.  Not a motorcar advert we see in Wisconsin, but then a vehicle suited to this wealthy community and its fair weather.

Tropical cyclones have affected Florida in most months of the year, except January through March. Nearly one-third of the cyclones impacted the state in September, and almost three-fourths of the storms ravaged the state between August and October, which coincides with the peak of the hurricane season.  Wind speeds average 130 mph (215 km/h).

Today the news was dominated by Tiger Woods’ accident after he rolled down an embankment in California, ending up in the hospital with broken legs.  We watched the 1991 movie Silence of The Lambs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

We woke to a warm day, with a slight possibility of rain.  Our lunchtime walk lasted an hour, covering three miles through the paths that feed the local community meandering between the homes. It is scenic and very peaceful. I noticed that Floridians do not have number plates on the front of their vehicles. We continue our restful vacation. 

This week we are staying in the lock-off portion of our timeshare, the smaller of the two units.  We find the refrigerator tiny.  Appreciate that Linda brought food from home to last us the week to avoid local shopping. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

We experienced a cool morning for an early walk—the promise of a hot day and hot days to follow.  Our hour-plus morning walk took us through residential areas along Singer Island, with single and double-story homes that can be purchased from $600,000 to over $1 million.  I read in the newspapers that Republicans in Wisconsin Congress do not wear masks, emulating Republicans in the US Congress.  Walking the local streets, I find fewer than half the locals wear masks.

The 30-minute stroll in the afternoon took us through a different neighborhood, including a walk around the Sailfish Marina.  Artists erect tables and structures to sell their wares.  Most popular items included rings, bracelets, necklaces, and amusing bar signs.  What is scary watching local news is the high number of COVID cases and deaths, but with a disregard for face coverings and reluctance to adhere to social distancing, this is not surprising. 

We watched a PBS movie about black churches in America and the history of how white Christians justified their treatment of slaves on biblical grounds.  A situation where whites believe they must dominate other races, and men must control women.  It is a situation that we experienced growing up in apartheid South Africa.  Does it never end?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Today is the big move.  We received a call last night to say that we will be staying in the same building but moving to a higher floor into the bigger room, at our request. We are packed early morning, and I called the front desk to alert them that we are ready to relocate.  The rule at the timeshare is to vacate the room by 10:00 am, and check-in is at 4:00 pm.  They need the time in between to clean the rooms.  They agreed to call me on my cell phone when I could relocate.

Wow, how do you define happiness?  Our new accommodation is magnificent.  I know that we will have a fun week in this big unit.  Acres of space, and what a pleasure after our small room during the past week.  That plus the fact that we are getting laundry done and having a meal at OnTheRocks next to the pool.  We decided to delay eating until late afternoon.  I have not had a hamburger in years.  We ordered one for dinner from OnTheRocks restaurant.  It was delicious.  Eating outside at the restaurant at the timeshare, we were served by Mustafa.  I asked how long he had been in the US, and he told us that he came here from Egypt ten years ago at the time of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011.  Another African, from opposite ends of the continent.

We found the faucet in the bathroom was dripping and had maintenance replace the washer. Growing up in South Africa where water is scarce, I have an aversion to wasting water.  We are so enamored with the lounge suite in this unit that we may replace our furniture at home.  Talk about comfort and quality.

Sadly, I noticed one black family enjoying all that the timeshare has to offer.  My reason for saying “sadly” is that the number of non-whites (Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks) at this resort is few and far between—an impact of racism in the U.S.  However, there is no shortage of so-called “minority groups” working at the resort as cleaners, maintenance personnel, shop, and restaurant servers.

Saturday, February 27, 20201

Waking up in the large unit at our timeshare was a treat and questioning why we had not availed ourselves of the pleasure of this vacation spot every year.  We bought the timeshare 21 years ago.  The arrangement is that we can optionally occupy both the lock-off unit and the main unit.  This is a feature not available at all Marriott timeshares.  Over the many years, we reserved both the units for a week and would alternate inviting Robyn and then Sean and respective families to join us for the week.  On those occasions, we would fly to West Palm Beach and rent a car.  On the rare occasions that we used the lock-off in the first week, and the main unit in the second week, we drove to Florida, as we did on this occasion.  We have not been to this location for five years as we traded this location for Hawaii, the Caribbean, southern California, and other exotic locations.  You can read about our Hawaiian adventure with Robyn and family in December 2018 here. We booked to return to Hawaii in March 2022 with Sean and his family.

Many factors amaze me in this unit.  The water pressure is quite unbelievable.  One must learn to open any faucet carefully so as not to flood the sink or shower.  Hot water is unlimited.  Today we are going for an early morning walk.  One alarming news item today is that COVID cases are on the rise again, after a few weeks of decline, proving that we are becoming more complaisant after a year of taking precautions. 

Our one-hour walk going north again along Singer Island, we follow a path on the west side.  In effect, we are walking on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic.  If we encounter people coming south, we can step into the road if there is no oncoming traffic to maintain our social distancing.  This early morning, a weekend day, we saw a significant increase in the number of walkers, speed walkers, people walking dogs, some pushing their dogs in strollers, joggers, and cyclists.  We faced a cool breeze strong enough to blow Linda’s cap into the road.  Living in the Milwaukee area, home of Harley Davidson, it disturbs me to hear motorcyclists pollute the airwaves with their raucous noise, bouncing off the high-rise buildings.  Near the bridge where we begin the return journey, I saw 14 vehicles parked on the side of the road with a sign clearly stating, “No Parking.” I assume they stop there to get access to the water, some fishing off the bridge. Linda offered the opinion that the people wearing masks are mainly visitors.  Locals are among those who follow a political philosophy that masks infringe on their freedom of expression.  We brought six masks each, and Linda dutifully washes them after each use.  The final observation is that many people were enjoying themselves at the park, most without face-coverings.

Each day at Noon and for the next three hours, we are entertained by a disk jockey.  With our new unit facing south we have a clear view of the pool area and enjoy the loud entertainment.  Later in the week, they lowered the decibels to a more acceptable level.  I will say that the music choice is very modern and not what I might typically listen to on the radio in Wisconsin.  Some music choices are golden oldies.  By this time, we are at the high of the day in terms of temperature.  Today we are at 81 F (27 C).

Sitting on our balcony with a drink and snacks after another walk on the beach is the definition of relaxing. It is wonderful to hear young children frolicking around the pool and giggling with excitement. What a beautiful and restful day.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

My last haircut was on September 27, 2020.  With the ever-present danger of a COVID-19 infection, I elected to stay away from services such as having a haircut.  On Friday, November 13, 2020, with Sean’s wedding, I debated a cut but took a pass on the idea.  In my entire life, I have never had my hair so exceptionally long. A few weeks ago, I cut my bangs because I hate the hair in my eyes.  When we get back home, I plan to visit Kim and have her trim my locks back to something akin to normal. Linda too has her story.  While working, Linda would visit her salon on a four-weekly cycle.  Once retired, she initially changed to a five-week visit and to save money to six weeks.  Linda was scheduled to have a cut on a Monday in early December 2020 but canceled at the last moment and has not returned since.  That week the salon sent out an email to say the three stylists contracted COVID and requested patrons to get tested for the virus.  Today we woke to another pleasant day on Singer Island.

Today is the ninth day at our timeshare. During that time, I have driven my car once to get a car wash to clean off the snow and salt, protecting the underbody and paintwork.  However, that may change tomorrow as we need to purchase food items for the week.  We enjoyed 75-minutes walking on a warm day with a slight breeze covering a little over 4 miles (6.5 km).

To make reservations at Marriott Ocean Pointe requires planning a year in advance.  In our case, we first book the lock-off, then a week later, the main unit.  You have the choice of beginning your stay on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.  If you are privileged to own two or more weeks, you can make a reservation 13-months in advance.  Consider the logistics of managing a large complex like this.  This week I saw an 18-wheeler truck from Orlando delivering clean laundry.  After each week’s stay, all the towels, sheets, duvet covers, and wash clothes must be cleaned and replaced with freshly laundered items.  Naturally, I did not appreciate that this was not cleaned on-site, and seeing a very large truck unloading numerous wheeled trolleys put this in perspective for me. Also, there are frequent deliveries from food vendors to replenish the restaurants and stores on-site.

While in the shop on the premises I heard an owner say that they own five weeks at this resort.  We hold one week that optionally we can split into two weeks by staying in the lock-off week one and primary unit week two.  Apart from the initial investment, we pay an annual maintenance fee and Florida state taxes.  A few years ago, when a hurricane did substantial damage to the property, the maintenance fee was higher.  At that time, the sea had risen so high that seawater swept over the boundary walls and brought a large amount of sea sand into the pools that needed to be drained and cleaned out.  At the same time, many roof tiles got blown off and naturally had to be replaced. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

A new day and a new month.  Growing up in South Africa and living in Wisconsin, I had become accustomed to flies during hot weather in South Africa and mosquitoes in Wisconsin.  During this short stay in Florida, we have experienced above-average temperatures, and it occurred to me that here we have an absence of flying insects.  Today the high is 83 F (28 C). These are April temperatures.  The average should be 78 F (25 C).  Frankly, most visitors would retire to their unit and turn on the air conditioning.  Our preference is to open all the doors and enjoy what nature has to offer.  The windows in our timeshare unit are sealed.  Our windows open back home in our condo and are fitted with screens to let the fresh air in and bugs out.

Waking to the sound of the waves rolling into shore is the perfect start to any day.  On our one-hour walk north on Singer Island I saw a very disappointing incident.  In the U.S., the law states that if there is an emergency vehicle in motion, traffic on both sides of the road must pull to the side to allow the emergency vehicle easy access.  The rule does not apply to dual highways.  A fire truck was traveling north, coming from behind us, with his lights lit up like a Christmas tree, but not using his siren because the traffic was relatively light.  A vehicle coming towards us pulled to the side of the road, as required by law.  A Mercedes sports car coming from behind pulled into the middle of the road and flew by the stopped vehicle.  In Florida, vehicles do not have number plates on the front, so reporting this scofflaw is challenging.  The action reflects the attitude of so many Americans who will not have their freedoms impacted by rules and regulations.  It may be why so many locals wear their masks on their arms.  Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis (a Republican and Trump sycophant) will not support COVID restrictions and preventions resulting in Florida recording 31,406 deaths to date.  The state is home to many retired people who tend to be more susceptible to the virus.

Today we did our first, and possibly only, grocery shop at Publix, with Instacart pickup outside the store.  Linda got at least one surprise. In placing an order for bananas, the app asks how many pounds do you want?  Linda responded two.  She only received two bananas. My biggest regret is that I was slow off the mark and forgot to tip the guy who assembled the order and brought it to our vehicle.  I was born curious.  Today, outside our timeshare, I saw a medical emergency vehicle, a fire engine, and a police car.  That was followed a little later by an ambulance who took someone away on a stretcher from our building.  And, naturally, I do not know the finer details.  Linda speculated that this was another COVID case!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Watching a TV show last night, I believe that I qualify for a mullet.  I have not had my hair cut since late September.  After five months of growth, I decided as soon as we are back home, I will call Kim for a haircut and return to normal.  On Monday, when we arrive, I will see a doctor about the ongoing pain in my wrist, then Linda gets her second Pfizer vaccination, and life returns to normal.  A couple of weeks after Linda has her shot, we can safely visit our children and granddaughters.

Today Linda elected to make us bacon and egg, the first on this trip, and the smell is just so wonderful as it wafts through our unit.  The taste was even better.  Today was a special day out walking.  I bumped into a South African!  We walked to the Blue Heron Bridge but walked around under the bridge to see where people park before going to the beach area on the inlet.  We saw two small yachts that had come to a heartbreaking end.  One was partially submerged.  A fisherman said that it had been lying like that for a few months.  The other was stranded alongside the walkway with stickers saying that it had been abandoned. 

While walking back, planning to walk over the bridge, I saw a couple in the parking area getting out of a Mini Clubman.  Impressed with the vehicle, I said that we drove a Mini many years ago.  The guy responds with “South African.” Turns out he was born in Durban, and recently returned from a visit with his wife to Kruger National Park, home to the very large game preserve.  I said a few words in Afrikaans but said he could not communicate.  Coming from English-speaking Durban, that was no surprise.  He may have left when he was young, but he still had his South African accent.  With COVID still prevalent, I asked how they managed to gain access to the country.  He said he works on ships and his visa allows him access.  He added that they live in Boca Raton.  Try pronouncing that city name!  On the local TV stations, they pronounce it “Boca row tone.” Boca Raton is a 45-minute drive from the timeshare.  On this outing, and seeing the sights under the bridge, we observed five homeless people—what a pitiful existence.

Linda bought a bag of oranges from Publix.  We received Florida grown variety.  It is easy to understand why these oranges are the preferred source of Florida Orange Juice, sweet, juicy, and tasty.  We spend time at the timeshare reading.  You may legitimately question why we do not stay at our condo and read. The big difference is that in Florida we can sit in our shorts and t-shirts in the sun.  There is no way we can do that in Wisconsin during the winter months.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

I consider myself well organized and systematic.  I take medications and use two pill dispensers marked Sunday through Saturday.  Each week my ritual is to load the appropriate medications using a spreadsheet to guide me with what I take morning or evening.  At home, as a creature of habit, I never forget to take my pills.  However, on vacation, that is another story.  I keep finding the following day that I forgot to take my medication.

On our walk north on Singer Island, there is a boathouse anchored on the inlet.  Attached to a post nearby is a sign that looked intriguing.  After a search, I found the following. “Few people have fought their case to the U.S. Supreme Court and won.  Fane Lozman did it twice.  The Florida city that he has battled since 2006 is going to pay him thousands of dollars in legal fees. Riviera Beach City Council voted Wednesday (February 24, 2021) to approve an $875,000 settlement with Lozman, who began his legal odyssey with a fight over the seizure of his floating home and then claimed a First Amendment violation when he was arrested at a council meeting.” To read the complete account, go here:

One more day, we wake to beautiful weather.  Watching the weather forecast last night, it appears that we will be leaving in time as rain will show up this weekend, beginning Friday as we head out the door for the start of our return journey.  We enjoyed a 90-minute walk around the neighboring homes today in windy conditions, but it is always great to get out and enjoy the scenery.  I remain amazed by the number of expensive vehicles in this community.

The day ended, watching the 1990 movie The Hunt for Red October.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Today is an interesting day.  The conspiracy group QAnon promised to overthrow Joe Biden as president and install Donald Trump.  The concern is so great that 5,000 military personnel are assembled at the Capitol in Washington, DC.  The House of Representatives sent everyone home yesterday to avoid another January 6, Insurrection from right-wing extremists.  And today is my birthday.  I have lost count of the number of text messages, Facebook entries, emails, and phone calls received.  It is great to be recognized.  The first treat I received today was another fantastic bacon and egg breakfast that Linda prepared for us.

We woke to another perfect day and will celebrate our last day in Florida by going for a long walk.  We will leave for our journey home tomorrow morning, planning to stay over in Atlanta, Georgia, then Saturday to Lafayette, Indiana, and finally home on Sunday.  We decided to add an extra night in a hotel so as not to endure another 13-hour drive in a single leg.  On our 6-mile (10 km) return, walk north to the top of Singer Island for the last time today; we walked into a cool breeze, with the wind off the water but refreshing on the return trip.  I am always fascinated by the impatience of motorists.  Linda and I decided to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing.  With the light in our favor, we walked, only to nearly get run over by a car.  The rule in the US is that you can turn right on red if there is no traffic coming your way.  I guess the law says that it is acceptable to turn on red and forget to look out for pedestrians.  My greatest fear being on the road, especially on our daily walks, is that motorists are distracted by illegally using their smartphones while driving.

On our walk today, Linda made an interesting comment.  First, understand my situation.  In all my life, my hair has never been so long as it is currently.  My last cut was five months ago, in early October 2020.  My only motivation for avoiding a cut was not getting exposed to an additional source where I may get infected with COVID.  Linda said that she is amazed at the number of older men, boasting abnormally long hair, and I assume for the same reason that I have avoided a cut.  For the record, Linda’s hair is longer than she has worn it in decades.  Our next task today is to start packing for an early departure tomorrow.  All in all, this has been a rewarding two weeks, and great to have a change of scenery and a change of pace.  That said, we will be happy to be home in familiar surroundings and will soon be able to visit our children and granddaughters.

As I reflect on this trip, I think about the time before we traveled.  With the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus throughout America, and many states, like Florida, where they do not take the pandemic seriously, we had many debates to decide if it was wise to travel.  Add to the concern we needed to stay over in Atlanta. All facilities were Marriott properties.  Marriott had very reassuring videos on their website affirming to patrons the cleanliness standards that they followed to keep all visitors safe.  I can certainly vouch for the accuracy of their message. It was great to enjoy a change of scenery, even if we did not do what we have done in the past by eating at local restaurants.  We elected to be cautious, bring food with us, and only grocery shop once to supplement ingredients, fruit, and vegetables to eat within our timeshare unit.  It was a positive experience for us.  I am delighted we made this trip.  Next year we return to Hawaii.

As we prepared to leave Florida, an interesting story broke concerning the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.  Most Floridians aged 65 and older struggled to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  However, all residents in the ultra-wealthy enclave of Ocean Reef Club, in Key Largo who are major financial contributors to Republicans, including DeSantis, received both their Pfizer vaccinations, well ahead of other Floridians.  They received their shots in early January 2021.  By hand-selecting the communities, DeSantis allows residents to bypass state and local vaccine registration systems and go directly through their community organizations.  The detailed story can be found here:

Friday, March 5, 2021

About 30 years ago, my parents visited us while we were living in Brookfield, Wisconsin.  We all traveled to Disney in Florida, New York City, and back home, making numerous stops along the way. My dad commented that he found it fascinating that he saw trees on the entire journey.  It was not his experience in South Africa.

We left the timeshare by 8:00 am, heading for Atlanta for our first night. The planned duration for this trip was 9 hours 15 minutes.  And yes, we saw trees along the tree-lined Florida Turnpike and all the way home.  We indulged by stopping along the road to purchase a bag of Florida oranges. Weather-wise we started off slightly cool with clear skies, and the further south we drove, the warmer it got. To repeat a comment I made in a blog about our drive to Minocqua, Wisconsin. I set the vehicle cruise control to 70 mph (115 kph), the speed limit on the turnpike. I drive in the slow lane, only moving over to pass 18-wheelers. What fascinates me is seeing motorists driving at 100 mph (160 kph) unafraid of getting a speeding fine. In one instance, I saw a gaggle of five cars, one behind the other, all speeding at 100/160 in unison

On our trip to the timeshare, I did all the driving. Returning home, Linda is sharing the load. We were enjoying significantly better weather than our journey south a fortnight ago.

We had a unique experience at the Florida Turnpike when we stopped to pay the toll. A motorist in front of us wanted to pay by credit card. They only take cash, as we discovered on the journey two weeks ago. The motorist leaned over to his wife to get money; she could not help, so he hopped out of the car and started rummaging through packages in his trunk. I had already taken out a $20 bill, honked my horn at the guy, and showed him my money, motioning for him to come and take the cash. He paid the toll and ran back to me with the change. To my knowledge, this is the first time that I “paid it forward.” 

Just saw a billboard on the side of the road advertising a vasectomy.  Would that inspire anyone to stop and get it done now? 

75-miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Watch the two motorists driving illegally on the right hand shoulder. 41 seconds.

About 70 miles (110 km) outside Atlanta, we hit a traffic jam that resulted in us traveling bumper to bumper at a snail’s pace.  Sometimes we were on a three-lane highway; at other times, a seven-lane highway, all congested.  The reality is that we did not see any accidents or construction work; this is just daily life in the Atlanta region.  The net result was that we arrived at our hotel 75 minutes late.  Picture fighting this traffic daily.  The only other time I encountered traffic, this challenging was driving on the 401 In Los Angeles, California, supposedly even busier than the I-75 we traveled today.  The good news is the hotel is on the north side of Atlanta, so we should not encounter this challenge on a Saturday morning for our onward journey to Fayetteville, Indiana.  Here too, we appreciate driving an automatic vehicle.  Imagine the challenge with a manual or stick shift car.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

When we woke in Singer Island, Florida, I drove wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt yesterday morning.  When we arrived in Atlanta, I was freezing as I got out of the car.  I grabbed my warm coat that we bought in Quebec City, Canada, a few years ago.  The drive to Lafayette, Indiana, was significantly more enjoyable with much better weather.  We had sunshine the entire way, somewhat cool in most places, and arrived safely in the afternoon.  The Marriott Courtyard Hotel where we stayed was fully occupied.  One team member said that for months they were running at thirty percent capacity.  In Indiana, they have a “Tractor Fair” and the tractor drivers booked out the hotel.  Also, they were selling toys for children, so we found congestion in the parking area and hotel. 

On the trip to Florida, we drove for two full days.  For this return trip, we elected to go over three days.  Tomorrow morning, we will only have a three-and-a-half-hour drive to get home.  This has turned out to be an expensive trip.  With the need to keep wearing a mask to enter any premises, I removed my mask and lost one hearing aid.  Next week I will need a retest and wait for a new pair.

We traversed many states on this trip: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.  Without any doubt, the Interstate Roads in the most deplorable condition were those in Tennessee.  When we crossed the State Line from Tennessee to Kentucky, it was like day and night.  From rough surfaces causing a rumble through our car and pothole-infused roads to smooth sailing in Kentucky.  Bill Lee is the Republican Governor of Tennessee, Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is Governor of Kentucky.  You can reach your conclusion on what is rated as necessary in each state.

Driving close to Indianapolis, Indiana, I saw turnoffs to Brownsburg and Whitestown, two cities 13 miles apart.  I was puzzled by the apparent racist tone of these names. 

This evening we had dinner in our room, primarily due to a crowded hotel, and after watching some TV and reading, we had an early evening getting ready for the last stretch home in the morning.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

One more night in a hotel, last night.  We were up at 6:00 am Eastern Time, equivalent to 5:00 am Central Time, at home.  With only a three-and-a-half-hour drive, we will have a productive day to unpack and get ready for the new week. 

A few interesting observations from the drive.  By the time we got home, we had clocked precisely 1,398.1 miles (2,250.0 km) for the one-way trip from Singer Island to our home. When we drove south, we saw snow-covered fields to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  On the home-bound drive, 19 days later, the first time we saw any measurable snow was in Wisconsin.  The weather forecast suggests a big warmup in the coming week, so that too will melt. 

One shock awaited us this morning.  Our vehicle was parked outside and covered in a layer of ice.  When we ate our breakfast, it took a while to warm the car for the drive home.

During the time I ran my business, I drove to the Chicagoland area almost every week for many years.  Sufficient to say I know these roads well.  However, since retirement, and especially in the past year with COVID keeping us home, I have not driven around Chicago for several years.  When I traveled here, I needed to be cautious with all the road works taking place.  With today’s drive, I was more than amazed and impressed to see the finished product.  The interstates are a pleasure to drive. Most roads have more lanes.  It is fair to say that to drive these roads requires paying a toll.  I can attest that the money has been invested wisely.  Since we were going on a Sunday morning, I did not encounter much traffic, making the journey one of pure joy.  This highlighted the contrast experienced on the Interstates in Tennessee. Then too, Illinois has a Democratic governor J. B. Pritzker. 

In all sincerity, the trip and visit to Marriott Ocean Pointe was a delightful change of scenery, wonderful to enjoy warm weather, participate in long walks, and stay at a magnificent facility.  That said, it was great to be home and to be able to cover the entire journey without incident.  In March 2022, we will enjoy Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, situated in Oahu, Hawaii.

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In A Class Of Our Own. Rondebosch Boys High School class of 1963

To have read about one’s erstwhile classmates before seeing them again at the 1963 class reunion would add even more to those brief encounters!

(All photographs are loaded as a thumbnail. Click on each photograph to get a full-size view, and where applicable scroll right on the far right center to see the subsequent pictures. Please understand that photograph sizes are a function of the images we were supplied. Some are large, and some tiny).

In the 1960s it was the custom of Mr ‘Herbie’ Helm to present, as his personal gift to departing Head Boys, a framed photograph, taken by himself of the Memorial Hall, from across the Rugby ‘A’ field.  We felt, in borrowing the picture received in this way by Lindsay Kennedy, it would make an appropriate cover for this book.  It is an historic photograph, fifty years old, and the view is as we remember it.  (Photograph courtesy of Lindsay Kennedy).


    After some tortured self-editing I thought I would, after all, insert these introductory notes into this publication, simply to say what sparked the idea behind it and to thank those who have contributed to it.

    In Lindsay Kennedy we, the Rondebosch ‘E63 matrics, had a Head Boy of great energy, skill and good humour.  He led the school in a most distinctive, caring and kindly way and the immense support he received from the staff and pupil body showed that without question.  The fact that he has, uniquely, maintained that same persona amongst us all – concerned, involved and in touch – for the past half century seemed to me worthy of a kind of memorialisation of our schooldays by as many of us as could be persuaded to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards.

    At reunion functions, one typically has a snatched moment of conversation before the next half-remembered face comes into view.  Tantalizing but truncated!  I thought that, to have read something about one’s erstwhile classmates before seeing them again would add even more to those brief encounters!  What John Barry and I have enjoyed so much in making this book has been, of course, the zest and innocent clannishness almost all contributors felt about having been at Rondebosch at that glamorous and gilded time of their lives.  The reward also has been in the candour and compassion that many of the entries reflect about their contributors’ schooldays and of their subsequent life journeys.  And so, to all the contributors, you have been the sine qua non as ‘Doc’ Watson might have put it, and very warmest thanks from us all.

    It’s one thing to have an idea and another thing entirely to make it a reality.  John Barry, an enthusiast and communications specialist probably without equal, picked up the idea of a book of memoirs and ran with it for many months, even at the cost of his own business interests and I and all of us are seriously in his debt.  As John said, “If it hadn’t been fun, I wouldn’t have done it!”  John Hill, staunch supporter of so many Rondebosch ventures, has played a key part in the production of this book and Johnny Kipps, in his immaculate way, has taken care of all the financial aspects of it.  My most sincere thanks to both of these men.  And finally, Lindsay and the Reunion Committee themselves were generous in supporting the idea of the book when they were half way through planning the Reunion itself and they have most grateful thanks from John Barry and myself.

    Our hope is that these recollections will bring back something of the atmosphere of Rondebosch to the matric class–‘E1963’-however far from it they may be.

    Neil Veitch, Editor

    Donald Andrew

    Donald and Sandra

    ‘Prepping for the Winding Road’

    In June 1954 when I was 8 years old in Standard One at RBPS, a lighthearted series of photos of me winding my way home from school was published in the Cape Times Weekend Magazine.  In an email exchange with Johnny Kipps this past June 2012, he brought up the subject of these photos:

    “Often think about the photogravure Saturday morning page in the Cape Times of you making your way home to Kenroydon.  Stopped at ‘Arli’s’ to buy sweets, kicked a ball around in Keurboom Park, went for a ride on the swings or roundabout.  What else?  Can’t recall except that it was a wonderful page of pictures.  Wonder if you still have it?  It would be a great memento to show the guys at the 50th next year!

    “The years have sped by — certainly doesn’t seem like +50 years since we all went down and stayed at Jean Mary Duthie’s – Sandy Marr’s sister’s place, Woodburne, in Knysna.  In fact, that was probably when we were still at the Prep, so probably +55 years ago!”

    I wrote back:

    “You have an amazing memory, even down to the name of our house, Kenroydon.  Dick Morris, who was in Knysna with us, bought the house opposite Kenroydon and lives there now, he told me at an E’63 luncheon Lindsay arranged a couple years ago when I was in Cape Town.  If you like jazz, Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly Dollar Brand) has a great CD called Knysna Blue.

    “I spoke once via phone with Sandy Marr (maybe it was via email?) a few years ago when Lindsay was trying to track down guys to add to his E’63 list.  Sandy spends part of each year in the Caribbean chartering his yacht.

    “Believe I do have those photos, the originals, though not sure about the newspaper page.  Will look.  It would not have occurred to me that they might be of interest to others, so I guess your idea for me to share them is a good one.”

    Gentlemen, I planned on bringing the originals and the gravure (brown) page from the newspaper, which I located, with me to the 50th Reunion braai on Sunday 17 March 2013 and then thought you could use them in ICOO (In a Class of Our Own) if you want to.    A few of the photos may have general appeal . . .

    Who can you identify in the group scrambling out the arch?  The figure on the far right looks like Peter Hodes and next to him is definitely the late Johan van Schoor.  Continuing right to left, next is the late Alec Cassarchis, I believe.  Not sure who that is close behind me.  Far left looks like, maybe, Farquharson??  Do you recognize yourself Old Boy?

    The last photo (fading decomposition) of me finally arriving home from school contains a spoiler belying the storyline.  Can/did you spot it?  The answer (I can still hear my dad deriding the oversight): To set up this shot, the photographer had to take it from inside the house from behind my mother standing in the doorway.  So what happens then?  The chauffeur has parked the photographer’s car right outside the front gate and then stands there observing the shoot.  And the photographer doesn’t notice, nor do the editors, and so this is how the photo is published.

    The window-shopping photo reminds me of a plastic trumpet which was in that display and which I eyed for a long time, each time yearning more to own it until eventually my dad bought it for me.  This foreshadowed a sunken musical career which played it itself out in later school years.  I played this toy trumpet in the bath tub, enjoying the echo-chamber effect of the bathroom, till its gold paint peeled off and, with it, the lustre attached to imagining myself another Louis Armstrong.  An early dream drowned in finding that all that glitters is not gold – to the echo of my dad singing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

    The photo of me ‘kerb walking’ is on Keurboom Road just around the corner from where brainy Stephen Buchner (whose mental-arithmetic voltage stunned me) lived, and close to Roydon Wood’s home set in a grove-like garden of leafy trees.  In those days, he went by the name of Kelvin Grove, I mean Kelvin Wood.  I remember having political discussions in Std. 6 with Richard Spring in the bus on the way home along Camp Ground and Keurboom roads.  I got off the double-decker by Keurboom Park leaving Richard behind on the upper deck to survey the world from above all the way to the Upper House of Parliament in London.  I found our childhood chats intellectually stimulating though can take no credit for his later Lordship’s illustrious political career, except perhaps as a pikkie practice-debate partner.  Neither of us were Whigs.  That’s another’s Tory.  Ask Cameron.  We both then still had our wits about us covered by full heads of hair.  Walking home through that same park while still in Prep, I was threatened by a wit skollie boy who pulled a flick (switch-blade) knife on me.  My athletics career kicked in early as I shot off without starting blocks and sped for home.  He threw the knife at me, the handle striking me on the back.  I stopped, spun round, picked it up off the pine-needled ground, instantly resuming my sprint.  As I passed a hedge, I threw the knife into it to divert the teenage thug closing in on me.  Soon safely home panting for breath scared out of my wits, my step-mother wouldn’t believe what had just happened, fobbing off my tale as a tall story!  (Did I imagine the attack, a phantom chasing me?  Am I imagining a memory now?  How can we know for sure when reality is perception?)  Hiding between the shrubs age 13 on the slope above the athletics field next to Keurboom Park, on the eye-darting look-out lest we be spotted, I puffed up my curriculum vitae with my first cigarette, with who was it?  Do you remember Old Boy?

    It was another politician, my brother Ken Andrew, who roped me into politics in 1960 soon after I turned 15 in Std 7, working in the United Party office in Rondebosch approximately where the Woolworths food shop is now, to help get out the No vote against leaving the Commonwealth.  This was around the time Ken took me along on a protest march from the old railway station near the Grand Parade up to District Six to demonstrate against it being declared a Whites-only Group Area.  The first time I was arrested was around midnight at the corner of Sandown and Milner roads putting up a ‘Vote No’ poster over a stop sign on the eve of the 1960 Referendum on becoming a Republic.  I was with Hadden Steer and others, and we were taken to Rondebosch Police Station where they declared me a “minor in need of care” and turned their attention to the older boys.  That’s when I darted out of the Charge Office and dashed home for my life, taking a short cut through RBPS and the soccer field near where David Taylor lived at the bottom of the playground, with my heart pounding in my throat, panting for breath but too afraid to slow my sprint.

    It was in Std 8 when I began to bunk out of home at night to travel to the top of Long Street in town to a jazz club called the Vortex where Dollar Brand and many other later famous jazz musicians played.  The club owner was a Dutchman by the name of Wim and he hung a painting I did in art class at RBHS up on a wall of the club.  There was an escape route out the back door into an alley for the “non-Whites” to duck in case police raided this colour-blind joint that contravened Group Areas Act law forbidding mixed-race clubs.  In those days, I fancied myself as a beatnik, wore sandals and dark glasses, and studied the standard beat manual, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road which evoked alluring wanderlust escapades.

    That was also the year Obie punched me repeatedly on the chest in gym class because I was wearing a St Christopher or didn’t have a parting in my hair or some such free-spirited non-conformity, till I burst into tears and ran out of the gym.  I never went back to gym class and this was never questioned, probably out of fear I would report him for his sadistic abuse.  But I loved gymnastics and so attended Gym Club after school, which Obie ran.  We never said a word to each other again and it was easy to avoid making eye contact because his spectacle lenses were as thick as the bottoms of Coca-Cola bottles.  I got onto the RBHS Gym Team and competed at meets against other schools although I was not that good at gymnastics compared to champs like Alan Musker.

    There is a steep hill on Keurboom Road as it goes down from Camp Ground Road to the Black River (which runs through the high school) where the photo of me leaning over the bridge was taken.  Later on in prep school, I had a bike which I painted gold and used to race down that hill on my way home from school until I hit a car and landed on my head with a lump on doing arabesques on the saddle, my forehead the size of an egg.  The late Peter Korck lived at the top of Keurboom Road, and my best friend during high school and dear lifelong friend the late Hugh Murray also lived nearby.

    In the summer holidays, my mother used to run the Cape Times Fresh Air Camp at Froggy Pond beyond Simonstown.  Also attached is a photo of her leading a line of children and counselors up from Windmill Beach with me right behind her at about age 5, about a year before I started at RBPS in Sub A in 1952 at age 6.  We lived in Rosebank then and I used to ride to school on my big rear-wheel chain-driven tricycle, taking a short cut between Mossop Tannery and Marist Brothers, parking it in the bike shed along with the big-boy two-wheelers.  As independent as my motorbike-racing and pistol-shooting Kenya-raised mama brought me up to be, I still remember assembling in the Prep quad the first day of school feeling gut-churning separation anxiety when she left me there on my own after Enslin barked at the mothers to leave although I did have two brothers already in RBPS:  Angela, wife of my oldest brother, Roy, has run the Old Boys’ Union for 23 years, and Ken was headboy in 1960 when I was in Std 7.  Both Roy and Ken have lived near the High School nearly all their lives.  I remember ‘queue’ camping overnight with my brothers at Newlands age 9 in 1955, replete with campfires in the street outside the stadium, to watch the Lions play the Springboks.  My dad didn’t want to let me go but I kicked up a fuss and he relented when my big brothers (aged 12 and 14) promised to take care of me.  We got a place right up against the railings in front of the Railway Stand from where, peering between the metal pickets, I was totally awe-struck to witness the legendary fleet-footed Tom van Vollenhoven speeding on the wing to score three tries for the Boks to win 25-9.  What tickled me no end is the Lions had a chap called Dickie Jeeps on their team.  The humour of that funny name sounding like a Dinky Toy was submerged in the suffocating subway after the game in the swirl of the surging crowd when two-pint me was frightened of getting crushed after being separated from a not-much-taller brother.  Even the name ‘Vollenhoven’ still sounds swift to my ear (flying-hooved), like my mom speeding our car up to 100 mph on the way to watch the Killarney motor races along the gumtree-lined road, or perhaps it was to pick field mushrooms among the Darling daisies, when my dad nodded off on the front seat beside her, three bouncy boys egging her on from the back seat: “Faster Mommy, faster!”

    In Sub B when I was 7, Jonny Silbermann, who was in Sub A, and I became friends with a common interest in playing music.  We met in the RBPS hall where he but a mite, but of musical might, played the piano by ear.  Within a few years, I had a one-string tea-box bass, and we had a jazz band with David Lear on drums and Robert Beer on trumpet.  (David’s older brother blew half an arm off making a pipe bomb at their home in Tullyallen Crescent.)  Jonny’s mother drove us to orphanages, such as Marsh Memorial Homes, and to old-age homes, like Avondrust on Rouwkoop Road, to entertain the residents.  By this time, I had graduated to a double bass taller than myself with strings almost as thick as my fingers.  I took lessons in the music room by the RBHS main gate.  But to get this behemoth there from home called on my dad’s ingenuity by way of a picture frame laid horizontal, to which he attached wheels and a walking stick for me to roll this cart, with the bass resting in the frame, up and down the Keurboom Road hill to RBHS.  Turns out I didn’t have Jonny’s ear, nor fingers thick enough, so to compensate at our concerts, I would lay the bass down on its side and ride it like a jockey while plucking away at the strings but not too loudly so no-one would hear if I played out of tune because I didn’t really know what I was doing musically although my Kenilworth races antics wowed our audiences.  Jonny, who has lived in New York City for about 45 years, had the world’s largest jingle company (that helped propel Jimmy Carter into the White House with a catchy tune) and now writes songs and mentors blind musicians.  Very kindly, he still says I didn’t play the double bass badly.  Perhaps that’s because I managed to play quietly enough.  Just last November we met at the Yale Repertory Company theatre in New Haven, Connecticut to see one of his grown-up sons act in a play before his Broadway debut in another play.

    I remember becoming keen on gymnastics in the RBPS hall where Mr Laidlaw also taught hygiene and advised us to cut our toenails straight to prevent them from becoming ingrown.  “But don’t the sharp corners make holes in your socks, sir?”  I asked, observing his razor-edged toenails.  I was focused on feet, having persuaded my dad to buy me a pair of brown leather Italian slip-ons which I wore half-proudly to school and half-fearfully that school rules would trip me up on the lace-less nature of my sleek footwear. This hall is also where I took part in a boxing tournament.  I remember spending the entire boxing match trying to knock out my opponent with a solitary upper-cut but swiped air missing every shot while he landed enough body blows to win the match.  My son tells me he met the holder of that crown, Hugh Hodge, now a poet well-versed in the rhythmic art of landing literary blows without need of knock-out punch lines.  Call it metering out punishment.  Whoever it was, please own up to your past glory at the 50th Reunion so I may congratulate you again for “floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee” to quote that other boxer-poet Muhammad Ali, my childhood idol, the mercurial-footed Cassius Clay who KOed the scary towering monster Sonny Liston to win the world heavyweight crown.

    My interest in gymnastics took me and other boys from the RBHS Gym Team, including Frank Einhorn’s brother Eric, into touring the world as flying trapeze artists with Keith Anderson who began his circus career walking across the RBHS swimming pool on a tight rope, the same pool where Eric Smith and Derek van den Berg spent countless hours swimming laps, their moms urging them on from the edge, which might have given Derek flipper feet that made him the deft dancer displaying fancy cha cha cha footwork and waltzing the Rustybugs off their feet at the ‘Strictly Ballroom’ lessons we took in St Michaels Catholic Church hall on Rouwkoop Road.  I ended up visiting 50 countries, though not to all as a trapezist.  This brings back many fond memories playing in the garden of soothing, no-Raging, Bull Le Roux’s home next to the High School with Derek and Johnny Kipps because I said then that I wanted to travel the world and have plenty of variety in life, to which the soothsaying boy-guru Bull counseled: “A rolling stone gathers no moss”.  Rolling stoned, one certainly can get covered with moss though for my biltong addiction, I owe Bull thanks: they kept an ample supply in his kitchen from the plaas, including in that “cookie” jar on the top shelf which beckoned and to whose irresistible lure I once secretly succumbed without first being offered its contents.  Felt shame ever since but now it is off my chest, confessed, I feel emancipated from the decades-old guilt.  Actually I got my poetic-justice come-uppance with a rude jolt of instant karma jumping over a lit and frizzling fireworks rocket in a bottle the moment it launched itself skywards striking me painfully on the perineum.  I pretended it didn’t hurt but the stinging pain extracted stringent payment for that sliver of sin-tainted biltong.  Not quite karma running over my dogma, which I’ve tried to dodge artfully all my life.

    Another treat was roaming through the expansive gardens and grounds of marbles-master Sandy Marr’s home in Kenilworth.  (I can still see Sandy’s beaming face behind his Prep playground multi-tiered shy challenging all-comers to topple it – after tiring of Red Rover.)  In his home pool, I transposed my first heart-stopping swimming lessons in the old pool by Mason House (reached in crocodile file through Sandown Park) to bomb drops in the deep-end until Sandy’s big brother John ducked me under the water, after which I preferred the relative safety of the shallow end.  It was the huge hedge by his pool that conjured fantastical make-believe secret passageways as we found ways to crawl through and climb up inside it.  Alas, this imagination when transplanted into Jack Garlick’s high hedge at his home near Newlands Cricket Ground ended less happily when his parents phoned my father to complain I had disheveled their immaculately manicured box hedge.  My dad drove me to their house, parked outside and sent me in to apologize.  Feeling sheepish but mustering reluctant pluck, I marched myself up their front path, knocked on the door and went inside to deliver my formal regrets to both parents in the drawing room at pre-dinner drinks time.  Thank goodness my own now adult children have been relative angels . . . that I know of . . .

    In Std 3 when we each acquired a World Atlas, I wrote my name in the front and my fantasy address as being in Beverley Hills, Los Angeles where the movie stars lived.  But my vision didn’t stop there because after United States of America, I wrote: Planet Earth, The Universe.  I was floating in outer space having beautiful Miss Hartman with her film-star looks as my teacher, and carrying her books home to her flat overlooking the RBPS soccer field.  She was the best feature in my life at that time after a rough year in Std 2.  Six months after those pictures were taken of me walking home from school in Std One age 8, my mother died age 39 in 1954, and the world beneath me fell away.  I was already somewhat adrift without an anchor in Miss Cope’s Std. One class because I couldn’t sit still and was ‘diagnosed’ as having “ants in my pants”.  My mom died of lung cancer.  She smoked 50 cigarettes a day.  I was a nicotine baby, the 1940’s equivalent of today’s crack babies.  No wonder I was jumpy and loathed school: confined to sit in our desks, it was torture for me.  Even the first day of Sub A, it felt I had been clamped in stocks and scurried round the classroom in a frenzy.  I can still see the stifling chalk dust lit up in the air as the afternoon sun shone through the window of Miss Cope’s classroom that felt like a prison I wanted to run from.  We had learnt our multiplication tables up to 6-x before my mom died, which I can still recite.  But don’t ask me to go higher than 72 without hesitating, though multiplying the stack of cat’s-eyes in my own marble stack was a thrilling playground pastime.

    The following year in Std 2, my wish to be outside the classroom came true but not as I had hoped.  (That was the year 1955 Geoff Duckitt arrived at RBPS from Darling unable to speak a word of English but how quickly he learnt this strange tongue we speak with almost as many exceptions as rules and which ultimately comes down to having an ear for it.  I loved grammar.  It was my best subject, not that I can recall all the arcane rules which I have long since internalized.)  Miss Kirby was my Std 2 teacher and she had a habit of sticking her hand down inside the front of her blouse to scratch her breast.  Of course I opened my big mouth and made the wrong observation about this habit of hers.  She sent me out of the classroom into the corridor for two weeks with all my books which were piled up on the window sill.  Mr Enslin came round and instead of sticking my head between his legs and smacking my bottom, took me into the cloakroom to caution me in grave gravelly tones that unless I behaved, he would have to expel me.  I was transferred to the other Std 2 class and recall the instant empathy I felt for theatrical Miss Nancy Watson-Morris who burst into tears upon my letting loose a live white mouse onto the classroom floor near her feet accompanied by a blood-curdling shriek for her to “Watch Out!” It had already been out of sympathy that I had rescued this poor mouse from drowning in a bowl of water above which two cruel boys imagining themselves to be pirates had forced it to walk the plank along a ruler, prodded by pin pricks to its rump.

    Talk about 2012: the year that I thought the world was going to end was 1956 when, on the first day of Std 3, I was put in terrifying Miss Baumann’s class.  She scared the daylights out of me far more than I had frightened Miss Watson-Morris.  Thankfully, I was put out of my misery pretty quickly because Miss Baumann had one boy too many in her Std 3 class and pretty Miss Hartman had one boy too few in her classroom. Since Andrew was at the top of Miss Baumann’s list, I was transferred to Miss Hartman’s class – a life-saver. Unfortunately I had become an angry little boy feeling victimized for being made motherless and got into fights in the playground, until a fed-up, even littler, freckled and furious Martin Pelser swung into me with whirling windmill fists, pulled me down a peg or two and put me in my place.  Perhaps that’s when I took to poetry (the justice of it) and to impress lovely Miss Hartman, learnt off by heart ‘Muskietejag’ which I recited in class with butterflies in my stomach, my head reeling like a muggie (miggie) spinning in the air, and with wild gesticulations trying to swat imaginary mosquitoes, then ending with a loud slam of an open palm upon a desktop:

    Pardoef! Dis mis! Daar gaan hy weer!
    Maar dood sal hy, sowaar, ek sweer –
    my naam is Van der Merwe!

    A couple years after my mother died, my father married the RBHS art teacher the day after April Fool’s Day in 1956 when I was in Std 3, from which time my memory rapidly fades for the rest of prep school except I remember the location of every classroom from which I wanted to flee, and that in Std 4, we had a male teacher who used to be in the Royal Navy and taught us how to push a broom properly to sweep the classroom floor with vigour just as he had learnt to swab the decks aboard some grey ship somewhere I suppose. I have zero recollection of Std 5 except for being bored out of my mind at cricket practice staring up at the mountain and into space when I should have been catching the ball hurtling down at me in outfield, and a kind of “Lord of the Flies” game we invented in the little playground by the RBPS tennis courts involving hoarding palm-frond stumps that we called gold, roaming gangs raiding each other’s treasure troves, complicated by switching gang allegiances, unable to trust who was on whose side, who was a spy, oh my, such taut tensions, so much at stake!

    With gymnastics and athletics established as my seasonal sports in high school, I could dodge ball games that failed to engage my interest, which was in competing against myself, seeing how far I could extend my own physical agility. As many were awards for hurdles and high jump, long jump and the 100-yards, they embarrassed me to the extent that, after one annual athletics meet, I stood with my brothers on the field chatting with their friends, hiding my haul of cups that day behind my back for fear of attracting praise. These unholy grails I gave away exposed a shy teen, that my stunted herd-instinct masked: the vegetable in me knowing it didn’t want gladiator cauliflower ears though my Icarus animal aspiring to be Pegasus, of the ‘flying horse’ petrol we put in our Ford V8 that took us exploring around SA with my dad, the adventurous crocodile hunter and Kilimanjaro mountaineer, at the wheel with my mom gone, also my brother Roy driving this suped-up tank from age 13. With no rugby and cricket matches to play, this freed up my Saturday mornings which, from age 12 in Std 5 in 1958, I spent working for four years at the first Pick n Pay supermarket, on Belvedere Road, Claremont, until Std 9 when I went to boarding school to escape my step-mother and learn Afrikaans, the language of the Nat oppressor – so that I could defeat the oppressor. The extra pocket money earned bought me fancy clothes (before I became a beatnik whose bohemian fashion was to dress down in somber shades). These threads included shocking pink socks and a matching pink tie which I put on to go to a party at the Van Breda’s house at the Belvedere end of Keurboom Road. Until my father caught sight of this outfit as I was leaving home. He made me take off the pink accessories and dress in more sober tones. (I wasn’t into drinking yet and it took a long weekend in Hermanus with some E’63 Old Boys to discover how to become motherless, in a ‘projectile’ sort of way, on cheap sweet wine to the chorus of “I rather have a full bottle in front of me, than have a full frontal lobotomy”.) En route to the Van Breda’s, hiding in a hedge, I pulled out the pink socks and tie stuffed in my pockets, and rocked and rolled around the clock at the party as if I were Bill Haley himself, or was I swaggering Elvis the Pelvis that night? I wrote down and memorized the words on his first album so I could sing along while practicing his moves with the broomstick from my old tea-box bass as microphone. I’ll never forget the jolt of his movie Jailhouse Rock shaking my psyche like electric-shock treatment, as will I never forget the gravelly voice of Satchmo in the film High Society that out-graveled Enslin’s, and later the heartache crush I had on Grace Kelley’s daughter Princess Caroline, which was finally consummated, in a surrogate way, when I danced freestyle with her sister Princess Stephanie in Monte Carlo at a party for performers in the International Circus Festival sponsored by their father, the late Prince Rainier of Monaco.

    Lindsay said we could be frank, so let me attempt to clear the air about a couple of incidents in the hope that peace, friendship and goodwill can be achieved.  Hugh Murray once spoke to me of his having enemies at RBHS, Old Boys who wished him ill.  I did not really understand what he meant – and he did not want to elaborate – until two occurrences in my own life.

    The first is that a former girlfriend of mine, Judy Mossop, told me that a former classmate of mine had told her I had made his life a misery at school.  My friend, Jonny Silbermann, says he remembers me as an intimidating clown.  Hugh Murray said I had an odd-ball off-beat (like jazz) sense of humour.  Therefore I fear there may be some truth in an overbearing exuberance, a remorseful thought if unkind or insensitive to others.  My aunt tells me that at my 6th birthday party, I jumped on the table and, scanning with a pointed finger not unlike Khrushchev banging his shoe on the UN Assembly podium, demanded to know who hadn’t brought me a present because I had counted them and there was one short!  O dear, I guess I must have been a tiny terror.  If this Old Boy would like to say Hi to me, I would be grateful for the opportunity to ask him for his magnanimous forgiveness and in no way consider him, or hopefully anyone, an enemy.

    The other incident followed working as the Economics Reporter on the Pretoria News in the latter 1970s when I discovered the beginnings of the Information Scandal, or Infogate, and began to unearth news that my editor Andrew Drysdale (Cliff’s brother) refused to publish.  So I contacted Sunday Express Assistant Editor Kitt Katzin and began funneling my investigatory revelations to his newspaper which published them.  Hugh Murray put me in touch with the Rand Daily Mail and I began feeding them information as well.  (Hugh and I attended the Argus School of Journalism together in 1966, the year Verwoerd was assassinated in Parliament.)  When the Info Scandal picture puzzle finally came together for me, I phoned my brother Ken, an MPC then, later a Member of Parliament, Shadow Finance Minister and who, as Federal chair of the Dems, played an ‘honest broker’ role shuffling democracy into SA.  He arranged for me to meet Opposition Leader Colin Eglin.  I flew down to Cape Town and met Mr Eglin in his Parliamentary chambers to give him the inside scoop on what was going on.  Tears welled in his eyes at my news of this gargantuan betrayal of the public trust.

    He raised questions in Parliament about the secret funds, which led to a Commission of Inquiry finding Prime Minister Vorster was implicated in the fraudulent scheme.  I was now working on The Weekend Argus and got a tip-off from the same Deep Throat character who fed me leads when I was investigating Infogate (yes, we met in a parking garage) that Jackboot Vorster – under whom also torture and assassinations soared – was going to resign.  (This made way for the Groot Krokodil PW Botha, who couldn’t bring himself to cross the Rubicon, and had to be superseded by FW de Klerk the dove: like Gorbachev had to be usurped by Yeltsin to usher real change in that other totalitarian state, the U.S.S.R.)  The Weekend Argus led with my front-page banner headline story predicting Vorster’s resignation (in disgrace).

    A few days later (before Vorster had resigned) I received my story headline, cut out of the newspaper, in an envelope posted in Cape Town with a comment handwritten next to the headline accusing me of performing, ironically, a disgraceful act myself in Charlie Hallack’s history class.  Being a hard-nosed investigative reporter, I met the Postmaster General in an attempt to identify the sender of this unsigned note.  When I showed him the handwritten note, he couldn’t contain his mirth and my over-zealous quest was laughed out of court.  If the Old Boy who sent me that mystery note would like to let himself be known to me, please let me assure him I have only compassion for anyone subjected to offensive behavior of mine, of which as wild as I was there surely was heaps, and much worse than he ever witnessed, imagined or not.  Like the time I pulled down the old South African flag outside Nobby’s office in the middle of the night with guerilla tactics in my part-Boer blood.  This was when we were forced to celebrate becoming a Republic, having lost the Referendum.  The cruel apartheid regime was my enemy, their inhumanity, and the wasted opportunity to educate and train the African population to share in governing South Africa.  Apartheid all but ruined my beloved country which now the formerly abused are abusing as their former masters taught them.  Africans missed the Industrial Revolution, are riding on the coattails of the Information Revolution, and may emerge at the vanguard of humanity only when the nascent Intuitive Revolution comes of age to replace fidgety communication gadgets with telepathic software programmed by brains wired to heart wisdom.  There is an ancient well of long-forgotten wisdom in South Africa, richer than all the gold, sparkling beyond all the diamonds, that one day may be re-discovered, unearthed from deep inside the souls of lion-hearted South Africans, and tapped to lead our planet to peace.  As for my own awakening – from a self-possessed Rip van Winklesque sleepwalk – it was approaching 21 that I heard my bell tolling in No Man Is An Island.  Abandoning my inner state of apartheid, of seeing myself as a separate entity, did Gandhi’s autobiography, My Experiments With Truth, set me on a path to track down like a bloodhound, sniff out this demure ‘truth’ wherever its forgiving nature (later majestically exemplified by Mandela) was hiding.  To get over the hump of my ego lump into seeing self in other and other in self, would certainly be preferable to running into the hidings that had been hitting me.

    My close encounters with knobbly knuckled Nobby were oddly at the opposing extremes of brute force and cerebral analysis, though I remember him most for an impressive lecture he gave in Assembly on the virtue of moderation, long before Buddha’s Middle Way caught on in the West.  The first time I met Nobby man-to-man was to take six of the best from him, to encourage me that my boisterous History with Charlie should not repeat itself.  Fortunately, I had previously been assigned to write down the words of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “ If ” about 20 times (sitting on the stone floor before it, where it hung on the entrance hall wall outside Nobby’s office by the stairs) for some earlier transgression, and so had prepared myself to be “a Man, my son!” enough to bend for his long cane which he drew far back to shoulder height for each swinging whack.  The expectation of pain as the cane whistled through the air, followed by the thud on my pants marking the dreaded moment of impact, hurt more than the skin sting of the cuts themselves.  My second brush with Nobby was at UCT where he taught poetry after he retired as headmaster.  Talk about poet Hugh Hodge metering out punishment in the boxing ring, well Nobby’s dry quantitative way of dissecting poetry in the steeply tiered UCT lecture theatre on hot, stuffy afternoons just did not gibe with the jazz in my bones.  It was all about the maths, nothing about how the music moved the emotions. I sought the meaning of life, not how to measure it, and fled to Prof Tinkie for no-bull counseling.  He advised an equivalent of the Middle Way: The less fraught I could be, the more taught I could be.  But seeking the meaning of life at UCT was barking up the wrong tree and the mixed philosophical metaphors for the true nature of reality being dished up were leading me up the garden path, so I moved on to fresh pastures believing the grass greener on the other side, in the hope of finding the light at the end of the tightrope before I tied myself in knots trying to regiment verse like on a boring, hot Friday afternoon marching out of step on the athletics field to spice up the deadly dull Cadets drill.

    The first and last time I wore black tie was when I could no longer be declared a minor in need of care: for my 21st birthday party at Kelvin Grove in 1966.  (We’ll rename it Roydon Grove.)  It will be almost half a century later on the road so to speak that I could be caught in such fancy gear again.  Must be a very special occasion to get me all dressed up like that and to admit that my hair I see in the mirror still as blond, truly has turned grey and, as my wife and children keep telling me, I need a hearing aid.  But I’ll have to skip the Boulders costume: playing penguin means I order the fish when I’m going for the biltong dish.  Our 50th Reunion feels almost as scary as my first day at RBPS about 61 years ago: all those strange new faces.  Who will I recognize at the Reunion?  Do I need new glasses?  Who will I remember?  What if I have to ask someone his name: will I even be able to catch what he says?  Will we still speak the same language?  Much excitement awaits . . . It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.  All I have to do is regress and re-imagine, not much different from the way we unconsciously invent our reality by projecting our preconceptions – while reminding myself how suspect, subjective and selective is memory.  Yes, fiction is fancy, truth is stranger than fiction, and who lets the myth of objective fact (disproved by quantum physics) get in the way of a good story?  Meaning and beauty flow from connection to self, others and cosmos, through seeing the same soothing light radiating in All.  Which draws us E’63s together to celebrate our 50th Reunion humming along with the vynbos hemming the crags of Table Mountain.  How fortunate we are to have rounded our youthful days attending such a fine bosch school in the “Fairest Cape in All the World”.

    Alfred Baguley

    My acceptance as a pupil at Rondebosch was fortuitous to say the least.  I had already been accepted at Wynberg Boys’ High but thanks to the intervention of my Standard 5 teacher at the time I was granted an interview with Mr Clarke for possible admission to RBHS.  My teacher had been one of Mr Clarke’s pupils at Grey High in PE.  I would be accepted at Rondebosch on condition that I took French as a subject.  Whether this was done to swell the numbers of the French class or to satisfy the powers that be that the fact that I wanted to study French meant I had to be accepted, as Rondebosch was probably the only boys’ school other than Bishops that was offering French as a subject at that time.  Whatever the reason, I was indeed privileged and grateful to Mr Clarke for affording me the opportunity to attend this great school.

    Our French class must still stand as an RBHS record for the smallest class ever. There were only 4 pupils right through to matric – John Gibson, Barry Lloyd, Leslie Lang and yours truly. Madame Alting-Mees was an enthusiastic teacher and many of our lessons took place in what is today’s Headmasters office.

    The highlight of my Std 7 year was watching our unbeaten first rugby team beat the also unbeaten St. Andrews from Grahamstown.  My hero, scrumhalf and captain Andre Tulleken putting over the winning kick late in the second half.  I remember 1960 being an excellent year for Rondebosch sport generally.

    My Standard 8 year was memorable for many reasons.  By then I had settled in well and had Billy Trengove as my English teacher who was to have a significant influence on my last three years at Rondebosch.  My classmates who I can remember from that year (1961) -Bruce McLagan, Leon Boonzaier, Keith Perry, Coetzee, Peter Goble, Tony Monk, John Hill, Guy Murcott, Cedric Gilmour, Geoff Duckitt, Rory Beamish, Peter Barrett, Norman van Zyl, Johan Walters, John Barry, Gavin Stanton, Donald Andrew, Robert Hoets, John Gibson, Nicky Penstone, Peter Loveland, Buzzy Beck, Leslie Lang, Barry Lloyd and Ian Newall.

    I can still see Geoff Duckitt sitting at the back of the class devouring Norman van Zyl’s sandwiches before going to Canigou for his boarders’ lunch.  It was also time for our introduction to the ways of the world and Lady Chatterley’s Lover was read with great interest by most of the class.

    I also vividly recall the touch-rugby games played at little break on the rugby A between the tryline and the deadball line.  John Gibson and Peter Parkin being the flyers in the team.  Peter Parkin incidentally nicknamed me Danny Kaye after the celebrated American actor/singer as he felt I was his look alike.  Most of the boys called me Danny for the remainder of my schooldays.

    1961 was the year that Billy Trengove introduced Tubby Price and I to the stage of the Memorial Hall.  We started off with a 2 man one act play performed at the annual “At Home” evening.  This was followed a year later when we played the lead roles in The Admirable Crichton. In our matric year Billy had to obtain permission from Mr Clarke for Tubby and I to once again play the lead roles in King Henry IV as traditionally the annual school production was performed by Std 9s only.  These were wonderful years and also gave us exposure to the young ladies of Rustenburg which was particularly pleasing.  I am happy to say that this resulted in at least one marriage- Lindsay Kennedy to Tessa Anderson.

    I was indeed saddened to hear of Billy Trengove’s passing on 16 December 2012.  I was privileged to have had lunch with him on 4 occasions over the last few years and I will remember this gentleman who had such an influence on my life with much affection.

    It was always an ambition of mine for my 4 sons to attend RBHS as boarders.  This they did with 3 becoming Head Boys of Canigou and also school prefects.  Two became First Team rugby captains and achieved distinctions for rugby and athletics.  Probably the most deserving one, however, did not share in these achievements due to an indiscretion on his part.  He paid the price for “borrowing the school’s bakkie” one evening to visit his Rustenburg lady friend in Constantia.  His return to Canigou was badly timed as he was met by Chris Murison returning from a late night stroll.  He has no regrets and feels he has in some small way reciprocated the favour shown me by Mr Clarke all those years ago to admit me to Rondebosch by living with and providing support to Marjorie Clarke during her twilight years at her home in Pinelands whilst he was a Law student at UCT.

    I would like to thank Lindsay Kennedy with whom I shared a desk in our matric year.  Thank you Lindsay for your friendship whilst I was at Rondebosch.  It makes me proud that E 1963 always seems to be at the forefront of Old Boys Union affairs.  This is almost entirely due to your efforts commitment and loyalty to our school. We are indeed in “IN A CLASS OF OUR OWN.”

    The Admirable Crichton 1962 production.
    L to R: Clive Downton, Susan Rowe, ? , Jan Rozwadowski, Alfred Baguely, Johnny Kipps, Gail Ashburner, Peter Barrett, Cheryl Clarke, Brian Clarke, Tessa Anderson, Ferdi Fischer, John Gibson, ?
    (Photo courtesy of Alfred Baguley)

    Matric Dance
    L to R : Renee Logie, Alfred Baguley, Diane Jack, Roy Schreiber, Neil Kritzinger, Marlene Drucker, Lindsay Kennedy, Tessa Anderson, Richard (Spring) Risby, Lorna Martin, Judith Watson, David Price

    Peter Barrett

    I was born in Rondebosch under the shadow of Table Mountain and have lived within a mile radius of where I was born for all but about four years of my life.  These years, shortly after World War Two, were spent in the then very small, rural village of Durbanville.

    Prior to starting school I had been told that I would be going to Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School.  I had not a clue about Rondebosch and at five years old, well, school was school.  My Mother who was a teacher, had taught at Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School for a number of years in the early 1940s under Mr Law with Miss Baumann and Miss Human, amongst others, as colleagues of hers.  However, when the time arrived to go to school, because of the distance to travel, it was decided that I would go to the local school, Durbanville Primary School.  Sub-A, was for boys and girls.  An ‘old’ lady called Mrs Sieberhagen was our teacher.  Bun, black-rim spectacles, tall and thin.  I shuddered.  But she was a wonderful person, a great teacher.  Durbanville Primary was different!  My first exposure to school work and to writing was with a slate pencil on a slate.

    As time went by I heard more and more about Rondebosch School and mid-way through sub B I had been enrolled at RBPS to start in Standard 1.

    We moved back to Rondebosch with much excitement.  Tarred roads and street lights, sophisticated telephone system, not a big box on the wall as we had in Durbanville.  A handle that one had to turn backwards and forwards and Sophie on the switch board would say, “good morning /afternoon number please, nommer asseblief!”  We had arrived in the big city.  Milk was delivered to the front door in bottles, chickens were not allowed in the backyard, fish was sold from a Cape cart roaming the quiet suburban streets, announcing its presence by a blast on a fish horn and empty bottles were collected by waifs.

    RBPS 1954, Standard 1.  Cap, blazer, white shirt, knitted tie (still hanging in my cupboard) grey shorts, school socks, black shoes and off to school.  The first teacher whom I encountered was Miss Trow, a most pleasant, strict but kindly person.  The school was amazing. I admired the beautiful stone building with the class-rooms around a quadrangle and I was impressed from day one.  The other thing that impressed me was that I did not have to write on a slate.  The year flew by filled with singing lessons with Miss Cope, gymnastics with Mr Laidlaw and making new friends.  This and the memory of walking in a ‘crocodile’ from the Prep School to the old swimming pool, near the Canigou boarding house, for swimming lessons, all comes flooding back.

    I was getting used to having different teachers for subjects, not as with my previous school where the same teacher taught everything to everyone.  In Standard 2, Miss Ferguson was in charge and I was enjoying school life.  However the year was marred by an un-scheduled stop at Mr Enslin’s office.  The head boy, I believe Ken Andrew, felt that fighting in the play ground was not acceptable behaviour for young gentlemen and promptly dragged me and the other ruffian, who will remain nameless, followed by half the school, off to see the Principal.

    The following year in Standard 3 we were taught by Miss Baumann and this was also my first introduction to playing rugby.  The Standard 4 teacher and rugby coach was Mr Robinson.  A very good and likeable teacher.  This was also the year I took up the violin, an instrument I sadly did not excel at playing.  It was however an introduction to the classical music that I grew to love over the years and which still gives me great pleasure.  Standard 5, our class teacher was Mr Sephton, who was in my opinion extremely strict.  However I made it cheerfully through the year not getting on the wrong side of this martinet.  A game for which I had a real passion and yet did not excel in at all was cricket.  Obviously my ‘passion’ did not cut it at the end of the day.  At that stage of my life I was not interested in tennis, so thank goodness, there was still rugby.  This was under the guidance of Mr Robinson whom I met many years later when my son was playing junior school rugby.  Mr Robinson was then a teacher at Fish Hoek, and, much to my surprise, he remembered me instantly.  I therefore modestly assumed that good impressions were lasting impressions!

    Then there were of course the plays under the direction of a wonderful person, Miss Nancy Watson-Morris. I still have a couple of photographs.  In one, a winter scene, I am standing holding a sprig of holly with Nick Diemont, dressed up very prettily as a young girl with John le Roux next to him/her!  In Standard 5 the play was ‘Princess Ju-Ju’.  It had an oriental flavour which is all that I can re-call of it.  John Barry, Jack Penfold and I had similar roles, I assume, as we were dressed alike and Alan Musker is pictured with an axe, no doubt an executioner of sorts.

    Thus ended my first five years at RBPS.  Besides enjoying playing rugby and day-dreaming in class, academic achievements were ‘OK’ and I received the Oral English prize in Standard 4 and the Perseverance prize in Standard 5.  Thereafter my academic achievements at school petered out.  In Standard 5 or a bit earlier, I had become fascinated by the events of the Second World War and read prodigiously of the battles and horrors that took place, including even the adventures of Biggles!  So with the proceeds of the prize monies, I acquired a book (which I still have to-day) on the Memoirs of Field Marshal B Montgomery, my hero, which one of our teachers, Mr Spearing, arranged to have signed by the great man.

    From the Prep School up to High School was an automatic step.  Athletics, cross-country, rugby, rowing and school work of course.  Geography made interesting for me by Mr Diepeveen, who also coached rowing.  I enjoyed English with that great teacher and gentleman Mr Trengove.  Mr Mike Reeler, for whom I had a lot of time and respect, made mathematics come alive for me and I enjoyed immensely.  I say this with no disrespect for the other dedicated teachers and the subjects they taught.  I enjoyed all my subjects with the exception of science, which sadly I was never inspired to understand or enjoy.

    Special mention should be made of the school magazine which came out twice a year.  I have all issues from 1954 to 1963 with a couple of additional ones I received thereafter.  The articles reflect much of school life as we knew it.  Interesting articles on various topics, many of a high standard written by pupils who were already indicating the path they were to follow on leaving school.  At the end of the magazine happenings and details of Old Boys appeared in ‘Old Boys Notes’, an important aspect.  It is a very nostalgic experience for me to read through these magazines and see familiar faces, a reminder of one’s ‘best friends’ over the years and the particular interests shared with them.  Our last year at school, 1963, and also, co-incidentally, the final chapter of ‘The Historie of the Rundebuschians’, the author Evanius Martinius better known as Mr ‘Bob’ Martin.  To quote this gentleman and summing up the end of school, ‘TAB’ …………………that’s all buddies.

    Come the end of Matric, school as I had known it was now suddenly over.  The daily morning assembly, the many friends made, the joys and struggles of learning, Debating Society, Historical Society, Social Welfare Society, Cadets, school plays, two of which vividly stand out for me, “The Admirable Crichton” and “Henry 1V part 1” in which David Price excelled as Falstaff and then, the final assembly.  These, were then all behind me.  A whole new beginning lay ahead.

    Looking back, what did schooling at Rondebosch mean?  What did it instil?  What did we benefit from this great school, with its dedicated masters/teachers, whether for academia, sporting or extra-mural activities?  My view in simplistic terms can be symbolised by our school badge.  ‘Rondebosch’, a rounded tree.  A tree of learning.  An all encompassing “rounded” education.

    So how have we all done?  Does it matter, as long as we were equipped to deal with what we were given or chose in life?  It is with admiration that I read of colleagues who have gone on to achieve much as politicians, authors, businessmen, academics or sportsmen.  We are all bound by the common thread of the school that gave us as much as we wanted to take out of it, to guide and help with the building of our futures.

    After leaving school, I did my stint in the army.  I was seconded to the Cape Town Rifles (Dukes) eventually retiring with the rank of Major.  I studied accountancy doing my articles at E R Syfret, thereafter I went into commerce spending most of my time in the engineering field.  The last fifteen years of my working life were with a listed property company.  I retired at sixty two.

    After school I continued with rowing, road running and later took up squash, until a back injury requiring surgery and a hip replacement put paid to all such sport.  My wife, Margaret, and I have been married for forty one years and we have a daughter and a son.  Our children settled in England after finishing their studies at UCT.  We have been blessed with two lovely grandchildren, but as we have to keep this article short, I will not elaborate further.  We therefore make frequent trips to England.  I love England, steeped in history with its beautiful countryside.  Besides visiting family, and friends, the V & A Museum and other galleries are always on our list of things to do.  My interests, besides travel and classical music, are English and colonial history, English country houses and gardens, the theatre, art (forgive me but real art, not the toilet door hanging on a wall, or a pile of old shoes and bricks or ‘stuff’ that the Turner prize is given to) and antiques, with a particular interest in oriental porcelain.

    We have been worshipping at Christ Church in Kenilworth since 1984 having left the Rondebosch Congregational Church after thirty years.

    Despite having lived in Cape Town (in or around Rondebosch) it is surprising that I come across very few old boys from ‘E63.  The first few years after school one bumped into former classmates and socialized but this became less frequent as the years went by.  Going to the odd Saturday rugby matches and the athletics meetings at the school were always cheery re-unions.  Obviously one does meet many Old Boys in all walks of life and from other years.  My next door neighbour at one stage was Miss Watson-Morris (Mrs Farquharson) and I maintained a friendship with her son, the late David Farquharson.  Through their family I was kept abreast of what Richard Spring was doing in his life.  I have met up with Lindsay and had tea with Martin Furman when he recently came out from Israel and we were joined by Johann Mostert, David Munro and Norman van Zyl.

    So in ending, to Neil Veitch, for the idea of reminiscences and ‘In a Class of our Own’ book, the mammoth task of reviewing the articles and to John Barry for co-ordinating, chasing up and putting together the contributions, to both of you gentlemen, a sincere thanks for a great idea and your personal time and input. I look forward to the read but more so to meeting and being re-acquainted with my old classmates.

    RBPS Under 12 A, 1958 Coach: Mr. Robinson
    Standing: Peter Barrett, Sakkie de Villiers, David Finlayson, Lindsay Kennedy, Antony Davidson, Kevin Richter, Fred Versveld
    Seated : Richard Morris, Mike Taylor, Derek van den Berg, Mr S Robinson,  Douglas Crisp, Royden Wood , Roy McCallum
    Front Row: Neil Robertson,  Allan Musker

    John Barry

    John and Linda

    My twelve years at Rondebosch were a stable and happy time in my formative years.  It had its ups and downs, but when I reflect on those times I rate them positively.  Getting into Rondebosch was in itself a story.  My parents were both raised in Afrikaans homes.  My initial home language was Afrikaans until at about the age of 4, when my parents decided that I would have a better future in the country if I was raised ‘English.’  My dad liked to joke that the only two English words he knew were “yes” and “no” and he frequently confused them!  Our home language remains English.  I clearly remember the day that my mom put on her best dress and took me to meet Mr Roche Enslin, the principal of the Preparatory School.  He had a colourful carpet in his office and asked me to point out the lilac color, which I did, passed the test, and was accepted into the school.  My mom was particularly proud because we had a neighbour who could not get her boys into Rondebosch.

    My bilingual background did benefit me; I think it was about Standard 3 that I won the class prize for Afrikaans.  I recall a prize that I could not win in the lower grades.  Some boys were rewarded because they stopped biting their nails.  I could never qualify because I was not a nail-biter.

    Life was not always easy at Rondebosch.  Neither of my parents finished high school, both came from humble backgrounds and we were poor until I was in Standard 8, when my parents moved from a rented house to our own newly-built home.  My dad worked extremely hard putting in significant overtime to provide for us.  When my two younger sisters were old enough, my mom went to work to supplement the household income, and that helped save money for our residence.  I never had excess clothing.  In fact, I never had anything but school shoes to wear—a single pair at a time, which was only replaced when I outgrew or wore them out.  I remember all too clearly walking in Claremont Main Road and seeing Martin Furman walking along, wearing brown shoes and I was amazed that he had anything other than black shoes!  I was good friends with Jack Garlick.  His parents had a chauffeur, Cornelius.  My mother would die a thousand deaths when Cornelius showed up to drop Jack to play at our humble abode.  Cornelius would fetch me sometimes to play at Jack’s home.  I remember attending a birthday party for Gregory Coplans and they served Coke for refreshments. I drank so much of it that I could barely eat any of the food served.  Fizzy drinks were not a normal part of my diet.  I took part in athletics and fancied myself as a runner.  My dad borrowed a pair of spikes hoping to give me the edge I needed.  I practised diligently the night before the race on the Ackerman’s Sports Field off Keurboom Road.  The next day I was too stiff to run a good race.  While at High School, my mother bought me a Barathea blazer.  I was very proud of my expensive possession.  I was sitting on the wall across the river near the swimming pool one lunchtime with my hands in the pockets when a friend (a medical doctor today and I’ll protect his identity) pretended to push me.  I ripped my hands out the pocket to steady myself and tore the a gaping hole across the jacket’s back from the one pocket.  My mother had it invisibly mended—but it was never the same again.

    I think back on two teachers.  One, an English teacher who will remain anonymous, requested us to write a creative essay for homework.  I clearly remember the effort I put into that piece of prose, handing it in with much pride.  A day later the teacher asked me to read my work aloud in class because he had never read such rubbish in his life.  Without exaggeration, that incident affects my confidence to write good English to this day.  My job requires that I write extensively.  I am currently writing specifications for a new software system and have already produced 800 pages with an equal amount to go, and then too, I write a monthly blog for my website.  The other teacher was Willem Diepeveen, our geography teacher.  I was blessed with the name Johannes Christoffel Barry, a family name passed down from my grandfather, uncle and numerous cousins who have also had that handle.  I always thought it a bit dumb because all my family members went by John or JC.  We had to provide Willem with our full names and I was reluctant to blurt out mine.  He told me to stop being stupid because he too had an Afrikaans name.  However, there was a second and more important event.  Our knowledge was tested and I did not do too well.  In class, Willem said to me “John, you are capable of doing so much better.”  That was my wake-up call, and a comment that I respected so much that I made contact with Willem and Yvonne a few years ago to say thanks.  I don’t believe teachers fully appreciate the influence, for better or worse, that they have on their students.  By the way, when you arrive in the US, you can take any name you want without any questions asked.  I am now officially ‘John Christopher Barry.’

    My dad is about as mild-mannered a man as you will find anywhere.  He did not ask too much of me other than I should never take up boxing.  My dad was a boxer in his day and although he was good he also learned to hate the sport.  He is taller and a bigger build than me.  Today at 92 he has shrunken a bit and is quite thin.  I have rarely seen him get angry.  I was in Standard 9 when our gym teacher and rugby coach decided that a number of us needed to be taught a lesson.  I was captain of his rugby team, and we were in for a caning.  I cannot remember what we had done wrong.  While hitting me the coach made some stupid remark about promoting me from captain to corporal.  When I got home that night, my dad had to help me get my underpants off because the blood had congealed into the fabric and was even more painful to remove than getting the cuts had been.  The anger in my dad swelled up, and he was ready to go to school and beat the living daylights out the coach.  The only way I could stop my dad was to warn him that the Standard 9 tests were more important at school than the matric results.  If I did not score well I would not be promoted to Standard 10.  Allowing the situation to escalate may have been reason for the teachers to make me repeat the year.  With that, he let the matter rest.  My Standard 9 results were of the best in all my school years.  I do remember studying hard and taking those tests seriously.

    Attending a boys’ only school had it disadvantages.  I was deathly afraid of girls and never dated any until after High School.  The matric dance was a problem for me, who would I ask?  Jennifer Flowers lived a few doors from us.  She was a very attractive girl and I plucked up the courage to ask her.  She accepted.  My dad borrowed a tuxedo from his brother and, though it was an ill-fitting garment to say the least, it had to do for one night.  As much as I liked her, I never dated Jennifer again.  A similarly named Gennifer Flower claimed to have had an affair with Bill Clinton, and during that 1992 scandal, it brought back High School memories.

    I was friends with Leon Boonzaier and in Standard 8 I visited him at his house when he had distant relatives staying from Pietersburg (now Polokwane).  Rina Lister was there with daughter Linda.  I recall sitting on a lounge chair opposite Linda and at 16 was quite smitten.  I met Linda again through Leon when I was 21.  Linda had moved to Cape Town to be in a bigger city and to be watched over by her aunt.  I asked her out the instant we met up again, and our first date was to ‘Carmen’ at the Alhambra Theatre in Cape Town (no longer in existence).  After the performance, we drove to Muizenburg to walk on the beach.  It was a late night, or early morning for us.  Linda was working as a conveyancing secretary for Balsillie’s law firm in Cape Town, and I was at the head office with Mobil in the computer department as a programmer.  We dated for 4 years, and after 42 years of wedded bliss (?), somehow stayed together.

    Somewhere during Standard 6, Ernest De Wet encouraged us to take woodwork and metal work if we planned to go on to university to study engineering.  Since that was my likely path, I followed his recommendation.  Once I got to ‘varsity I learned that Richard Frantz (if I remember correctly) was headed to study engineering but his parents had advised him to take pure physics and chemistry at school as that was a better track for engineering.  I learned a valuable lesson 5 years too late.

    When I see what is going on in schools in the US today, I can only look back in gratitude at the opportunities we were given.  Today in America, it is all about budget cuts, no money for physical education or other lessons or activities deemed unnecessary.  Most sports are after-school community affairs if the parents are interested in getting their kids involved.  Many parents try to make ends meet by both working with little opportunity to run junior around.  I have spent 44 years in the computer field, love technology like iPhones and iPads, and am quite amazed to see how even my 3-year old granddaughter proficiently operates the iPad.  I clearly understand the dangers of kids getting home and playing computer games and not socializing or exercising, so adding to the obesity crisis facing our kids today.  I believe it is up to the parent to keep moderation in the lives of their offspring, but too many attempt to sub-contract these responsibilities and blame the schools and teachers for all their issues.  I see with my four granddaughters how my son and daughter work to keep a healthy balance, but parents too are in pressurized jobs calling for long hours on the job and turn to us grandparents for support.  We are blessed.

    The concept of uniforms came home to me recently while in Bangalore, India.  My business partner is Hindu, but his 10-year old son and 6-year old daughter attend private Catholic schools.  We were talking education and cost for their kids’ education is not cheap, but includes the school uniform.  They are each at single sex schools, and made clear to me that the students are from all social strata; rich and poor alike.  I was shocked to learn that the son is one of 66 children in his class with a single teacher.  In my case, I was in class with Peter Goble whose father was an executive at an oil company, while my dad was a supervisor at a different oil company in one of the operations.  What a contrast.  I also remember an incident where one of the principals was called to ask how many Jewish boys attended Rondebosch, only to be told “they are all Rondebosch Boys.”  The diversity was another great big plus for the school.

    One talking-point in America is the cost of a university education.  Many leave university with a significant debt burden.  Linda and I are from the old school.  Robyn earned a double major in International Business and Spanish graduating cum laude.  Sean graduated in computer engineering summa cum laude.  Both attended expensive private universities, and left without debt.  Both married spouses with university debt.  We are proud of being able to provide our kids with a great education, and their contribution was to take their studies seriously.

    I set a goal at 21 to have my own business.  I knew the constraint would be that it would have to be brainwork because I did not have a nest-egg I could draw on.  That became a reality when I turned 36.  My first consulting company in South Africa was my springboard to getting a position in the US in 1986.  I started business number two in the US in 1988, closed it in 2005 when I ran out of money.  I started my current venture in 2010, but now only operate as a one-man band.  I no longer need the responsibility of employees or worrying about people issues and making payroll.

    In reality, I have given my family a torrid time with constant moves.  We have had apartments and homes in Claremont, Sea Point, Johannesburg, Germiston, Pietersburg, Rondebosch, Tokai, Edenvale, Brookfield, Wisconsin in the US (where we lived in 3 different homes), and finally to nearby New Berlin where we live in a condominium.  At least I can say that we are adaptable!

    Linda and I have a daughter, Robyn, married with identical 5-year old twin girls, and a son, Sean with two girls aged 3 and 6.  I remain motivated to succeed in business.   My inspiration is to design a new computer system being developed in India at present.  My area of specialization is supply chain management—inventory systems for manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and retail companies, the highest investment for these companies.  Rondebosch Boy’s was my springboard to success.

    Mr Diepeveen (U19?)
    Back: Murcott, Geffen, Versfeld, Steyn, Block, Kyle, Brinkworth, Bernard, Hayden, Schrire
    Middle: Barry, Edwards, Fletcher, Niehaus, Stanton, Meyer, Pocock, Russell, Lisegang
    Front: Rossiter, Sapieka, Van Boxel, Theron, Frantz, Garrish, Monk, Mr Diepeveen

    Steve Buchner

    My feelings about Rondebosch are mixed, ranging from pure terror (Mr Brauer, the woodwork teacher at RBPS, who caned countless little boys, including me), to utter disdain (“Civi” Olivier, a worthless RBHS Afrikaans teacher, who flicked boogers at the students), to awe-inspiring (Tickie de Jager, one of the most flexible minds I have ever encountered), to great respect (Buck Ryan, Doc Watson and Herbie Helm for being excellent teachers who knew their subjects well and inspired me to work hard), to hilarity (Charlie Hallack and the many stories I still remember with a smile) and finally to gratitude (Tinkie Heyns for encouraging me to play rugby).

    The fact that Rondebosch encouraged, and now requires, every student to play sports and provides the necessary opportunities is one of the things I value most about Rondebosch.  No matter your skill level, there was a team to play on, and all the teams played against other schools.  My love of sports is directly attributable to this aspect of Rondebosch and it has given me great pleasure over the years.  Not only did Rondebosch encourage all to play sports but, and this may sound corny, the emphasis was to try your best and that winning wasn’t everything.  I still remember the annual cross-country run, where all the runners, not only the winners, were cheered by the spectators, but those finishing at the end received the greatest cheer because it was clearly more of an effort for them to finish.  I often thought of Rondebosch when my two sons were in high school.  In a school of 800 students there were two soccer teams, one for freshmen and one for all the rest.  Although they were decent players, they were not selected for the team and so stopped playing soccer.

    The person most responsible for instilling an interest in sport in me was Tinkie Heyns who tried to get me to play rugby for the U13 team when I was in Standard 5.  He encouraged me to try out for the A/B teams that he coached because I had had a growth spurt and was one of the bigger fellows in Standard 5.  I was paralysed with fear at the try-outs and Tinkie sent me down to the C/D teams.  After the winter break Tinkie again asked me to try out and I reluctantly agreed.  I remember expressing my concern to John Le Roux that it might be too rough for me, but he laughed and said I was plenty big enough.  Somehow I must have believed him and I made the team.  Tinkie had a system whereby we played for “dough-nuts or cuts” and that included Tinkie getting cuts from the team captain using the string to which his whistle was attached.  That kind of agreement would be frowned upon in the United States.

    The one aspect of Rondebosch that was both degrading and sadistic was the system of punishment by caning.  Good that it has been outlawed!  I spent a fascinating afternoon with Ticky de Jager in 1997 discussing anything and everything, as was his habit, and one subject he brought up was the system of caning.  He told me he was baffled by the passivity of parents in allowing their children to be beaten sometimes by sadistic men.  I remember when we were in matric I went to “free swimming” after school.  We had to remain in the changing room until a “master” showed up.  Someone bet Derek van den Berg that he wouldn’t jump into the pool, which Derek promptly did. Unfortunately, Nobby Clarke was walking by and saw Derek in the pool.  He was told to report to Nobby’s office the next day and was caned – a little extreme given Derek’s status as a nationally recognized swimmer.

    Another memory of Rondebosch that concerns physical punishment, though in a less traumatic way, involved Charlie Hallack.  During a history class with Hallack in Standard 8, Christopher Mundy looked Charlie straight in the eyes and, in a high-pitched voice, said “Charlie”.  Charlie asked Mundy if it was he who had said the name, which Mundy vehemently denied.  Charlie then asked Paul Duminy, sitting behind Mundy in the back corner, who also denied it.  So Charlie decided it had to have been Neil Tuchten, sitting in front of Mundy.  He was called to the front of the class, where Charlie bent him over and administered a “caning” in his comic way.  Each time Charlie hit Neil, we all let the desk lids drop so that every stroke was accompanied by a loud bang.  This kind of punishment was regarded as a joke.  I must say I have never laughed so hard as during Charlie’s history classes.  What made it so hilarious was that we were flirting with danger all the time because Charlie would not hesitate to physically attack any student he caught doing anything wrong.

    Sometimes the reaction of the school was unreasonable.  For example, on our last day of classes at the end of matric before leaving to study for the exams, Paul Duminy arrived at school in a carriage drawn by a horse.  Nobby Clarke, who seemed not to have an appreciation for creativity, ordered Duminy and the horse-drawn carriage to leave the school property immediately.  I can still see the disappointment on Duminy’s face as he rode out of the school grounds.

    Mr Jayes had a unique way of teaching physics.  First, he had an initiation ceremony for entrants to the physics laboratory that involved all the students holding hands while he touched live electric wires so that we all got a hefty shock.  Another habit of his was to ask trick questions when he first walked into the classroom, such as the difference between pound and poundal.  You had to write your answer on a piece of paper and he would then walk up and down the aisles, giving everyone who got it wrong a good hard smack on the back of the head.  What a wonderful way to encourage students to study physics!  In spite of these two quirks, Mr Jayes could not deter me from studying physics at university.  He stressed problem-solving which stood me in good stead at university.

    One activity we had at Rondebosch, which I think was immensely valuable, was “development week” which occurred at the end of the year.  All students spent time on chores that benefited the school.  I remember one year we saved the school a lot of money by planting grass on the Oakhurst field that had recently been graded to allow water to drain.  I felt proud that I had helped with that task and I think activities such as “development week” are useful in encouraging loyalty to the school.

    Naturally, attending Rondebosch from Sub-A to Std. 10 was a privilege that has had a lasting effect on me.  In particular, the opportunity to take advanced courses in physics and mathematics, unique to Rondebosch, eased my introduction to university courses and played a role in my eventual career choice as a research physicist.  During my matric year I decided to see if I could continue my education in the United States and applied to Princeton University.  Fortunately, I was accepted and joined the freshman class in September 1964.  It was a humbling experience to encounter so many immensely talented young men (at that time Princeton was all-male) from all over the world.  I still don’t know how I survived the four years of undergraduate study.  My brother, Michael, who wrote matric in 1964, joined me at Princeton a year later.  Adding to my sense of inadequacy was the faculty at Princeton.  At the daily afternoon tea to which all students and faculty in the physics department were invited, there was an amazing collection of famous scientists, including Nobel Prize winners, some of whom had worked at Los Alamos during the Second World War to develop the atomic bomb, while others pioneered quantum mechanics and relativity.  Some of them even taught introductory undergraduate courses.  One aspect of my educational experience that was very different from what would have been the case had I stayed in South Africa was the exposure to a wide variety of courses that undergraduates were expected to take.  In my case, I took courses in German, history, philosophy, astronomy, politics and economics.

    While in graduate school I met Susan and we got married after I received my PhD degree.  We moved to the Washington area where I started in a position at the corporate research laboratory of Lockheed Martin, a large defence contractor.  It was there that I first started my work on the effects of space radiation on electronic circuits aboard satellites.  When that laboratory was closed in 1993, I moved to the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington where I continued my research.  After 8 years I moved to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where I was responsible for investigating, assessing and approving electronic components used in satellites.  One of the satellites I worked on was called Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) whose mission was to study the sun.  It was launched about 3 years ago and is one of NASA’s most useful instruments for understanding the physical processes occurring in the sun.  NASA’s web site contains amazing pictures of the sun taken by SDO.  Three years ago I decided to return to NRL because I was offered a better opportunity.  An interesting aside is that when I was a graduate student I was discouraged from studying high-energy or nuclear physics because it involved travelling to particle accelerators, gaining access to the machine only a few times a year, and working long shifts (24 hours is not unusual) while there.  As a result, I chose solid-state physics as my area of interest because I could work in my laboratory whenever I wanted to.  It is, therefore, ironic that one of the experimental techniques I use to study the effects of cosmic radiation on electronic circuits is to expose them to high-energy particles at accelerators – just what I wanted to avoid doing more than 40 years ago!

    With no mandatory retirement age in the United States, I intend working for a few more years as I find work very satisfying.  The many recollections I have of Rondebosch are still implanted in my brain and I enjoy retelling them to friends and family.  Overall Rondebosch Preparatory and Rondebosch High Schools provided an excellent education and attempted, with limited success in my case, to make us into men of character and integrity.

    Altius et latius.

    The Four Seasons
    Back Row: Peter Barrett, Nicky Diemont, John le Roux, Trevor Bluewitt, Robert Hoets, Adrian Low, Derek van den Berg, Keith Perry, Johnny Kipps
    Second Row: Hugh Hodge. Roderick Lumb, Alex Cassarcis, Stephen Buchner, Donald Andrew, Robbie Thomas, Anthony Hillier, Kevin Richter, ??? Holman
    Front Row: Paul Duminy, Alex Cohen, Peter Hodes, Robbie Meyer, Johan van Schoor, Erik Smith

    Ian Crawford

    Ian and Ronnie

    I had the privilege of joining Rondebosch Boys’ Prep in Sub-B, having done Sub A at Pinelands Junior and I remember my trepidation at the interview, sitting in Mr. Enslin’s office with my late parents.

    For the first couple of years my father drove my brother Denis and me to school.  Later we caught the Golden Arrow school-bus from our home in Pinelands to Rondebosch – the bus picking up other boys and Rustenburg girls on the way.  This continued right up to J.C. when we moved to Kenilworth.  Being a junior we were only allowed to sit downstairs, as upstairs was for seniors!  On the first day, we were put into classes and allocated a house; Fletcher (Dark Blue), Marchand (Light Blue), and Andrews (Yellow).  Boarders were automatically in Canigou (Red).  As my brother was in Fletcher, I was put into the same house.

    Miss Nancy Watson-Morris, our singing and dancing teacher, always had a kind word for me.  I had absolutely no voice or rhythm, and this has not improved to this day.

    As we moved up in the standards, the goal was to cross Campground Rd to Canigou Avenue, and to the mighty High School gates that awaited us.

    In our junior years we couldn’t wait for the break-bell to ring so we could go outside and play Bok-Bok against the  hall wall, or marbles – shying with one’s bag of marbles and goonies with the likes of John Le Roux, Dick Morris, Lindsay Kennedy, Barry Clarkson, Martin Furman, Alan Evason, Clive Downton, and many others. 

    Summertime was cricket-time: Under Don Laidlaw, we used to practise in the nets on the dusty playground.  The excitement of being selected to play in the under-12 team against Bishops and winning on the postage stamp Lilacs Field was unbelievable.  Summer-time was also for swimming and although I wasn’t too bad at swimming, I was like a snail compared to Derek van den Berg who was like a fish and really excelled in the water.

    Boxing at junior level was fiercely contested in the hall, and many a time I had a bloody nose and tears.

    Winter-time was rugby-time: I only participated in up to Standard 7, but I remember the great enthusiasm with which we used to chase the rugby-ball – bare-foot – before we were taught the basic rudiments of the game: the scrum, the back-line, and so on.  I was completely sport mad and coming from a football (soccer) family background, I elected to play hockey in winter in order to allow me to play soccer at Hartleyvale on Saturday afternoons.

    Standard 6 at high school and the decision on what subjects to study loomed.   My academics were put on the back-burner for sport, sport, and more sport!  Failing Standard 7 and 8, I fell behind – even though the senior years seemed to fly by.

    Inter-house athletics will always be remembered: How we cheered ourselves on, but some guys were just unbeatable – Athol McLean’s 880yds and Barry Burmeister’s 100yds. Every point you achieved was appreciated not only by your House but also by your other competitors.  Canigou was unbeatable in the cross-country.

    Under the guidance of Steytler Thwaites, cricketers such as slow right-arm spinner Dick Morris and wicket-keeper Gavin Pfuhl and others developed into formidable players.  Outside school hours I enjoyed surfing at Clovelly corner with Clive Badenhorst, playing golf with Barry Clarkson and his dad at Rondebosch Golf Courseand sneaking across with Barry to play at Mowbray Golf Course.

    When my parents went on a three-month holiday overseas, I was put into Canigou and I had to study for 2 or more hours every evening under the watchful eye of Mr. Baartman.  I eventually made Matric.

    I was caught smoking I believe by just about every prefect and sent off to the office for six of the best.  Although I gave up smoking in 1984, the damage of heavy smoking had taken its toll and my circulation was buggered.  In 2008 I had to have a stent put in due to heart problems.

    After school I was called up to do 9 months’ Military Service; 3 months’ basic in Tempe, Bloemfontein and 6 months in Walvis Bay.  During my stint in Walvis Bay we had an unbelievable soccer team and we competed in local tournaments, invariably walking off with the trophies.

    While patrolling the border out of Rundu base, in the Caprivi Strip between Botswana and Angola, my fellow soldiers and friends were talking of going home to S.A., I realized I had fallen in love with the desert and this harsh but beautiful and tranquil territory and decided to stay.  SWA was to becomethe independent Namibia in March 1990.

    On being discharged in Walvis Bay, I still had no direction regarding a career path and for the next couple of years I drifted in and out of various administrative clerical positions, until 1970 when I met my first wife (now divorced).  I joined Rennies Consolidated in the shipping industry, then through amalgamation, Manica, and finally Grindrods.  Working from a junior entry clerk, to ship’s agency runner, on to managing Shipping and Logistics at branch offices and terminals on both east and west coast, Mozambique – Maputo, Namibia – Walvis Bay and Windhoek, where I was involved together with Unicorn in registering the first Namibian shipping line.

    In 1996, I was transferred to Johannesburg and you can imagine the culture shock I had, coming from the desert and a small business community to the buzz of Johannesburg with its millions of people!  We settled down after some time but when in 2OO7 our friends were hi-jacked twice in their home and we had also suffered break-ins, it was time to return to good old Namibia, where we are today.  I have two daughters: Michelle and her three children live in Namibia, and Nicolette and two children who are in New Zealand.

    During my working and sporting career I have had the privilege and opportunity of servicing the community and became Lions President of Walvis Bay, as well as serving on various other committees.

    Regarding my sporting career, I played cricket for SWA 1970/72, and then lawn bowls became a predominant part of my life. I was selected to play for SWA in 1978 and played until independence in 1990, during which time I was SWA Champion. I obtained my Griqualand West Colours and was Singles Triangular Champion for Griqualand West, Southern Free State, and Northern Free State for 1982/84.

    After independence, I was selected to represent Namibia at the 1992 World Bowls in England where I met my present wife Ronnie. I was selected to manage the Namibian team for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, the 1996 World Bowls in Australia and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. During the I2 years while I resided in South Africa, I was selected for the Provincial side more than once and in 1999 while playing for Near East Rand our team won the S.A lnter-Provincial Tournament. Since returning to Namibia I have been a Namibian National Bowls Selector.

    In conclusion, thanks Rondebosch for setting me on the path for all the sport which has given me so much enjoyment.

    Louis de Kock

    Louis and Denise

    Having been at Miss Blackwell’s nursery school next to RBPS, I found going to school was not quite the trauma that my parents thought it might be as most of my friends were also enrolled in the then Sub A class.  My teacher was Miss le Grange who gathered us together and took us to the hall for assembly.  There, on the stage we encountered the mighty Mr Enslin, who after giving us a talk, read prayers and then proceeded to conduct the hymn with his cane-his solution to any problem in the school.  After the assembly Miss Lampbrecht played some marching tunes on the piano and off we went to class.

    My time at the Prep was fairly uneventful until I met Miss X in Standard 2 who had the idea that some of her students should spend more time outside the class than inside.  Her class was upstairs next to a cloakroom which had a very big cupboard.  This became the salvation for those of us who were told to leave the class.  As we heard someone coming up the stairs we would move around the cupboard and avoid being seen.  If you were unlucky you were taken to the office, where the cane would solve the problem and you were sent back upstairs to stand outside the classroom.  A lot of good that did!

    My interest in amateur theatre was a result of Nancy Watson-Morris, starting with the mammoth production of The Land of the Christmas Stocking.  At High School it was Billy Trengove and his great productions that gave me the background and knowledge to be able to stage manage and produce various shows I have done over the years.  He was truly a remarkable person, not only in his extra-mural work but as an English Teacher who gave his all, teaching us to read great literary works and enjoy them.

    After I left school I qualified as a commercial teacher due to Bob Martin’s good Bookkeeping lessons.  For most of my career I taught and subsequently was the Principal of Gardens Commercial High School. In 2010 I retired after 44 years of service and have the honour of wearing an Old Boy’s tie with a mortarboard on it!  There was a total of 21 boys from the Clarke era who became headmasters.  At present there are 20 of us who try to meet once a year in the honours room for a chat and a drink.  I have been married to Denise for the past 40 years.  She is a music lecturer at CPUT and we have a daughter, Nicolette, who is an advocate and a son, Marc, who is an Old Boy and now teaches music at RBHS.  Marc is married and the next generation of Rondebosch products, our grandson will be born in June!

    First Hockey Team
    Back: Alex Cassarcis, Laurence Payne, Rory Beamish, Mr Baard, John Boonzaier, A Clark,  ?,
    Front: Bruce Ferguson, Jack Penfold, Eric Wells,  ? McIntosh, ? Duthie(?)
    (Photograph courtesy of Eric Wells)

    Clive Downton

    After being privileged to be educated at both RBPS and RBHS I immediately after matric did my compulsory 9 months military training.  After that I joined Old Mutual and during my time there completed a correspondence accounting diploma.  I then moved on to S A Breweries and worked in the Admin department for their retail liquor outlets.  I married and became the proud father of three daughters.  After my compulsory 9 months military service I was posted to the Cape Town Highlanders for the remainder of my 3 years’ service.  RBHS has the proud record of having at least two old boys who served as Commanding Officers (Bud O’Brien and David Plane).  After volunteering I eventually served for 22 years which included two 3 month stints in Angola.  Over the years I achieved the rank of Warrant Officer and was awarded the John Chard Medal, John Chard Decoration, Pro Patria Medal with Bar and Chief of the Army Commendation.  My less noteworthy achievements include getting divorced.  I remarried but regrettably after a short marriage my second wife passed away and I now remain a bachelor.  After many years in various admin positions at S A Breweries retail subsidiaries I ran my own retail liquor outlet first in Sea Point and then one in the Northern Suburbs.

    After too many years of working 6 days a week including every public holiday I decided it was time to slow down but am still working for a national retail liquor chain managing their house brand imports warehousing and distribution which involves no weekends, public holidays or long hours but keeps me reasonably active and alert.  My three daughters have all done well for themselves.  One is the bursar at a private school in Somerset West and has been awarded Springbok colours for croquet.  The second works for a wine estate in Franschoek and also serves on the Wine and Spirit Board of S A and the youngest had carved out a successful career at a hotel group in England but is now a professional mother and home maker.  I can say with pride that I and my daughters’ lives have been greatly enhanced by my education at Rondebosch Boys and the many long-suffering teachers who had the dubious pleasure of having me in their class.

    Mr Young (U13C)
    Back: Morris, Swart, Duckitt, Versveld, Owen Fletcher, Clive Downton, Chris Buyskes, Mark Swift
    Center: Block, Russel, Eric Wells, Jeff Leeuwenburg, Tony Monk, Sapieka, Barber
    Front: Richard Frantz, Chris Matchett, John Barry, Mr. Clive Young, Johan Walters, David Cohen

    Geoff Duckitt

    My most vivid memories of RBHS revolve around the six years in the boarding house.  As we all knew at the time, the boarders were known to be the backbone of the school.  Therefore I am concentrating most of my recollections and memories around the boarding house.

    My memory takes me back to Mason House, “The best house in the world,” according to Prof Tinkie Heyns.  I was particularly privileged to have been associated with this great man.  His love and affection towards us is something which has stayed with me all the 50 years since leaving school.  One incident that I can vividly recall was the way he treated me after I broke my collarbone in a rugby match one Saturday morning.  He accompanied Mrs Clarke to the Rondebosch Cottage Hospital where I was treated by Dr Tuppy Owen-Smith.  In 1958 the Barbarians Rugby team toured SA and that particular day they were due to play against WP.  Knowing how I had looked forward to this game at Newlands, Tinkie took me along and gave up his seat on the Grand Stand amongst the Players.  As a little boy, 12 years of age, you can imagine how delighted I was to be rubbing shoulders with all those famous rugby players.

    With all the excitement, the pain I was suffering was temporarily forgotten until we got back to Mason House.  Then I really started suffering.  Prof Heyns had my bed pushed into his small room so that he could keep an eye on me all night long.  Just another small example of his love and affection for the boys under his care.

    I was not much of a scholar at school and most of my time was taken up on the sports-fields.  My love for the game of rugby was given a kick start in the under 13 age group where I was privileged to have Tinkie Heyns as my first coach.  The lessons I learned from him stood me in good stead for the rest of my school career and I am proud to say that I represented the 1st XV team for 2 years.

    Although, as I have mentioned, my scholastic ability sometimes left a lot to be desired, I have very fond memories of some of the teachers I was fortunate enough to be associated with.  Although English was probably my worst subject at school I still rate Buck Ryan as the best teacher I ever had.  He had a fantastic way of working with boys and it has been mainly due to his patience with me that I eventually mastered the subject of English.

    Other teachers who come to mind and with whom I had particularly good relationships were Mr Diepeveen – Geography, Ronnie Wiggett and Evan Martin.  Although I did not take history in matric, my path did cross that of Charlie Hallack in the lower standards and I can only say that on the whole my relationship with him was very good for the simple reason that he knew my father very well and that they both belonged to the same political party.

    My six years in Mason House, The Lilacs and Canigou were probably the best years of my life.  The friends I made have been friends for life.  Yes, we were very naughty and bunking out and smoking were all part of boarding house life.  Yet the love and affection shown to us by house masters and teachers have stayed with me for 50 years.

    I actually matriculated quite easily and did my 1 year compulsory military training in the naval gymnasium at Saldanha, after which I headed home to join my father on the family farm in the Darling district.

    In 1971 I married Leslie and we had a fantastic life together and produced 2 lovely children.  Mandy, who lives in the Wolseley district on a farm with her husband Koos, runs a very successful guesthouse business.  My son John (E93) still farms on the family farm with his lovely wife Gillian.

    After a long illness Leslie passed away in February 2008.  During the latter half of 2008 I got involved with Marlene who had also lost her husband in February 2008.

    After a courtship of four and half years we got married on 12 December 2012.  We live in her flat in Bloubergstrand but still spend a lot of time at my house in Yzerfontein.

    Bruce Ferguson

    Unlike most other boys of E63, I started at Rondebosch neither in Sub A nor in the High School, but in Standard 2.

    My Dad was the principal of Claremont Primary and as it was just around the corner, I went there for my first 3 years.  After that it was no longer deemed appropriate. For example ‘bok-bok’ was outlawed.  Big boys would come to me and say, “Can we play bok-bok?”  I’d give the go-ahead, teachers would eventually come running out to find the ring-leaders, who would say, “Fergy said we could play!”  Good trick.  Clever boys.

    My first introduction to Rondebosch was not encouraging.  We lived very close to the Newlands Cricket Ground and I spent a huge amount of time there.  During January, before the new school year had started, I was out on the field during the afternoon tea-break and drifted somewhat out of my usual territory.  All of a sudden someone bellowed, “Ferguson!  We’ll see you in 2 weeks’ time!”  He looked to be an older boy, full of confidence, with an assortment of mates around him.  How did he know who I was?  What a worry.  It was Bull Le Roux.

    My second exposure, on day 1 of term 1 was no less frightening.  In the Prep School hall, waiting for my name to be called out.  Ensie covered every year bar Sub A, and then turned to the young beginners.  My mother was mortified and had to approach Ensie for direction.  Eventually, late for the first class, I had to blunder my way to Miss Vickerstaff’s room.  She seemed very severe, but of course wasn’t.  Standard 3 was great – Miss Duminy.  Everyone loved her and she was sweet, generous and very kind.  However, there was an episode which bothers me still.  We had a very quiet boy in our class, Jeremy Day , not a great scholar, but boy could he draw.  At that age I blushed a lot, most often for no reason.  One day Miss Duminy produced Jeremy’s drawing book and showed us that some swine had defaced one of his lovely drawings.  There was utter silence and I could feel myself blushing…..for no reason other than Miss Duminy was looking carefully around the room.  Her eyes settled on me and I just knew that she thought it was me.  It’s always haunted me.

    When Miss Duminy married Mr Helm, Lindsay Kennedy and I cycled to her house and waited for her to show up.  Quite why we thought she would be at home on her wedding day I just don’t know.  I guess we just loved her.

    All our teachers in the Prep were good in some way or another even the ancient Mr Law who filled in for a term or two.

    I can’t finish with the Prep without mentioning woodwork.  I liked working with wood, but was, and still am, totally useless.  We were making a pen-and-ink stand and although mine faintly resembled the article in question, its point of difference was the underside.  It was smothered in bent nails; in fact it looked more like metalwork than woodwork.  Never ever got used.

    One year we had a school play.  Can’t remember what it was but several of us were “green ladies”.  At one rehearsal there were boys from Standard 6 participating (as thieves?).  The scene called for us ladies to scatter.  “Just stand around the thief of your choice” was the instruction.  Twelve clustered around Ian McCallum, 10 around his mate Kilburn.  No-one else was as popular.  Later in life my only view of Kilburn was of him running down the white line in the middle of Rondebosch Main Road at midnight, just outside ‘The Pig,’ chasing a bus!  Never saw him again.

    Another memory relates to cricket, which has always been a passion of mine.  Playing on the Oakhurst field I took 4 wickets in 4 balls, against Bishops.  This was announced at morning assembly by Ensie.  As we were in Standard 5, the whole body of students swung round to stare at me, which was something of an embarrassment, leaving me wishing, for a moment that I hadn’t performed so well.

    Then on to High School.  Starting wasn’t too daunting as my elder brother was there, so I knew a bit about the School and whom to avoid.  We were in temporary classes as the Standard 6 classrooms were being renovated.  We were in a huge room, making a noise, waiting for a new period to commence.  In came a very short, bald fellow, bellowing for silence.  “You!” he shouted “stand up!”  Thank God it wasn’t me, he was looking at the far left corner and I was in the distant right corner.  It was Tickey de Jager and he WAS looking at me, with his odd eye.  I never took to Tickey and vice-versa.  I know it’s sacrilege to say so, but there you are.

    We had a team quiz and I fancied myself academically.  I was eliminated in round one by Tim ffoulkes-Morris, who by the end of our schooling was a brilliant pole-vaulter.  So much for being in the top class.

    We were blessed with so many great teachers, who not only taught us well, but cared for us too.  How could one have had a better start to the High School than with Dudley Baartman? Then there was Vic Ryan, Steytler Thwaites, Charlie Hallack, and Tony Viljoen amongst many others. My favourite of all was Doc Watson, a brilliant Latin teacher and also a fond cricket master.  I was so upset to hear of his death after I’d left Rondebosch, in an accident on the mountain.  In about Standard 7 or 8 Mr Goldie was our Afrikaans teacher as well as our class master.  Although he came across as a strict man, he had a much softer side too.  He told us he would be leaving for a while to have an operation.  The whole class immediately stood and lined up to shake his hand and wish him well.  He was very emotional and quite teary-eyed at our caring.

    Mike Welsh was a family friend and I wish he had taught me as his sarcastic wit was legendary.  Sarcasm and irony have always cracked me up.

    The ultimate in legendary status was Russell Kilgour Hallack.  I’m sure that many others will write of escapades in his class, so I will desist, apart from noting that my last memory of Charlie was he and Hugh Hodge pulling each other around the classroom by the tie.  Hugh was always something of a free thinker.

    Sport at school was just brilliant.  I know they have many more options these days, but what we had was enough.  Cricket and rugby were the stars.  At the 45th reunion I asked Lindsay Kennedy  to imagine what it was like to be in the B team.  Two practices a week against the As.  Twice a week being battered and bruised, hardly ever attacking, just trying to defend.  And defence was not a particular forte of mine.  The upside was when one was dropped to the C team and got to practise against the Ds.  Heaven!

    Cricket was always a passion and I played on after school until aged 56.  Shoulders and hips are paying for it now!  One of my memories which still gets me giggling uncontrollably is under 14 or 15 A.  We were playing on the lower desert, possibly against Belville.  Chris Steyn  and I were stationed at deep mid-on and mid-wicket.  I can even remember the batsmen – Kasselman and Gerstner.  They wielded the long handle and everything was in the air – all to the leg side, always just to Steyn and me.  After we each dropped a sitter, we were write-offs.  Another high hit, we would both start laughing and another catch would be grassed.  There must have been at least 8 of them.  These days we would probably have been stood down for a game or two.

    In matric I decided to change tack somewhat and settled on tennis and hockey, both of which were most enjoyable.  The only problem with tennis practice was trying to lob over the head of the ever-growing Le Roux at the net.  Hockey was an excellent sport.  One almost had to have a medical certificate to leave rugby’s clutches, although we had a solid team, the stars being my cousin, Jack Penfold, Lawrence Payne and young Sean McIntosh, the latter from a surfing and hockey family.  I later played a lot of cricket with his elder brother, Junior.

    I was called on to play one game of cricket, a house match against Andrews or Marchand.  Once we were on the field we worked out that we only had two bowlers of any ability – Keith Perry and I.  So we two had to bowl the whole match.  There was a strong sou’-easter, so Keith having some speed got to bowl with the wind.  Somehow we won the game.

    I also dabbled in athletics.  In our last year I somehow bumbled my way into the 220 final.  There must have been a stopwatch error in the heats.  On the day I found out that Neil Tuchten (now Judge Tuchten!) was in charge at the start-point of the race.  He said to me, “pick my left hand and you’ll draw the inside lane.”  I did.  Feeling less nervous I was then accosted by Cedric Gilmour: “I’m the favourite for this race and to break a record, let me have your lane. We’re in the same house.”  How could I refuse!  He won and I came last.  Every time the school was shown a clip of our athletics, that 220 final was featured and I had to relive the result.

    My Dad had negotiated with Nobby Clarke that Rondebosch would accept two Claremont boys each year.  In our year it was John Simon and Graham Wittridge, so Rondebosch did pretty well.  John and I have remained friends ever since Sub A at Claremont and still wake each other up with text messages at some ungodly hour regarding cricket and rugby scores.  There is nothing better than being woken up at 3am with “Black Caps not good enough!”

    Given our word-count restriction, I’ll now have to turn to a potted history of life since school.  First the army, like everyone else, at Oudtshoorn and Walvis Bay.  At WB I came to know the inimitable Chris Krige rather well.  What a character he was, what fun to be around and what scrapes he got us into.  So devastating that he died in Australia at such a young age.  There weren’t that many Rondebosch boys around, so my mates were mainly from Pinelands and Bishops, apart from Chris.  On the day we left WB, John Simon arrived and it was good to catch up with him albeit briefly.

    After the Army it was UCT for a BCom and then to Ernst & Young for 6 years, apart from a year off in Europe, the UK and London with my wife Denise, from Pinelands.  In 1975 we immigrated to New Zealand, which was a very good decision.  There seemed to be no end in sight to apartheid.  I started there with Ernst &Young for a further 6 years, before leaving to join a major client, Lane Walker Rudkin, a very large clothing and textile conglomerate, listed on the Stock Exchange and operating out of 6 countries, including South Africa.  One of our major subsidiaries was Canterbury International, the rugby and sport apparel manufacturer.  In those days we made gear for the All Blacks, but were eventually ousted by Adidas.  However, the brand lived on with other international rugby teams, including the Boks.  The “CCC” emblem is styled as 3 heads of a kiwi, the national bird of NZ.  I always wonder if supporters know that they are playing with 3 kiwi heads on their jerseys!

    For 17 years that was my career, Company Secretary then Chief Financial Officer.  Since then I’ve used my financial knowledge for a hospital, a tertiary education provider and now part-time in an early childhood group, all good jobs.

    We have done a significant amount of travel, often returning to South Africa or to England, where my parents and brother emigrated.  For business, most trips were to Japan and the States, especially San Francisco.  Now we travel to catch up with our family, most recently to Japan where our son is currently the national cricket coach and to Hawaii, to see our daughter participate in the Ironman.  Although she has a young toddler, she is a Pro athlete and finished 7th in the gruelling Kona Ironman.  Our eldest daughter has a PhD in genetics and works for Massey University in Auckland.  New Zealand has been most kind to us, apart from the devastating earthquake!

    Mr. Laidlaw (U10A)
    Back: Peter Barrett, Chris Munday, Hugh Hodge, Fred Versveld, Owen Ashley, Malcolm McCrosty
    Center: Frank Einhorn, John Barry, Derek Van Den Berg, Mr. Laidlaw, Richard Morris, Mike Taylor, Roydon Wood
    Front: Bruce Ferguson, Lindsay Kennedy, Lawrence Payne, Douglas Crisp

    Ferdi Fischer

    Having come to RBHS only in Standard 7, my fund of school anecdotes may be limited, but some (outlined below) do come readily to mind.  I enjoyed my 4 years at Rondebosch but remember, my not being very good at sport and struggling a bit with being a year younger than my peers and possibly being a bit immature for my age as well were obstacles to be overcome!  I will always be grateful to ‘Doc’ Watson for introducing me to rock climbing and mountaineering via the school mountain club – an interest I have pursued ever since.  Although I have had contact with a number of classmates over the years (on visits to the Cape), my closest and most regular contact has been with Johnny Kipps (a near neighbour when he is in London), Brian Fraser and Jean Rozwadowski.

    I think most of us were slightly intimidated by Arthur Jayes’ severe manner, however, one day he was demonstrating to us in the physics lab that your body can withstand a high voltage shock provided the amperage is low enough.  He duly held onto a rod with xx000 volts – Nicky Diemont: “Sir, don’t you feel a bit of a prick?”  Just a smile from AJ!

    In E1 we recorded on paper some of Steytler Thwaites’ (Peanuts’ or Twinkletoes’) more colourful sayings (such as “goddamit man, you’ve got the manners of an uninhibited cat”) and placed them under a floorboard for posterity – perhaps they are still there.  He caused an uproar when he proclaimed as 2 classmates returned from a short external test halfway through a lesson: “Ah, here come the testees!”

    Tickey de Jager produced 3 excellent A4 sized books which condensed the entire matric syllabus for respectively algebra, geometry and trigonometry.  One day Achim Lenssen pointed out to him what he thought was a mistake in one of them. Tickey: “I don’t make mistakes”; Achim: “to err is human”; Tickey: “boy, whatever made you think I was human?”

    Mike Welsh, who taught us Latin in Std 9 was a cynic and, by the standards of the time, probably a bit of a leftie: if you tried to excuse the omission of some homework with: “but Sir, I thought—-“, the response would be: “listen, boy, good South Africans never think!”

    After my civil engineering degree at UCT, I worked for 2 years in Namibia and in the Cape and then earned my passage to Europe as a supernumary on a German freighter to “see the world” (never to get back to SA on a permanent basis).  After travelling through Europe (and meeting my future wife, Ann) I settled in Munich, first working for the organising committee of the 1972 Olympic Games and then for a major contractor.  Neither job was very demanding, enabling me to indulge my passion for skiing, mountaineering and travelling.  I then moved to Fontainebleau, France to do an MBA at the “INSEAD” business school, making many new friends from a huge diversity of backgrounds.  One of them, whose father was a friend of the Shah, got our entire MBA class invited to a 2-week graduation “study” tour of Iran: having got this far, Ann and I continued travelling East (including the remote parts of Afghanistan, NW Pakistan and Burma) ending up in Singapore.

    With funds running low, I joined a Dutch company engaged in the installation of oil and gas platforms and submarine pipelines for the oil industry, using large converted ships with huge cranes.  This turned out to be a great ticket to see the world: we spent some months in Trinidad, 2 years in Holland, 2 in New Zealand, 1 in Singapore and another in Houston.  Our family expanded on the way: Mark was born in New Zealand, Oliver in Singapore and Saskia in the UK – still angry that she wasn’t born a bit earlier while we were in Houston (green card!)

    With kids approaching school age, we decided to get off the “expatriate bandwagon” and to put down roots in the UK.  After a few years with a London-based shipbroker, I joined a small start-up investment company specialising in oil services and shipping.  Raising money from various sources, we invested in capital intensive hardware, company turnarounds and distressed debt and also did corporate advisory work.  The cyclicality of these sectors made for great opportunities and also for a bit of a rollercoaster ride but we got involved with some fascinating projects worldwide and, as a small team, had a lot of fun.  These were also the magic years of family life: watching the kids develop, sharing their triumphs and upsets and enjoying many adventures together, London being an easy location from which to explore the world (as well as reaching the fairest Cape regularly).

    Tragically, my wife Ann died of cancer early in 2001 after a 12-month illness: by then, the youngsters were old enough to be a real comfort and support for dad.  A few years later, I reduced my workload to doing one-off projects (now fully retired), went back to university part-time (an MSc degree in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London) and dabbled in some charity work. In 2008 I married Mae-Le, a doctor I had met 4 years earlier in a remote part of north-eastern Burma (close to China’s Yunnan Province) where she was chief medical officer of an HIV/AIDS/malaria clinic run by MSF (Medicins sans Frontieres).

    I still enjoy my travels – just as well, with one son (plus family) living in Brisbane, another in Madrid and Mae’s family in Singapore and Los Angeles!

    Student Offices 1963 (Photo courtesy of Johnny Kipps)

    More cast members in Princess Ju-Ju 1958 (Photo courtesy of Johnny Kipps)

    Peter Flint

    My first memory of my grandfather was of his giving a talk on “Health through Common Sense” to the whole school.  We arrived in his 1936 SS100 Jaguar, a car that I have had for the past 48 years and which will go to my own grandson one day.  One car-2 owner in 77 years!

    My wife passed away 5 years ago having developed Alzheimer’s disease.  I have one daughter, Taryn, who, with her husband, is in Dundee, Scotland, with their 5 children – two boys and triplet daughters, who will be two on 4th February.

    For the past 40 years, I have been a franchisee with Spur Steak Ranches and until 2 months ago, had the branch in Strand Street, which I sold.  Spur is a fantastic franchise – I always said that I must be the proudest franchisee.  Forty years loaded with fun and laughter!  The support level is amazing but I decided to leave while I still enjoyed every minute – and not wait until it became “oh no, not another day.”  I had three staff – all with 30 years of service who went on pension on the same day as I did.  Everyone always says –“oh the hours are so long in the restaurant game!”  Rubbish -12 hours is only a half-day job!

    I am involved with conservation and helping to assist homeless folks reintegrate back into society.

    The masters who made the biggest impression on me were Mr Arthur Jayes, the most perfect gentleman, Bob Martin, he made the classes very interesting, and Mr Clarke.  How I hated Latin, Mr Olivier with his “plankie” and his motor car with a two digit registration number!  Sport – no, not for me.  I remember playing Zwaanswyk and getting a major hiding –sixty something–nil…  We were shi**ing ourselves in Assembly on the following Monday morning but Mr Clarke congratulated us on fighting till the very end –whew!

    I live in Green Point in the same house I built for myself 30 years ago!

    Richard Frantz

    1. Studying for exams.

    The practice in E1A (I guess a carry over from D1A) was to see who was last to start studying for examinations.  The exception was Brian Fraser who I recall set out for examinations with a well planned programme.  Somehow nobody failed even with this unorthodox approach to writing and passing examinations.

    I guess this may have been one reason why the experiment of spreading the “D” and ”E” years into smaller classes was never repeated, to the best of my knowledge.

    Interesting that the spread was achieved by creating two E1 classes rather than adding an E5.  Some academic psychology in this one.

    When I went to UCT with the knowledge that many failed in the university environment, I decided that I could not continue with our scholastic approach to studying.  Which probably explains why I did a little bit better with exam results at UCT than at school.

    The sobering aspect when one has come to an end of your career is that ultimately it hardly mattered what the exam results were, as long as you passed.

    2. Our names.

    I owe this feature to my mother who was always confused by the practice. When speaking to third parties, such as my mother, we referred to one another by our surnames.  Hence “Joubert

    “van den Berg”, “Le Roux”, “Matchett”, etc.  I guess this was an old “private” school/army tradition which I think has long since died out.

    The teachers of course also referred to us by our surnames.

    When we spoke to one another or introduced one another to third parties we would use our first names, so we became, “Andrew”, “Derek”, “John”, “Christopher” , etc.

    Then there were the nicknames, of which there were few, and the only one I can now remember is “Bull” Le Roux.  Why “Bull” I never knew nor was anyone ever interested in finding out.  We had more important things on our minds in those days

    3. The secret of the E1/E1A sash window frames.

    A group confession.

    If the sash windows in the E1 class room have not been changed in the last 50 years then the evidence of this misdemeanor should still be there.  We did allow ourselves to get carried away at times.

    Someone brought a wood drill and bit to class one day.  Can’t remember who.  At some stage during the day we drilled a myriad of holes through the lovely wooden frames of the class room sash windows.  Then the one and only prefect we had in EI A allowed his “Prefect Conscience” to come into play and we were headed for trouble.  Fortunately the diameter of the wooden pencils we used in class just matched the size of the holes drilled.  So after much hammering of pencils into the holes and cutting them flush with the frame surface, all evidence had been attended to.

    I guess if someone looked carefully at the window frames they may find the evidence still.  I had thought we had drilled a lot of holes but on reflection after 50 years I conclude it could not have been a lot as we did not have a lot of wooden pencils at our disposal at any time.

    The last two points that follow I have come to realise when trying to jog a not very good memory of those distant school days are probably two of the greatest legacies that I gained from my years at RBPS and RBHS.  It could well be unique to the environment we enjoyed in the D1A and EIA class as passing exams may not have been the struggle it could be for others.

    4. Fun.

    They were certainly years memorable for the fun times we had together; we enjoyed what we did and laughed at what we did.  I even have a dubious memory that we talked about this as we came to the end of our school years.  Or maybe we came to appreciate what fun we had had as we ground our way through university.

    In my working career I have been faced at times with various difficulties, challenges and disappointments, but I have come to realise that by being able to laugh in these situations and see how you can still have fun at the most difficult of times, it is possible to get through the trials and tribulations and not let them get totally on top of you.  It can be hard at times but it has worked for me in the leadership positions I have held.  It is a message I have left with staff and colleagues in our business now that I have “retired”.

    5. Breaking the rules.

    The challenge of rules at school for us was – which could be broken?  I suppose learning which should not be broken and which were fair game.  And rules we certainly did break.

    In my working career I have been fortunate that I have been able to work at the edges of new technologies where the rules had yet to be made or were still immature and hence open to be broken.  Then as I moved into more management and leadership roles I was more entitled to “break the rules” where they got in the way (and it was not illegal to do so.)

    I have also learnt that as you get older you become entitled to be eccentric which is also a good guise for breaking rules.

    It is only recently that this all fell into place when I came across a book that immediately attracted my attention “First Break All The Rules” and subtitled “What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently” by Buckingham and Coffman.  The book is the result of extensive research studies undertaken by the Gallup Organisation.

    Something ingrained in those fun school days came to stand me in good stead.  An interesting debate.  One I am sure the teaching staff did not apply their minds to.  But fortunately they did take our approach to rules in their stride and did not totally stifle us.

    Last Day Of School
    L to R Jan Rozwadowski, Theo de Rijk, Lawrence Evans, Richard Frantz, Christopher Matchett and Paul Duminy

    Brian Fraser

    I married Cecile Waddington (St. Cyps) in 1970 and we have our daughter Tracy (40) in Newport Beach, California, married to Jory with two sons (Koby 10 and Josten 7) and one daughter (Shylah 3), and a son Hugh (39) in Toronto, married to Jenn with one daughter (Waverly 1.5).

    After leaving E 63, I proceeded to Youngsfield for 9 months of further education in the intricacies of WWII anti aircraft guns and the social adaptations necessary to fit in to the South African armed forces – a true broadening of horizons and perceptions, not to  mention the acquisition of Afrikaans skills never encountered in the Taalbond.  I started a temporary job with the Old Mutual only to have it cut short by a major rock climbing fall that sidelined me until I started at UCT in 1965.  I completed B.Sc. (Chem Eng) in 1968 and an MBA (along with Peter Gibb) in 1969. I spent most of my leisure time rock climbing and hiking in the Cape and Natal.

    After graduating, I joined AECI in Johannesburg, got married and then went over to the UK for 2 years of acclimatization to the ICI way of making chemicals.  We lived in Chester, a medieval walled city which was superbly situated for climbing and hiking in North Wales, the Lake District and even Scotland, and within easy distance from the sights of London (in those days you could drive to London and beat the train before they invented gridlock on the motorways).  We spent all our weekends and vacations travelling the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, central Europe, and Greece, as well as learning to ski in Austria.  After being suitably indoctrinated in ICI methodology in the UK, AECI sent us back to Sasolburg (2 weeks notice) which had not been high on our travel priorities.  Workwise I had an interesting 2 years there and then decided that the bright lights of Joburg and the Industrial Development Corporation held better prospects for job and family.

    We lived in Bryanston for 4 years before deciding to emigrate to Canada in 1977.  We had found Joburg quite frustrating with its distance from any real mountains and also the first oil crisis that kept our speedboat locked in the garage instead of the floating on the Vaal River.  Had we lived in Cape Town, we probably might still be there, but the job scene for my experience was sparse and new fields beckoned.

    So, we sold up lock, stock and barrel and moved to Calgary in 1977, at that time a bustling small city of 460,000 people located in the eastern foothills of the Rockies.  Calgary gave us a chilly welcome with the temperature dropping to -40°C for two weeks in our first winter!  That truly is COLD. Fortunately that was the exception rather than the rule and, with the effects of global warming, the Calgary climate has become much more benign with only the occasional major storm and generally bright, sunny weather year round with typical winter daytime temperatures of -5°C to +5°C  and nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees lower.  Summer is balmy.  So, we thoroughly enjoyed our 34 years in Calgary, watching it grow into a large city of 1.2 million people with all the attendant problems of rapid growth.  It is a bustling, vibrant city with easy access to the Rocky Mountains (1 hour) and a great place to raise kids with such diverse pursuits as biking, hiking, climbing, cross country and downhill skiing (in the city or in the mountains), snowboarding, ice hockey, soccer and so on.

    We had got Canadian visas without having to have a job lined up so I arrived in Calgary in the middle of Stampede week in July 1977 looking for a job.  I was well equipped with a three piece suit while the rest of the city was dressed in its traditional Stampede week garb of jeans, wrangler shirts, cowboy boots and large 10 gallon cowboy hats.  I initially worked as a management consultant and was then lucky enough to be invited to get in on the ground floor of an embryo petrochemical company which was just starting up and which has now grown into Nova Chemicals (now Abu Dhabi owned) whose sponsorship logo can now be seen on the side of Toro Rosso Formula 1 cars.  Calgary is essentially an oil and gas city so my petrochemical experience was a good fit with an undersupplied market and it was an exciting period of growth from bare ground to the world’s largest ethylene manufacturing site.  Despite being a vice-president in sunny Alberta, after a major acquisition they wanted me to move to not-so-sunny Sarnia in Ontario and it did not take long to decide to protect our good western lifestyle and part ways with Nova Chemicals.  Thence in 1990 it was into more traditional engineering with a large local engineering company with a lot of very interesting new development projects in Canada’s Arctic and Alaska’s North Slope.  Quite a step out from engineering at UCT.  After 15 years with that outfit, I joined SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest, most diverse and most international engineering company where I worked primarily on front end conceptual designs for large megaprojects in North and South America and the Middle East as well as carbon capture and sequestration projects to counter global warming.

    When one works in an industry that is at the forefront of oil and gas technology and petrochemicals in a city whose major companies have wide international interests, there are plenty of opportunities to travel on business and see the world.  I visited China in 1983/84 just when the transition from parochial Communism and Mao jackets to more open worldly dialogue and western style clothing was occurring.  I could not believe the Beijing of the 2008 Olympics and how far it had developed since I was first there in 1983.  Other destinations over the years included Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the UK, Argentina, Venezuela (scary), Brazil, and then in the Middle East, Oman, Abu Dhabi and Syria (sad current developments).

    Being located in a booming city in North America affords plenty of opportunities for business travel, holiday travel and sightseeing within North America, a continent with tremendous diversity in people, cultures and rich in physical and geographic attractions of nature.  Business has taken me from negotiating major project financings with the financial moguls of Wall Street to spending the proceeds in Alberta and the shores of the Beaufort Sea on the North Slope of Alaska and Canada’s Arctic.  Between those extremes, I also travelled to most of the major cities in the US and Canada from East to West and North to South.  For relaxation and family vacations we have visited Cape Town every couple of years and more recently, every year.  Outside of family visits we have visited New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica, some Caribbean islands, UK and Ireland as well as some hiking in the Dolomites and the French Alps.

    Having decided to retire in 2011, we had to decide whether to stay in Calgary with many good friends and continue a cool outdoor lifestyle, or move to milder climes where the prospect of icy winter roads and pathways was much reduced.  I have had increasing problems with my knees, probably due to running down too many mountains, as well a back problem from a skiing spill (now hopefully fixed by surgery), so we elected to make the move in 2011 from Calgary to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, the site of Canada’s mildest climate and where we also have transplanted friends.  So we have traded in our bright sunny Alberta winter snow and temperate summer, where all you need to do in the garden is to mow the lawn for three months a year, in exchange for British Columbia’s rainy winter with minimal snow and beautiful mild summers. Being situated on Vancouver Island (a distinct island 450 km by 100 km), not to be confused with the city of Vancouver on the mainland, we wanted to buy a house with a view of the sea and the Gulf Islands.  Unfortunately this combination only comes with large houses on large lots so after looking for 8 months we finally “downsized” to an acre of land and a house nearly double what we had in Calgary.  We are now unpaid full time gardeners – the consequence of living in a rainforest type climate, and mowing all year.

    When we are not hiking or gardening, we either visit our kids and grandchildren, or spend time at our holiday cabin at Shuswap Lake, a large lake about half way between Calgary and Vancouver.  We thought retirement would be relaxing, but life seems to be busier now than it ever was with the structure of the workplace.  Now that we have moved to the ocean, we have to decide whether to keep or sell our lakeshore house – which was a haven of relaxation from the Calgary lifestyle, but is now essentially just another body of water 9 hours away instead of on our doorstep.

    Memories of school.

    Basically all good from Sub A to Matric. I was lucky enough to live close to the school and spend lots of time on the sports fields even if I wasn’t that good.  I still liked the opportunities and was glad to be able to play field hockey after being crunched too often as a lighty in rugby.  I was pleased to see that the available sports have expanded since.  I think the best thing about Rondebosch was the relationship between staff and students and the camaraderie that many teachers exhibited both in the classrooms and on the sportsfields.  With hindsight, I realize what a well-oiled machine it was, even if it seemed normal at the time.  And when I see the unionized teaching system here in Canada, I realize what a privilege it was to have teachers who were mentors in the classroom and friends outside.

    Memorable experiences since leaving school:

    1. Rock climbing fall in 1964 off Barrier Buttress – 50 feet bouncing off a hard ledge, stopped by Ferdi Fischer from going another 150 feet.  Shouldn’t have survived, but glad I did!
    2. Introduction (fortunately as a spectator) to ice hockey – an exciting, fast, tough and altogether tremendous human display of raw emotion and skill, not to mention fighting.  Canadian quote – “I went to the fight and a game of hockey broke out”.  Hopefully they’ll clean it up before someone gets killed.  Very exciting to watch.  The Canadian equivalent of rugby in SA.
    3. Seeing the 1989 Stanley Cup final in Montreal when Calgary beat Montreal in the seven game series.  The noise of the fans was higher than 10 rock concerts.  The Montreal fans just wanted to beat up any Calgary supporters after the game.  We slunk back to our hotel, fortunately unscathed.  Montreal regularly trashes their city when the home team loses.
    4. Multiple 4-4 day attempts over many years to climb Alberta’s highest peak (Mount Columbia 12,200 feet) with an approach on skis over the Athabasca Glacier and camping in total whiteout at temperatures of -20 C or so.  Eventually succeeded after five annual attempts on a glorious sunny day – it was worth the wait.
    5. Backcountry skiing in flat light in powder snow up to your waist or higher and not knowing what is up or down until you find yourself flat on your back and buried.  Then when the sun comes out, paradise reveals itself.
    6. Seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev in Swan Lake at Covent Garden.

    Regrets since leaving school:

    1. Not learning to fly.
    2. Canada’s vanilla politics.

    School Contacts:

    Notwithstanding our distance and relative isolation from Cape Town, we still manage to see Ferdi Fischer and Johnny Kipps and respective families either when we travel through London or when we are in Cape Town. Also the occasional lunch with Lindsay, Peter S, John LR, Roy Mac  and others when I have been in Cape Town. I have also managed to attend a few of the E63 class reunions as well as the School centenary so have been very pleased to meet some other of my old classmates at those occasions. My, how we have changed!  When reading Lindsay’s various communications, I, like other classmates have been surprised and concerned about how many of our class have already died – certainly it seems to be quite a high proportion.  However, I delved into life expectancy statistics and found that our class mortality rates are closely aligned to the life expectancy of both British and Canadian males.  So, sad as all these deaths are, they do not seem to be out of line or a result of rubbing mercury on all those pennies to increase their value.  Personally, I am hoping to attend the 2046 reunion of E63.  I paid the grand sum of $2.00 US to a witchdoctor at Victoria Falls and he predicted that I would live to 101.  Since my dad died at 101, my hope is that the good witchdoctor did not mix our genetic stamps up.

    Mile Champs (Picture courtesy Johnny Kipps)

    Martin Furman

    Martin and Linky

    One beautiful warm spring morning in 1951 I was awakened by my mother much earlier than the usual “rise and shine.”  This was followed by, “No Kindergarten today, today we are going to see the school you might be going to next year.”  I also noticed that my clothes were especially pressed for this special occasion.  Little did I know how this would influence and benefit my future life.

    The day in question produced many new firsts in my life.  Not only was it the first visit to a proper school, it was my first tram ride as well, travelling on Main Road from Wynberg and alighting at the Rondebosch Fountain.  Thereafter I remember my Mom asking directions for the easiest route up to the Rondebosch Prep School.  As we entered the gate I remembered clutching my mother’s hand as she lovingly and gently reminded me only to speak when spoken to!  We reached what seemed this massive brown-stone building, somehow reminding me of a medieval king’s castle.

    On entering Mr Roche Enslin’s Office I recall my amazement at the size of his big, bushy eyebrows which enhanced his stern appearance as did his deep, deep voice.  The interview ended and smiling broadly and shaking my mom’s hand, he extended that huge hand to me saying, “Welcome to Rondebosch my boy.”  Needless to say the next time his hand was extended towards me it held an 18-inch ruler in it and I was not standing but bending over his office table.  That incident occurred 6 years later when I was in Standard 4 during the period when Mr Law, an elderly retired former headmaster of RBPS, replaced our class teacher Mr Vere Parkin, for a period of time.  Law spoke with a brrrrroad Scottish accent and he caught me out trying to impersonate his speech.  Grabbing me and pulling me by my tie to the classroom door, he said “Furrrrman I thought that you werrre my frrriend but you’rrre a dirrrty little dawg.”  Mr Enslin, unnoticed by us all, was watching from the corridor – no need for further explanations!

    One of my favourite ‘extra’ activities at school was the annual school play directed by the very talented and patient lady, Miss Nancy Watson-Morris.  In Sub A I remember being a sea shell and in Sub B I was a snow drop.  The pupils that became the main actors in these productions were natural actors and those with good voices.  Those that I seem to remember were David Price, Richard Morris, David Taylor and Gordon Slabbert.  Apart from the school plays who can ever forget Gordon Slabbert, our own Elvis and Roy Gordon and his ukulele singing R and B in Standard 3?

    Here are the classes I was in during my Prep School time and I know this information is accurate because lying in front of me on the table as I write are 12 slightly yellow faded RBPS school reports which were part of my late mother’s hoarded treasures found by my brother Saville and I whilst we were packing up our parents home.

    1952 Sub A Miss IMI Johnson, 1953 Sub B Miss IMI Johnson, 1954 Std 1 Miss B Trow, 1955 Std 2, Miss G Vickerstaff, 1956 Std 3 Miss Erina Duminy, 1957 Std 4 Mr N J Parkins, 1958 Std 5 Mr E E Sephton.

    Mighty I add that in 1956 most of us had a “crush” on Miss Erina Duminy and those became her hardest – working pupils.  All our dreams were really crushed by her engagement and later marriage to Mr “Herbie” Helm, an Afrikaans RBHS teacher who later taught me in Standard 7.

    Thinking back to tea and lunch breaks I remember getting hot milk or ‘choco’ and our mothers would take turns in serving the boys.  Thereafter I recall playing touch rugby, playing marbles (goenies, ironies, Cat’s eyes etc) swopping comics, playing bok-bok until it was banned.  I think, also, that lots of true and firm friendships were formed during these breaks as pupils attending the Prep lived from Fish Hoek to Mowbray and Pinelands and this did not include the boarders.

    As a pupil I very much enjoyed all types of sport, excelling at tennissette and being partnered by Richard Morris in the 1953 in the Cape Peninsula Primary Tennisette Association Boy’s doubles junior championship.  I enjoyed rugby, playing in my first 2 years scrum half and hooker but never reaching higher than the C or D teams in all my school years.  I also enjoyed boxing but once again being short and weighing nearly as much as Derek van den Berg immediately stopped me from this sport.  In Standards 4 and 5 I distinctly remember Lindsay Kennedy’s boxing ability and how he exercised in order to improve his physical shape.

    Whilst still in Std 4 I started helping the Std 5 pupil responsible for the screening of films in the hall using the 16mm projector.  He taught me to cut, splice and join film and this knowledge was important because of the age of the films received and also the age of the projector itself causing many breaks in the middle of screening a film.  I enjoyed the responsibility for maintaining the equipment.  Every time there was a break or a problem someone would shout out “Vat hom Fluffy” my new nickname because of the amount of hair that had started sprouting “all over and under” in Standard 5.

    Many fraternal and genuine friendships were formed at the Prep and remain firm and honoured until today by us all.

    1959 RBHS

    The immediate difference between the High and the Prep School was the size and the height of the school prefects checking uniforms and haircuts  on the first day.  The catalyst binding them so close together was their love of English poetry, especially Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If,” which I certainly knew by heart, having written it out umpteen times in my first two years at high school!

    As known to all, my nickname from Prep School days was Fluffy.  As winter set in around April-May and so I started to wear a hand-me-down jersey from my young uncle – a v neck, long-sleeved grey jersey made from a very smooth mohair wool.  One cold day, as I was wearing this jersey, Clive “Mousey” Young and “Buck” Ryan passed me by and Mousy laughingly said to Buck “Fluffy is not so Fluffy any more – he is now “Moleskin Harry”.  By the following day all the teachers returned a cheerful “Moleskin Harry” greeting with sheepish grins.  This new nick-name lasted until the end of Matric and then disappeared – thank the Lord.

    My favourite subject at which I truly excelled was bookkeeping and commercial arithmetic, taught to us by a teacher loved and respected by all – Bob Martin.  His opening sentence to the basics of all accounting practice, constantly repeated, “for every debit there is a credit and visa-versa or debit receives and credit gives.”  I was very proud to attain an AA result in the matriculation final exam.  He was also a wonderful rugby coach showing as much patience as in the classroom.

    It was with much sadness that today, while writing these memories, I received the very sad tidings of the passing of my favourite, most loved and respected master, the late “Billy Trengove”.  He was a real gentleman, with his coy smile and one hand held up hiding his amusement at our antics.  Trevor Klette renamed him “Evognert,” his name spelt backwards.  I was greatly affected and influenced by his teaching and became an avid reader.  I did not expect a reply to the mail that I sent him for his 90th birthday but was proved wrong as I received a very informative and newsy mail which included his thanks to us all.  Billy Trengove and “Mousy” Young were both at an ‘E63 re-union given for me in the Honours room, a fact greatly appreciated by me.  May our dear Billy Trengove’s soul Rest in Peace – a very humane and loving teacher and friend to us all.

    From the moment I witnessed the school cadet band practising on the 1st team football field I was fascinated by their playing of the instruments but especially their marching and the different manoeuvres achieved while playing.  I do not think that I ever missed a day’s practice as an on-looker sitting on the steps or after I entered the band myself.  My brother Saville joined two years later, also playing the bugle.  I was later instructed by the CO, Mr Diepeveen, to attend a bugle majors’ camp at Youngsfield for 2 weeks which I thoroughly enjoyed.  In 1963 I was runner-up in the silver bugle competition.  On two occasions the band had the pleasure of leading the drum majorettes and the ‘Varsity Rag through Adderley Street and a good time was enjoyed by all especially at practices.  Personally the most, moving and satisfying ceremony for me was bugling the “Last Post” in the stairwell of the Memorial Hall on Armistice Day.  We were brought up in the early ‘50 and 60’s when we were taught that the 2nd WW would be the last.  Little did I know what lay ahead of me.

    In January of 1964 the majority of us were called up for military service.  I, together with Jeremy Duthie, underwent 3 months’ basic training in Potchefstroom at the School of Artillery and thereafter we completed the final 6 months at Walvis Bay in South West Africa (Namibia).  Then assigned to The Cape Field Artillery Regiment I was promoted to Student Officer in 1965 and in 1966, commissioned as an Assistant Veldkornet (2nd lieutenant) eventually reaching captaincy in 1971.  Peter Tuchten E66, brother of Neil, joined the Officer ranks as well.  He proved to be a very efficient and popular leader.

    In October 1964 I joined the family Kosher Poultry Slaughtering Plant working with my parents, who had established the business in our matric year of 1963.  I was extremely fortunate in having to learn the art of poultry farming especially in the new type of broiler production, changing the face of the poultry industry completely.  The business made quick strides and we became partners in poultry houses in the Agter Paarl area.  In 1965 I studied C.I.S. at the Cape Technical College working from 04:00-18:00 and then studying at Tech until 22:00.  This lasted until the intermediate exam in which I did well but it was not possible mentally and physically to continue working and studying together.

    In 1970 Linky and I met and we were married in Johannesburg in November, Linky at that time working as a legal secretary.  Our eldest daughter Ilana was born in November 1971 and in April 1974 I left the family business and joined Shoprite Supermarket where I became a branch manager and after a year or so I joined Grand Bazaars and after 2 months managed the new warehouse in Epping 2.  When Grand Bazaars took over Punky’s, Leon Hurwitz who was a regional manager of Punky’s, joined our ranks and one of my nicest Sub A friends and I were re-united.

    Our second daughter was born in February 1974 and, having been sent by the Directors of Grand Bazaars to manage and improve the Sea Point branch, which I succeeded in doing, we left South Africa for Israel in November 1975.

    We arrived there with 2 daughters aged 4 years old and 18 months old and we went to Straight to a South African-founded kibbutz named Tzora which is in the Valley of Sampson near present day Bet Shemesh.  We were on a special course run by the Jewish Agency where one worked for 4 hours and studied Hebrew for 4 hours every day.  Linky worked in the kindergarten and I worked in the turkey houses where flocks of 50,000 were grown.

    After 6 months we were accepted as candidate members to join a Co-op Moshav named Cfar Daniel, situated near the old green-line border, quite close to the Ben Gurion International airport.  After 3 months I was made manager of the Poultry Dept consisting of closed environment poultry houses and each cycle grown consisted of 95,000 birds received as day old chicks and grown until approximately 42 days.  Linky at that time worked on the moshav in the small supermarket.  There was a big agricultural department producing cotton, wheat, sweet peas, lucerne, sugar beet for the dairy.  The dairy consisted of 180 milkers milked on automatic equipment 3 times daily.  Apart from the agricultural side there was a furniture factory and a piano factory.  The moshav consisted of 52 families and each family had their own house which was 68 sq. metres made up of 3 small bedrooms, bathroom, toilet, kitchen and lounge-dining room.  The house belonged to the family as long as they remained members.  Whilst we were on this moshav Leon Hurwitz and his first wife Janice arrived in Israel.

    In February 1978 a son, Avi, was born to us and and in May 1978 we moved to our present day Moshav Timorim whose founder members were mainly ex South Africans who had  left between 1947 to 1952.  This moshav was run on the same lines as our previous moshav and when we arrived the first children who were born to those early members had begun to marry and quite a few were already members with small children of their own.  Linky in the first few years worked in the supermarket and thereafter studied teaching English as a foreign language and worked for the Ministry of Education at the provincial school in our area.  Of course I was back with poultry but this time with heavy breeders producing hatchery eggs for baby chicks that would be grown for meat.  We produced 10 million hatchery eggs per year. I really loved the work and also enjoyed training labourers how to handle the birds.  Funnily enough at that stage the production of the main flock was being sent to Iran.

    The agricultural side of the moshav was huge altogether 6000 dunam was cultivated (1 dunam = 1000 sq. metres) flower bulbs were grown for export not as the song goes but we “sold tulips to Amsterdam” and many other types of flower bulbs, sweet peas, sunflower seed, lucerne, wheat, cotton, oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tomatoes.  The dairyherd was 400 Holstein Dutch milkers (similar to the South African Frieseland cow).

    In August 1980 I was called up to 4 month military service at the age of 35 and lo and behold, who do I meet at the entrance to the camp, but Leon Hurwitz!  Those 4 months saw us either in the same fox holes, or in trenches, in the mud, or on guard duty.  Leon is such a wonderful listener, empathy is his 2nd name and his first name loyalty, he is so good to be with.  Both of us were in the 1st Lebanon War but in different regiments.  A few years ago Leon underwent a bone marrow transplant which thank the Lord was very successful and over the last year had a mild stroke from which he is making a slow but sure recovery.  Leon, who received his B. Com at UCT, began in the Israeli textile Industry and after a few years started working for the Israeli government, rising to a very high management position.  He has remarried, is extremely happy and we are in regular contact.

    I have worked with and befriended many Gazan Arabs who worked daily in our poultry houses.  We have had an amazing working relationship and we honour each other’s religion and customs.  This situation continued until the 1st Intifada when the start of Moslem religious fanaticism sowed its seeds of hate and turmoil in the Middle East.

    In 1987 at the age of 42 I suffered a slight heart attack and, becoming diabetic a few years later, I also underwent many operations for of acute tendonitis.  I carried on working in the poultry department despite my medical problems until 1998, under medical instruction, I went over to working in the pipe and tube factory on the moshav.  Thereafter I worked until 2009 when I received a disability pension and volunteered for an NGO for people with special needs, the most rewarding type of voluntary work you can imagine.

    My daughters matriculated and served 18 months in the Israeli Defence Forces – my eldest daughter was a social worker dealing with problem soldiers and my younger daughter folded parachutes and also earned her parabat wings.  My son served 9 and a half years in the air force – 6 of those in the permanent force.  All of them are now married and they all live within an 8 km radius of our moshav.  Our greatest blessing in life is that we have been presented with 10 beautiful grandchildren who all were born with the luck of not looking like their grandfather!

    We unfortunately live approximately 34 km from Gaza, meaning that we fall into the range of the grad missiles and over the last 2 years 5 missiles have fallen on our moshav 2 in the fields last year and 3 last month causing terrible havoc.  We thank the Lord above that nobody was killed or injured on our moshav.  Once the grads came into their arsenal we have approximately 20 seconds to be in a concrete shelter.  We moved off the moshav and stayed with my eldest daughter as she has a special concrete walled and roofed room.  Soon a representative of a factory producing these concrete rooms is meeting with us in order to issue us with a quote for a special concrete 2 x 2 metre structure with a 40cm ceiling and 20cm thick walls can be put down close to our house.

    This war was more frightening for me as I was with my children and grandchildren and it was more frightening than being in the fighting in Lebanon where one sat, waited and prayed.  Funnily as it may sound to many people not living in Israel but we also prayed for the children of Gaza who do not deserve constant bloodshed, but who have been taught only to hate and, the greatest pity of it all, is that it is taught to them from no other than the Imam, preaching and spewing hate instead of love and brotherhood.  What chance does peace have in these sad circumstances?

    A week or so before the missiles and actual war started we received our first emails regarding this new Rondebosch project I had the pleasure of renewing my association with John Barry and Johnny Kipps.  During this recent war I was bombarded by emails regarding the safety of myself and my family and exchanged news with them regarding the progress of hostilities.

    Before lifting our heads to the heavens let us look at each other and love and help each other.  No extremism, political or religious, will help mankind save itself from itself.  May the Lord help us all in the quest for peace.

    I am very proud and lucky to have had the opportunity of attending both the Prep and Rondebosch High School.  Lifelong friendships were formed and I would like to thank our honourable friend, leader and head prefect of ‘E63 and sometime Chairman of the RBHS Old Boys’ Union, Lindsay, who has lovingly dedicated himself to us all, in sickness and in health and this loving feat could not have been accomplished without his caring and supportive wife Tessa.  May the Good Lord bless them with many years of health, happiness and peace.  I would also like to thank the remarkable Ideas, thoughts, plans and time given by the strong team of John Hill, Bruce Ferguson, Johnny Kipps, John Barry, Peter Scholte, Roy McCallum and Neil Veitch.  I thank you in the name of us all.

    Peter Gibb

    I have many fond memories of my time at RBHS.  Dr Tinkie Heyns’motivation for the U15 C rugby team of “doughnuts or cuts.”

    The real challenges that teachers such as Tickey de Jager, Tony Viljoen and others set the students – creating an excellent foundation for university.

    The awful taunting that the class inflicted on Charlie Hallack – and yet I think we all learned history.

    The many good school friends that I am now just beginning to find again after so many years, through this initiative.

    I was approximately 2 years younger than most of my class mates, so after matriculating I went back to school, and did my A and S Levels at Malvern College in England – an interesting contrast.  After spending a short time at Cambridge University in England I returned to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from UCT.

    Following that I joined a subsidiary of Anglo American, where I was fortunate in that that my job allowed me to spend time in a number of different countries – Sweden, Germany, UK, Australia, Zambia, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, Ireland and the USA, amongst others.

    In 1976, I ended up in the USA on a short-term assignment.  Fifteen years elapsed, during which time I had married an American, had three kids but had still not completed the original assignment!!  So I changed careers and began ‘consulting’.  I am still doing this right now; consulting on financial systems and business processes to the Internal Revenue Service of the US government – of all possible clients I could have chosen, but at least they will never go out of business!

    My kids have all largely left the nest.  The oldest, Bryan, has a PhD in biochemistry and is doing research at Columbia in New York.  His house on Long Island was hammered by hurricane Sandy but fortunately neither his wife nor he was hurt.

    My younger son, the athlete of the family, has started a couple of businesses and is doing quite well.

    My daughter is doing her PhD in nano-technology at UC Berkeley, after spending time in Singapore on a US State Department Fulbright scholarship.

    Right now I am looking forward to retirement in the next year or so and hope to be able to travel back to visit South Africa – it has been 20 years since I last returned.

    Cedric Gilmour

    Of all the sporting opportunities I was involved in, I enjoyed athletics the most.  Tickey de Jager and Tinkie Heyns with his broad Malmesbury “Brrei” were excellent coaches and mentors.  I recall clearly, that we were preparing for sports day and the field was abuzz with scholars, although Tinkey was not on the field at the time.  The 800m boys were being timed by Tickey and were coming into the home straight but there were a number of pupils on the track and trouble loomed.  Some bright young schoolboy colleague of ours shouted at the top of his voice “CLEARGHRR the TRGHRRACK”.  Immediate reaction and problem solved.  Even in his absence, Tinkey’s presence was still felt on the field.

    At the end of my Standard 9 year during the 6 week holidays, I got pimples all over my chest and by the time that I went back to school, I had a fine growth of thick black chest hair.  On sports day among other events, I ran the 100 yards.  (I can’t remember if we had changed over to metres yet at that time.  As far as I can remember we ran the 100, 220 and 440 yards).  As I headed for the finish with my newly acquired growth of chest hair and passed the spectator stands, I heard someone shout “Unfair – that boy must run in the Old Boys’ race!”

    Another memory was being selected to represent RBHS at the SA Athletics Championship in Bloemfontein.  Tickey de Jager and his wife Claire had decided to drive up to Bloem and I was to accompany them.  We left a few days early so that I could acclimatise to the altitude in Bloemfontein, but Murphy was also in the car!  The car blew a top gasket at Touws River and there were no spares available locally for the Simca.  We thus spent two days booked into the Hotel at Touws River (how many of you guys can claim to have done the same?) waiting for spares to arrive by rail from Cape Town and a day for the local mechanic to do the repairs.

    On another occasion we were playing rugby early one cold rainy winter’s morning (first game at 9 am) and there was a loose ball which I chased and tried to pick it up on the run, but as I put my hands down to grab the ball, our opponent kicked the ball from the opposite side.  I felt a very sharp pain and heard a distinct “crack” and when I looked at my left hand, my thumb was pointing back towards my elbow.  Play was stopped and Ronnie Wiggett came to my rescue.  He twisted my arm behind my back so that I could not see what he was doing, and another sharp short stab of pain and another “crack” sound, and my dislocated thumb was pointing forward again.  Play resumed.  It may be belated, but thanks Ronnie, I owe you.  Just one question though, why the heck did you send me back onto the field again in dire pain and unable to catch a ball?

    Then there was the school nativity play with Billy Trengove in charge.  He decided that I was to be one of the “angels “ – all in white with big wings and a white dress.  Can you believe it, me an angel??  It might have been a pantomime.  All went well for three weeks of training and timing and who followed who at which cue or prompt from Billy.  Then the dress rehearsal before opening night.  There was an air of excitement all around.  Suddenly reality sets in.  Cedric Gilmour, an angel, had not only grown chest hair, but great big underarm bushes of black hair, and as I lifted my hands above my head to “move my angels wings back and forth”…. Have a laugh on me!!

    One of my pet hates at school was the rule that we had to wear “headgear” as part of our uniform, either a cap in the junior years, or when we were “promoted,” to wear a grey hat up to Standard 9, and, to show that you had “arrived” or were in matric, to wear a cheese-cutter in our final year.  To this day I do not wear a hat or any form of headdress, but looking back, I spent many hours after school in detention writing out lines because I had tucked my hat inside the front of my blazer while I was on my bicycle.  My matric year was a real “hassle” to me, because I was a prefect and had to set an example, so against all my wishes I kept my cheese cutter on my head.

    My favourite subject was woodwork and subsequently metalwork and these have stood me in good stead all my years after school.  I don’t remember the woodwork master’s name (De Wet) but the following two anecdotes bear repeating.  The teacher was to demonstrate to us how to heat up metal to a glowing red colour in the hearth and then bend and shape it on the anvil.  Enter my naughty friend Francois Coetzee from Tulbagh with a lump of yellow sulphur from the farm where they grew and dried peaches and apricots.  Francois opened up the coals, placed the sulphur strategically, then replaced the metal bar which was shortly to be used by the teacher in demonstrating something or other.  We all stand well back “for safety reasons” and, as the metal bar is removed, the room fills with a pungent acid smell which makes your eyes water.

    This same master had just bought a brand-new VW Beetle which was his pride and joy and he parked it under the trees below the metalwork room.  Measuring that Beetle’s length from bumper to bumper we found that two of the trees were about 6 inches wider apart than the Beetle was long.  As a class, we “bounced” the Beetle so that it was parked exactly between the two trees but there was not a hope in hades that the vehicle was going to be “driven” out of its parking place.  He was not amused.

    My last school story concerns the opportunity we had to learn to dance with the Watson-Morris School of Dance and, of course, the girls from Rustenburg Girls’ High.  I was in Standard 8 and mighty shy but just a little bit brave.  All the RBHS boys sat against one wall of the local church hall and the Rustenburg girls in a row against the opposite wall.  The indomitable Nancy W-M then demonstrated a simple dance sequence and, as the music rolled, prevailed upon the boys to cross no-man’s-land and select a partner.  Believing in strength in numbers, we decided to stand up “as one man,” cross the floor, and select our partners.  Well, the music started, and I found myself a man alone, as if in the middle of a desert with all eyes on me in the middle of the floor.  If you will excuse the pun, thinking on my feet, I quickly looked for the prettiest girl (the choice was mine after all) and went and asked her to dance.  My heart was thumping in my chest and the beads of stress perspiration popped out of my forehead.  Hell man, this took more courage than tackling the biggest front row oke from Hottentots Holland rugby team full front on.  Once again, those far-off dance classes have stood me in good stead throughout my life.

    Class and learning at school was – well – yuckie, but the sport was fantastic, and even cadets taught me a sense of discipline.  All in all I can honestly say that RBHS has the perfect balance between academic education, sport, discipline, the opportunity to develop leadership through a growing confidence in yourself as a person.  I am sure that our “class of its own” led admirably by the undaunting work of Lindsay Kennedy has its roots in the “masters in a class of their own” because I can only look back with respect for all our masters that taught us in the class and on the field.  They did not just give us an excellent education, they built character.  I salute each and every one of them.

    My friendship with Francois Coetzee from Tulbagh improved my Afrikaans to such an extent that I am fully bilingual.  I spent many happy holidays on the farm and learned to ride a horse, drive a bulldozer, a truck, a tractor you name it.  Incidentally driving a car came quite a while later.  We would go to parties on neighbouring farms (Die boertjie, en die Soutie) , slink back onto the farm quietly at about 4 am only to be awakened by “Oom Bill Coetzee” at 5 am to go and pick apricots.  Unfortunately, Francois was killed in a freak hunting expedition in Namibia in 1975.

    With my ability to speak Afrikaans fluently in both the social as well as the work environment, language was no barrier to communication with either English or Afrikaans girls.  I married Hermani Carstens from Villiersdorp (known as Mani) in 1970 and we have just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary.  We have two sons and three grand daughters.

    As far as after school is concerned, I was not able to go to UCT, but attended the school of hard knocks and the University of experience.  I started to work immediately after school and then attended classes at the Cape Technikon.  Fortunately some of my employers were forward thinking and sent me on a number of technical courses, as well as management courses.  I started work with the Cape Town City Council in their Roads and Drainage department as a draughtsman and then soon afterwards as a Technical Assistant.  My main functions were surveying and then designing of roads and services.  After 3 years, I wished to expand my boundaries and experience “in the private sector” and joined a consulting engineering company as a technical assistant.  Once again mainly surveying, but much more detailed design of reticulation networks such as gravity sewer networks, pressurised drinking water networks and then storm water networks.  One of the engineers at the consulting company left to start his own contracting company and asked me to join him as a site agent and project manager.  Here I gained a lot of practical experience as I had to be hands on with the projects.  The lifestyle was very nomadic with a contract in Durbanville, then George, then Plettenberg Bay and always staying in a caravan or hotel.  As I wanted to get married and settle down I looked for a more stable sort of employment.

    One of my former colleagues from the consulting company had just joined a progressive plastics company called Agriplas which was to manufacture, design, sell and install the new “drip irrigation” concept in South Africa, and he invited me to join them on the design and hydraulics side.  I spent a total of 19 years in the irrigation industry, and my hydraulics experience led me to be sent on technical courses involving pumps and the effect of air in pipes.  Agriplas went into a joint venture with a Brazilian company and I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent our company for a one year contract in Sao Paulo.  Needless to say, I had to learn to speak Portuguese very quickly.

    I then joined Andrag (Pty) Ltd in Bellville as the manager of their industrial division and here my main focus was designing pump stations, doing mechanical, electrical contracts.  It was an honour to be asked by I & J Fishing company, to join a technical team together with a civil engineer, a marine biologist, and an electrical contractor to develop their first abalone farm at Danger Point near Gansbaai.  As an Andrag employee, I was responsible for all matters relating to water.  Continual circulation of large volumes of sea water for the abalone, drinking water for the admin block and the personnel housing, fire fighting water reticulation and of course the sewage system.  Pumping sea water is a special science as it is extremely corrosive, and goes “stale” when standing and then gives off ammonia.  The other challenging assignment was from Overberg Water where I had to refurbish 5 off pump stations.  The contract had to be done within the three winter months with penalties for late delivery.  Leading the project to success was a personal achievement, when all goals set including completion time were met.

    My last 4 years before being forced into retirement in January 2012 (age was a convenient excuse to get the company’s BEE ratings right and thus I was “retired” and was replaced by a BEE employee).  For the last 3 years I managed a “technical desk” where I did quotations, made presentations and recommendations to consultants and contractors and was fortunate in having the services of other technical desks at our factories in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Finland.  Via e-mail, the world became a village and having this huge pool of world wide trained expertise to refer to in a case of emergency was re-assuring.  This was certainly the most rewarding end enjoyable time of my whole working life.

    Picture courtesy of George Voight

    Peter Goble

    Peter and Carolyn

    We moved down to the Cape from Natal in 1954.  My Dad worked for B P. He had received a promotion to Head Office in Cape Town.  We settled in Rondebosch.  It was too late for me to get into the Prep School; the baby boom had kicked in and schooling was at a premium so I started at Golden Grove.  Ray Holmes was the headmaster and I enjoyed four happy years in his care.  My sister attended Herschel and my older brother was left behind to finish his schooling at Durban High.

    During the summer of 1959 we lived in a rented house near the school, next door to Richard Morris.  In spite of his best efforts as a coach in street cricket he could not save me from being dropped from the U 13 A to the Cake League in a matter of three weeks after the start of school.

    My other memory of those early days was getting off to a bad start with our class master, Mr Oberholzer, the gym teacher.  He was a staunch Nationalist with a fervour bordering on sympathy for the Nazi cause.  He certainly did not like David Cohen.  I was a bit of a smart-ass in class and, along with Cohen, would get into serious political arguments with him, which usually ended up with the two of us getting thrashed in front of the class.  To this day I can remember the slightly bemused expression on Cohen’s face as he bent over and took his punishment without flinching.

    Oberholzer was the exception on a staff of outstanding men and women – others will do them better justice than me.  I am so grateful that people like Tinkie Heyns, Tickey de Jager and Billy Trengove were there to help shape my life during those all-important years.

    Six months after I started school at Rondebosch we moved to Constantia.  In Ranulph Fiennes’ first book he writes about the wonderful childhood experiences he had growing up in Constantia.  He was only there for a few years before his family moved back to England.  When I read his book years later I was amazed at how his descriptions of experiences, places and people were exactly as if we had been there at the same time.

    We arrived when the big farming estates of Constantia were being cut up for housing developments.  In fact our house was one of the first built in what had been a working vineyard.  We had two acres of land on Southern Cross Drive.  One acre was taken up by house and garden and the other acre was left under vines.

    In those days logistics were a problem.  Usually a parent would take us to school but getting back involved a train and bus ride.  Riding home as a shy thirteen year-old I soon realized that I was usually the only boy amongst a bus-load of girls.

    Buzz-bikes had just come on the scene, the first were those dreadful things that involved bolting an engine onto a bicycle.  Paul Schipper lived across the way from us.  He was writing matric and had outgrown his Rex, so he sold it to me for five rand.  Most buzz-bikes were driven by an inefficient roller system but the Rex had a chain-drive, making it a deadly weapon in the wrong hands.  What amazing freedom we had, no license, insurance or crash helmet and yet allowed to go where we liked.

    The Rex was soon replaced by a Santa Maria—before Honda arrived all the mopeds were of Italian origin.  Peter Flint was also into motor-bikes.  Later, when we were allowed to go to school on our bikes he would ride up from Fish Hoek and accompany me to school.  We must have annoyed a lot of people because the exhausts made a terrible racket.

    Carolyn was one of the pretty young girls on the bus riding home to Constantia.  We attended the Rondebosch Matric dance together and have now been happily married for 44 years.

    My great-grandfather had a dairy farm near what is now the Kings Park Rugby Stadium in Durban.  Most of his vast family migrated to farms up the North coast.

    My grandfather chose not to go farming, instead he became a transport rider in the Eastern Transvaal.  Unfortunately, like Sir Percy Fitz Patrick, all his oxen died from tsetse fly and he never made much of his life after that.

    So my father did not have the opportunities of his rich sugar farming cousins, though his older brother kept the dairy farming tradition going and settled on a farm near what is now Midmar Dam.  When I was a child we visited the farm often and from the age of four I started saving for my first tractor—later the money was all blown on motor-bikes!

    After school and the army I attended Cedara Agricultural College and then worked on a sugar farm in Zululand.  There I renewed my love of the sea and spent most of my free time surfing at Zinkwazi.  After a long-distance romance Carolyn and I were married in 1968.

    When my parents retired, they moved back to Natal to live at Kloof.  Some money was left over from the sale of their property in Constantia and my father generously offered it to me to help finance the purchase of our first farm, which we bought in 1969 in a valley near Greytown.

    Greytown is still a frontier town.  It overlooks the vast Msinga reserve where faction fighting takes place to this day.  It also is a transition area of three climatic zones.  To the north-east lies dry thorn veld with sweet grazing.  To the south lies frost-free sub-tropical sugar cane country.  Our farm was in the area to the north-west of the town— called midlands sourveld.  It has cold frosty winters with rainfall typically coming from thunderstorms.  The lonely thorn tree at the top of the farm warned us that we lived on the edge of the high rainfall area.

    It was pioneer work from the ground up.  The farm was covered in stunted wattle trees which had to be removed along with the stumps.  We eked out a living from timber, a small patch of maize and Afrikander cattle which came with the farm.  I had sworn that I would never become a dairy farmer but it soon became apparent that dairy farming was the only viable option for us.

    What a wonderful time to be taking on this challenge!  The seventies and eighties were kind to farmers, we worked hard but still had time to enjoy life.  Round Table, Polocrosse, canoeing and trips overseas provided relief from the daily grind.  We had many farming friends the same age as us, all making their way in life.

    Carolyn got very involved in managing the dairy, being ably helped by a foreman who was an excellent stockman.  His name was Vey, a giant of a man who loved his animals.  He had a limited education but learnt to copy her handwriting for record keeping.  He had a photographic memory, so when a calf was born its markings were imprinted in his mind for life.  He did not need to count cattle.  He could look at a herd and know every animal in it and know if one was missing.

    Our two sons went to Merchiston Prep school and later Maritzburg College.  This was the time that Joel Stranski (ex Rondebosch) was making a name for himself in “College” rugby; Jeremy Thompson played alongside him.  At that time Peter Dixon was at prep school, already a big boy!  Few people in our school lift club had a vehicle big enough to carry the Thompson, Dixon and Goble boys!

    By the early nineties we were farming seed maize, potatoes, cabbages and growing food for the cows.  The farm was stretched to its limits.  We relied on dams for irrigation water but during the drought of 1992 they dried up.  Our son Nick came back from his conservation job with Ted Reilly in Swaziland to help us.  He spent his time foraging for food for the cows.  Sugar farmers donated cane tops and vegetable farmers gave us old cabbage and broccoli plants.  We hired land and cut and carried grass for our cows.  Angus Buchan describes this drought in his book ‘Faith Like Potatoes’.

    1993 was a good year but in 1994 the drought returned.  By December we had had virtually no rain.  The maize crop withered and died and the Kikuyu grazing camps had not greened up and were still black from a fire we had had during the winter months.  A vital decision had to be made, either to sell the farm and move or sell the cows and stay.  Without the dairy income the farm was not viable, so I quietly started looking for another farm.  I knew that the Pannar Seed company, our neighbours, were looking for extra land and they had expressed a wish to buy our farm.  We purchased a dairy farm in the magnificent Karkloof valley near Howick.  This area has the highest rainfall in Natal, it is seventy kilometres from Greytown.  By then Nick had started a job with the Seed company and Bruce, our younger son, joined us on the new farm for a year before leaving to work in England.

    Carolyn and I were at the coal face on the new farm and our ideas and standards clashed with the existing labour force.  It took five long years to put in place an acceptable standard of management.  Vey was magnificent.  He calmly went about his business, leading by example.  For him the cows always came first.

    Aids was having a devastating effect on our farm people.  At one stage we were losing either a worker or one of their family members every month.  Vey died after a very short illness in 2002.  Bruce has now taken over the management of the farm.  Carolyn runs the local Conservancy and is very involved with farm school conservation projects.  I mow the lawn and spend as much time sailing as I can!

    Roy Gordon

    Roy and Ilse

    I have three sons in their 30s/40s from my first marriage, and a small sprinkling of grandchildren in Sydney.  I arrived in Melbourne, Australia, in ’82, the family soon after.  I had practised law in Cape Town years ago, but never requalified in Oz.  A couple of years with the law firm that sponsored me here, followed by a stint with an introduction agency – this long before online dating.

    Finally, 13 years driving cabs in Melbourne until retirement – hooray!  Twenty plus years ago I remarried, to Ilse Novackis, a special education teacher who had been working with my middle lad.  We were both in our mid-40s.  For a few years we lived in the hills east of Melbourne, a 45-minute drive from the city.  Picture: secluded, surrounded by trees, views down over the suburbs below, and, on the whole, quiet.  A perfect place to be unsociable (anti-social?).

    I do very little: just reading, tv, listening to music and pottering around the house – that all on a good day.  Add an occasional game of competitive bridge, the odd coffee with friends, some email correspondence and there you pretty much have it – more dull than either altius or latius.  Ilse on the other hand is always busy and craves more down time.  I hate people with so much energy!  I should add that my calendar includes a once-a-year lunch with Jeff Leeuwenburg (E63) and ditto with Mike Lazarow (E62).  (Mike works part-time running tours to exotic places e.g. Kruger Park, Antarctica.)

    As for school life, it was neither good nor bad for me.  I sort of scooted around the edges, neither achieving anything nor doing much harm and with a good enough memory to take care of exams; sort of the story of my life, really.  My favourite teacher by far was ‘Doc’ Watson; what a lovely man.  In prep school it was Miss Duminy – later to become Mrs Helm – but that doesn’t really count, everyone was in love with her.  On the other hand, one day near the end of Standard Six ‘Tickey’ de Jager whirled into class announcing we had to do and mark an impromptu maths test.  I must have been having a bad day (I am bipolar) because I managed to score 0 out of 10, possibly breaking a high school record.

    Mr de Jager was apoplectic; I can still see his eye wobbling at me – terrifying.  Fast forward some years to Standard Nine.  All four Standard Nines are in the gym hall; it’s free study time, Mr de Jager ringmaster.  Ominously, he calls me up to the stage where he is marking papers, thrusts a maths exam at me.  ‘How did you manage this?’ he says, menacingly pointing to my 70% mark.  Definitely an accusation; after all, I am a known maths offender plus I don’t even play rugby so no excuse really for that kind of mark.

    What can I say?: ‘I’m sorry sir, I didn’t mean to’?  Or even worse, ‘It’s Mr Reeler’s fault sir; he’s such a good teacher and such a nice man’?  I think not.  From memory, I just mumbled something, staring at my shoes.  As one does…

    So at school, as in later life, trying to avoid the ball at all costs.  Stay out of trouble.  Count down the years till you flop over the line and no one can tell you what to do.  A life of dedicated mediocrity.  It was tough, but someone had to do it.  After all we couldn’t all be CEOs or professors.  If it’s true nice guys come second, I came third.  A bit like debating against Richard Spring (hard) or Robert Schrire (impossible). (Richard is now a member of the House of Lords, and Rob, when I last heard, a politics professor at UCT.)

    And certainly only good thoughts about our school, Rondebosch.  It was all there, if you wanted it.  Finally, I’d like to thank all the Rondebosch Teachers and Old Boys who helped shape my life, though the mistakes were all my own.  For all the daft things I’ve said and done over the years, I take full responsibility.  To those of you fellows who were half decent to me at school – and especially to those of you who weren’t – my very warm regards.  Neil Veitch, you were always a scholar and a gentleman.  To Lindsay Kennedy, yours have indeed been broad and tireless shoulders for Rondebosch.

    John Hill

    As a young kid, going to ‘big school’ was eagerly anticipated – and an unbelievable disappointment for me when it finally occurred: I remember being in a large crowd of little boys in oversized Prep uniforms sitting huddled together on the floor learning to sing hymns by heart for assembly.  Not very exciting for a 6 year-old!  I knew most of them anyway as I had learnt these at home and I couldn’t really see the point of school then.

    I recall a certain fascination we 6 year-olds had with smoking; most adults smoked in those days and it did seem so grown-up to imitate our granddads sucking away at their pipes.  We used to make toy-pipes out of flowering-gum kernels in the little-boys’ playground during break.  Later, as a 12 year-old, I swiped some cigarettes from my mother’s 50s pack of Westminster 85 and together with some local kids we smoked them on the banks of the meandering Kromboom River at the bottom of Sandown Road close to where we lived then.  I was as sick as a dog the next day and had to stay home from school.  My mother wasn’t at all sympathetic.  I think she knew, but she never let on.  As a young adult I started smoking, gave up once, went back to cigars and finally gave up completely some 30 years ago.  I’ve rarely been ill since!

    From a very early age I was great pals with Chris Ormrod who lived in our neighbourhood between Rustenburg Junior School and the railway line.  Adjacent to Chris’s home was the entrance to an old brick-vaulted tunnel that probably ran under the present Main Road to Rustenburg House and was most likely used by slaves.  Although the entrance had been bricked up and the brick-vaulting had collapsed a few metres from the entrance, it was a great secret hide-out for us youngsters.  There was a hole in the bricked-up wall just big enough for us to crawl through and many a plot was hatched within the confines of this lair.  Both Chris and I were avid movie goers and we were always dreaming up ways to earn some cash to pay for our adventures.  We used to climb over the rear perimeter fence of EK Green, a liquor-shop in Rosebank, swipe some empty bottles from their back-yard storeroom and then ever so innocently sell them back to unsuspecting counter-hands inside the shop.  We raised ready money in this and similar ways fairly often.  We were never caught and always had just enough money for our escapades.

    I have a sight defect: now a minor lack of 3-D or stereoscopic vision after several eye-surgery attempts, but way back in the early ‘50s it was a noticeable squint and I wore corrective spectacles from the age of 5.  Known by the neighbourhood kids, Paul de Groot and the Bakker brothers, Peter and Chris, among them, as ‘Goggles’, I took longer than average to learn to catch and hit a ball.  Being batsman in cricket was sometimes fun, especially when it was a fast-moving ‘tip-and-run’ game – and, when my eye was ‘in’ and I could hit the ball almost anywhere I wanted, but mostly my eye was ‘not-in’ and more often than not cricket was no fun for me at all: Cricket was bowled out – for a duck!  As a result my confidence waned and I learned to loathe cricket and this attitude was transferred to most forms of sport until I learned to cope with my sight defect in my teens.  Thankfully, the nickname ‘goggles’ didn’t last.

    Maybe I was slightly ‘lexdystic’ too: I hated reading.  Not only did my sight defect hamper me, our prescribed reading books, or ‘readers’ as they were called, had little meaning for us kids.  The Water Babies (Kingsley: 1863) was one such ‘reader’ we had in Miss Vickerstaff’s Standard 2 class.  Although a fantasy written for children, Vickerstaff found a way to make the experience incredibly boring for us 9 year-olds.  In the same class I also had difficulty with spelling: just how does one spell ‘tow hundered’?  All my attempts seemed wrong and I had a wooden blackboard duster and pieces of chalk flung at me by Vickerstaff for my efforts!  Obviously, we didn’t see eye-to-eye.

    There was a pail of water behind the door in Vickerstaff’s classroom for each boy to wash his hands after breaks: After all, our work had to be clean, neat and impeccably presented.  That year we were introduced to writing in ink and the indispensable dip-pen.  The joys of flicking ink at one’s mates and the inevitable ink-splodges on shirts, school-desks, walls, the floor and school-books were soon commonplace: Vickerstaff’s continual need for her class to be as neat as a pin must have been sorely frustrated!  At about this time the new-fangled ball-point biro was coming onto the market and many a teacher thought our handwriting would suffer as a result!  It may have, but the dip-pen was nevertheless soon dispensed with – to be replaced by the Tropen Scholar, an innovative plastic fountain pen with a real nib, leaving only the ubiquitous ink-pot holes in school-desks as a reminder of the ‘bitter-sweet’ existence of the dip-pen and the ‘ink-flic’ era.  And, I don’t recall any of our generation ever developing copperplate handwriting – or ever really needing this skill – either!

    I survived Standard 2.  At the end of that year I acquired a much-wanted bicycle and rode to school with classmates Lyle Ovenstone and Roy Schreiber. Sometimes, however, when my bicycle had a puncture or some other defect, I used the Pinelands school-bus.  In April 1955, I suffered a life-changing accident: I fell off the school-bus and cracked my skull on the Pinelands bridge.  This gave me headaches that have plagued me ever since.

    Nevertheless, I gradually became more accustomed to school life at the Prep and, although there were some terrifying moments of bullying and fear of the consequences of doing or not doing something, I actually started to enjoy school a little.

    I remember going to Robert Hoets’s home one afternoon after school when we were in Standard 4 or 5.  We had hatched a plot to ditch our school books at my place, load up my train set and ride over to his house.  We had just started setting-up in his attic room, which he called Peace-and-Sanity, when his mother, a real Celtic dragon, arrived home.  She was absolutely furious.  She told Robert loudly and in no uncertain terms in her soft Irish accent, “I don’t want John Hill here.  Tell him to go home – NOW!  You’ve got your homework to do”.  When Robert looked at her quizzically and started to respond she added, “And, don’t you look at me in that tone of voice!”  Terrified, I packed my train set and left hurriedly.  I don’t recall what happened to Robert: his school books were still at my place and they were still there the following day after school.  Somehow, I don’t think Robert ever did any homework, yet he had an incredible sense of humour and often repeated his mother’s mutterings much to the delight of all who knew the Hoets family well.  Sadly, Robert is no longer with us.

    Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I was becoming rather good at solving practical problems when I was about 12 or 13.  Without realising it, I was applying the principles of Action Learning (Revan) to achieve my goals.  I wanted a projector – any kind would do – and I made one out of bits and pieces: I used an aspirin tube with a pin-hole for the lens and managed to project a dim image onto a wall.  My father, with whom I didn’t get along much, was suitably impressed and bought me a magnifying glass to use as a lens: sadly, this didn’t work very well.  Little did I know then, way back in 1958, I was destined for a career that would include film – and Action Learning!

    I really didn’t like our Standard 5 teacher, Mr Florence.  Although he was a smallish man, he towered over us 12/13 year-olds.  He wore a ring, or two, on one hand and when he deemed it necessary to discipline a boy for being out of his desk he would turn the ring(s) inward and then, bending down, hit the offending boy across the backs of his bare legs with his hand, chasing the boy down the aisle until he was back at his desk.  The protruding bit of each ring added to the effectiveness of each blow.  Nasty! Very nasty!

    Florence left the Prep, presumably on promotion, in June and was replaced in July by a Miss Kirby who had us make cubes out of stiffish paper for a maths project.  I developed overlapping flaps for my cube which made it collapsible, something I was proud of (more Action Learning) and something I hoped Kirby would like.  Strangely, she wasn’t interested.

    All in all, aged 13, I was more than ready for high school.

    One of my most memorable moments in Standard 6 was Mr Baartman reading The Thirty Nine Steps (Buchan: 1915) to us.  We all sat in awe as he read the last sentence of chapter 1 which went something like ‘… and Hannay saw that Scudder was skewered to the floor with a large knife!’ – then he snapped the book shut and released the class for the day.  A far cry from the tedious Beacon Readers we had had up to Standard 5.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Rollo’s science classes in Standard 6 too.  I had done a fair amount of reading up on science and was more than ready for each class: I seemed able to answer most of the questions he posed.  Much later, when I was probably in Standard 9, Rollo remarked to me in front of some other teachers that, if left alone in the school, I would probably blow it up.  I found his comment a little bewildering: Me? Blow up the school?  Now, why would I do that?

    I must have been an incorrigible adolescent in Standard 7.  There was a young history teacher who had the temerity to wear an Old Diocesan (OD) tie – to Rondebosch! One day, which also happened to be Peter Scholte’s first day at RBHS, and without considering the consequences, I started shooting this teacher, who was wearing his OD tie, with bits of chewed paper from a ball-point pen pea-shooter.  This went on for some time, until the teacher could take it no longer and he chucked me out of his class.  Standing shamelessly in the passage outside B2, I was joined a few minutes later by, you guessed it, Peter Scholte.  I don’t recall what Peter did nor do I remember the unfortunate teacher’s name as he left Rondebosch at the end of the first term, but that was great fun, and there were no consequences afterwards for either Peter or me.

    On another occasion when Mr Thwaites, our B2 English teacher, was going on and on ad infinitum about a finer point of English, Chris Steyn who was sitting just behind me suddenly squawked, “Yakerty, Yakerty, Yak, Yak, Yak”.  Thwaites stopped dead in his tracks, turned, and very politely said, “Steyn, you don’t mean that, do you?”  I don’t recall Chris’s response then – yet when I reminded Chris of this incident a few years ago, he was quite stunned, “Did I really do that?” he asked.  I just nodded.  Again, good fun!

    As keen as I was on model trains then, Robert Hoets was fascinated by the infernal combustion engine.  Under the guidance of his father, he was always dismantling and rebuilding some or other motor.  At one stage he was hooked on flying model aircraft and had acquired a small two-stroke airplane-motor with a finger-flip prop-start system.  He brought this to school one day and started the noisy engine in ‘Charlie’ Hallack’s class much to the delight of the boys.  Charlie tried to grab the thing, placing has hands directly in the path of the rotating propeller-blades.  The motor stopped.  The engine noise abated – but not the mayhem.  And, if Charlie was in any physical pain he didn’t show it.  Not at all!  He did, however, appeal to the Great History Teacher of the Universe calling, ”God Almighty” – a plea he made fairly often to no avail.

    Charlie was cajoled – somehow – into marking Donald Andrew’s third-term history exam paper – before the exam ended.  We were in C3 then and although Charlie, the invigilator, was merely trying to help Donald, most of us knew this wasn’t quite right.

    Also in C3, John Barry was told he was ‘rubbish’ by a teacher: I don’t recall his name, or why he was angry.  Clearly though, John wasn’t of the same opinion.  If he was to be called ‘rubbish’ – then he would be rubbish!  Nonchalantly, he strolled over to the waste-paper basket near the door and climbed in, lolling into a rubbishy posture, much to the annoyance of the teacher and the amusement of the class.  The teacher eventually saw the funny side and managed an awkward grin…

    Mr ‘Mousey’ Young was one of the friendliest teachers we had, ever.  He always strove for the best outcome in any situation no matter how difficult.  He still does.  One day he noticed Bruce McLagan snacking behind his open desk near the back of our class.  Motioning the boys to be quiet and, living up to his nickname, Mousey snuck up the aisle toward Bruce in his ultra-quiet soft-soled shoes.  Just as Bruce was about to take another tiny bite, Mousey poked his head round the open desk-top and said, “Ah! Cheese!  Crumbs McLagen, you know what that brings, don’t you?”  Caught red-handed, a red-faced Bruce was dumbfounded – and the class erupted into laughter.

    All too soon high school was over and, ready or not, we entered the world of real work!  We all went our separate ways: Some to varsity and others all-too-soon with their noses to the grindstone.

    I started the independent film school movement in South Africa because I wanted to teach film.  I was working at UCT at the time and suggested that the university start a film-school.  I was told in no uncertain terms that the university would never have a film school.  The only film-school in South Africa at that stage was in Pretoria where I had studied film and I wasn’t too keen on living there.  So, I started my own school: the Cape Town International Film School in 1980.  There was no-one to mentor me then and I had to develop my own philosophy of and strategies for teaching film, many of which like Action Learning were unique to my school.  I am privileged to have taught some outstanding young people from around the world, many of whom were attracted by my philosophy of individual determination and have since made their mark on the motion picture industry in their respective countries.  Early in the new millennium there were about 50 film-schools of various kinds in Cape Town, including one at UCT!  In 2005 I merged my school with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and served as head and senior lecturer of film and allied media there for several years before going into semi-retirement.  Recently, the university honoured me by naming the ‘best student Film-of-the-year Award’ after me.  I was present at the ceremony the first time the award was presented in November 2012: a very moving occasion – and I am deeply honoured.

    And, now, some fifty years after we have left school, much has changed.  Many of the skills considered essential way back then are redundant now.  And the exponential changes that are to come are perhaps as hard for us to imagine as the changes we experienced were for our forebears.

    As we move forward one aspect for us E63s will forever be the same: the profound appreciation each has for our alma mater for bringing such a wonderful bunch of guys together.

    Tony Hillier

    Tony and Ann

    The first day at Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School was something exciting to look forward to – I could not wait to start and eagerly went off to meet my teacher as our names were called out in order of our designated classes.  When I got home at the end of that day I told my parents that my teacher was a lady but she was called mister: her name was actually Miss de Wet!

    In the first year or two, our swimming lessons were at the small old pool at the High School near Mason House.  My outstanding memory of those lessons was taking part in the board race in the gala, but coming last because I was the only one who kept my legs up and kicking while all the others just walked across.  I think I was too short to stand.  On the matter of swimming, in those days few families had swimming pools.  One whose family did was Sandy Marr.  It used to be a treat visiting him and swimming at his home.  I remember Sandy having green hair in summer from all his swimming.

    Living within running/cycling distance of the school as I did had advantages.  I recall going to the school after dark to run on the fields when training for sports day, with my next-door neighbour and friend Tom Robertson (E1964). On one occasion, a group of figures loomed up out of the dark: it was Tinkie Heyns and some of the boarders coming to investigate who these intruders were!  We also were able to swim in the new school pool after dark.  On one occasion we heard a noise from where we had left our bikes and clothes, and found a group of “real” intruders making off with our possessions.  Fortunately they handed them back to us when we challenged them: I am not sure that one could get things back so easily today.

    My first hike to the top of Table Mountain was when we as the Standard Nine class went up under the lead of “Doc” Watson to give the matrics peace for the start of exams.  I loved the atmosphere at Fir Tree where we spent the night, despite waking up wet from the dew that dripped from the trees, and I still love going up the Mountain.  We used to go up after school on a Friday if we did not have sport the next morning, spend the night at Fir Tree, and come down next morning.  Often when bored by a lesson in the classroom I would think of being on top of the mountain and become more alert.  I never joined the Mountain Club which others did, but my wife hikes with friends who in their university days were Mountain Club members including the likes of Brian Fraser and Ferdi Fischer.

    Something else I enjoyed out of school hours was visiting Peter Hodes, a keen photographer, and watching him at work developing photographs in his darkroom at home.  I found it fascinating seeing pictures materialise in the development process.

    As a Rondebosch boy, I did what many others did which was to attend the dancing classes of Nancy Watson-Morris.  I found this a bit of a strain, being rather shy, and missed lessons if I could when something more important arose – such as having to service my bicycle that day!

    I was not a great student at school, preferring any opportunity to be out with bat and ball.  Although we had plenty of time for cricket and rugby, I was not disappointed when time came to leave school.  However, despite being one of the fortunate people called up by the Navy to do my military training, it came as a bit of a shock when we were awakened early on our first morning to the barked order to “hit the deck” and for the first time I thought maybe school had not been such a bad time after all.  Eric Wells was one of those who served with me in the Navy.

    For a few years after leaving school, I kept in touch with RBHS.  I was articled to Carleton Lloyd, Old Boy and a most ardent, generous supporter and benefactor of the School.  I studied accountancy part-time at UCT, working for ER Syfret & Company.  John Le Roux was amongst those with whom I worked.  Other RBHS boys who attended part-time classes at UCT with me were Peter Barrett (also a good friend at school) and Guy Murcott.  Apart from work, life revolved a lot around Newlands (cricket and rugby) and Claremont (tennis) and it was easy to keep in touch with the School.  I played cricket at Western Province Cricket Club with members who included Bruce Ferguson, and I also played in a side captained by Richard Morris.  I played rugby for the part-time students at UCT, with team-mates who included Roydon Wood and Peter Scholte.

    My wife Ann and I were married in 1974 and, moving to Tokai in 1976, my interest in RBHS receded.  It receded further when, by then working at Mobil Oil (now Engen), I was transferred in 1977 to the Mobil Refinery in Durban a few months after the birth of our first child, Andrew.  I attended and enjoyed the RBHS Old Boys’ dinners there, which were usually attended by guests from Bishops.  Our second child, Timothy was born in 1979 in Durban, and in 1980 we were transferred back to Cape Town.  I found that the move had caused RBHS to fade further into the background, particularly when our children started school.  Our third child, Sandra, was born in 1983.  All three went to our nearest school, Kirstenhof Primary School (when Bruce Lane, subsequently headmaster at RBPS, was headmaster), and we became very involved with the school and with the parents there (who included Charlie Moir).  Our opposite neighbour then and now, David Munro, sent his son Mark to Rondebosch but after their primary schooling, our children went to Wynberg Boys’ and Wynberg Girls’ High Schools respectively.  While still a proud Old Boy of Rondebosch, when one has a family going to other schools and being involved with them, (for example we were associated with Kirstenhof for a period of 14 years over the time our children were there, longer than the 12 years at Rondebosch) one’s focus does change and contact with the School becomes limited.

    My work at Mobil included travelling around Southern Africa, and also trips to Europe and Singapore.  Later I worked for Juta, the publishers.  Work there included visits to Zimbabwe and Zambia where the great interest people there had in furthering their studies opened up opportunities for the publishing business.  For the past eleven years I have worked as the person responsible for administration of the Anglican Church in Cape Town. One of the clergy I have had contact with is the Reverend Martin Coomer, who, until his retirement, was Chaplain at Bishops.

    Also through my church work I have had some dealings with Peter Parkin, a good friend when we were at school.  He reminded me recently in the members’ stand at the SA – New Zealand cricket test match at Newlands that it was on the nomination of my father that Peter became a member of Western Province Cricket Club more than fifty years ago.

    We are in a typical South African family situation.  Our elder son lives in Toronto, Canada and is very settled there with his Canadian wife who is expecting their first child and our first grandchild.  Our other son lives in Sydney, Australia.  Both are long, expensive trips away!  We have been privileged to enjoy visits to Canada and to Sydney, from where we extended our trip to visit New Zealand including Christchurch before its earthquakes.  Blessed with generous children who on occasions have given us air tickets, we have also enjoyed trips to England, Croatia, Dubai, Malta and Sicily, and locally a helicopter flight around Cape Town which I would recommend to anyone, not just visitors.

    The dedication of Lindsay Kennedy, and recognition of the many unnamed teachers and fellow pupils who played a role in shaping my life, have been instrumental in getting me to write this.  With retirement just around the corner, perhaps this reunion will be the catalyst for me to have more contact with former classmates than I have had for many years.

    Princess Ju-Ju

    Front Row: Alan Everson,  David Sonneberg ,    ?    , Michael Stevens, David Taylor, Clive Downton, Robbie Meyer, Roy McCallum
    Second Row: Anthony Hillier, Robert Hoets, Christopher Newall,  Farqhuarson, John Hill, Adrian Brinkworth
    Back row; Peter Barrett,  Jack Penfold , John Barry , Allan Musker

    (Photo courtesy of Peter Barrett)

    Peter Hodes

    Helene and Peter

    Since leaving Cape Town in 1970, my life has been full of people, hence the attached photo, more about which later.

    I live in London, a great city that satisfies all my needs, and where I lead a very fulfilling life with my partner and the love of my life of some twenty years, Helene.  Initially I worked in retailing until 1987 when I set up my own consultancy to teach first-time computer users.  I either run courses or teach one-to-one to captains of industry, dentists, doctors, lawyers, judges, law lords – you name it.  There are still over ten million people in the UK who have never touched a computer.  I could write a book alone about the different things pupils do when trying to learn how to use a mouse!  So at 67, I hope to be gainfully employed for many years to come.  I said my life was full of people!

    Visits to Cape Town have been few and far between.  I had no desire to visit South Africa during the apartheid era.  But more recently I have made a few trips which have been very pleasant.  One was with Helene.  I had to show her my roots and why I am who I am.  Mind you, I don’t think she is any the wiser.

    But there have been many trips into the African bush.  The ultimate holiday is taking a fully equipped 4×4 deep into the bush and wherever possible walking with a game ranger.  Given half a chance nothing would give me greater pleasure than setting up camp for a year in the Okavango Delta with my Nikon and 600mm lens.  If you know anyone who will sponsor me…………..

    A pivotal event occurred in my life in July 2005 when, at the age of sixty, I donated a kidney to a great friend of mine whom I have known since 1972 and who originally hailed from Zimbabwe and Cape Town.  This whole experience has made me a better person in so many ways and as a consequence I became involved with the Anthony Nolan Trust which is responsible for the stem cell register in the UK and I travel the world as one of their volunteer couriers picking up these life-saving cells for leukemia patients.  I also give talks to school kids about becoming blood donors and signing on to the organ and stem cell registers.  Fitting this all in with my working life is quite a challenge.  Life is never dull!

    My passions – the vibrant cultural life that London has to offer, particularly music, theatre and the arts, in which this city excels and which I share with great delight with Helene – skiing in the French Alps or the Rockies, plenty of tennis, long walks to explore London’s ever-changing dynamic – and those regular camping safaris to the African bush and photography, particularly of wildlife.

    2012 was a truly wonderful year.  Besides my charitable work for Anthony Nolan, Helene and I went on some great trips, skiing in the French Alps, visiting Kardamili, a quiet but wonderful fishing village on the Mani Peninsula in Greece and, most thrillingly of all, a self-drive camping safari to Botswana.  Wading through crocodile-infested waters to fathom whether they were shallow enough to drive our vehicle through, scaring off a hyena that tried to steal our rubbish bag one night whilst we were having a braai and the thrill of two beautiful male lions walking right past us in our campsite as we were about to eat bowls of muesli.  These were just some of the excitements that we enjoyed.  Because of my love of cricket I took on a poorly paid summer job as a steward at Lords.  I saw some thrilling games including the test against South Africa, which, sadly, we lost.  But the highlight of the year was being a volunteer at the Olympics.  I spent virtually all my time showing spectators to their seats in the main stadium, often just above the finishing line.  I saw Oscar Pistorius compete in the 4 x 400 relay – the first Paralympic athlete to compete in the Olympics.  But watching Mo Farrah win the 5,000 metres must be the greatest sports event that I have ever witnessed.  Watching all these amazing athletic events was thrilling, but the strongest memory that will live on for me will be welcoming spectators into the stadium.  The “wow” factor was incredible.

    Which brings me neatly to my photograph.  In 2010 I successfully fulfilled a goal of taking a photograph of a different person every day of the year – it might have been a friend, a client, the fish-monger, a stranger on the bus, the check-out lady at Sainsbury.  So the picture of me – taken of course by the lovely Helene, is a mosaic of those 365 images – people!

    And what of my other kidney?  Well, it is doing brilliantly.  After having been so terribly unwell my friend is leading a full and vibrant life.  As I write in near sub-zero temperatures in London, she is currently at her holiday home halfway up the mountain above St James looking out over the False Bay coast.  Lucky her!

    Hugh Hodge

    I’m a Baby Boomer brat. I was born in 1946 on Nelson Mandela’s 28th birthday (my closest brush with fame) at Tavistock in Devon, England.  Rondebosch Boys’ High attempted to educate me without much success.  Later, Essex University endured similar disappointments, but got over them.  I’ve (had) three wives, and three children.  Each marriage was happy in its own way and in its own time.  The children are more beautiful than I expected.  I’ve had a job as a small, and sometimes negative, contributor to the technological revolution.  Despite being commonly left-brained, and occasionally no-brained, I write poetry that is sometimes published.  I attend and sometimes host the Off-the-Wall poetry gig Mondays in Obz, and I also host monthly gigs in Kalk Bay and Kommetjie.  I edit poetry, teach English, and also write business software.  And, aside from a natural tribal arrogance, I’m kind and tolerant, even of dogs.

    Herbie Helm married Miss Duminy, whom I loved with all my cherubic Standard Three heart.

    Had I known that, I might have been a good deal less fond of Herbie, whom I encountered in C1, and certainly her choice would have broken my heart.  (By C1 I had recently recovered from the year with Miss Vickerstaff, who had attempted to impress Standard Two’s curriculum on my eager little brain, with very little success and even less joy.)

    I never understood the practical need to learn Afrikaans at school.  Nor did I apply any of the little acquired from the fisherman’s sons in Kalk Bay – much of which contained words of some indelicacy.  Even such well-known and oft-quoted slanders, I hesitate now to recall many, as the dyslexic and, possibly intoxicated man near the harbour hiccupped, “Joe marse se soep”, probably confusing me with a lamppost.  Not only he, let me quickly add, but that is another anecdote…

    Herbie found my indifference to “Die Taal” incomprehensible.  Herbie’s world, it seemed, was bordered by crocodile-infested rivers in the north and shark-infested seas elsewhere.  Everybody, and I think when he bellowed “EVERYBODY” on that morning, he resorted to English in a not altogether charming tone.  He added to his indignity with a short-tempered exercise in blackboard cleaning which resulting in his losing his grip on the implement, which sailed overhead in a splendid arc about which Tickey’s maths class would no doubt have discussed differentials – which would have then further degenerated to the aerodynamics of rugby balls – but I digress.  I don’t remember who caught it nor who shouted “HOWZAT”.  Whoever it was, it triggered an eruption in poor Herbie, who, breaking four or five pieces of chalk in the process, drew in a great sweep the outline of The Republic on the board.  Was it Lang who put up a tentative arm?  I don’t remember.  Herbie looked venomously at whoever; whose arm deflated slowly.

    “HODGE” he said, sucking in his breath like ffoulkes-Morris lining up for another pole vault record, and he started in Afrikaans, which I didn’t understand (of course), but as he noticed that I clearly made out not a syllable, resorted with a hiss to English.  “Everybody inside our borders (as I recall he let the R roll contentedly – rather like, if I may say, the sound I imagine the cart made carrying the decapitated remains of the guillotine’s appetite over Parisian cobbles, but I digress) speaks Afrikaans, NOT English.”  I saw Lang’s arm jerk slightly as if blood had been introduced to it.  “Where are you going to go when you leave school,” he said in a low whisper like second slip telling a joke “and get a job? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?”  I felt unable to resist telling Herbie the truth.

    “Sir,” I said in my best English, “I’m going to join the navy and go to sea.”

    I have seldom been innocent, but this was me at my most straightforward, and with my beaming unblemished honest side prominent.  I spoke with no sense of superior logic, nor did I stoop to sarcasm.  Nor to any of the numerous malapropisms English and the English are prone to, no none of that low humour.

    Herbie exploded. “OUT! OUT! OUT!” he screamed, pelting me with the pieces of chalk illustrating the borders of the republic.

    We were never friends, but I still love Miss Duminy.  (Both she and Herbie are long gone now.)

    Beside Miss Duminy, whose star waned only slightly with the years, there throbbed another little heart beneath a pair.  I refer to Nobby’s Lynne whose presence stirred all of Mason House, perhaps not all, but many houses beyond.  Even in Fletcher we noticed.  There were those in Marchand and Andrews she could awake by as little as repute.

    I must say I seldom went into Canigou or Mason house.  (There’s a day-boy reserve which the large Moorreesburg boys and their rather cute braying, as though they had brought a paddock or two with them, and their rather adult size – any one of which was larger and certainly heavier than the Under 16C scrum – seemed to encourage by unjustified remarks, snarls and the bearing of fangs.  I remember once going on a camp to a farm in Hopefield se wêreld, where the duiweltjie thorns were the size of shuttlecocks.  This was the perfect place for a cross-country race, barefoot, the puritanical and, may I suggest, sadistic organisers who, no doubt, had very robust souls, thought fit for the likes of delicate-footed boys from the southern suburbs.  We ran, no, we hobbled except for a local lad who, carrying a large dirty sheep under each arm raced away to victory.  Believe it or not, the next time I saw that boy he was wearing the red shorts of Canigou.  His name was Billie Hoensen, and he was still barefoot.  But I digress.  Even though Nobby’s house was very close, I avoid(ed) authority, especially armed with disciplined instruments – interesting word from “disciple”, of which I was not – except one might get lucky and catch a deep-breathed glimpse of her.  Ah!

    Alan Musker was our gymnast and could do things with his body.  I tried once and it took an hour to untangle me.  Every lunch break you could find Musker – no doubt his ancestors had acquired the name by due diligence – climbing up ropes, hanging from parallel bars by his upper lip, and various other body-building and mind-numbing practices.  All of which require immense muscles.  In the service of which there were weights to pump up cannelloni-like limbs.  I remember, vaguely, picking up one tiny piece of iron and nearly dislocating my shoulder.  It was Musker’s fault actually – such a nice boy who, possibly as a result, left the country with his family for England – who decided to help me lift a bar weighing no more than 30kg above my head.  Well the cannelloni gave way and I fell followed by the weight.  I didn’t feel pain – I’m told this is a bad sign – but Musker was pointing at my forearm which had acquired a further joint halfway down.

    I know you are going to think otherwise, but this was always, actually, a devious plan to gain entrance to Nobby’s house where the heart-fluttering Lynne would stroke my fevered brow for, oh, such a long time before I was fetched off to hospital.  Ever after, when she noticed me, I’d sneak a little wave like a toddler asking for a sweetie, and she’d blow me the subtlest tiny wee kiss to make me feel better, or so I thought.

    So thank you, Alan, for your complicity which nobody ever suspected, and which I have kept secret all these years.

    Leon Hurwitz

    Today, and first day at RBPS age 6, taken by neighbor Mrs. Mitchell

    I choose as my theme memories and recollections of the 7 years spent at RBPS, since I find the task of covering my full 12 years at Rondebosch too daunting a task and thus I leave the latter stage of the journey to my fellow class-mates.  My journey begins in the year 1951 and my story commences on a bright, warm, mid-January summer’s morning in Forth Road, corner of Kelvin Road, Newlands, at our household residence, which adjoined Kelvin Grove Country Club and the Newlands Rugby grounds.  Frantic last-minute preparations were in progress to get young Leon ready for his first day at Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School (RBPS).  Dressed in full Rondebosch regalia, all new and sparkling, breakfast completed, satchel with all necessary accessories ready, a quick run over to the house of next door neighbor Angus (Gus) Mitchell, an ex-Rondebosch boy himself, for Mrs Mitchell to take the necessary “first day of school” photos.  Then, with butterflies in my tummy, the 20-minute walk with granny to Rouwkoop Road, the side entrance to RBPS.  Mom and Dad were on a sea cruise up the coast to Mozambique and dear granny, an immigrant from what was then the land of Palestine who had arrived in Cape Town in 1916 to set up home in Cape Town with her husband and children, including my mom, had the honour of accompanying me to school on my first day.

    In those days not all children were sent to nursery school and being one of that ‘species,’ it was with great trepidation that, following the long family tradition of uncles, cousins and older brother, I walked through the imposing gates of RBPS to my assigned Sub A classroom, to be introduced to my first teacher, Miss Johnson.  I recall those fearful feelings of abandonment as granny said her goodbyes, kissed me on the cheek and her familiar figure gradually disappeared from view as she nervously made her departure, leaving me to face Miss Johnson and a classroom full of equally nervous little boys.  Within the hour, having calmed down considerably, I realized that in fact this could be fun and, as they say in the classics, ‘the show was on the road.’

    First and foremost, a word about my teachers:

    Sub A and Sub B: Miss Johnson taught me the “three R’s”, the basics of reading, writing and simple arithmetic.  I can clearly remember her patience and calm manner and I must confess that, as my first educator, she did a remarkable job handling those 40-odd fledglings.

    Standard 1: Miss Trow, whom I can barely recall.  What I do remember is the endless repetitive hours reciting the arithmetic tables and having them drummed into our little skulls.

    Standard 2: Miss Vickerstaff – I remember the spelling tests at least once or twice a week, the words gradually increasing in length and difficulty and my mom testing me at breakfast to make sure I was up to scratch.  After the ‘big lunch break’, when we were all tired and having difficulty concentrating, she would say: “Boys, sit up straight.  Place your hands high over your heads and breathe in deeply five times – after me.”  Instant success!

    Standard 3: Miss Duminy (after marrying a former Rondebosch High School teacher she later became Mrs Helm).  A great and dedicated educator, who many students will probably remember in High School days for her extra Afrikaans private lessons and preparation for the Taalbond exam, held at her home on Camp Ground Road – the present writer excluded.

    Standard 4: Mr Parkin – I only remember him as a patient and calm teacher with a good knowledge of his subject matter.  At end of term, in the final days before the vacation, once exams were completed, papers marked and the class was up to date with the curriculum, he divided the class into sections and held general knowledge quizzes, which were great fun.

    Standard 5: Mr Sephton – Also a nice tolerant gentleman and a good educator with a great attitude towards his pupils.

    Other teachers and auxiliary staff: Our principal, Mr. Enslin, occasionally taught Religious Instruction to the Standard 5s; Mr Laidlaw was in charge of PT and sports. There was always a steady flow of student teachers (we loved to take the mickey out of them, commonly known to us boys as ‘jacking-up,’ much to their dismay.)  There were the Ministry of Education Inspectors too, who often came to check on the teachers; we of course were coached well in advance to behave impeccably during their visit so as to show the teacher in a good light.

    In addition there was the school nurse, whose room was somewhere on the ground floor of the quadrangle.  She carried out emergency first-aid to boys who had been hurt for whatever reason in the playground and in the early 1950s, with another polio epidemic spreading world-wide, she had the daunting task of organizing vaccinations for the entire school.

    Morning Assembly

    Obediently lining up in pairs according to our relevant classes and entering the school hall for morning assembly: Standard 5s at the back of the hall, Sub As in the front, teachers and staff in the very front row, with Mr Enslin officiating on the daïs, reading out important matters of the day and calling out the hymn number from our hymnals.  Jewish boys were excused from singing the hymns if they so chose, but believe it or not, despite my being Jewish, to this day I still remember the words of the hymns.  As there were no chairs, we stood throughout the proceedings, though if the assembly was extended, were occasionally permitted to sit down on the wooden floor.


    Who can remember art classes?  What a relief they were from regular lessons and how we used to enviously ogle the beautiful drawings and paintings of David Taylor when compared to our own paltry art renditions.

    Coming from a musical family, I was enrolled for extra-curricular piano lessons with the resident Rondebosch piano teacher.  However, since (like most children) I hated practising, after two years I managed to persuade my parents that this project was a disaster in the making and they were to give up their aspirations of my being a concert pianist.


    It never ceases to amaze me how much discipline there was at Rondebosch, especially when compared to the experiences of my own two children, who were born in Israel and went through the mainstream Israeli education system.  Israeli children only start to learn about real discipline on their induction to compulsory military service in the IDF.  Discipline at Rondebosch went beyond the realms of the school and included out of school behavior such as: when in uniform not eating in the street; raising your cap to greet your seniors; when in uniform always behaving in a courteous manner so as not to ’embarrass’ the school.  Within the precincts of the school, behavior was instilled by the class standing up to greet the teacher and then sitting only after the response: ‘Good morning class, pleased be seated’ was given; lining up in the quadrangle or school hall before being allowed to enter the class or hall; addressing teachers by their surname or as Sir or Miss.  The Standard 5 prefects were allocated the task of assisting with adherence to discipline.


    In keeping with the period, Rondebosch and comparable South African schools followed the practice upheld in British schools of corporal punishment by canings, administered by the headmaster or his deputy for severe violations, such as insolence or physical fighting with fellow classmates.  Mr Enslin’s cane was often not enough of a deterrent to curb us mischievous youngsters and the age-old trick of placing a notebook in a strategic position before being commanded to ‘bend over and touch your toes’, rarely succeeded in escaping detection beyond the very first whack of the cane and only resulting in an extra whack being meted out for trying to outsmart the master – this time without the notebook!

    Other punishments for lesser infringements, such as talking in class, warranted a ruler over the knuckles or, if you were lucky, 100 or more lines to be written out after school or perhaps detention after school for an hour or two.


    Besides academia, in true Rondebosch tradition, sport was of course the essence of the day and many great names, including latter-day Springboks had the basics and love of their particular sport instilled into them during those early formative years.  Practising cricket in the nets at the side of the playground with Mr Laidlaw coaching us in his heavy Scottish accent; rugby and cricket matches on ‘The Lilacs’ field, which was in addition used for athletics in preparation for Sports Day.  And then there was tennisette, played with wooden bats with small squares painted on them, on the courts marked out on the side of the school.  In our very early school years, during the summer months, I remember our class walking in pairs with a teacher at the front and back, crossing Camp Ground Road, past the Park and down to the High School to the old Canigou pool for swimming lessons.  This pre-dated the building of the new modern swimming pool in the High School grounds.  Surely this must be where swimming stars such as Derek van den Berg and others learned some of the tricks of the trade?

    Playground Activities

    The playground, adjacent to Rouwkoop Road, was a sandy unpaved expanse where seasonal games specific to the times were enjoyed in the breaks.  These included: marbles in all their different sizes and types, including plain, cats-eyes, ‘goons’ (large-sized marbles) of different varieties, ‘ironies’ (ball-bearings) of all sizes. I can still picture us boys with our treasured bags of marbles, including some pockets (those of the lucky winners) stuffed to the brim.  If I recall correctly, John ‘Bull’ Le Roux (or was it van Schoor?) had a massive monster ‘irony’ which no one ever succeeded in winning from him and which definitely was a deciding factor in the daily grand haul of marbles gleaned from many a challenger.  The specific marble games we played were: ‘follow on’, ‘ringy’, or hitting the opponents ‘shy’ i.e. pyramid of marbles, from the set and designated distance – the larger the ‘shy’ the greater the distance.  The excitement and passion of the games were boundless.  And then there was spinning top season – of course you had to have the best and fastest spinning top, including the correct string to wind it up, with the correct loop at the end.  If you were challenged, you tried your utmost to spin your top so that it would revolve for a longer time than your opponent’s.  Next came the yo-yo craze.  Yo-yos of all sizes and shapes were to be seen in the playgrounds, with each boy trying to show off his skill with his latest trick.  And what about the many sporting games we played in the playground, assuming rain had not washed out play and turned the sandy surface to mud: Red Rover was a favourite, as was Bok-Bok, later considered dangerous enough to be banned for risk of serious back injuries.  And there was touch-rugby or miniature cricket, played with those fine-detailed, small-scale wooden cricket bats against the backdrop of the wall of the school hall.

    Culture Vultures

    One vivid recollection I have is of viewing educational movies in the school hall.  This was a real treat and a deviation from the drudgery of regular lessons.  The films were projected with the aid of a well-used Bell & Howell 16mm movie projector strategically placed on a stand above the stairway at the rear of the school hall. More often than not the film broke halfway through the movie, requiring a 10 minute break for splicing.  I remember the library, where as a treat we were allowed on occasion to spend a period advancing our literary education by choosing wondrous books such as the Just William series or perhaps one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Adventure novels.  There were also activities such as acting in plays.  In my earliest years at the school a few plays were performed, the names of which I do not recall.  However, I do have recollections of being cast in the role of a shell and of a slave.  After many weeks of rehearsals at the High School Memorial Hall, these grand performances were played before packed houses of family, friends, staff and pupils.  In one such play David Price played a lead role.

    Class Outings

    There were many of these, but sadly I have a clear memory of only one: a visit to the Langeberg/Koo fruit and vegetable canning factory in Somerset West, escorted by teachers and parents.  Another welcome break from routine school activities, enjoyed by young boys eager to see something different and interesting.

    School Treats

    In the early formative years the life of a young schoolboy is full of wonders and Rondebosch supplied no end of surprises and wonderful memories, for example:

    Little break: being led to the kitchen for a mug of cold fresh milk, or flavoured milk, (lime, strawberry, or peach flavor), or in winter hot chocolate.  Buying goodies at the tuck-shop next to the kitchen.  My personal favourites included, amongst others, sherbet in a white paper packet with a licorice straw for a tickey; 4 niggerballs (now politically incorrect and utterly offensive) for a penny; winegums, 4 for a penny; 2 hard toffees in individually wrapped squares for a penny and Sen Sen scented sweets, about 5 for a penny.

    Last but not Least

    To crown it all, how about the jubilation at the final end of term assembly in the school hall, when the school song was sung with great gusto, reaching its finale with Altius et latius … followed by “Three cheers for Mr Enslin” – Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! – and followed again by “nog ‘n piep, Hooray!!!”

    “Those were the days my friend…..”

    I served in the SADF at Youngsfield in the anti-aircraft unit there before completing a B Com degree at UCT.  I worked for Punkys Supermarket chain, which was subsequently taken over by Grand Bazaars, and in this organization, climbed through the ranks: trainee manager, assistant branch manager, branch manager, regional manager, executive head-office housewares procurement manager.  I married Janice Fish in 1973 and we emigrated to Israel in 1976.  After service in the Israeli Defence Force, I joined one of the largest Israeli government-owned industrial giants, specializing in international shipping.  Prior to retiring in 2010, after 30 years’ service with the company, I held the position of executive director for international shipping services with responsibility for importing raw materials and exporting finished product to over 70 different countries.  The job involved sea, air and land transportation, chartering of specialized ships and aircraft.  I have 2 children, both born in Israel – my daughter studied education and art, heads a nursery school in Tel Aviv and practises art therapy.  My son is studying criminology.  I was divorced in 2000 and remarried in 2010 to my wife Marian, originally from north-east England, who is a freelance Hebrew-to-English translator.

    Andrew Joubert

    I “did time” as a boarder at Mason House, Canigou, and The Lilacs, and imagine that many other E63s will have written about events they experienced at school.  I would therefore like, in this note, to pay tribute to the many classmates and their families for their kindnesses shown to me while in boarding school.

    Arriving as a stranger in Standard 6 from Malmesbury was quite an experience, although I had the advantage of an elder brother (Christopher “Prof” Joubert E61) and many of his friends (Richard Hunter E61, particularly) who had gone ahead and pioneered the unknown before me.  My first memory of RBHS had been the Diamond Jubilee Fete of 1957 at which I bought many packets of stamps for my collection.

    Some of the first day-boy classmates to show kindness and hospitality in their homes were Peter Hodes, David Geffen and Richard Spring.  Later at UCT in 1968, Richard and I shared a trip through South Africa, the Transkei, and Moçambique.  Years later, my wife Jill and I visited Richard at the House of Commons where he was an MP, before his elevation to the Lords.  His cousin Malcolm Farquharson E64 (son of Nancy Watson-Morris) joined us in London for Jill’s birthday lunch one year when my sister Penny and her husband Franc Bentley (E64) accompanied us on a holiday to London.

    Richard Frantz’s family were also most kind, and had me as a guest to stay in their home.  I remember Richard’s father, then Chief City Electrical engineer, taking our class to the new Athlone power station to show us how it worked.  Richard’s mother took us to Hermanus for a day’s outing, and I remember having lunch at Grotto Beach.

    At Mason House, friends included Richard Dryden and Edmund Lee.  I spent a short holiday with Edmund at his home in Caledon, where we built a Webra-diesel-powered aeroplane, which we subsequently flew on the Lower Desert.

    At Canigou I met Chris Steyn whose parents were temporarily living in the UK.  Chris and I became particularly good friends many years later in Johannesburg.  Jill and I moved to Johannesburg in 1979, and I almost immediately attended an Old Boys’ dinner, hosted by Noel Stamper.  Peter Terblanche (E61) and I joined the Jhb OBU committee that year, and Adrian Waters (E64) also took the helm later.

    Robert Schrire also became a good friend, and he and his American wife, Christine, hosted us overnight at their home in Santa Barbara California in 1973.  I visited him again in 1980 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

    I owe a particular debt of thanks to Chris Buyskes.  He and I were house prefects at The Lilacs in our matric year.  He was quite a ladies’ man, with lovely girlfriends.  One Sunday at St Thomas’ Church he introduced me to his girlfriend Jill Birbeck.  I immediately fell madly in love with her.  We married in 1972 and have two daughters and four grandchildren.

    Interestingly, many of our Rondebosch friends have also been married for 40 years and more – Peter and Lynn Terblanche, Chris and Belinda Steyn, Richard and Bonny Frantz, my sister Penny and Franc Bentley, Richard and Margaret Hunter, my brother Christopher and Verity, and many others.  I guess we’ve been very fortunate.

    On a brief biographical note, I went to the Army Gym with Paul Duminy in 1964, and joined him at UCT Medical School, with Derek van den Berg the following year.  I unfortunately didn’t make the grade, but graduated with a B.Bus.Sc. (Hons) at end ’71.  Tony Hoenson served with me in the Dukes Regiment, as did many other RBHS Old Boys.

    I worked for Foschini in Cape Town, and Avis, Investec Bank, IBM and Liberty Life in Johannesburg.  I graduated with an M.B.A. at Wits Business School in 1993.  I currently work at Wits University as a PhD scholar, and run executive education courses for the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences in conjunction with Wits Commercial Enterprise.

    Lindsay Kennedy

    Lindsay and Tessa

    My first memory of Rondebosch goes back to Standard 1.  I was in the ‘pikkies’ playground when a Standard 2 boy called me ‘Carrots’.  I took exception to this – surely my hair was more strawberry blonde than red!  Then, to make my displeasure felt, I hit him.  Needless to say my nickname after that was Ken and thankfully not Carrots.

    I remember so many of the Prep School teachers with affection but must admit that Yvonne Hartman and Miss Wingate made more of an impression on me than the Misses Johnson, Baumann and Vickerstaff!  I wonder why?  I was immensely impressed when Solly Robinson put over a drop kick from the halfway line on Oakhurst when we were U11 or U12, only later to realise that the halfway line was only 30 odd metres from the poles and not 50!

    I was destined to go to Paarl Boys’ High from Standard 6 – my father, who came from Swellendam, was keen that I become bilingual.  I implored him to allow me to attend Std 6 at the High School, as Tinkie Heyns was the rugby coach for U13 rugby teams.  My Dad, also being rugby crazy, relented, saying that I would however go to Paarl from Standard 7.  The rest is history…

    The late Billy Trengove features twice in my reminiscences.  Firstly, in Standard 7 I incorrectly answered an English test question as ‘Every cloud has a golden edge’, as did Charlie Foord, who was sitting next to me.  Not to be fooled, Billy picked up this ‘duplication’.  On entering the class he said, ‘Foord and Kennedy stand up!’  Unfortunately Charlie, who was the culprit, was away ill but nonetheless Billy confronted me and asked which one of us had cribbed.  Although I was genuinely innocent, I had to say that I was the guilty party as we Bosch boys do not ‘split’.  I was duly punished, much to Charlie’s delight.  Some years later Billy spoke to me and admitted his error in not confronting both of us as at the time he had known that I was innocent.

    Secondly, while I was in Standard 9, Billy produced the play ‘The Admirable Crichton’ and some Rustenburg girls were invited to take the female roles.  I was on the admin side and gate-crashed the cast party on the final night. On entering the group of actors I saw Johnny Kipps talking to an attractive girl and I asked him ‘Johnny, who’s your friend’? He then introduced me to Tessa Anderson who became my wife in 1969!  We are still happily married today.

    Another incident concerning a teacher happened while I was in Matric.  Roy Schreiber was on prefect duty after little break and I was in the headmaster’s office discussing some issue with Mr Clarke.  We were both due to attend a double period of geography.  Our teacher, Attie Baard, was ill so Willem Diepeveen was standing in for him.  Upon entering the class Diepeveen said, ‘Schreiber – you are late – get out!!’  ‘But sir, I was on prefect duty,’ Roy stammered.  ‘I don’t care – get out’ was Diepeveen‘s reply, upon which Roy went to the prefects’ room. Five minutes later I entered the geography class and received the same treatment as Roy.  Needless to say Roy and I had a wonderful free double period in the prefects’ room!

    One Friday evening after scouts, Peter Korck and I together with two Marist Brothers’ pupils (John and Gavin Copeland) threw crackers onto Mango van Oordt’s stoep.  He opened the front door, upon which we ran off.  Little did we know that Mango was a step ahead of us, as he had jumped into the canal and taken a short cut.  A little while later the four of us were outside Jill Mabin’s house chatting with her and some friends when up the road strode this very long-legged man – Mango.  Peter and I ducked behind the Mabins’ wall, rather anxious that we were going to be busted!  Fortunately John and Gavin pleaded ignorance when Mango asked if they had seen two Rondebosch boys running past – it really was a close call indeed!

    As you are all aware, I started losing my hair in Standard 9 – or was it eight?  At the time we were doing European history and some guys started calling me Garibaldi.  I guess I was thick-skinned or just brazened it out and showed no emotion but I must admit that those were very trying and hurtful times for me.  Upon reflection I see that as a positive as it helped to develop my character and personality.

    I have been blessed that my reminiscences of Rondebosch have been – and still are – ongoing these past 50 years.  I have maintained contact with as many of our classmates as possible and have been privileged to share confidences, highs and lows with so many.  It is this, plus the genuine camaraderie that we all share together which makes it all worthwhile.  I will continue to do so for as long as possible – God willing.

    During our Matric year I, together with so many others, was called up to the army for the compulsory nine months’ training – it was the first year of a 100% call-up.

    I was all ready to do my duty in 1964 when I was advised that the army had over-balloted and that my services were no longer required.  At that stage it was too late to enrol at UCT so I joined Barclays Bank for ostensibly one year (1964).  As my scouting career had been noticed by the bank’s South African Head Office, on their recommendation Barclays London picked me as the first foreigner to attend the Outward Bound Leadership School in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in February 1965.  As a closeted white South African, I experienced a truly wonderful multiracial world, one which changed my entire outlook on life and on so many aspects of South Africa.

    At this stage I was sucked into the system and stayed with Barclays (First National Bank) for 25 years, rising to a managerial position at a fairly young age.

    My big regret, however, is that, although I passed all the various stages of the banking exams (CAIB.SA), I never attended university as was my original plan.

    In 1989 I joined Roy Schreiber in a glass agency business and we had 20 wonderful years together.  In 2008 we cancelled our agency agreement and I joined Roy in another of his businesses.  Sadly, in 2010, through no fault of Roy’s company, the holding company went ‘belly up’ and the entire group was liquidated.  This resulted in my going on retirement 18 months before I had planned to.

    Fortunately I had started a relatively small glass import company in 2002, which I have now expanded and operate from home.  I import glass from Europe, UK, China, Egypt and the UAE.

    Tessa and I are having a wonderful retirement together living on this business and plan finally to retire in a few years’ time – perhaps?

    We have two children.  Lauren is the elder and is married to Luke Hirst from England whom she met in Australia.  Lauren is business director of Ogilvy Earth, Cape Town.  They have two sons and a daughter and live in Hout Bay.  Our son, Ian (E93), is married to Lindy Rosenthal (granddaughter of Eric Rosenthal of ‘Three Wise Men’ fame).  Ian is Director of Golf at Steenberg Golf Club.  They have a son and a daughter and live in Meadowridge.  We are very blessed to have these two families in Cape Town as Lauren and Ian spent nine and seven years in England and America respectively.

    I am the treasurer of our local neighbourhood watch, a deacon in our church and Tessa and I have belonged to a small service club for over 40 years.  I try and attend gym when I can.

    Altius et Latius

    Johnny Kipps

    Juliet and Johnny

    My first recollection of Rondebosch, probably like most others, was meeting ‘Ensi’ with my Mom, and having to do his white door handle, yellow door handle routine.  I guess I passed that one.  My next earliest school memory is of Brian Fraser who amazed us by announcing that he had read a book, ‘When I was Six,’ by AA Milne.  For a Sub A pupil, that was pretty impressive!

    Actually, Nick Diemont was the first classmate I met, as I have a hazy memory of going to his Malcolm Road house before we started school, our parents being friends, and hoping to ease their precious little chaps into the rigours of school early.

    Sandy Marr’s home in Kenilworth (and holiday house in Knysna) played a huge part in my RBPS life as I have fantastic memories of hours in the pool, playing in the big myrtle hedge abutting Harfield Road, (from where we once watched what must have been one of the last Snoek Town horse-drawn fishcarts go by – with fish-horn calling!), cucumber sandwiches in the lounge at 4pm and lots more; travelling to Knysna and checking off the mile posts as we lolled around in the back of the Rolls.  Long before David Ogilvie of Ogilvie and Mather fame came up with his wonderful ad, we knew that – if we shut up – the only noise you could hear in that magnificent vehicle was the ticking of the clock!  And the memories of Knysna include digging for bloodworms at low tide, then catching white stumpnose right off the front porch!  And another time – perhaps when Donald Andrew and Dick Morris came down and joined us – at his sister’s farm we watched a horse being castrated by a vet; an experience guaranteed to make an impression on an eight year-old!

    Sandy and I also spent a week on a trawler.  My Dad was in the fishing industry and we got our sea legs early – it was rough and tough, but we had a ball, helping to sort the fish, shooting sharks following the nets and catching seagulls on fishing lines (ugh – how could we do that??)

    Lindsay and I met in the ring at one of the annual boxing championships; Mrs Kipps’ little boy certainly came off worst being totally mismatched against the pugilistic Kennedy.  That’s where we learnt the expression “technical knockout!”

    In Prep School days I joined 2nd Rondebosch cubs and, later, scouts.  My Mom and Dad were definitely keen on scouts, thinking that it would keep their boys away from drugs, drink and rock and roll – for a while longer.  Camps at Beaufort West amongst the oranges on the vd Merwe farm, Gilcape, Bains Kloof, and Applethwaite (the home of Appletiser) in Elgin gloriously filled our summer holidays, and I’ve always appreciated the independence I learnt through the scouting movement.  And learning to drive; unbelievably I remember driving the old Ford, owned by scoutmaster Graham Korck (Peter’s brother) up du Toits Kloof Pass when I couldn’t have been more than fourteen.

    What I couldn’t manage with my fists in the ring under Don Laidlaw’s tutelage I did with a rope and a monkey’s fist (the knotted end).  Being teased by some of the older scouts, I took a swing at Neil Gold (elder brother of Richard) with the rope – not realising the knotted end was filled with lead – and laid him out cold!

    One memory of junior school days was being amazed – bewitched – by the mercurial Keith Anderson on the tightrope over the old swimming pool in front of Mason House.  How somebody could stay on that thin wire was beyond the ken of the small boys watching.

    In Prep School days we used to go to Newlands to watch rugby sitting inside the schoolboys’ enclosure, edging onto the grass.  Those were the days of Tommy Gentles and Tom van Vollenhoven.  Later, as we grew up, Bull Le Roux’s Dad had two season tickets for the grandstand at Newlands, which regularly saw four or five of us in the stands.  Into the schoolboys’ enclosure we’d go, hop over the fence into the main standing area, then the first two up into the Grandstand and as soon as an exciting part of the game came by, two tickets would come fluttering down wrapped in a hankie, and so it would go.

    Up in the stand one day, one of the neighbours, probably cheesed off that four or five boys were now squeezing him out as they crowded into a couple of seats, and tired by the endless backchat warned Bull not to join the SABC when he grew up.  Why?  “They’d be able to turn you off!”

    Derek and I lived in Muir Road and would ride our bikes to school together, with me stopping by at his house to ‘pick him up’.  We’d go through the morning ritual of the lovely and tiny Mrs Van, looking up at her youngest son towering over her and asking whether he had a clean handkerchief in his pocket.  One morning she told me Derek had gone sleepwalking and she’d found him wandering down Muir Road.  Or was she having me on?

    The Derek and Bull escapades continued and one year we were camping in Hermanus when we heard that Nick Diemont’s sister, Margaret, was getting married.  We thought had they known we’d be in town, we would surely have been invited, so not wanting to deny the Diemont’s our sparkling company, we went along anyway.  But I guess we were apprehensive about running into Nick’s dad, Judge Marius, who would have been a scary guy for wrongdoers – so we hung around the back – and lo, that’s where the tubs of champagne were!  Heaven; what more could a Rondebosch boy want!

    Hermanus must have been a wild place, for I recall a story of some – surely not the clean living ‘E63 lot – running down the corridors of the Bay View Hotel late one night ripping out the flower decorations and playing darts with the arum lilies!  The police were called and gave chase on foot – but the miscreants got clean away.  One of the darts players was Paul Schipper who was a couple of years ahead of us.   Recounting the story later, Paul’s escape from the police came to the ears of Tickey de Jager.  He swelled with pride – “I taught that boy to run!” he said.

    Another recollection of Hermanus was going into a bar – didn’t they ask for ID in those days? – where Jan Rozwadowski ordered a glass of brandy.  Thinking he was being patronised with the shot offered, he insisted he wanted a “proper, full glass of brandy”.  History doesn’t tell how he got home that night.  But later, for some reason also lost in the mists, the manager stormed over the dance floor and started yelling and prodding Derek van den Berg in the chest.  For all his size, Derek is a real gentleman, but it was the manager’s mistake to think he could be shoved around the dance floor.  All too soon we looked on in amazement as the manager lay spread-eagled in the middle of the floor.  (Why didn’t Don Laidlaw match Derek against Lindsay in the 1958 Boxing Champs?)

    One of the masters we revered was Doc Watson, for he taught us how to climb!  My Dad loved the mountains and from a very early age over the weekends we were frequently exploring Table Mountain with him.  But it was Doc who taught us to “rock climb”, and with Brian Fraser and Ferdi Fischer we steadily increased our skills.  We journeyed afar with Doc, frequently to the Cedarberg, and in one memorable trip combined with a master and boys from SACS we went to the Annual Camp of the Mountain Club of South Africa in the Drakensberg for a two week trip, where we climbed Cathkin Peak, Champagne Castle and mounted the heights to M’ponjawane.  And these days, our love of the mountains remains undiminished.

    As ‘E63 drew to a close with matric study leave, we organised an overnight camp up the mountain at Firtree near MacLear’s Beacon, descending via Ledges the next morning.  John Hill reminded me that on the way down he fell and damaged his leg and I helped him off the mountain.  What I remember from that day, however, was once we were down, having cycled like mad to Mowbray to watch the SA Golf Champs and sitting beside a bunker, we were ticked off by Gary Player for chatting as he was preparing his chipshot!

    Mountaineering also cemented my friendship with the ever-enthusiastic John Klosser (‘E62).  Who can forget John striding up to the lectern for the morning bible reading and before halfway up the steps beginning “The reading this morning is taken….”.

    In the early 1950s John’s father had the foresight to acquire, in partnership with two others, an unsurpassed property which surrounds the Infanta village at the mouth of the Breede River and stretches about 5 miles down the coast.  The guest book records that Alan Clarke (‘E62) and Chris “Skaap” Mundy went to Infanta in the early years, and that Jeff Leeuwenburg, Ferdi Fischer, Brian Fraser, Frank Einhorn (‘E62), Robin Parker (‘E62), Robin’s elder brother, Graham Parker (‘E58?), Gavin Birch, Dave Cornell (‘E64), my brother Peter (‘E60) and Leslie (Buz) Beck amongst others spent wonderful days swimming, fishing from the rocks at Infanta, hiking the coastal trails, birdwatching, gamewatching – and long nights singing and (to use Gavin Birch’s euphemistic expression) “playing”!  (Gavin was also good at alliteration, if not at spelling – his telegram when Juliet and I were married, presumably addressed to Juliet, was “Kwit kicking Kipps”).

    Jeff L, John Klosser and I shared a flat in Rosebank at sometime during varsity days. One Saturday when it was Jeff’s turn to do the catering, we each gave him our five rands. And what did he bring back to sustain us over the next week – a demijohn of Tassies and an lp, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony! “You guys need some culture” explained Jeff. We went hungry that week – but at least we could drown our sorrows whilst enjoying the stirring music!

    Another lifelong love imparted from my Dad is sailing.  (Thanks for that, too, Dad!)  We had a small dinghy which we sailed in the lagoon at Hermanus and Zeekoevlei.  Then Jack Koper, father of Chris in brother Peter’s class, designed the Dabchick.  Soon we were building our own Dabchick on trestles in the garden in Muir Road.  This gave us years of pleasure down at ‘the vlei’, and formed my friendship with Robbie ‘Rat’ Meyer, who used to cycle with me to the vlei for sailing over the weekends and during the summer holidays.  We’d camp out in, or besides the old thatch-roof yacht club – and before anyone asks – no, we weren’t the cause of the ZVYC clubhouse burning down!

    From the small beginnings in the little dinghy near “Die Mond” at Hermanus, I’ve crossed the Atlantic three times, including the first Cape to Rio Race, competed in the Admirals Cup, Cowes week, Cork Week, the Fastnet, the BeachComber Race and the Sydney – Hobart Race.  Nowadays, whilst still sailing with my mates – we won the Gentlemens’ Class last year in Cork Week in Ireland in a classic Swan 46 – a lot of our “sea time” is spent on the Thames and the canal system of southern England on our wide-beamed canalboat, “Shosholoza”.  It’s a lot more comfortable than a Dabchick!

    Like many of us, 1964 was time spent (wasted?) courtesy of the Minister of Defence. My journey took me to Oudtshoorn, Pretoria Walvis and Windhoek. There followed a few years climbing and skiing with the UCT Mountain and Ski Club and regattas with the UCT Sailing Club, interspersed with the odd lecture and much sitting on Jammie Steps. Then, more serious stuff at Deloittes. Thereafter, armed with a B Com and CA – I went sailing!  The races of Australia and NZ then called, after which we circled Australia and sailed to the Seychelles on Cornelius Bruynzeel’s boat, ‘Stormy.’  I spent two years in the Seychelles, the second on honeymoon, as Juliet and I married in her hometown of Blantyre, Malawi, halfway through that period.

    After the Seychelles, it was back to South Africa, first to the Nedbank Group in Johannesburg, followed by a return to Cape Town to join John Le Roux at Personal Trust.

    In the Cape we lived in Marina da Gama and our kids went to nearby Muizenberg Junior School.  When it was time for our son Courtney to be interviewed for high school, it was a given in our house that he would go to Rondebosch.  But we landed up with interviews, not only at Rondebosch, but two other lesser ‘local institutions’, as well.  Mr Peake, headmaster at Bishops, looked a rather forbidding character, and, as my brother and I had been at Rondebosch, and my grandfather had been headmaster of SACS Junior school for so many years (33, I think) he asked why I wished to apply for my son to go to Bishops?  “I don’t”, I replied.  “I’m only here because my wife insisted.  I want my son to go to Rondebosch!”

    I’m not sure what I said to the then headmaster at Rondebosch (who will remain nameless) when we subsequently went through the RBHS interview, but to my horror he told me Marina da Gama was out of the “catchment area” and so Courtney landed up at Bishops.  (When I told Lindsay about this a couple of years later, he was as cross as I had been at the time – but by then Courtney was loving his time at Bishops!)

    Europe called and we landed in the Isle of Man where, courtesy of Ferdie’s boutique investment bank, I had a stint in the shipping, oil and gas business.  Then I started my own business supplying corporate investment and insurance solutions to a client base largely comprising fellow South Africans.  Along the way, one of my clients proposed we take over a gold-mining company listed on the Aim market of the London Stock Exchange, so for almost seven years I was a gold-miner in Eastern Europe, focussed on the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan with lesser adventures in Kyrgyzstan, Romania and the Ukraine.  Those classmates seeking a quiet life are definitely advised not to follow suit.

    In the Isle of Man, Courtney went to the local public school, King William’s College.  One day I asked the headmaster why he didn’t do something about the boys who walked around with their shirts hanging out, a sign of ‘cool’ I never quite got my head around!  The headmaster explained about the problem of disciplining boys and when I suggested he just gave them cuts if they didn’t listen, he was aghast.  “I’d go to jail”, he replied.  When I told him about our U13 Pepsi – Cuts training regime (‘Pepsi if you win, Cuts if you lose’) under Tinkie Heyns, he clearly thought I’d come from the Wild West!

    My daughters “chaff” me that I meet Rondebosch boys wherever I go; among those who come to mind were Brydon Malleson (‘E70+-) running the London Marathon; Hal Hofmeyer (‘E53+-) who was walking down the pontoon at Cowes Week wearing his OB tie!; Anthony Broadhurst (‘E60) having coffee with my neighbour in the Isle of Man; Georges Le Quime (‘E73+-) in a mining investment conference in London – and the latest, a fortnight ago, skiing in Austria, Hugh Davies, (‘E87) who told me of the wonderful filmmaking experience he enjoyed whilst at RBHS, lectured by our own John Hill and how the film they made that year, “The Final Cut” about the Immorality Act – which would certainly have been a dangerous subject to choose at that time – won the Gold Award at the London Film Festival! (Well done, John!)

    It’s always a pleasure to meet OBs and generally leads to extolling the amazing privilege of being part of the RBH&PS family, how the Rondebosch experience crafted our lives, the masters who influenced us and the classmates who knocked us into shape.  Thanks to one and all, it’s been a wonderful journey.

    Altius et Latius.

    Neil Kritzinger

    On boarding school life: Even though I was a small eater, food was always an issue….. Budgeting one’s R5 quarterly allowance to include tuck shop cream buns.  After school tea and bread.  Lazy walks to church on Sundays, sometimes rendezvousing at Evergreens on Main Road, Rosebank, for a toasted cheese sandwich.  Gallons of Rum-and-Raisin ice cream for birthdays.  Occasional visits to the Wimpy Bar at the downtown OK Bazaars (and also at the OK, Roy’s legendary bra shopping escapade, using hand gestures to indicate cup size!).  ‘Cookie’s’ meatballs, and musical beans, and the competition for butter.  Picking up tuck boxes at the Post Office.  And wondering now how come I never found a regular day-boy sandwich sponsor?  The race upstairs after study in Mason House to prevent others from ‘volkswagening’ one’s new aluminium bed.  After-supper piano honky-tonk in Canigou with David Geffen.  Listening to the radio after ‘light’s out’; Springbok and LM radio the tenuous links to the ‘outer’ world.  Sunday afternoon duck-diving on the Upper Desert, and touch rugger on the main field.  Ballroom duty.  Early Saturday morning coffee in the ‘huts’ at Mason House getting ready for a rugby game.  Saturday afternoon rugby at Newlands, and the nightmare of being expected to stop Kennedy and Mundy in junior inter-house rugby.  After-dinner cricket in the nets.  Three days and nights on the school train to Windhoek (bless those Rustenburg and St. Cyps girls for their kindness, wherever they are), star-filled midnight stops to take on water, mad dashes to and from the movie theater in De Aar, and meeting up there with Piet Schroeder.  Clay court tennis after supper on the old court at Mason House.  Tinkie, of course – his pearls of wisdom that were passed on almost unnoticed, and the ‘light cane’.  Occasional Sundays watching surfers with Athol from the wall in Muizenburg.  Tickey, of course, especially for his motivating assurance to my parents that I would never be a scholar – which was thankfully only partially accurate.  Patting for earthworms on Sundays when there was simply nothing better to do.  The wonderful sense of freedom running laps around the Rondebosch Common, and the agony of having to organize ‘socials’ with Rustenburg, and dance with Ms. Thompson (and thanks to Linda Kent and Shirley Douglas, wherever you are, for being ‘blind dates’ when I had no option but to attend a dance!!)  And most of all, simply Mason House, where we learned the pleasure of the ‘punishment’ of having to write out ‘If’, and of reading the daily paper, and of doing a (little) bit of daily study.  Mason House, for me the place of Kipling’s ’60 seconds worth of distance run’, Tinkie’s gentle chidings, lifelong memories and friendships, first glimmerings of personal independence and, of course, the 5-minute warning bell and cold showers to remind one of the consequences of inaction!

    And in between that strange way of growing up, there was school – almost another world!  There was Mr. Clarke, who agreed to my admission after a nervous Saturday morning meeting.  And Arthur Jayes, who looked like a ‘real’ schoolmaster – not too many of those in Windhoek!  Mike Welsh’s Latin exhortation ‘never to fall into the arms of a hairy female’.  Marj Clarke’s choir.  Billy and Buck, English teachers extraordinaire.  The disappointment of not being allowed to do Woodwork and Metalwork, and of having to do Physics and Chemistry instead!  And wondering whether Ms. Chambers would ever volunteer to pose nude for life drawing (was I the only one thinking that?!).  Friday afternoons in the Mess after it had been concluded that I was not cut out to be a model soldier – and providing free haircuts instead (or was it for cream-buns – I can’t remember!).  Writing the 1st XV rugby reports for Die Burger, Mossie’s 7 tries against Marist Brothers, and the intense under 14 and 15 battles against SACS and Paul Roos.  Happy afternoons spent on the Lower Desert training for track, and the spectacle of the field on ‘Sports Day’.  And with sport so dominant, learning from the always under-appreciated ‘non-sporting-types’, so many of whom have gone on to great things, and the discovery that many of those considered to be ‘rof’, or somehow lesser, had hearts of gold, and hidden talents, and their own stories to tell.  And my first hike up Skeleton Gorge, and the quiet pleasure of sorting and tidying books in the Afrikaans Library.  And oh, did I mention Lindsay Kennedy, background shit-stirrer supreme?!  And Charlie Hallack, of course, but less for all the classroom nonsense than for teaching me to enjoy and respect history – and so here we are now, writing our own………..  Wow, where have all the years gone, especially for those of us who left in body, but never in spirit?  I have truly missed so much, but on one of my visits to Cape Town I did have the great pleasure of attending a 2007 Rondebosch vs. Herschel debate – where my daughter out-duelled the boyz!!  (I was too scared to volunteer for debating, and my son, sad to say, attended Bishops as a post-Matric).  But as much as I may have missed by having left, that wonderful feeling of being a ‘Rondebosch Boy’ never fades.  What a privilege it was to attend RBHS, and to share it all with guys like you and with our many deceased brothers.  And for those of us who can, what a wonderful thing to be able to get together again.  Truly, Altius et Latius, and a special personal thanks to those of you who have taken the time, and care, to keep the flame alive.

    Jimmy McDermott and I started life at RBHS in Mason House which is, as you know, Tinkie’s self-declared “Best House in the World.”  From there we moved to’ The Lilacs,’ where, at that time, Tickey de Jager was housemaster.  Jimmy was an avid reader, and on one occasion was surreptitiously reading under his desk during study-hour.  Ticky unexpectedly swung by, in part to check that we were all ‘studying’, but primarily to ask, “has anyone seen the Cape Times?”  Having not noticed Ticky’s entrance, Jimmy was of course completely startled, panicked (which he will deny), and loudly blurted out, “8.15, Sir”, whereupon the entire study dissolved into raucous laughter.

    The second ‘Jimmy event’ took place on the morning of Saturday, the 23rd of November, 1963 – the day the news broke of Kennedy’s assassination.  Jimmy was playing for the 2nd XI on the Lower Desert, against one of the Afrikaans schools, at the time considered vastly inferior competition (before we discovered that not only RBHS Steyn’s, de Villiers’, Morkel’s and Le Roux’s could play the game).  Peanut Thwaites was umpiring, but wanted to be on the side lines to listen to incoming news reports, and thus asked for a volunteer to replace him.  I loved cricket (rather fancying my ‘leggies’ in the nets with ‘real’ cricketers) and volunteered.  A wicket fell, and the incoming batsman was none other than Jimmy McDermott.  Our tail was struggling to resurrect the innings against the uncouth marauders, and Jimmy was clearly intending to play an epic knock.  But his failings were those we have come to expect of bowlers, which is to say he thought of himself as an unjustifiably misplaced No 4.  Unfortunately for him, he played forward to a ball he clearly misjudged (and probably never saw), and one that in my ‘Namibian Hawk-Eye’ estimation was very obviously destined for his middle stump.  Up went my finger, more or less at the same time that Jimmy started uttering all sorts of uncomplimentary epithets, closely followed by Peanuts throwing a complete hissy-fit on the boundary!!  Like any good umpire, I stood my ground, and raised my finger a second time, just as Peanuts came storming onto the field mouthing his inevitable “bloody fool, bloody idiot man” diatribe!!!

    Mark (Swift), I still owe you an apology for the part I played in the Standard 7 dorm giving you the silent treatment.  I know you were hurt by it.  Pooch Murcott remained a loyal friend to you, and I learned a valuable life’s lesson.

    John Bull, you very kindly invited me to play squash with you at WPCC over a long weekend during which I stayed in at the boarding house.  The courts were dusty, and the game rather strange, but squash became a life-long love of mine, so thanks for that.

    In the category of ‘bad prefect, good decision’; one fine evening towards the end of my stint as head of Canigou, Baartie asked me to check on the upper-study.  It was well known that use of the ‘late study’ privilege was a flimsy pretext for having a smoke.  I stuck my head in, almost choked, and the occupants miraculously disappeared from view behind a single (albeit sturdy) column.  Having been taught by my father that any punishment should fit the crime, and with finals a week or two away, I blithely but falsely reported back that everything was A-Ok!  Needless to say, I never received a word of thanks from the Niehauses, Wiggetts, Drydens, Fletchers, and Schroeders of the world!

    Such were the commonplace events of our RBHS cricketing days!

    School Play (Picture Courtesy of Hugh Hodge)

    Leslie Lang

    Cracks in the Granite

    Born in the shadow of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, I was obviously destined to seek, find and repair cracks in granite.

    I completed my primary education at Rondebosch Prep School – renowned for its prowess on the sports field.  I always revelled in the claim that my only claim to fame would be that I completed my entire schooling at that august institution while managing to avoid totally contact with a football of any description.  I was a little more enthusiastic on the cricket field as having such poor ball co-ordination, I was always placed as far from the action as possible which meant I was able to contemplate the meaning of life from the shade of the trees on the boundary of the cricket field.  My raison d’etre has recently been shattered when I was told by the current generation of Rondebosch students (it is a generational thing – people at school are students) that rugby and cricket are no longer compulsory.

    After completing my schooling, I had the choice between studying medicine or dentistry.  Accepted for both disciplines, my decision seems to have been influenced by the fact that next to football, the thing I hated most at school was carpentry.  Being a bit of a masochist, I decided that micro-carpentry would be a wonderful way to suffer my way through life.  I enrolled for dentistry at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and graduated in 1970 being awarded the Henry St John Randall gold medal for academic achievement and leadership.  During my stint as a dental student, my love for community work was nurtured and has stayed with me till the present time.  I was on the Student Dental Council as well as on the SRC and while on those committees instigated the establishment of the Riverlea Dental Clinic – a clinic to provide dentistry to indigents which still runs today.

    Upon graduating, I had to decide between becoming rich in Johannesburg or being poor in Cape Town.  Knowing that I would spend everything I earned, I felt that the less I earned, the less time I would have to worry about how to spend it.  So Cape Town it was.

    I established a practice which emphasized preventive dentistry at a time when that discipline was in its infancy.  I also taught Preventive Dentistry at both Dental Schools in Cape Town.  Those days, split between the schools and the ever-wailing call of my office staff, were very happy and fulfilling ones for me as I was able to satisfy both my love for teaching and caring, simultaneously.

    I completed post graduate work over the years.  I obtained a diploma in general dental practice from the Royal College of Surgeons and in special care dentistry as well as sedation and pain control from the University of Stellenbosch.  I have also been very active in the affairs of the Dental community having served on the committees of the Dental Association of South Africa as well as Alpha Omega – an International service organization run by dentists.  I have also devoted many years working for other service organizations which care for the many underprivileged communities around Cape Town.

    The past 10 years has seen my interest in the field of alleviating the stress of the anxious patient blossom and I have become very involved in the teaching programmes for the post-graduate courses in sedation and pain control.  In this regard I have been privileged to lecture extensively both locally and internationally.

    I claim to have been most fortunate in that my work is my hobby and I love every moment spent crouching over the chair or behind a lecture podium.  It has proved to have been a very happy choice of profession and one that I heartily endorse to anyone looking for fulfilment.  I am married to my charming wife Jenny, an IT expert, who is a constant source of support and inspiration and we have 2 children Malcolm, who qualified as an accountant (the origin of those genes remain a mystery) and is a senior executive with a large Canadian Bank and Megan, who fulfilled her life’s ambition and became a dedicated teacher.  She too lives in Toronto. And of course there are 4 grandchildren who would require a separate chapter in this discourse……

    The course of my life has been guided by so many teachers from Miss Johnson in Sub A all the way through school and university where I was so privileged to have been taught and influenced by the most dedicated people imaginable. I hope that I have been able to pay some of that debt back to the community, the students I teach and, of course, my family.

    John Le Roux

    I loved my years at Rondebosch Prep and High and was very lucky to grow up in Canigou Avenue.  So I could spend many happy hours after school on RBHS sports fields.  Mostly cricket and rugby and a bit of tennis and athletics (even found myself in a 1963 Athletics photo), but didn’t make it in the cadet student officer’s photo – as Lindsay Kennedy frequently reminds me.

    Our teachers were legendary characters and some very good.  Who can forget the likes of Nobby, Charlie, Jayes, Peanut Thwaites, Doc Watson, Buck Ryan, Tickey, Tinkie and Bob Martin.

    Our 1963 Rugby Team ended up as a very good side – 2 of whom became Springboks, Roy McCallum and Derek van den Berg.

    Derek and Lyn van den Berg, Mosa and John Le Roux

    Derek van den Berg, my best friend, and I met up in Sub A and recently celebrated 60 years of friendship at the Prep school (see the attached photo with our wives).

    Thanks to all my school mates for the happy times.  I enjoyed every day I went to school.  I greatly look forward to celebrating with you RBHS 50 years after leaving school.

    Jeff Leeuwenburg

    The Rugby legacy

    Rugby for me was an unpleasant form of conscription, starting in 1959, and wasting 3 years of prime Saturday time.  Being tall I was inescapably typecast as a lock, and condemned to the world of eye level mud and boots!  1960 was the worst year with a weather cycle of 15 Saturdays on which the North-Wester blew in and decanted many loads of icy rain.  The route to our designated distant field of play lay past the self-importance of the A Rugby field with thick comfortable grass, drainage, change room, benches for onlookers, and moreover a supply of cheering onlookers, mostly female.  The U19 team, well out of puberty, had all the benefits.  We of the U14 C moved on past the cricket field, past the swimming pool, past the river, past the Hockey fields, past the Lower Desert fields, and up to the Upper Desert – rain-lashed, sandy composition, bleak home to 1,000s of moles and their tunnels to trip in, severe tufts of kikuyu grass, and loads of dog shit deposited by neigbouring dogs being taken for their evening walks.  The conduct of the games included stumbling about in a loose maul, jumping, crawling, pausing for sliced oranges, and concluding in almost inevitable defeat.  The low point of 1960 was defeat by 86-3 at the hands of Groote Schuur U15A.  In 2 years of rugby I scored 3 points, a try which received little credit.  But the event still has its place in unsung achievement.  For once there was an over-supply of tall U14Cs, and I was assigned the unlikely job of winger.  In due course the ball came via the classic route – line-out to scrum half to fly half to centre to centre – to me.  I set off for the posts, the whole forward terrain quite deserted except for a small opposing full-back.  I jigged left, he blocked right, I jigged right, he blocked left.  I had no further ideas, and on the spot delivered what I now know is a Mauri Sidestep, later perfected by New Zealander, Jona Lomu, and went over the top.

    Other positive rugby spin-offs were the rather nice togbags, and the rugby jerseys themselves, a strong cotton much better than the contemporary ones.  And perhaps the macho clatter of boot studs in the swimming pool change rooms.  I still watch the Tri-Nations games and some of the Super-16, and feel that true rugby is between South Africa and New Zealand, played in the rain.

    Formal education

    Reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of our formal education at Rondebosch, for the record I did Latin, Afrikaans, Maths, Science, English (with emphasis on figures of speech in which…), and History (the Great Trek, causes of WW1).  Little of core value in contemporary Australia.  I suppose the science helped with the physics of lightbulb changing, and the maths helps with doing tax.  The Latin and the Afrikaans have only occasionally been used.  With flaws in the curriculum, it is hard to wax lyrical, but formal classes, especially C2, D1B, E1B core teaching went past fairly peacefully.

    The good things

    I really enjoyed the supplementary activities, such as darkening the hall for a day or several days of movies.  Who organised them I do not know, but I am grateful, especially for the old Ealing Studio classics such as the Lavender Hill Mob, St Trinians, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and Sir John Hunt’s ascent of Everest.  Development Week meant marching about in cadet regalia for some, for others, including myself, convening to give the library a make-over.  Good grounding for my future role as a librarian.


    Outings I enjoyed were the sporadic bus excursions to Kirstenbosch, and the annual turn-out for the Shakespeare of the year at Maynardville, including a 60-year old woman as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

    Credits for specific teachers

    Doc Watson provided extensive encouragement in exploring Table Mountain and the Western Cape Mountains, with trips to the Cedarberg, Du Toits Kloof, Piquetberg, and Koue Bokkeveld.  This led to several people going on to join the Mountain Club of South Africa, and keep climbing as a life-long interest.  He introduced several of us to rock-climbing, and it must be said his safety techniques were not what they should have been, and he died in a climbing accident.

    Willem Diepeveen helped me at a personal level with sailing, in particular with advice restoring a vintage but very high speed International Racing Canoe, which went like a bullet when it wasn’t upside-down or swamped.

    Willy Rollo encouraged me in keeping the chess club organised and functioning, from the rough days in Standard 6, when the 6 – 10 tables were in a classroom, open temptation for board-tipping oiks to invade, to the halcyon days in Standard 9 and 10 when we obtained lunchtime use of the Reading Room, and could play undisturbed, and also read back copies of Punch.

    Moving On

    The army grabbed me in 1964, UCT from 1965, finishing with a degree in Social Anthropology.  Work started with 3 years at the South African Museum and a project on Rock Paintings, which was totally wonderful, but not very well paid.  Then followed projects in the Transkei, Namaqualand, and Namibia; marriage to Rina De Wet, and a year of teaching at South Peninsula High School.

    Leaving South Africa

    Although I had completed most military training in 1964, I had been avoiding my annual camps while finishing my degree, and by 1974 had become an annual 2 months, with no end-point.  When South Africa invaded Angola via Namibia, I received notification that I had been made a sergeant, and I should make out a will, do the odd-jobs around the house, be on 6-hour stand-by.  Instead I opted for Luxavia and London.

    In London I did a library degree, Social Anthropology being in poor demand.  Then 2 years working in London.  Then moving to Australia, and job-hopping from Ballarat – and birth of son, to Canberra, to Melbourne.  From about 1982 I switched to lone-wolf consulting in Information Services, specialising in CD-ROM publishing, document management, and big data bases.  This extended to a general line in use of technology in courts, and evidence management in big cases.


    My wife and I have done loads of travel, to India, Spain, New Zealand, Vanuatu, and USA, as well as Australia.  We have done about 10 trips to South Africa, but to an itinerary which typically is 3 weeks: 1 with my parents, 1 with Rina’s sister, and 1 where we want to go, like the Cedarberg or Drakensberg.

    Rondebosch Old Boys’ Union Life Membership
    at R12.00 in the good old days.

    (Photo courtesy of Alf Baguley)

    Achim Lenssen

    Archim and Ursi

    My interests now are the same as when I was a boy – things practical, mechanics, the outdoors, nature and animals.  All my spare time was spent away from confining walls. My most treasured possession was my bicycle which took me all over the Peninsula, often with my best friend Ferdi Fischer.  Destinations such as Bains Kloof, Gordons Bay, Cape Point and Wellington were often visited in a day’s outing.  School holidays were often spent happily in a vehicle workshop, earning some pocket money.

    My stepfather was an academic who could spend days on end behind some books of figures, working out budgets, schedules and probabilities.  We were both blind, bless his soul, as he has already passed away.  He could not see my talents and interests, while I did not see his intended career for me when he insisted on my taking Latin as “it is so useful in a career such as Law or Medicine.”  When he enrolled me at RBHS in 1961 it suited me fine as it was closer to our home in Kenilworth and I could cycle to school.  You will already have guessed that school did not interest me at all.  It was an unavoidable part of life which one had to endure to survive.

    Career guidance was still in its infancy back then and my bottom-line for a job was that it had to be outdoors.  Forestry, Land Surveying and Geology were the three offered alternatives.  I chose the latter as it had the greatest adventure appeal.  Walking around in nature looking for rich mineral deposits was just up my street; oh yes, and the 4 x4 at my disposal was also not to be overlooked!

    I studied at UCT and went to do a three-month practical at the Tsumeb Copper Mine after the academic years.  It started off well, with an excursion to locate iron ore for the smelter.  Then came calamity.  The economic down-turn put an end to all exploration and the only job remaining for geologists was underground mapping and ore sampling.  Needless to say more, I bailed out of that career and turned to nature conservation.  After three years’ practical training I was accepted in South West Africa where I learned to love the desert.  Then followed eight exciting years of game capture during which time I managed to find a wife, Ursula, in the off-season.  When my two daughters started asking me when I would come visiting again, it dawned on me that I had family responsibilities too.  We moved back to the desert and stayed in nature with all its wildlife.  In 1984 I lost my right hand while picking up refuse left in the Park by the SADF.  The military was often negligent and several other people lost limbs due to the SADF’s irresponsible management of explosive devices.

    After Independence life became increasingly political and another move was unavoidable.  We moved further south, still in the desert, to a private game reserve.  There we lived for close on seven years till retirement age came near.  On my bucket list there was still one item not done and that was to build my own house.  We purchased seven hectares of desert, some 12 kilometres outside Swakopmund, and I designed and built my own house with three helpers from the street.  In October 2005 we moved into our own home and have been very happy there ever since.

    I keep myself active with some tour guiding, some consultancy work and a large garden.  To break away I have upgraded from the bicycle to a motorcycle!

    U11A (Photograph courtesy of Johnny Kipps)

    Ian Little

    Memories a plenty.

    Early morning prayers led by the imposing figure of Mr. Enslin, and on occasion Miss Cope leading the school to the hymn O Come All Ye Faithful on an ice cold winters day, the scholars in grey shorts and shivering while hoping that one’s name would not be called out for misbehaving.

    The school feeding scheme’s milky cocoa steaming hot and with a thick skin floating on the surface (yug), the aroma of the tuck shop at break, the sweet smell of Bashew and Canada Dry cold drinks combined with that of clusters of Rowntrees Fruit Gums and scenties.

    John Hill’s banana sandwiches, multi coloured Crayola crayons and Robert Hoets airomatic farts.

    The janitor (never did find out his name) with bucket and mop hurrying past the sport ball room as he rushed to clean-up a scholar’s pink hurl in the assembly hall, more than likely having been caused by the vile feeding scheme milkshakes with just a touch of strawberry flavouring and a lot of skin in them.

    Playing marbles in the playground, who can remember Ian Crawford’s 20 Goon Shy?  Great excitement on school athletics day, and not to be forgotten school outings in double-decker buses, or better still being driven to the venue in Don Andrew’s mom’s dark blue Ford V8 and returning with packets of labels to swap from Groote Constantia winery.

    And finally, teacher Sivvie Olivier picking his nose and flicking the contents at the unfortunate Norman van Zyl for incessant jabbering, while Olivier was trying to peruse the sport page of his newspaper, what a cheek, what a gentleman.

    And as for the Percussion Band led by Nancy Watson-Morris, I was so sure I would end up being the new Mantovani of the era, however ended-up not conducting the band or playing the cymbals, but being a Triangle player with three strokes of the instrument being included in the band’s rendition of Lavender Blue.

    Then there was also that place of mystery, the out of bounds Staff Room, here one could visualise Mr. Enslin as the Hugh Hefner of the era, with student teacher beauties such as the curvaceous Miss Yvonne Hartman,  blonde Miss Anne Wingate and the saucy Miss Erica Chambers sipping tea together.  By the way, who can remember Miss Chambers’ cute little powder blue Austin-Healey Frog-Eyed Sprite parked in the Prep School drive.

    Other female teachers of note were the two screamers complete with canes Miss Cope and Miss Vickerstaff, boy oh boy, bachelor teachers Solly Robinson, Don Laidlaw and Fuzzy Florence must have had quite a time fighting these tigresses off at social events!

    Early swimming lessons, marching in file down to the High School and the old swimming pool keeping fingers crossed that your costume was still in the towel.  The cold dark green water with the odd frog swimming around held many a fear for the weary aquanaut, none more so than the two sturdy Loch Ness Monster look-a-like female swimming instructors who encouraged the bather to dive in on a chilly spring day (sometimes nude if you had forgotten your costume).

    Finally the school play, after expecting to be acknowledged as the Clarke Gable of the stage, I am cast by effeminate teacher Mr. Davis as one of the girls who lived in a shoe complete with grease paint and ghastly wig, to make matters worse my family insisted that I show my outfit off to uncles and aunts prior to the play.

    Upon leaving school I went into the motor trade, worked my way up and became a Dealer Principal with both Toyota and Opel franchises, this opened doors for me within motorsport circles resulting in competing in production car racing both locally and overseas, highlight being runner-up in the WP Championship.  I have business interest with auto manufacturers Fiat and Lancia.  Later I was asked by the SABC to do commentary on motorsport, while also writing a weekly column in a number of tabloids and magazines.  Currently I  am semi-retired and run my own Motoring Media Logistics company.

    Barry Lloyd

    Anne, Barry and baby lion

    Hi Neil,

    OK. Here we go !!

    My first memory of Rondebosch goes back to my very first day in Standard One when Christopher Newell and I both arrived from Pinelands.  At little break we shot out of our classroom, fleeing from the substantial presence of Miss Cope and her best friends, Little Sam……… and even more scary, Big Sam.  (For those of you who were not in her class, those were her pet names for her 15 inch ruler and her feared cane, which she would often use to get her class into line before assembly.)  Anyway, both Chris and I unfortunately made the mistake of running across the quadrangle and were intercepted by the formidable figure of the headmaster, Mr Enslin.  He made us both stick our heads between his legs and gave us a hiding!  Not a great start to a career at a new school!  At that stage I couldn’t understand why my folks had made me leave my happy, little Pinelands Red School for this really nasty strict school!

    A second memory was of Miss Baumann, our Standard 3 teacher. If she caught us talking in class, she would make us write our names 10 times on the blackboard.  Well, being a talkative little chap, I was promptly told to write my name on the board.  I did, but was told to write it again, this time bigger so that she could see it.  I did as I was told, but this time made the letters enormous!  She then told me to do it again and write it out 20 times instead of 10.  By now I was ‘justifiably’ a little annoyed, so wrote my name in very, very tiny letters.  Well, she had a sense of humour failure and sent me to see Mr Enslin, who promptly gave me four cuts for being cheeky to my teacher.  He then asked how I’d feel if I was asked to leave Rondebosch and go back to Pinelands?  Although at that moment it sounded like an excellent idea, I was a bit scared to say so in case he gave me an extra six cuts, and kept dead quiet instead.  After those and other similar experiences I must admit I could never join in with the enthusiastic “Three cheers for Mr Enslin” at the end of each term!!

    My first memory of High School was of some poor guy in our Standard 6 class asking one of our teachers, whose nickname was Mango, what exactly a mango was!  Mango grabbed the offending pupil, yelled at full volume –  “Open the door. Open the door!” and hurled the poor guy through the door.  Nobody ever asked Mango that question again!

    Then we will never forget Dudley Baartman who would nearly burst into tears before caning any of his Standard 6 pupils.  He was a very gentle guy, wasn’t he?  Of course boys were boys and could be very cruel indeed.  Midway through our Standard 6 year our Latin teacher was replaced by a very old Latin teacher, whom we called Snowy.  During class, David MacGahey would hurl a tennis ball at the blackboard when Snowy wasn’t looking.  The ball would virtually explode against the board behind our dear old teacher, who would fall about from the noise.  Shame, he ended up by saying to all of us, and I think he was correct, “You dirty dogs.  You taunt an old man.”  As expected, our Latin marks fell dramatically and I ended up switching to French the following year.  If I knew how much homework Madame Alting-Mees was to give us, I might not have made the switch!!!  She did tell me in Matric that my French accent was the worst she had ever heard!

    One of the funniest incidents I ever saw concerned another Pinelands boy, Peter Loveland, and took place in the gymnasium, where the gym master was the notorious Mr Oberholzer, who we thought had to have been the founder the AWB and the SS.  Well, he was a stickler for everyone having clean and ironed white gym shorts and beware any boy whose shorts were even the tiniest bit dirty.  Peter’s were un-ironed and dirty, but he had the bright idea of scrunching up white chalk and sprinkling the white chalk dust over his shorts.  To his relief he passed Oberholzer’s inspection.  All went smoothly until he did something that irritated Oberholzer and got clouted.  To Oberholzer’s amazement and the entire class’s amusement, he virtually got covered in a cloud of white dust.  Peter’s cover had literally been blown and boy oh boy did Oberholzer let him have it.  Shame for Peter, but bloody funny for the rest of us!

    Charlie Hallack and I became great friends after school, but at one stage in Standard 9 he decided that the best place for me to attend his class, was from the passage.  As he walked into the classroom he would yell “Lloyd out!”  Obviously I was in no hurry to leave and was usually in the back desk and all the other rows of desks were lined up horizontally to prevent Charlie from getting to me at the back of the class.  Ten minutes later, after fighting his way through the suitcases and desks blocking his path, he would finally get to me and chuck me out of the class.  The problem with being in the passage for any length of time, was the worry of being spotted by Arthur Jayes, so I always had to keep an eye out for any person approaching.  To amuse myself, I would put one of the school hats on a ruler and walk the hat up and down past the classroom window. Instantly everyone in the class would yell “Mr Hallack, Hat, Hat”.  Charlie would then come flying out and chase me down the corridor.  The only way he could get me to stop was by threatening to scream, which I thought was cheating, because he knew Mr Jayes would hear and come and investigate.  So we would agree to go off to the prefects’ room, where he would end up on one side of the table and me on the other.  After several minutes of negotiating, a truce would be declared and we’d both go back to the classroom, where Charlie would be met with a round of applause from everyone for sorting out “that swine”.

    Who will ever forget the silent jack-ups where no one was allowed to utter a word, or the chanting of “Lobengula”, or the humming with our hands over our mouths so Charlie would not know from whom the sound was coming.  And then Charlie plucking out Rufus, his faithful long ruler, stroking it, looking around the classroom deciding against whom he was going to launch his attack, to the banging of desk lids and shouts of “Kill, Kill” from the rest of the class.  There are far too many stories of Charlie to tell and his exploits would fill a book that would put Spud to shame.  To my mind, the best times were when he would tell us ‘in absolute confidence’ about his latest conversation with Sir De Villiers Graaff.  It would go something like this: “Look.  Don’t tell a soul, but Div told me in confidence about this swine…” Normally he’d be referring to B J Vorster or some other member of the Nats.  We loved every minute of his classes.

    As for my own activities after school.  In 1964 the Navy was very pleased to welcome Richard Spring, myself and many others into its ranks??  All in all it was a very pleasant year.  We were delighted that we weren’t one of those poor guys going off to the Army!

    Thereafter I went off to UCT and ended up with a BSc in Math Stats.  After a couple of years as a systems analyst/programmer I found myself at the Readers’ Digest doing all the analysis in their Marketing Dept.  Seven years later I left them to form my own direct marketing company called “South African Historical Mint”.  I’ll never forget my last meeting with my MD –  he told me that I was crazy to go on my own, and that if I stuck around I could be the MD when I turned 40.  As I was still in my twenties, that felt like a life-time away, so that was that.  I was off on my own to see what I could do!

    In those days one could buy only very limited amounts of gold, and Krugerrands were also strictly limited, so the first step was to get a gold licence to enable us to buy and sell gold (no easy task).  This accomplished, we designed our first commemorative medallion, “The Independence of the Transkei”.  This was limited to 5 000 units and we were fully subscribed within days.  Amazingly, the selling price was R250 for an ounce of gold, which gave us a healthy margin.  Today the basic cost of one ounce is over R15 000.  Quite a change and not a bad investment for those first 5 000 buyers!  The first promotion was followed by other successful ones.  We then branched out into marketing jewellery through direct mail and among many of the pieces that were produced, was a replica of Princess Di’s engagement ring.  Our simple philosophy was to take a relatively ordinary product and turn it into an extraordinary product by linking it to an event, such as a Royal wedding or anniversary or similar.  In those days it was safe to send any items, even very expensive products, through the mail without any theft issues.  We took over a competitive direct mail company, The Heritage Collection, which had branches both in the UK and South Africa.

    By 1998 our business had grown substantially and we then listed on the JSE.  We also took over The Readers’ Digest at that time and ended up with a staff complement of over 400 people.  However in 2006, at the age of 60, and tired of the hassles of running a business, I decided it was time to venture into the unexplored territory of semi-retirement with the aim of lowering my golf handicap.  This has proved to be a real handicap but, like Ernie, I am ever hopeful.

    On the personal side, I married my beautiful wife, Anne some 36 years ago, and have two children.  My daughter, Cindy, went to Stellenbosch University, obtaining her Masters in Applied Maths (Engineering).  She then followed this with a CFA while working for an asset management company and is now happily married to a sheep and mohair farmer near Somerset East – I have 2 beautiful grandchildren.  Graeme, my son, was awarded a basketball scholarship to a college in the USA, but returned after a year to pursue his music career.  He is now finishing off his studies at a music college, creates and produces his own electronic music and still plays pretty good basketball.

    All in all I have been a very lucky guy.

    Peter Loveland

    Hindsight is always such an exact science and with that thought, my greatest wish is that some ‘magic elixir’ be found and fed to new students to enhance their desire to willingly absorb the absolute maximum potential out of their school years.  Sure I coped, but the ultimate value of that vast sea of knowledge to which one had such free access, on which to develop a meaningful life and career to the optimum, remains largely unknown.

    As regards work life I started as a medical technician, but no sooner qualified than I had the opportunity to study civil engineering at UCT, the subject pure mathematics had other ideas and after two finals and two supplementary exams if I did not see the writing on the wall the institution certainly did.

    The rest of my productive years were spent in Local Government as a survey technician, eventually getting the higher national diploma and registering with the Survey Council as a Surveyor.  My field survey days consisted to a large degree in the establishment of infrastructure of Atlantis.

    The latter years in local government were spent behind a computer controlling the land use section.  This involved having a team of field workers updating business names across the Metropole along with other community detail.  This database served Council well, but in hindsight it would have been an extremely useful data set for the general public to have access to.

    That having been said, the most prominent recollection of my schooling years was during a rather dour mathematics class (no names, no pack drill).  The teacher involved was in the left front corner and an offending student was in the right back corner.  The solution to the problem was for the board duster to be hurled, at pace, at the said student.  Luckily, or unluckily depending on whose side you might have been on, the said student deflected the missile by lifting his desk lid and the projectile hit the ceiling apace.

    The thought that crosses my mind quite regularly is that Rondebosch might have lost the services of a very capable and competent Headmaster had that set of circumstances taken a slightly different course.

    Adrian Low

    Adrian and Gail

    How quickly time has flown since leaving school!  The reminiscences of my schooldays at RBPS & RBHS have brought a smile to my face because I loved the social side of the experience so much.  I was so grateful to live close to the school in Syfret Road, Rondebosch and to embrace the freedom that my bicycle gave me in exploring my environment without any apparent danger.

    I am fortunate to be a descendant of some prominent Capetonians with the surname “Low”:

    • My great-grandfather, James Barrie Low, MA was born in Forfarshire, Scotland in 1845 and became Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University before coming to Stellenbosch in 1893 where he was the first Professor of Mathematics at Victoria College (Later Stellenbosch University).  From 1894-1915 he was the Principal of the Cape Town Training College and, in retirement, became President of Convocation of UCT.  His twin sons, James David (my grandfather) and Wallace Barrie Low, were the first of a long line of Lows descended from both brothers to attend the school.
    • My grandfather started a successful firm of Chartered Accountants & Auditors in Cape Town and was Mayor of Cape Town in 1947 when the Royal Family visited Cape Town.
    • His wife launched the ‘Cape Town Castle,’ one of the many ships of the Union-Castle line that sailed from Britain to South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s.  They lived in a large Victorian home named ‘Belmont’ in Sandown Road and they had a daughter, Marjorie and 4 sons who attended Rondebosch:
    • Douglas Barrie Low (b1910), my Dad, who became a Chartered Accountant and Auditor with his father after sailing around the world on a schooner, the ‘Cap Pillar,’ prior to the war.
    • James David Low (b 1912) who went on to become Managing Director of ‘Markhams,’ the men’s clothing store chain.
    • Arthur Low (b 1914) also a Chartered Accountant and Auditor, went into partnership with my Dad.
    • Irvine Low (b 1916) who was a Civil Engineer, based in Vancouver, Canada from 1958 and was responsible for the construction of many dams in Canada.

    I joined RBPS in 1951 in Sub A and completed my schooldays 12 years later in Standard 10 at RBHS.

    Some enduring memories of junior school include:

    • Being a member of the ‘light blue badge,’ Marchand House.
    • Lining up in the quadrangle when the bell rang at the start of lessons and before entering the classroom.
    • Being compelled to sing the school song at regular intervals so that I still know all the words by heart today.
    • Taking part in the annual school plays presented in the Memorial Hall.
    • The harsh consequences of talking or misbehaving in Miss Cope’s class.  A hard smack on the hands with a ruler would swiftly follow.
    • The ‘Bring and Buy Sales’ held at little break which inevitably ended in chaos as one jostled to view and purchase the best cookies, cakes, sweets, etc. before the mob arrived.
    • Participating in ‘Red Rover’ and the marble ‘Shy’ alley during little and big breaks.
    • The fun of the annual sports day, swimming, tennis, rugby and other unofficial sports such as bicycle races on ‘fairy-cycles’.
    • Going to the senior school as “pikkies” to play touch rugby and duck-dive in puddles if the rainy weather left any puddles.
    • Realising by the age of 8 that I had a good memory and could get away with doing very little school work and still get good grades.  This mindset gave me lots of free time which would eventually catch up with me in High School.

    Some enduring memories of high school include:

    • My first week spent writing aptitude tests that would decide one’s fate in respect of streaming to classes A1-A4.  I ended up in A2.  “Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant”.
    • Woodwork, metalwork, and art as enjoyable fun subjects that don’t usually lead to a professional career.
    • Maths with Mousey Young, Tickey de Jager, and Chris Murison.
    • Taking German in B2 and C2 with the polite but deadly boring Herbie Helm.
    • Enjoying English lessons, winding up Billy Trengove who would try to stifle his giggles at the naughty boy’s comments.
    • Mr Diepeveen giving me a great simple definition of why one studied geography.”to understand why people live where they do on earth.”
    • Enjoying ‘playing’ with the instruments in the physics lab with ‘hawk-eye’ Arthur Jayes keeping his eye on those of us who had previously visited his or Mr Clarke’s office for cuts.
    • The fun of utilising chemistry lessons for the creation of products to liven up the bang factor in slow history lessons with Charlie Hallack.
    • Helping dig the drainage ditch on the sports-field.
    • Cadets, a pointless exercise in my view as one would have to eventually do National Service anyway.
    • The great times I had playing rugby, cricket, tennis, and swimming in the best school pool at that time.
    • Prof Tinkie Heyns coaching the Under 13 rugby team, being 60 years ahead of his time by emphasising the important principles of teamwork, fitness, tackling ankles, catching with two hands, running straight at opponents to create an overlap, and looking for expected support, as passing was quicker than trying to run around an opponent.
    • The weekend spent climbing Table Mountain and numerous other outings to see important, historical and unusual sights and places.
    • Attending movies on a Saturday night in the Memorial Hall.
    • The motivational speech from the 2nd World War RAF Spitfire pilot Douglas Bader who wrote the book “Reach for the Sky,” which ties in perfectly with our motto, “Altius et Latius.”
    • Chatting up Rustenburg and other schoolgirls who lived in the suburb of Rondebosch.
    • I can honestly say that my years at Rondebosch, together with my parents’ influence laid the social and moral foundations for the success which I have subsequently had in my academic, work, and social life. What a privilege.

    Post school education and work:

    • On leaving RBHS I was drafted into the South African Infantry Battalion “1SAI”, completing basic training at Oudtshoorn and specialised in Radio Communications.  I was later posted to the Walvis Bay Battalion in the Namib Desert and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
    • Upon discharge, I dipped into the world of work, selling food products for Epping Oil Mills and then Janor Fibreglass; designed, built, and tested surf boards during a beach-bum year and then joined the Local Government Department of the Cape Provincial Administration (CPA).  After about six months of routine clerical administrative work I decided to apply to read BCom at UCT in 1969 with the objective of eventually joining my Dad in his Accountancy Practice.  After 2 months I changed to a BA, BSoc.Sci degree, majoring in sociology, psychology and economics.
    • After graduating in 1972, I returned to the CPA in the Town Planning Department for 1 year before deciding to give up an ambition to do a Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree because I had noted that the best theoretical plans were corrupted politically prior to approval by the Provincial Council.
    • I turned my frustration with Bureaucracy in the CPA to Management, Systems Analysis and Organisation, and Work Study under the leadership of RBHS Old Boy, Ronnie Delport.  The O&W Division was responsible for creating an Efficient, Effective, Economic and Productive CPA.  I embraced the Organisation Development movement during the !970s and for the next two years I attended numerous courses and qualified as an Organisation, Process, Methods & Systems Analyst.  I however still found that no matter how well one implemented new work practices, many failed because personnel were inadequately trained and managed.
    • In 1982 I decided to study part-time toward an M Admin degree though UNISA, specialising in Personnel Psychology and Organisation Development.  In the interim to obtaining my degree in 1986, I created a Management Training & Development Division for the CPA.
    • In 1989 at the height of political tension in the RSA my wife and I decided to relocate to England.
    • I joined the British National Health Service (NHS) Management Executive in London as Director of Management Development & Training with additional responsibility for Performance Management and Total Quality Management.  The NHS employs over 120 000 people in the UK.
    • In 1995 I retired having created a business based infrastructure for a public institution.
    • My wife and I really enjoy our retirement in our home in Sandhurst, Gloucester, taking time out for sight-seeing travels in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

    My family

    I married Gail Collins, an interior design consultant, on 25/2/1977 and we spent 3 months honeymoon back-packing through the countries of Europe.  Her family live in Gloucester, England.

    Over the next 6 years we had 4 children, two of whom attended RBPS.

    • Francois Telfer Low (b 3/1/1980) RBPS and B.Sc. from Gloucester University.  He worked as a teacher at Deans Close School, Cheltenham before joining the Siemens Wind Turbine Division.
    • James Douglas Low (b 2/11/1981) RBPS and BA (Hons) in Business from Durham University. He is a Detective Inspector with the London Metropolitan Police.
    • Andrew Michael Low (b 12/9/1983) admitted to but never attended RBPS.  MA (Hons) in Theoretical Physics from Durham University and PhD in Theoretical Physics (String Theory) from London University (St. Mary’s College).  He is Head of Physics at Wimbledon High School, an independant grammar school in London where the fees per term are £4668.
    • Amy Antoinette Low (b 3/12/1986) BSc. Hons. in Communication & Media from Loughborogh University.

    I look forward to the final copy of this historical family keepsake.

    An autographed photo of a youthful Mr Billy Trengove (age 35) given to Alf Baguley after the production of Crichton in 1962.
    (Photo courtesy of Alfred Baguley)

    Roy McCallum

    Roy and Heather

    My journey to RBPS started out with a 5 day train journey from Ndola Northern Rhodesia to Cape Town.  The school train was notorious with scholars from all parts of the Copper Belt going to schools in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa.  Johann Coetzee was the first RBHS prefect I met on the train and along with other Rondebosch boarders were the Penstone brothers Patrick, Martin, Nicky and Simon also John Kilburn, Eric Thompson, and my brother Ian.  After two and a half days we arrived in Bulawayo having passed over the Victoria Falls Bridge the day before and spending a few hours in Livingstone and the Vic Falls Hotel where we always had our traditional fried egg and bacon sandwich while we waited for our coal-driven steam engines to be changed.  In Bulawayo we picked up the Southern Rhodesian boarders Russell and Angus McTavish as well as Neil, Owen and Mickey Fletcher, Zot, Nigel and Clive (Tex) and Bruce Myles and Richard Dryden.  For a shilling and six pence you could have a hot bath at the station with a gigantic towel thrown in which was a great novelty that was used more frequently in my latter years.  The Kingfisher Café was a regular haunt for a mixed grill and milk shake for only 7 shillings and 6 pence.  Our journey then continued south reaching Francis Town in the late afternoon where we picked up Jimmy and Bryan McDermott.  I remember them being bundled into their compartment by this burly policeman who turned out to be their father.  Jockey Freeman was the last Rondebosch boy to pick up the train at Palape much later that same night so we did not get to see him till the next day.  Jockey (Hilton) went on to marry Nobby’s daughter Lynne Clarke.  What happened on that train might need to stay on that train but the memories I have were spectacular.  We arrived in Cape Town midday Tuesday having left Ndola on the Friday afternoon.

    Once arriving at school I was lucky to have Ian familiarize me with Mason House and hand me over to Dr Tinkie Heyns our house master.  Bob Martin and his wife were the so called House Parents at that time.  I was ushered to dorm 2 where I met my first room mates Geoff Duckitt, Fred Versveld and Sakkie De Villiers.  Life as a boarder was starting to look good until after study that night Geoff, Sakkie, Fred and I were called to Tinkie’s room where we each got 3 cuts with a strap because we all had brothers as boarders and this was the tradition at Mason House.  After being introduced to the strap, the light cane and the heavy cane the mighty Dr I de V. Heyns was to become an integral part of our lives as boarders.

    My first day at RBPS was quite overwhelming as Mr Enslin looked rather frightening with a big head and bushy eyebrows.  Someone I did not want to see for any other reason other than a good one.  Mrs Roper, Solly Robinson and Mr Laidlaw were three teachers that left an impression on me although Solly’s one was on my butt!  The first break we had I was accosted by this big guy Lindsay Kennedy who kept calling out “kitty’s wee” because I came from Kitwe.  Lindsay matured physically very young, but most of us caught up before leaving school.  Fortunately I was in Fletcher House so there was some respect between us.  Fred Versveld bummed a sandwich from Trevor Blewett for me which was my first offering from a day boy.  As a boarder one became reliant on certain day boys for your food sauce.  Thanks to all my sandwich vendors whose mothers might not have realised how happy they made me.  The first day boys I befriended were Sandy Marr and Roydon Wood whom I spent a number of Sunday outings with in Kenilworth and Newlands.  Roydon and his family had a cottage in Gordons Bay where we had much fun.  His sister Ceile was my first heart throb although I did fancy Miss Hartman along with the rest of the Prep school boys.  I remember Fuzzy Florence a Mason House Master giving me a letter to deliver to Miss Hartman by hand but when I saw the letters SWANK written on the back I dropped the letter in the letter box on Campground Road (without a stamp).

    Boxing night was organised by Mr Laidlaw and the build-up to this fight was quite something.  Sandy Marr and Lindsay Kennedy were the two local heavy weights to go head to head in the main bout of the evening to see who would be the schools boxing champ.  It was an amazing slug out from two guys who refused to back down.  I think Lindsay won in the end and I am sure it was the last boxing match they had at the Prep school.  Although there was a lot of competitiveness in the sporting arena amongst our same age group friendships became sealed.  Lindsay, Derek van den Berg, Geoff Duckitt, John Le Roux, Fred Versveld and Sakkie have been mates since 1958 and there is always a good bond when we get together.

    Along came High School when we got sorted out from the bright boys in A1 to those a little slower or streetwise in A4.  Mr Baartman was our arithmetic master and had us all introduce ourselves to the rest of the class.  Whitey Basson was hilarious when it came to his turn and the whole class erupted.  Whitey had a heavy Malmesbury brey and being a bit shy quietly answered “my name is Wellwood Basson”.  No one had heard of this name before and Barty asked him to spell it.  Then Whitey raised his voice and said “W, E, double L, W, double O, D, Wellwood.”  You can imagine the raucous he caused.  Whitey always had the highest marks in arithmetic that year (now you know why he does his sums right for Shoprite).

    Sivvie Olivier was another character who would pick his dried nasal mucous and methodically roll it into a little pellet and flick it at one of his victims.  Mr van Oordt was another teacher who I could not believe could be so badly abused.  One day we set up the cord from the ventilation window above the door to drop over his head as he opened the door.  The execution was so perfect we almost decapitated him thank goodness he was tall and happened to stay on his feet.  Mango was his nickname as his head resembled a mango pip.  We had been prepped by the previous classes to ask him what a taxidermist was?  Some of you might remember his answer – all you want me to say is STUFF – F —P—S kak you are all bleddy rude and now get out of my class whoever asked that question.  We couldn’t wait to get into std 7 or the “B” classes so we could have Charlie to teach us History.  Mr Hallack was an amazing legend of RBHS and although we were completely out of line in the classroom both John le Roux and Lindsay Kennnedy were instrumental in inviting Charlie to a number of our dinner functions where we got to see a different person whom we enjoyed and respected.  The Fluffy Furman camera episode and Peter Baker tie cutting incident remain the two classics of my time with Mr Hallack.

    I think Nobby and Jayes were a good head and vice head and complemented each other well.  Tickey de Jager was a maths boffin of note whose classes I enjoyed because he related to rugby stories, athletic champions, great tennis players, and their strategies of winning.  Sadly I never learned much maths from Tickey, but he was a great athletic and rugby coach who could motivate anyone who wanted to succeed.

    Mr Diepeveen got me through geography in matric as did Mr Viljoen in Chemistry and Physics.  Mr Goldie was also a star in helping me through Afrikaans.

    I remember Mr Trengove standing in front of Trevor Klette’s desk reading something out of our set work book when Trevor dislodged a horrific silent fart.  Mr Trengrove staggered back trying to avoid the odour not knowing where it came from when Trevor announced “Sir that was for the benefit of the deaf”.

    Friendships that were made in the classroom were also bonded on the rugby fields, cricket games, swimming galas, and athletics field.  Standard 9 and 10 seemed to gain momentum as we started to focus on wanting to get out of school and before long suddenly matric exams were on us and it was time to see that everything you had prepared for was going to appear on that exam paper or not.

    Being a boarder was a big plus for me as I had the best of both worlds, I had my special mates as day boys as well as my boarding house buddies. I remember Gavin Birch coming to pick me up on his tandem cycle at 2 am from Mason House and we would ride around Rondebosch for a couple of hours and then he would drop me off again.  Gavin was staying with the late Dr Phillip Blaiberg family (second heart transplant patient) who lived just off Tullyallen Road.

    Sakkie de Villers and I had a close shave when we bunked out of the boarding house one night only to miss the last train from Cape Town where we were meeting Charles Louw, Chris Starke, and Anthony Malherbe at The Navigators Den.  We got back to the hostel unnoticed but some of our poor mates got caught and were sadly dismissed from Canigou.  How lucky were we?

    I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to be schooled at Rondebosch, and how lucky we are to have Lindsay keeping us all in touch.

    The Admirable Crichton
    Alfred Baguley and Carol Martin (Evan’s daughter)sharing an intimate moment.
    (Photo courtesy of Alf Baguley)

    Jim McDermott

    Linda and Jim

    An incident I remember vividly, involved the J.J. Du Preez Afrikaans school we were playing against.  They had a guy bowling huge in-swingers into the South-Easter, who, with Neil Kritzinger’s assistance sent most of us back to the hut, as it were.  What Hawk Eye of Namibia failed to point out is that the ball that dismissed me (or, better stated, the one off which he gave me out LBW) would have missed another set of stumps.  Obviously his leg spinning, net bowling brain had no comprehension of the dynamics of where a big in-swinger, hitting one on the front foot playing forward, would actually end up in the 6 feet or so it still had to travel before reaching the level of the wickets.  Another fact he has omitted is that he gave about 4 of us out in a similar manner before being unceremoniously hauled off by Peanuts.  I might well have been the last of these.  I also recall that he was referred to as a “bloody mampara” a favoured epithet of Peanuts, if I remember correctly.

    This is not my worst cricketing memory from school however.  That would be reserved for the day that John Le Roux hit me for 6 consecutive fours in one over during a house match between Canigou and Marchand.

    As an aside, about 3 or 4 years after leaving school I played in a game for Stellenbosch University 4th’s against a WPCC side that included the very same Steytler Thwaites in the old 2C league.  In this match I got the best bowling figures of my life.  Much to my delight this included the wicket of Peanuts.  I came off the field rather pleased with myself, expecting some congratulations from my old teacher, only to be told that he thought I was a “chucker.”  In cricketing circles that is a lot worse than being called a “bloody mampara”!

    I do not remember Neil’s first recollection about Tickey de Jager catching me reading a book during prep one night at the Lilacs.  I have no doubt that this is true however.  I was known as a “dwalie” (does that word still exist?) at school and, if the truth be told, nothing much has changed over the years.  This was the source of my nickname at school.  Early on in our first year at Mason House, Anthony Hoenson remarked that I needed a “dwalie” pill to cure me.  So, “dwalie pill” I became.  This was duly shortened to “Pill” after a couple of weeks and I carried this unfortunate sobriquet with me right through school.

    One of my clearest memories of The Lilacs is the Saturday that Tickey caught virtually the whole House smoking in the shed adjacent to the famous swing.  He opened the door, said “Oh, so that’s what you boys do here” and invited us up to his office to discuss the matter.  There he gave us the option of being caned by him or having the matter handled by Nobby Clarke.  We opted for the former with some alacrity and then as a group volunteered the information that “Fletcher (Owen) and Niehaus (Jake) weren’t smoking Sir.”  This was accepted without question because he knew we were telling the truth and they escaped the punishment that followed.  That was the way things were back then.

    Dr Heyns (U15C)
    Back: Richard Frantz, Chris Matchett, GC Botha, Alex Cohen, Clive Downton
    Center: C Latham, Owen Fletcher, Bruce Ferguson, Andrew Joubert, JAM Garisch, Fred Versveld
    Front: MJ Russell, John Barry, Dr Tinkie Heyns, Hugh Hodge, Neil Tuchten

    Anthony (Tony) Monk

    Not considering myself much of a raconteur on classroom antics and personalities, my offering below is a potted history interspersed with recollections of school, its influences and times.

    Born in Sea Point, I actually started school at Sea Point Boys’ Junior.  With the post war influx of immigrants to the suburb, many of them economic refugees from war torn Europe, the ever increasing demand for accommodation resulted in large scale re-development of once long established, ample, family homes along the beachfront and behind, even along the Main Road, where we lived at the time.  This rapidly changing landscape of buildings and population prompted my parents into a decision, that it was no longer an ideal place to raise children.

    Father was a Rondebosch Old Boy, having been sent from Knysna to the school as a boarder, accommodated at the time in Ivydene, a large family dwelling, off Glebe Road.  In those early days, the High School was a short walk across the park, to where the Prep now stands.  Dad had played first team rugby and been a prefect in matric and wanted his sons to complete their education at his old school.

    So, in 1952 aged 5, just months after personally witnessing the arrival on the 6th April in Granger Bay, on a replica of the Drommedaris, the re-enactment of the landing of Jan van Riebeeck and his party in 1652, this marking the start of the Van Riebeeck Festival (I wonder how many readers remember these events?), the family made their new home in Rondebosch.

    After completing Sub A and a little of Sub B in Sea Point, the late Mr Enslin took pity on this tiny mite who, with my Dad and big brother commuted daily, leaving in the pitch dark and often heavy rain during winter, on foot to the railway station, by train into town, by bus to Sea Point, then back again every school day.  I still remember vividly my first meeting and interview in his office off the main entrance foyer, now the Headmaster’s secretary’s office, with rather intimidating but kindly Mr Enslin who, although we were informed the class was full, made a plan and accepted me into RBPS.

    Growing up in the neighbourhood of Locarno and Tullyallen Roads, just off Oakhurst Avenue, where the family settled was idyllic.  In virtually every surrounding home were children of a similar age.  Immediate neighbours included surnames such as Crisp, Castle, McDonald, Walker, Steyn, Coleman, Theron, Lehr.  A little further away were other familiar Rondebosch School names, Ashley, Klette, Mills, Roberts, Schrire, Clark, Douglas, Kipps, Honikman, Low, to name a few.

    Memories abound of those times, growing up together, playing on the school grounds, kicking a rugby ball or playing pickup games on Oakhurst field, or in the cricket nets and on the tennis courts over weekends, or during school holidays in summer.  Then there were the regular opportunities to swim during “freeo” as it was known, always under the supervision of a teacher or housemaster.  I remember well the antiquated old swimming pool behind the Sick Bay, near Mason House with its corrugated iron fence and change rooms, situated on the natural earth platform above Oakhurst field and its flooding of the entire field that occurred whenever the pool was drained, those being the days, I suspect, before sophisticated filtration plant and equipment.  That all changed with the construction of the magnificent new swimming pool, change rooms and plant room in the mid fifties, something we watched excitedly while being built.

    With my change of school, instead of the tedious daily trek back and forth to school many miles away, the short walk up and down Oakhurst Avenue past the girls’ school, to and from the Prep, had become a pleasure.  Often passing me on the way, I can still picture seeing the late Tinkie Heyns, dressed in his flannels and sports jacket, usually running, hurrying from or back to Varsity around lunchtime, to enjoy his daily meal at the boarding house.  I suppose he found running uphill easier than peddling, because I never saw him on a bicycle, unlike the late Tickey de Jager.

    Life at the Prep School was mostly happy under the instruction and guidance of fine, committed, teachers to whom we owe so much for our early education and ability to flourish in High School, Miss Castley, Miss Trow, Mr Holmes, Mr Laidlaw, to name a few.  Lingering memories of this period are the informal games before school and during breaks, playing marbles, spinning tops, miniature cricket and pick-up games of soccer on the dusty playground behind the school hall, tennisette, the tennis court and the Lilacs, still being used as a boarding house then and the sportsfield below, with the footpath skirting it, providing short and easy access through the sturdy teak gate to and from the railway station.  With ongoing development over the years, although much remains the same, those of us who return to the Prep for assembly on the 15th March will see that much has also changed.

    Other more entertaining memories of this period are the many class outings enjoyed with those mothers who didn’t work and who owned cars, providing the transport (yes, not everyone owned a car in those days).  Who remembers the outing that ended on a hot day at Jonkershoek, outside Stellenbosch, with most if not all stripping naked and frolicking in the river, unconcerned about amused onlooking mothers and lady teachers?  Others memories are of breathtaking fireworks displays on the A rugby field at the high school and for me one of the more enduring, the wonderful celebratory diamond jubilee fete in 1957, with brilliant amusements and acts by senior boys Keith Anderson and Tommy Keyser on a tightrope they erected, suspended over the new swimming pool.  Another in particular that captured my imagination, was the scary Tunnel of Horrors authentically created in the below stage storage area under the Memorial Hall.

    I also remember that period as being a flowering of remarkable schoolboy artistic talent with names such as Roy Sargeant, Keith Anderson, who went on to make his mark internationally in the circus world, who with Frank Spiers produced wonderful stage sets and mural decorations for matric dances in the tuck shop under the hall.

    For me, 1958 was a high point, yet sad ending to time spent at the Prep.  I had been made a prefect and enjoyed being taught by class teacher and Vice Principal, Mr Sephton, remembering well our classroom (today the staff room….more about that later) with its impressive bay window, a prominent feature over the school’s main entrance.  Junior school life ended for us all with the last week spent replanting Oakhurst playing field, one that had become a sandy patch from overuse and probably too many episodes of flooding from the old pool.  All will remember the enormous task, most successfully undertaken by our class, removing the remaining old grass, digging neat furrows and planting new runners, an effort completed easily within the week and gathering much praise from teachers.

    The somewhat daunting prospect of suddenly being the junior boys in High School, after confidently being the “big fish” or seniors at the Prep, was soon overtaken by the increased schoolwork load and expectations of us, I recall.  After two years of Latin as a subject, something I came to appreciate in later years but not at the time, impressed by the high standard of handwork produced there, I decided to switch to Woodwork.  Under the instruction and guidance of the late Jack Love, I discovered an aptitude I hadn’t realised before and flourished, catching up two years work in one and passing it well at the end of Std 8.  In particular I enjoyed the technical drawing, something I didn’t realise then, but would stand me in good stead later in life.

    I found Jack Love an inspirational teacher, very dedicated and extremely knowledgeable.  His vocation was also his passion and hobby, something I discovered while keeping him company on many afternoons after school while he worked away on the prize model of his proud acquisitions for the school, his three Myford lathes, in the impressive Metalwork Room he was responsible for having built and equipping.  Little wonder the School’s Wood and Metalwork Departments were the envy of other schools during his time at Rondebosch.  Also, little surprise he was rewarded by being appointed an Inspector of Schools, something that deprived his pupils and the school of this fine educator and man, during our year in Std 9.

    The finely detailed scale model working steam railway engines Jack built from scratch were really something to see.  I’m not sure of the exact year, or of all details, but recall him losing his life years later when he died tragically in a motor accident on the N1 near Laingsburg, while returning to Cape Town transporting model engines.

    On the 2nd January 1964, hardly having had any holiday or time to celebrate passing matric, I found myself in the Navy, a CF conscript assigned to the then recently commissioned, brand new shore training establishment, SAS Simonsberg, in the West Dockyard at Simonstown.  In quick succession, basic training, followed by leadership training, with variety added by representing the Ship in sailing and pulling regattas, also the Ship and Navy in athletics, then appointed a junior instructor for the next intake of conscripts in April.  After completion of their basic training, off I went to the ships and to sea.  Fortunate to be drafted to the latest addition to the fleet, SAS President Steyn, a brand new frigate that arrived from the UK in late 1963 I, together with other recruits from our intake, were the first to replace any of that ship’s original commissioning complement.  The ship’s company was well trained and drilled, making the ship a formidable fighting unit, also Cock of the Fleet at the time.  So it was that serving aboard was a privilege and wonderful proud experience, at the time when arguably the SA Navy was at its peak.

    Pres. Steyn was commanded by Capt John Fairbairn, whose daughter Tessa, some classmates may know, became Headmistress of St Cyprians, a post she held for many years.  Someone else, all will remember, someone with whom I served onboard was Bertie Reed, then still a relatively junior NCO, someone I recall whom at that point hadn’t sailed much.  As we know, subsequently Bertie excelled in that sport and became a legendary international yachtsman.

    Active service aboard Pres. Steyn included plenty of sea time, in particular participating in the last of what were known as Capex exercises, until then an annual event exercising with and against ships from the British Royal Navy.  These joint exercises in terms of the Simonstown Agreement of 1955 were suspended unilaterally by Britain post 1964, because of mounting international pressure against the SA Government.

    Sad as I was at the time, nine months later, to complete continuous training, as it was known, nevertheless I continued active participation in the Navy for altogether 18 years, on a non-continuous basis at SAS Unitie, as a member of the Naval Reserve.  Today, the present Government with its systematic de-commissioning of all Reserve training bases and units has brought all that training and accumulated experience and proud tradition to an end.

    Late 1964 saw me follow in my Dad’s footsteps into the banking world.  After experience in various aspects of banking, the last of which was in property, an interest in the design of buildings and the creative seeds that Jack Love had sown, began to germinate.  However, had I not devoted as much time to drawing, athletics training, and other pursuits, I would probably have achieved a better matric maths pass mark.  Now anxious to correct that, I approached the High School’s ever-patient maths master Geoff Ilsley for personal tuition.  So, something like 8 years after matriculating, I found myself rewriting another maths paper in the very same E classroom, where I had written it previously in 1963.  The motivation for this was to improve my mark to qualify for admission to study architecture.  This I did, beginning as a student, in residence, at what was then UPE in Port Elizabeth, eventually transferring to UCT, where I graduated.

    Meanwhile, in my mid 20’s while preparing to study further, I met Pam Hare.  Pam was a beautiful mother of four children, recently widowed in tragic circumstances, with whom there was an immediate mutual attraction.  Although the timing of our meeting was not ideal, 40 years later this year we are still together.  Unfortunately, I was destined not to have children of my own.

    At the time of my graduation, the economy was in recession and positions difficult to find so, for some years I operated on my own.  At some point, the increase in computerisation made it clear I needed to follow suit.  Where to begin was the question.  Yet again, RBPS was to play a role in my education.  Offered by computer teacher Warren Sparrow, adult computer literacy classes were being taught in his computer lab at the Prep.  Without doubt, one could say my journey into computers started on a day to remember.  We had just completed the first session and were taking a tea break.  Sitting in my old Std 5 classroom, now the new staff room, Warren’s cellphone rang.  The caller was his wife to say she had just heard the news of an aircraft colliding with one of the towers at the World Trade Centre in NY.  The date was the 11th September 2001…the day the world changed.  We continued with the lesson, only to discover later the full impact and significance of the event.

    Having only just learnt the basics, further study was needed to understand, master and apply the available technology, so I followed up with a part-time course at CPUT (previously Cape Tech).  Now suitably equipped, the question was whether to acquire, at huge cost, the hard and software needed to operate effectively or to join an office already equipped.  Just then an opportunity arose and I joined the firm of R&L Architects whose senior partner, Douglas Roberts, started the practice, coincidentally, in 1964.

    Ours is one of the larger practices in Cape Town.  Past projects include several prominent buildings in the city, Metropolitan Life Centre opposite the CTICC, Woolworths Head Office, 35 Wale Street, to name a few.  Lucky to have big corporate clients, we operate nationally, also internationally.  Our current focus includes shopping centres, distribution centres, industrial and residential complexes, but occasionally also individual private residences.

    Two recent large projects of note have been our 2010 World Cup soccer stadium in Mbombela (Nelspruit) and our association with KMH Architects on the new Cape Town International Airport.  R&L Architects is well represented by RBHS Old Boys, two others being John During and Bruce Levin.

    As for the present, four and a half months ago I suffered a slight stroke, but a stroke nevertheless, just six days before flying to the US to visit family.  Fortunately, I received medical approval to make the journey, something that proved to be a good rehabilitation exercise, even though it curtailed some of our activities and full enjoyment of the trip.  Today I am grateful and lucky to have recovered almost completely and hope to enjoy many more productive years.

    Richard Morris

    Richard and Nici

    Richard, Rich, Dick, Tuffrey… during my schooling years, which are better remembered for my sporting achievements than my academic ones, I was known by my peers as ‘Dick’.  Later, during my cricketing career, my team-mates referred to me as ‘Tuffrey’, one of my middle names.  This was discovered during a Currie Cup trip to Rhodesia when one of my team mates got hold of my passport and revealed that my middle name was ‘Tuffrey’.  My family and friends call me Richard, Rich or Rich-man………I answer to them all!

    I attended Rondebosch Boys’ Prep and High Schools and should have completed my matric year in 1963 (I skipped sub B). However, I had to repeat Standard Nine, which meant I only finished school in 1964, thus having the benefit of being included in both year’s celebrations.  Had I not repeated that year, I would only have qualified to play U16 in my final year at school and would have been denied the opportunity and privilege of playing first team rugby for this amazing school.

    You may find it amusing to know that the reason for my skipping Sub B, was because one of the kindergarten teachers, Miss Ferguson, thought I was a potential genius – due to the fact that I had played darts with older siblings from the tender age of four and as a result was able to do multiple adding and subtractions far beyond the ability of any of my peers!

    Clearly, she had made a mistake and it was the end of my academic achievements – Sub A was the last standard that I passed with flying colours!!  However my later sporting successes went some way to compensate for this ‘minor’ academic set-back.  I was fortunate enough to play both 1st team cricket and rugby for our school and was privileged to captain them both.


    My cricketing career blossomed under the guidance of Steytler Thwaites, the master-in-charge of cricket who himself had represented WP.  He believed strongly in discipline and doing things the right way i.e. “God dammit man, see that your boots and pads are clean and your laces correctly tied!”

    Whilst the masters had a great influence on my game, perhaps my real passion was nurtured during the many, many hours, (days, weeks and months) spent playing cricket with John le Roux and Chris Mundy in the back yard of John’s parents’ house in Canigou Ave.  John would often make sure that he arrived home before we got there in order to water the ‘wicket’ and make conditions more challenging for the batsman!  Great to see that Chris is planning to attend the reunion!

    Perhaps this early enthusiasm and dedicated practising led to my selection for WP Nuffield and SA Schools for 3 years.  Thereafter, for the next 11 years I was fortunate enough to be selected to play cricket for WP during South Africa’s isolation period along with some of South Africa’s cricketing greats.  What a fantastic era that was!

    After retirement from 1st class cricket my interest and involvement in the game continued as a cricket selector for WP.  Later I became Convenor of Selectors and was a member of the WP Cricket Executive Committee until 1994.


    Whilst cricket was the sport that I pursued after school, my happiest memories and proudest moments were achieved on the rugby field at Rondebosch.  They started at U13 with the late Prof Tinkie Heyns and culminated with my captaincy of the unbeaten Rondebosch 1st XV in 1964 under the guidance of Tickey de Jager.  The winning culture started with Tinkie Heyns offering the team a challenge – a choice between cream buns for winning or cuts for losing!  Needless to say the challenge was accepted and we were fortunate enough to win virtually all our matches as cream buns were definitely the better option!  My ‘slim-line’ figure of today is testimony to the amount of matches won and the high quality of the cream buns!

    The winning culture had been born and continued its positive path right through to 1964.  Part of that winning culture can be attributed to the time and effort spent with Tickey De Jager in coaching, teaching and practising the art of successful goal kicking and the mathematical angles associated with it.  For instance, one of his disciplines was to make us practise conversions a metre from the corner of the try and touch lines – virtually a zero degree angle.  He maintained that if you could get anywhere close to converting from this position, everything else would be relatively simple.

    Apart from successes against our traditional rivals Bishops, SACS and Wynberg, there are 3 matches in particular which stand out in my memory.  Firstly, comfortably defeating Grey Bloem who had long been considered one of the best rugby playing schools in the country.  Secondly, the victory towards the end of the season against DF Malan (also unbeaten at that point).  The match attracted massive interest, both from within the school and amongst the local communities.  This was the season-ending showdown and winning was everything!  But perhaps the match I most vividly remember was against Paarl Boys’ High in Paarl.  With just a few minutes remaining and trailing 8-3, we managed to score a try (worth 3 points).  I was the kicker and the conversion would’ve drawn the match – but I missed the reasonably easy kick.  The score was now 8–6… with only 30 seconds remaining before the final whistle.  They kicked off and after virtually our whole team had handled the ball, we managed to score a try in the far corner!  If my memory serves me correctly, it was scored by Athol McLean, resulting in a famous victory snatched from the ‘jaws of death’.  The final score was 9-8 to Rondebosch!

    This victory epitomises our team spirit and the winning Rondebosch culture that had developed over those years – what a privilege and honour it was to have been part of.

    Our family has had strong ties with Rondebosch over the years, starting with my two older brothers Vine E54 and John E57 (both sadly now deceased), my two sons Robbie E98 and Matthew E04 and my two nephews Andrew and Bruce Lawley (Andrew sadly died in a car accident in1992).

    Both Robbie and Matt had a wonderful school experience at Rondebosch which has continued into their adult lives where long-lasting friendships are still intact.  They both participated successfully in cricket, rugby and water-polo.  Robbie now serves on the Rondebosch Old Boy’s Union Committee and helps to arrange the sporting events for Old Boys’ Day.  Their love and support for Rondebosch continues from year to year.

    Since leaving school I have been involved in printing, advertising and signage businesses.  At the start of my working career I worked for Creda Press which was owned by the inspirational and unique Rondebosch Old Boy, Dennis Nick.  He inspires one to be a better person and to follow your dreams – what a fabulous grounding he gave me!

    I was then offered a position with an advertising agency as Account Director handling the Gilbey’s account and ended up as Managing Director of Barker McCormac until the company was sold to O & M.

    For the last 10 years I’ve been employed as Manager of Sign-A-Rama Claremont which is a franchise owned by Mike van Zyl, whose three sons all attended Rondebosch too.

    I’ve been happily married to my wife Nici for the last 33 years and apart from our two sons Robbie and Matt who live in Cape Town, we have a gorgeous daughter, Kelly, who is married to Herman.  They are currently living in Houston, Texas and have just produced our first granddaughter – Ayla Grace, who was born on 24-1-2013.

    I’m looking forward to the E63 50th Reunion Celebrations and in particular to meeting some long-lost classmates and reminiscing about the good ‘ol days!

    Old Boy’s Luncheon (Picture courtesy of Donald Andrew)

    Johann (Hennie) Mostert

    I experienced the dichotomy of 2 worlds with a change of school from Sea Point to Rondebosch – from a sun and surf environment to one that exuded a more serious but also sport-loving atmosphere.

    The facilities, the willing and helpful staff were there, the camaraderie was there – a little input on behalf of an individual was all that was required to make a success of and have an enjoyable school career at Rondebosch, which I did have.  But I must admit to times when I lapsed into the mode the Italians call, ‘dolce far niente’ – pleasant idleness!

    I remain grateful for the morning assemblies and the RCU (Rondebosch Christian Union) where programmes were enthusiastically organised by Mr Clive Young – these really assisted in building a strong foundation of faith in our Creator.  While on the subject of faith: to my mind it is a great pity that in our schools, evolution is being taught as if this hypothesis is based on scientific evidence – the fact is that the contrary is true – for example, simple reasoning shows that the human heart and many other parts of our anatomy would never have had the opportunity to ‘evolve’ over time.

    It was easy to build up friendships at Rondebosch – in fact it was just prior to joining the school, while playing for an opposing rugger side, that I first met a young Rondebosch hooker who stood at least 15cm above the rest of his team, and the colour of whose hair would probably be described by today’s fashion writers as ‘ die for…!’ He had this mop of bright red hair and, yes, this was Lindsay Kennedy, who inadvertently helped me to score the winning points in the self-same match!

    Any regrets?  Yes – but only one.  I am sure that thousands of Old Boys vividly remember our history master, Russell ‘Charlie’ Hallack.  On occasion, I too gave reason for the fierce rise in Mr Hallack’s voice tone in the classroom.  After leaving school, there were times when I was able to meet with Mr Hallack and his beloved wife.  What a humorous, sensitive and charming person he really was – I left him with a heavy heart, knowing we hadn’t given him the opportunity of exhibiting those wonderful characteristics during his classes.

    At this time of our 50th anniversary, we are mindful of our class friends who have passed on into the realm of eternity – they have left us with fond memories and we think of their families too.

    Mr Wiggett (U16B)

    Back: De Wet, Stephens, Fred Versveld, Botha, Swart, Neil Robinson, Chris Buyskes
    Center: Frank Einhorn, John Barry, Keith Payne, John Dew, Cramton, Anton Starke, Johann Mostert
    Front: Peter De Villers, Owen Ashley, Mr Ron Wiggett, Chris Steyn, Rousseau

    Chris Mundy

    I did not make matric at RBHS, having departed after Std 8 in Dec’ 61.  I was extremely reluctant to leave but I had little choice as my English father was promoted to head up the National Mutual in the UK (formerly an Australian company but now French owned AXA).

    Perhaps coincidentally we left SA the year after Sharpeville.  My father was of the view that dramatic change in SA would happen far quicker than subsequently occurred.

    I then spent my next 10 most formative years at school, university and working in the UK in international sales at a major oil company before making a decision to explore warmer climes, ultimately settling in Sydney, Australia.

    I have lived a modest but very enjoyable life in Australia – happily married to Helen with 4 kids between us and 6 beautiful grandchildren so far.  We live an outdoor lifestyle, similar in many respects to South Africa.

    Sporting contests with SA are of course spirited to say the least – today I have watched three guys named Steyn, Amla and Kallis give us hell!

    Most of my working life has been in marketing, sales and general management roles in the appliance, building and solar energy industries.  As the AUS $ has appreciated by over 30% to an abnormally high level over the past 2 years, Australian manufacturers are now struggling to compete in this global world where China is in the ascendancy, so most of us are either totally shifting our manufacturing operations to China and other Asian countries such as Vietnam, or at least hedging our bets.  Essentially we now have a 2-tiered economy with manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and education compromised by our strong resources sector.  Meanwhile immigration to Australia is accelerating and the country is becoming much more multicultural, especially in Sydney.

    South African immigrants have been extremely successful in most areas, significantly in medicine, finance, law, education and retail.  I note on the E’63 list, Gavin Birch and Tim ffoulkes-Morris, neither of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in Australia.  But I did see a lot of Chris Krige as we pursued similar business objectives over many years.  Chris was tough and uncompromising and very successful, not an easy husband but a great father.  Sadly he died relatively soon, 10 years ago, only a couple of years after his wife, leaving 2 sad but talented teenage girls to make their way in life.

    Over the past 50 years I have visited SA briefly only four times, on each occasion being the recipient of warm hospitality from John Le Roux and his delightful wife, Mosa, backed up by the ever so loyal Rena.

    My first 15 years in Cape Town and at Rondebosch were simple and uncomplicated by comparison with life today.  School memories revolved heavily around sport – from cricket in Le Roux’s back yard (pity those hydrangeas) to the wonderful fields of Rondebosch, Tinkie’s absolute dedication to the U13As and those cream buns, Kennedy’s determination on the right wing (our quicker left wing was Mostert or Gilmour), Roy McCallum darting everywhere, Tickey marking out the athletics track when he wasn’t throwing the chalk at inattentive kids or teaching Ian McCallum to place kick, old-fashioned English cricket coaches from the conservative Gibb, who made Boycott look like Barry Richards, to Gimblett and Bates, van den Berg lengths ahead in the pool and ffoulkes-Morris feet above in the pole vault. And Buchner’s big serve on the tennis court (he who recited his school class everywhere in later years – to me in Germany of all places).  And let’s not forget Scholte, forever charming the girls even in those early years!

    In the classroom English grammar was taught as it should be by ‘Buck’ Ryan, Watson and Thwaites.  And of course Charlie’s extra-curricular political briefings were oh, so much more interesting than history!  Outside of school, scrambling up Table Mountain, Muizenburg, Hermanus and Cape Infanta topped my list.  And our family only once went to a restaurant – Le Rici’s !

    In those days we were of course highly privileged and protected from the harsher aspects of a troubled country.  I am unsure whether or not I was fortunate in being relatively oblivious to the pain and suffering of so many in South Africa.

    I notice that over 70% of E’63 have stayed the course in SA – I have often wondered what life would have held for me if my father hadn’t got that promotion over 50 years ago.

    Finally my thanks to Johnny Kipps for “finding” me and to Lindsay for imploring me to, Kom, Chris, Kom’ – granting me a second chance after I failed to respond in 1988.

    Helen and I are looking forward immensely to experiencing the reunion in 2013 and seeing how much Rondebosch and Cape Town have changed since our last visit in 1996!

    Back: Ferdi Fischer, Achim Lenssen, Richard Frantz, Jean Rozwadowski, Brian Fraser, Chris Matchett, and Theo De Rijk
    Middle: Paul Duminy, Lawrence Evans, Peter Gibb, Kai Albrecht, Johnny Kipps, and Chris Newell
    Front: David Geffen, Andrew Joubert, Derek van den Berg, Mr Herbie Helm, Nick Diemont, Jack Penfold, and Stephen Buchner
    (Photo courtesy of Andrew Joubert)

    Dave Munro

    I was pleased to see that part of our 50 – year celebrations would be to attend assembly at the Prep School.

    A lasting memory of Don Laidlaw, was the huge influence he had on what turned out to be my successful Prep School record in rugby, cricket and boxing…. the latter was a legally recognised school sport in those days!  One shudders to imagine how that would look these days!

    Don Laidlaw had arrived in South Africa as a tough PT instructor from Scotland at roughly the same time as I arrived as a post war 5 year old on the ‘Winchester Castle’ from England.

    Eighteen years after I left the Prep, Don Laidlaw began our interview for my son’s admission to the Prep School, with a cricket ball in his hand and the words, “bring back memories, Joe?”

    As many will recall, my nickname “Joe” (after Joe Louis – the World Boxing champion of the day) was tongue-in-cheek and was coined during my junior boxing “career,” when many an opponent in my weight division faced the unfair advantage my height and reach afforded me and some left the ring in tears, I’m embarrassed to admit!

    The name ‘Joe’ stuck, and it did so to the extent that many fellow classmates and teachers who only knew me as Joe then – still refer to me by that name now!

    It would be great to know WHO was responsible for landing me with that nickname!

    Funny how the Prep memories remain “fond” despite my dubious record of receiving “three of the best” for three different misdemeanours on the same day: bunking choir practice, letting off a fire-cracker in the hall, and…. memory fades as to the third crime but all corporal punishment that day was efficiently administered by my sport coach, none other than Don Laidlaw!

    High School memories are many but a high-light has to be our 1963 1st Team rugby tour to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.  In Bloem we faced the all-conquering, intimidating, unbeaten mielieboere of Grey College’s 1st team and beat them 11 – 3, an incredible team effort on our part!

    Back: de Wet, Geffen, Basson, Meyer, Frantz, Cohen
    Middle: Matchett, Ferguson, Joubert, Garrish, Payne, Buyskes
    Front: Downton, Hodge, Mr Watson, Tuchten, Russel
    (Picture courtesy of Andrew Joubert)

    Alan Musker

    I arrived Rondebosch in March ’51, a term after everyone else had started!  Dear Miss Johnson, Miss Trow, Miss Vickerstaff, Miss Baumann, Solly, Mr Selby…The Janny?  They reside so easily as a bright memory…and there are lots of school childhood memories…largely happy ones of times in the playground and with young friends.  A few fights, a few losses at marbles, and many highlights—such as when a massive lorry turned up in the playground and distributed 7UP to everyone.  FREE!  Happy days. Only got the cane from “Ensie” once-when I got 3/10 for spelling and couldn’t spell “necessarily” (I can now!)

    At High School…Baartman, Civvie,….Oberholzer!!..Tinkie Heyns.  So many real characters.  I was something of a gymnast and remember our wonderful trips to the SA championships in Pretoria.  U-14 SA agility champion!!  The memories come flooding back – but then I was whisked to England aged nearly 15, to start in an English “Grammar” School.  4 years later I was Captain of Rugby, vice head-boy, 6’2’’, and off to Uni.  Sadly, and too soon, SA and Gymnastics became a distant dream.  After Uni it was all about Physics, Psychology, Maths, – and Rugby! – I emerged with a 2:2 in Pychol/Physics at London U, idled a couple of years, did 3 years with a school’s “slow learners”, a PGCE, and could be found in a college 15 years later as Senior Lecturer in Maths in a Tertiary college!  I was probably well-suited to teaching, and (I think) definitely at home in a college for people aged 16 to 60 – often (like me) with sizable interruptions in education.

    Now I coach.  In Maths.  For fun and for pocket money.  I don’t have children, but have two “step children” now grown up, and producing kids themselves.  I lost my first partner (a Thames Artist) to cancer 20 years ago, but feel lucky indeed to be so happy with Miriam and her small family.  And at the moment I’m reasonably fit, well and grateful for it.

    What’s it like to be returning to the 100+ 14-year-olds that I left in CapeTown in 1961?  Dangerous!  But now, irresistible.  I did come to CT in 1986 on my own, for a flying visit of 10 days to see how it felt.  It was wonderful.  But I met almost no-one.  Only Tickey de Jager (by chance ) kicking a ball endlessly back and forth to a flyhalf 50 yds away!!  Does anything change?  I spoke with him.  I told him that, like him I taught maths. “Nobody teaches maths like me!” he said!  I think I rather agreed – he was an exceptional teacher.

    Since then, I have braved a romantic visit in 2002 for 4 weeks with Miriam.  But that is it, Africa-wise.  I think I’ve resisted the frightening thought of all my Rondebosch childhood school pals living their 50 years while I lived a totally different (British) existence.  Money, politics, life in England, probably all combined to make the journey back to childhood more difficult than leaving such emotional storms well alone.

    But this call up is too strong to let it pass.  It seems time, and I am really looking forward to what it brings.  There is, of course, a sober side to what the images bring via the communication lines.  Youth, age, and a bit of loss.  At a personal level, I’m immensely sorry that my Miriam isn’t able to join me to re-visit this past.  But it’s a great idea, a chance – and a great call!  And I’m more than excited to be part of the adventure.

    Here are a few of my “remember when’s” that buzz the memory….

    What about when:

    • Some boys “Boo’ed”, after a rather dull puppet show was given by visitors at the Prep School.  Mr Brauer, the woodwork teacher went berserk-ranting up and down the rows of us demanding to know “WHO”!  Terrifying!
    • When Mr Enslin conducted the hymns in each morning assembly with his very fine cane!  Then he also used it as flag-staff to suspend any items of lost property that had arrived on his table.  This, in front of the whole school.  Underwear, towels, whatever, were formally raised for the unfortunates to come up and collect!  I even had to collect a bunch of carrots I had apparently dropped while bringing them for the Friday Bring and Buy sale.  From the end of his stick.  Scarlet, appalling embarrassment!
    • When I ran headlong into the rather dangerous wires that held the Prep School nets.  They used to leave them at “neck-height” and without the nets on for the winter.  Result?  A split lip.  A personal trip, (bleeding) in Ensie’s private car.  And a scar that I still have on the lip, where a Cottage Hospital doctor sewed it up without anaesthetic.  Apparently the medic thought I would still be in shock!  Wrong!
    • I hesitate to mention the time poor Peter Hodes was the recipient of a cricket ball, skied from the nets in the Prep playground, but landing amongst the boys.  It landed so square on Peter’s head, that it bounced 10ft up as if on a hard surface.  Incredible.  Yet Peter told me years later, that he’d had a headache for a week!  Sorry Peter!  Hope they’ve improved the health and safety since then.
    • When Hugh Hodge once lifted a 75 pound weight above his head, in socks, in the Gym, – only to slip backwards and come crashing down on his arm.  I had to lift it off him.  He’d broken it really badly in at least three places.  But he was probably lucky.  And I could hardly bear the sight of anyone lifting any sort of weights for many a year.
    • Few people saw the time I was attempting Grand Circles on the school high bar.  Did the big swings.  The handstand at the top and the swing over.  You use undergrasp to do them one way and overgrasp to swing the other.  Then got it wrong.  Result: one broken and dislocated wrist 15 feet from the high bar!  Luckily Peter Wilse-Sampson had the presence of mind to look at the wrist and “tweek” it back into place while it was still numb.  Then a quick trip on the back of Ken (fish) Alston’s moped, (left arm dangling) and once again the Cottage Hospital did the rest… No gym for 5 weeks!  Dodgy place, that school gymnasium.

    I would just add, for those who came “home” to England in the middle of their schooling, (I know Chris Mundy was one who returned and went to Epsom College), that we did, of course, start in a whole new school set up.  New friends.  New teachers.  New Rules.  New playgrounds.  On reflection, the task of starting again at 15 seems immense.  But I found it OK.  And it was certainly manageable.  My 10–year start in Rondebosch had prepared me pretty well, though the English boys did start off spending much time trying to get me to say something-just to hear that clipped South African accent(!); but in 1961 anti-SA feeling was low in Britain, and not yet a problem.  It did get worse.  And now it’s better.  Much better.  And we all seem to have lived through it, one way or another.  I feel privileged to be part of it all.

    Ian Newall

    I arrived on a ship from Durban half-way through our Standard 8 year.  My immediate assessment of Rondebosch was that it was quite a lekker school.

    In Durban I had been to a thrashing school.  We all expected the cane.  Even the best-behaved boys would get thrashed from time to time.  Chief Thrasher was the vice-principal, a man named Noble (you couldn’t make it up, could you?).  Noble was a tall, thin, bald-headed man with an enormously strong right arm who spent most of his time thrashing boys.  In fact, sometimes there was a queue outside his office.  We would shuffle along the passage listening to the whack of cane upon trousers, waiting our turn.

    At Rondebosch I fully expected to get thrashed in the first few weeks.  After all, as a new boy I was certain I would inadvertently transgress some rule or other and have to face the inevitable consequence.  But Rondebosch was much more grown-up.  The school seemed to function with little or no thrashing and, besides occasionally writing out ‘If’ a few times as punishment, we all got on with our business in a pretty amicable way.  This is something I shall never forget.

    Arriving half-way through a year is not easy.  Relationships are already established and it is hard to break in.  But I discovered another boy who, like me, had arrived mid-year.  His name was John Gibson and he had arrived from England.  We became friends.  Today we both live in England, John in Essex and I in Yorkshire, yet we somehow never manage to meet up.  Eventually John and I became friends with Johan Walters and Alfred Baguley.  Nicknames became the order of the day.  Because I was from Durban, I became Banana while John’s origins destined him to be Limey.  Johan was, naturally Wally and Alf, curiously, was Danny.  Once we left school we gradually reverted once more to our given names.

    Of all the guys in our class I particularly remember Geoff Duckitt, Peter Goble and Peter Barrett, probably because we sat near each other.  In the eighties I regularly bumped into Peter Barrett at Issy Bloomberg’s gym on the foreshore.  We both had beards.  I had dark hair and a grey beard, while Peter had grey hair and a dark beard.  Or was it the other way around?

    My memory of the guys who were further away becomes blurred, but in the mist I see Rory Beamish, quietly leaning against a wall, flicking a comb through brylcreamed hair, looking incredibly like Elvis.  Then Robert Hoets, though my memory of Robert fuses quickly into that of his sister…  Also in the middle distance is John Barry.  Didn’t he write the theme tune for the James Bond movies?  Ah, Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a white bikini…

    Sadly Rory and Robert are no longer with us but John is very much alive and harassing me to complete this.  A teacher who sticks in my memory is Billy Trengove.  English was not my favourite subject but somehow Billy made it interesting.

    Two decades after leaving Rondebosch I found myself at a graduation ceremony at the University of Stellenbosch, waiting to be awarded an MBA.  The speeches were as boring as the afternoon was warm.  My slide into unconsciousness was halted suddenly by a familiar voice speaking English.  The voice belonged to none other than Billy Trengove, Stellenbosch Professor of English!

    I also recall that one year, probably Standard 9, Billy appeared with a very tall student teacher by the name of Jonty Driver.  One day Billy must have felt sufficiently confident in Jonty to let him loose on us unsupervised.

    cetera, of
    Your smile
    eyes knees and your Etcera

    No doubt, trying to show us rough boys that poetry wasn’t just the sissy stuff in our set work book, he read us all kinds of ‘modern’ poetry like EE Cummings.  In particular, I remember Cummings’ ‘my sweet old etcetera’ which ends:

    This was pretty cool stuff, not to mention a tad racy, and it sent me in a direction that lead ultimately to TS Elliot, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

    Not long afterwards, Driver became driven and was deported for his role in blowing up some electricity pylons.  The next time I spoke to Jonty Driver was in the late nineties but that, as they say, is another story.

    I recall the feeling of dread when my post-matric idyll was shattered by the inevitable arrival of national service.  I was privileged to be called up to the navy while most of the poor sods from our year ended up in the army.  Six weeks’ of basic training was followed by six weeks at Gunnery School, followed by deployment to Walvis Bay to man a shore battery of WW1 (yes, First World War!) naval guns.  Our purpose: to defend Walvis Bay harbour and the entire African hinterland from the communist onslaught, represented by the Russian ‘fishing vessels’ that would anchor provocatively off the coast.

    We arrived in Walvis Bay, about 30 sailors in blue and white, to be billeted in the army camp and were immersed in a sea of khaki.  Peering out of our bungalow we saw what seemed like thousands of ‘pongos’ stamping around in the desert sand.  They seemed to have very strange habits.  For example, we very soon realised that one of the curiosities of army life was that they all stole from each other – all the time.  So, if a soldier washed his kit, he would sit watching it dry because, if he turned his back, the chances were that his kit would be gone by the time he turned back.

    One Sunday, as I strolled through the camp, I came upon a soldier watching his socks dry.  The soldier was none other than Alf Baguley.  Never one to shirk hard labour, I sat down to help him.  Although watching socks dry is tiring work we managed to talk quite a bit, reminiscing about school/civvie days and sharing thoughts about how kak the army was.

    After Alf’s socks had dried, we asked someone to take a picture of us.  Leaning casually against an army jeep, we swapped caps and there we are, frozen in time, an army/navy collaboration.  If an officer had come by there would have been trouble – we could have spent the rest of Sunday writing out ‘If’.

    Chris Newell

    I find it quite difficult in a way to remember anything that stands out really for me of my long life at Rondebosch, all the way from Standard 1 through to matric.  I did, however, with Barry Lloyd I think it was, have a fairly undignified start to my career at Rondebosch.  We had just arrived on the first day and were running around the quadrangle at the prep-school just before assembly shouting and screaming, as 7 year old kids are apt to do, when we very sternly shouted at and called over by old Ensie. who asked us what the hell (although I am sure that didn’t he actually used those words) we thought we were doing.  Stuttering and stammering we said we were just playing the fool – or something like that.  It was obviously not the right answer and the next thing he bent each of us over, there and then, and promptly smacked our bottoms a few times.  I don’t remember any physical pain but that’s not surprising seeing he was only using his hand.  It was, though, a bit embarrassing being dealt with like that by the principal in front of the whole school, seniors and juniors alike, although that feeling did soon pass!

    I did enjoy my school years though, even though I never really made it to the top of anything.  We had good camaradie in our final two years matric class and a fantastic class teacher in Tony Viljoen.  I can remember how the first period was quite busy, in between the banter as we passed around homework to make sure we had all got everything done.  I always did Maths, and usually Latin which I happily shared but did rely often on others for English, Afrikaans and Physics, usually from the guys to the right of me and behind me who were Richard Frantz, Andrew Joubert and Derek van den Berg.  One thing I will also never forget was Chris Matchett and his baiting of Steytler (Peanut) Thwaites. He was always able to get away with so much more because I seem to remember there was some family friendship there.  The funniest ever, for me was the time Peanut was trying to explain in that earnestly passionate way that he did for the things that were beautiful for him about the English language, the image of the ‘chaste goddess Diana bathed in soft moon light’.  Chased by whom, Chris Matchett asked.  I seem to remember that was one of the many occasions he did get sent out of the class to stand in the passage for that chirp!

    I thoroughly and enthusiastically enjoyed my sport, although not achieving much other than making A team in under 13, 14, 15, and 16 rugby.  Academically I was always in the top ten, with maths being my strongest point, but I never ever won an academic prize.

    After leaving school and serving nine months in the navy, I was successful with an actuarial bursary application to Old Mutual for studying at U.C.T. where I graduated in 1967 with a BSc in Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.  I then commenced employment with Old Mutual and ultimately qualified, after many years of part time study, as an actuary in 1981.  I was also fortunate to rise through the ranks there and ended up in the general management team on the Corporate or Pensions side of the business, eventually retiring at the age of 55 in 2001.  During my career I served on various industry bodies, including being President of the Institute of Retirement Funds in 1995 and 1996.

    After retirement from formal employment I then had a second part time career as a professional independent trustee for a number of Old Mutual’s sponsored retirement funds, only finally bowing out of this in December 2012,  to become a full time pensioner!

    On the personal side I have been married to my wife, Viv, since 1996.  She is an old St Cyprians girl and a G.P. by profession, having graduated at U.C.T.  She ran a very successful practice in Pinelands but gave up her practice in 2001 when I retired from full time employment so that we could spend more time together.  We are blessed with five wonderful children collectively, three being from my first marriage (the eldest being a daughter Lindsay, then a son James and a second son Damian) and two, both girls, from Viv’s previous marriage (Megan and Justine).  At present I have one granddaughter with another on the way.

    As far as contact with school mates is concerned, I was very friendly with Richard Frantz  at school and that did continue after school as well. He was my best man at my first wedding and also godfather to my elder son James.  We have however lost contact in the last twenty years, and hopefully this 50th re-union will enable me to re-establish that contact.

    I also had a lot of contact with Peter Scholte when we were in Round Table together, and also while at St Thomas church in Rondebosch.  I have also bumped into Lindsay Kennedy quite regularly, very often at the Pick n Pay in Pinelands which has been very rewarding as he always has a news snippet relating to somebody in our year.  I used to see quite a bit of Barry Lloyd when we had a house at Hermanus, but it is quite a while since I last saw him.  Others with whom I have had contact have been Paul Duminy, Keith Payne (in and around Pinelands) Chris Steyn, Theo de Ryjk, Billy Fullard (client or supplier contacts while at Old Mutual), and then of course also Richard Spring, John Le Roux, Roy Schreiber, Roy McCallum, Geoff Duckitt, as well as some others I have probably forgotten about, at the lunches Lindsay organised when Richard Spring comes out here.  I am sure there are some other contacts I have also forgotten about here and there, but then of course there have also been the various reunions or other get togethers for visiting guys from overeseas where one has been able to get to speak to a lot of the class.

    Viv and I have now moved into full retirement and are in the process of selling up our Pinelands home and relocating to Robertson where we have had a holiday townhouse on the banks of the Breede river in the Silwerstrand Golf and River Estate.  We both play golf and are looking forward to playing more golf (in fact here, as we have already, over the past few weeks, made our physical move).  Incidentally Roy McCallum also has a place on the golf course here and I do bump into him from time to time.  I have always been a very keen waterskier and can still manage to put together a good slalom run so I hope to continue with that while my body can still manage it.  That, together with some canoeing and golf, and also maybe some mountain biking, should keep me going for a while!  Because the actuary in me does keep reminding me that the older you get the greater the probability becomes that you won’t reach your next birthday, it is important to make the most of your life while you can.

    The other part of our retirement plan has involved purchasing a property on the Hans Merensky Golf estate at Phalaborwa where we hope to spend most of our winters when the weather is not good here in the Western Cape.  We are also great bush lovers and try to spend at least one holiday in the Kruger National Park, so having a home up there will enable us to do that more often.  We have already done a couple of Botswana trips in the past three years in having a base up north we are looking to do some trips into Zimbabwe and Zambia into the future as well.

    Peter Parkin

    Rondebosch played a major role in my early life and also in the schooling of three of my uncles.  The story goes that my four uncles were unhappy at Marist Brothers College.  Having a rather strict father, they decided to solve the problem without his knowledge by enrolling themselves at new schools.  One uncle signed himself into SACS and the other three wise one’s enrolled themselves at Rondebosch.  And the first their father knew about all this was when he received their school reports.  These must have been reasonable as they all finished happily at their new schools of choice!  My how the protocol of life has changed.

    And so having had uncles at Rondebosch, I was fortunate to be enrolled at Rondebosch from Standard 1, with the full knowledge of my dear mother Rose!  My school days were happy and rewarding and, from them, many good friendships continue to this day.  As a young boy at school without siblings or a father in South Africa, I never felt alone at Rondebosch.  For this I will always be thankful for wonderful school friendships and I am especially grateful to Mr Clarke, to my grandfather Sir Ian Parkin, CBE, who used to travel from England and visit the school, and to my Mother, for all their guidance and encouragement throughout my school days.

    After school I volunteered for military service in the Navy Gymnasium, becoming a commissioned officer and thereafter graduating with a law degree from UCT.  In 1986, when canvassing for election as a Cape Town City Councillor, I was taken into an unknown constituent’s home, only to encounter the legendary Mr Hallack, who supported the opposition candidate and told me I was far too young to be a councillor.  After being elected, I invited Charlie to a formal Council lunch which he was gracious enough to accept and enjoy.  As Councillor for the area Woodstock to Rosebank, I landed up as leader of the Open Woodstock Campaign, which included Bishop Tutu and Helen Zille, and which featured in Time, Newsweek, BBC, CNN as the first successful campaign against residential apartheid in South Africa.  In 1986 I established Parkin Attorneys and added to this in 1999 by starting Eton Properties both of which continue.  Other interests include: Law Society’s committee, tennis, golf, life membership of WP Cricket Club, honorary life membership of Kelvin Grove Club, and legal consultant to St Andrew’s Church.  So a big thank you Rondebosch and I very much look forward to seeing you all at our forthcoming reunion – Altius et Latius forever!

    Keith Payne

    Keith and Lynne

    With some regret, I have never taken much part in the Old Boys’ Union and my memory of teachers’ names is not what it should be – hence the acknowledgement of their valued activities below is not complete.  No excuses, laziness and a fairly busy career have occupied my time.


    I arrived at RBHS in Standard Six (whatever that is now) in 1959, having transferred from SACS junior school, most of my male cousins being at RBHS at that time.  Beautiful school grounds with friendly co-scholars (no “learners” then, but many hard-working scholars) assisted by dedicated teachers who arrived on time and supervised many extra-mural activities.  I suppose that made us “previously advantaged” individuals (rubbish, one makes one’s own advantages in life).

    Standard Six stands out in my memory for two subjects that would influence my career.  One was my utter ineptitude in Latin (and regrettably, not much better at English or Afrikaans) and the second was Mr ‘Bob’ Martin’s enthusiasm for bookkeeping and commercial pastimes.  Being a failure at Latin before really starting it, was a dampener on my ambition to study medicine – fortunately by 1964, Latin was no longer a requirement for Medicine at UCT.  The logic and money interest of bookkeeping and commercial, appealed to my personality.  Mr Martin’s philosophies through Standards 6 – 8, probably benefited my financial interests for the rest of my life.  Woodwork was a non-examination subject but a constructive and satisfying break from desk work.  The two woodwork teachers, Mr De Wet and Mr Love, gave up their Saturday afternoons for several months to supervise canoe-building by young scholars.  My canoe was greatly used for the next 18 years!

    Standards Seven and Eight are a bit of a blur; can’t recall too much there.  Certainly, Mr Hallack for History and Mr ‘Buck’ Ryan for English, have their faces and teachings embedded in my consciousness – they were my teachers in Standards 9 + 10, but also in 7 + 8 (?).  History continues to fascinate me, in no small part due to the enthusiasm and insight of Mr Hallack.  Mr Jones was always complimentary about my essay writing style but tore his hair out over my spelling.  My spelling failure has remained throughout my life – fortunately my secretaries always spelt well and nowadays “spell-check” is a saving grace.

    Standard Nine confronted me and several others with pure physics and pure chemistry.  Mr Jayes being the physics teacher, and Mr Reeler being the chemistry teacher.  I and several classmates had taken the pure sciences for the supposed benefits those subjects would provide in various university courses.  Unfortunately, pure physics proved to be pure confusion and much to Mr Jayes’ delight, the original two physics classes reduced themselves to one class, while the rest of us scuttled back to physical science, the same as other schools took.  Mr Jayes was of the old school regarding teaching and his duties as vice-principal – and very successful he was too.

    Half-way through Standard Nine, I re-entered the physical science class and met Mr Rollo, one of the highpoints of my school career.  He was a science fundi and delighted in teaching his subject.  He quickly took it upon himself to ensure that those of us who were aiming for science degrees at UCT achieved the necessary marks for entry.  Mr Young’s classes in bookkeeping provided a stimulating environment and springboard to university entrance – logic and good marks.  The maths teacher, Mr Murison, was very good.  I recall him trying some mind experiments.  We were to sleep on difficult problems in the hope that our sleeping subconscious mind would solve the problem.  I still do that with some success – probably just a fresh morning mind resolves problems that a tired night mind can’t.

    For those who aren’t already terrified by inflation, a useful little story of the olden days: Mr Young (he was young in those days!) sold me his elderly Ford Anglia to use as my ‘varsity car.  For R35!  Granted the engine was finished, but a reconditioned engine cost R50.  Today’s university students all seem to drive very recent model cars.

    Headmaster Mr Clarke never taught me in class but his management style for the school and his life-principles infused the school ethos, and stayed with me throughout my medical career.  Those, with input from three or four equally honoured medical teachers, have been major influences on my career ethos.  Mr Clarke’s brother had been my junior school principal at Pinelands Primary up to Standard three – a gentleman of similar quality to that of his brother.

    Then there was sport – always a vital part of RBHS activities.  But not my activities.  Rugby was played for four years – under 13 to under 16 years.  Dr Heyns was the coach for much of those times.  Wonderful chap, and a jewel for any school.  For myself, all four years were played as a front-rank prop in the second team, always scrumming against Derek van den Berg who just grew bigger and stronger each year (he became a Springbok lock forward, as you will recall).  My scrummage efforts were not successful.  Hence I dropped rugby in Standard Ten, ostensibly to concentrate on a university entrance matric, but also to save my spinal column from further concertinering.  Cricket in summer was avoided at all costs.

    Sports day – you all recall the obligatory three events in which we were compelled to participate?  Like many of the “nerds”, I always chose the 100 yards sprint – not because I could run but because the humiliation would be over in the 15 seconds (or was it 20 seconds?) it took me to run a 100 yards; the long jump – about 5 foot, the same as the other nerds; and the shot put – that was over very fast, one push and you’re out!

    University of Cape Town.

    RBHS certainly provided a platform for life at UCT.  Despite the advice of a “career guidance officer”, I applied for medicine at UCT.  As did a few other RBHS co-scholars who had also been advised against medicine by the careers officer.  All have done well in our chosen careers.

    Medicine at UCT (and all medical schools) is a hard task-master for students.  But as for all students, the social benefits of campus life proved to be very enjoyable.  As most of you found out, university lecturers are very different to school teachers, but my feeling was that at RBHS our teachers had prepared us well for the step to university.  As I recall, all of the ex-RBHS students achieved their medical degrees.  For me, 1964 to 1969 passed in a frantic rush of lectures, clinical work and the dreaded examinations and I obtained my MB ChB in 1969.

    My university days were lightened and made pleasurable by my girl-friend at the time, from the beginning of third year through to the end of sixth year.  Lynne was a steadfast support.  Two weeks after graduation we got married, our first son was born in 1975 and the second in 1978.  I have been happily married ever since.  A doctor’s wife is not an easy occupation.

    Career Path.

    1970.  For those who have never suffered the rigours of a 1970’s 12 month medical internship, be eternally grateful.  Worse than anything I experienced in the war years in Angola.  Still, everything comes to an end.  In 1971 I did my nine-month military conscription at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria spending the time in the operating theatres, teaching myself anaesthesia.  That would never be allowed today – formal training is required before anaesthetising patients – but 40 years ago, things were less regulated.  That sparked my interest in anaesthesia as an area for specialisation.

    In 1976 I spent a year at Tygerberg Hospital as an anaesthetics registrar, followed by three years in Auckland New Zealand, to complete my anaesthesia specialisation.  New Zealand is a beautiful country filled with lovely people who are very friendly – the South African contingent there is large, especially the SA medical element.  Unfortunately, New Zealand was not a very exciting place to be, so back to Africa.  I obtained the FFARACS in 1978 and an honorary ANZCA in 1992 (only honorary because I already had the older degree of FFARACS).  The FFARACS is an Australian degree – New Zealand being a province of Australia for the purposes of medicine (Ag sies, hey or should that be Ag shame hey?)

    From 1980 to 1999, I was an academic anaesthetist at Tygerberg Hospital.  That was at the time of a high gold price, plenty of money for academic hospitals and research was well financed.  A good time to be a full-time academic civil servant.  Paediatric anaesthesia was my area of interest and various research interests in that area resulted in an M.D. in 1990.

    As you will recall, there was also the euphemistically named ‘Border’ War at that time.  For various reasons, I volunteered my services in 1981 as an anaesthetist on the surgical team into the operational area.  This meant annual voluntary stints to provide anaesthesia in mostly well-equipped military hospitals at the Oshikati or Ondangwa military bases but with the occasional mission into Angola – Pereira D’Eca/Ongiva being a common venue.  These stints came to an end in 1988, when the war was wound down in preparation for the political peace that came later.  Interesting times they were.

    Unfortunately from 1990 or thereabouts, academic funding started to dry up and by the end of the 1990s academic medicine was in the doldrums.  In 1999, I transferred from Tygerberg Hospital to 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg as Head of Anaesthesia with nine posts in the anaesthetic department.  No one seems to know where 2 Military Hospital is – just as well because it’s a state secret.  As you drive down Wynberg hill with Wynberg Park on your left, the big white building amongst the trees on your right is 2 Military Hospital.  It is a busy tertiary hospital that serves all military personal in the Western Cape – army, navy, airforce.  Mostly it treats the families of military personal plus the large numbers of military pensioners who retire to the coast.  As a civilian appointment to the SANDF, my “useful” working life terminated abruptly at the age of 65 years, at the end of May 2011.  The computer then forcibly retires one.  So now I am a pensioner.

    Medicines Control Council.

    The Medicines Control Council has been in the newspapers recently, being under public siege by a few disaffected pharmaceutical companies.  The criticism is unjustified as the MCC does sterling work.  I was co-opted into the MCC in 1983 as an outside consultant for the evaluation of new medicines and have fulfilled that position ever since.  Initially it was only anaesthetic medicines for my evaluation, but over time that work load has grown, like “Topsy”.  Interesting work and all laypersons will be happy to know that a clinical committee of some twelve experts comprehensively assess all medicines before those medicines are released onto the South African market.  The clinical committee is ably assisted by several other specialised committees eg pharmaceutical, biological, manufacturing and veterinary committees – the last only for animals of course.  It is said that full retirement hastens death, so my plan is to delay death by continuing the MCC evaluation work indefinitely.


    With thanks to parents, teachers/lecturers, family, colleagues and pre + post graduate students.  It will be good to read what you all have been doing these past fifty years.  Some will have died, some will die sooner rather than later and some will go on to 100 years.  Actual age does not matter; we all lived in interesting times.

    Senior Cross-Country Team in 1962 with Dr Tinkie Heyns and Mr Tickey de Jager
    Back: Daly, van den Berg, Hodge, Paul, Scholte, Mathews, Levinson
    Middle: Swift, Klosser, Schrooder, Kipps, Kennedy, Jones, Duckitt, Patric, McCallum
    Front: Dr Heyns, Brice, Penfold, McLean, de Wet, Kritzinger, de Jongh, Mr de Jager
    (Picture courtesy Johnny Kipps)

    Nick Penstone

    Let’s face it; I never wanted to grow up.  From the moment my mother accompanied me to Cape Town aged 12, a full five days travel by train, sooty, dirty, hot, exciting, and deposited me rather unceremoniously into the hands of Bob Martin in Mason house, I had to accept this was to be my destiny.  Tinkie Heyns was now my only source of adult contact outside of the fearsome “teachers” who now controlled my life.  It would be six months before I could return home again.  After the heart wrenching home sickness, tears shed in private, would I ever see my faithful dog again?  Where would Kabundi our bush baby find toes to bite at night, if not mine?

    Then there was school.  Latin!  Never heard of it, we did not speak that strange tongue in Northern Rhodesia, neither did we speak Afrikaans.  Extra lessons to be bunked at all costs – Nobby Clarke gave four cuts for missing those.  This was a regular visit on Fridays, something to budget for.  But did he know we had the run of the school over weekends?  Running along those long dark corridors, sliding around corners in a helter-skelter of fear and the pure joy of knowing we were doing something really naughty.

    From Mason house we graduated to “the Lilacs” Tickey de Jager was our Housemaster.  He taught me more about maths on the tennis court, table tennis table and billiards table than I ever imagined possible.  And our first responsibility!  Road monitors!  We could control the cyclists of Rustenburg girls.  A whistle and all traffic along Camp Ground Road came to a standstill.  Notes deposited in girls baskets to be delivered to the girl prisoners up the road.  What about the once a term socials?  Our only contact with the female form unless we bunked out at the weekends.  Sam Wiggett and I did it on occasion, creeping past the sleeping form of our prefect Ian McCallum.  Nothing woke him.

    Then finally onto Canigou and ‘Barty’ Baartman who ruled the dining room with his rod of plastic!  Swimming pool duty so as not having to attend assembly.  School was all about rebellion.  When Ron Wiggett offered to award me a braided blazer for these duties, I was quite offended.  This was our domain; I could have a quiet smoke without interruption!  Cadets.  Not my thing.  Mr, Diepeveen recognised this and promoted Owen Fletcher and I to sergeant in charge of the obstacle course, I loved it.  The following year it was shooting range duties until the government withdrew all arms from schools in the fear of the ANC raiding them for terrorist purposes.  Half the ammo disappeared into our pockets to be used in goose hunting during the 10 day holidays.  Too short to return home we went mostly to the Melks at Kruispad. We went back to marching with broomsticks.

    John Barry’s (not the E63 one) mother took pity on a poor boarder and kindly made sandwiches for me over a period of two years.

    Matric was a great year, parties, study. (Sometimes).  Swimming galas.  And the final exams.  And I have never forgotten the last poem read to us by a blushing Billy Trengove,  E. E. Cummings – “may I touch said he?”  That was awesome, perhaps an insight into the future?  I used it to woo my now wife, thanks Billy.  In between, the mountain goat, Doc Watson took us up Table Mountain for a nights camping.  Stunning.

    RBHS made me, moulded me, and set me up for adulthood.  If only I could have stayed there forever.

    Today I am semi-retired working three days week as HR Manager for a Dutch shipbuilding Company called Damen, it is a great company to work for.  Previously I had 25 years in the mining industry finishing up as a Director of Rand Mines then onto Tiger Brands, Director for Albany Bakeries.  Married to Margot, I have two daughters and three granddaughters.  Managed to be selected to play squash for South Africa at master’s level and have won bronze at various world championships in the UK, Finland Australia and South Africa twice, in 4 different age groups.  Golf is now my passion and both Margot and I play at Erinvale in Somerset West.

    Richard Risby

    I was happy at school, but in retrospect it is not wholly clear to me whether it was due to the school per se.  After I had been a Member of Parliament for some years, the political lobby journalists voted me the happiest parliamentarian, and indeed in all the snakes and ladders of life that has been a characteristic which has prevailed.

    I landed up in the school somewhat by accident.  I had failed the entrance exam of another local school.  I remember sitting the test with a truly appalling headache.  The decision was then made that I would be despatched to a school in the eastern Cape.  As the time approached, I was surprised that nothing had been done to ensure this, but in the meanwhile my father had died and my mother was going through several troubled years.  Her sister, Nancy Watson-Morris, was on the staff at Rondebosch, and settled the matter.  Subsequently my mother frequently tried to persuade me to leave the school.  I adamantly refused and we had some quite disagreeable moments on the subject.

    If you were not in the first cricket XI or first rugby XV or an athlete, you had precious little status.  I was a reasonably good tennis player and that was about it, but was very busy all the time, including editing the school magazine.  Nobby Clarke tested me by asking me to stand up in front of the school and recite Lincoln’s famous speech at Gettysburg, to commemorate the assassination of President Kennedy.  Shortly afterwards I was made a junior prefect and then subsequently became an unlikely prefect, despite the strongest objections from Doc Watson.

    I genuinely think we had some marvellous dedicated teachers, however Charlie Hallack stands out for me.  Nobody, including the two stepbrothers I later acquired, could believe the stories.  However it was he who actually set the course for my life.  During the school holidays I would spend many an hour at his house in Mowbray, drinking tea and discussing politics.  I quietly started reading political biographies, a habit which in later life has drowned out virtually all other reading.  Politics became for me the love that dare not speak its name, as I felt that it could not be expressed in South African public life.

    During the latter stages of the apartheid era, I was an infrequent visitor, but more recently have greatly enjoyed doing so quite often.  Lindsay, a wonderful head boy, would rally together some former classmates for lunch, and this has given enormous pleasure.

    All of this having been said, I have watched over the years my parliamentary colleagues in England being recognised by their former school or university.  I have been somewhat bemused never to have heard from the school.  In our day we had visitors from abroad to speak about their lives and experiences.  Perhaps it is because public service is not held in much esteem.

    Being schooled so far away, people here have no reference point, and that includes my own children.  Virtually never have I been asked where I went to school until – quite recently — when a colleague asked me if I had been to St Michael’s College (sic).  I said I had not, and am very glad I went where I did, for without knowing it at the time the school gave me a solid base in beautiful surroundings for what has been, despite the inevitable slings and arrows of public office, an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding life.

    Break at RBHS
    Newell, Frantz, Gibb, Le Roux, Joubert, Taylor, Mundy, de Rijk, Kipps, van den Berg
    (Photograph courtesy of Michael Taylor)

    Jan Rozwadowski

    Initially, on receiving this request, I was reticent, finding it difficult to remember anything significant that could be of interest.  But, thinking some more, here are some thoughts.  Up to you to decide what is printable, relevant and of interest.  Rondebosch actually represented 25% of my life in SA, therefore most important!  My education there started at Mrs Wilson´s school in Grabouw, up to Standard 2.  Mostly “apple barons’ kids” who would then go on to Bishops and other such places.  Then for one year, I was in Standard 3 at Grabouw High School, where they were inaugurating an “English Medium school” in what was a 100% “Afrikaans Language school.”  Mostly “plaas japies”, taking a school bus barefoot, warming ourselves at the bus-stop by a fire in the freezing Elgin winter mornings.  Bus, sort of a back-of-a-lorry with wooden benches.  I think Tim Morris featured on that school bus too!  Playing “skop die blik” and other such past times.  Then Standard 4 to 6 at Somerset House (2 years as a boarder, then 1 year as a day-boy when my father changed jobs from managing Applethwaite Farm – where Appletizer was invented – to Lourensford Estates in Somerset West).

    Then in early 1960 on to Standard 7 at RBHS.  English and maths were the subjects I preferred.  I was not much good at rugby or cricket.  Tickey de Jager was very inspiring and I enjoyed maths with him and the sense of satisfaction at getting good marks.  In Standard 9, I believe there was a school play with Rustenburg Girls.  “The Admirable Crichton” was the title.  I remember having a good time.  I went on to Wikipedia to find out about the plot/story.  Nothing I could remember.  I believe Lindsay and Tessa Kennedy were part of that play.  And that Richard Spring had some important role (already!)  My parents did not want me to be a boarder at RBHS, as they wanted me back on Lourensford on week-ends.  So, I ended staying with various friends of the family.  One year was with a Polish family on Camp Ground Rd, the Rosenwerths.  Mrs Rosenwerth went on to create a local fashion house.  Then 2 years in Kenilworth at Ferdi Fischer’s (whose grandmother had known my grandmother in Vienna!)  During our final year, we had some interesting escapades.  Arriving at school with a horse-drawn carriage and top-hats from Cape Town station to Rondebosch one morning.  Our friend Paul Duminy was part of that.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the climb up Skeleton Gorge, camping on Table Mountain and then down to Clifton beach the next day for an icy swim!

    There were some riots in Langa and Nyanga in the early sixties, and my mother, driving me in early on Monday mornings from Somerset West, had to make some long detours to try to get me to school on time.  When I wanted to stay in town for a Friday night party, I used to hitch-hike back to Somerset West on the Saturday.  I guess there were fewer security issues in those days for a 15 year-old kid.

    Some other post-Rondebosch recollections.  While based in Miami from 1999 to 2004, being in charge of MasterCard Latin America, I attended some Old Boys’ “bring and braai” reunions in Fort Lauderdale.  There was a sort of sports bar called “Kalahari Bar” run by Hal Hofmeyr (E ’46)!  Colourful character whose father had been close to the Smuts Government, based in Washington DC during WW2.  Many of the Old Boys attending these braais were in boating/shipping-related activities.  Ft Lauderdale is one of the leisure boating capitals of the world.  That’s when I realized to what extent those being raised in SA of the 60s/70s/80s at Rondebosch were a tough, “rough and tumble” but sophisticated lot prepared to travel the world, very capable of adapting to any environment, etc.  Some of those in Florida were in boat-repairing, others in insurance and other forms of brokerage, etc.

    When I had to deal with the Middle East (before Florida/Latin America), I also realized to what extent South Africans in general were recognized for being capable of coping with all cultures, degrees of literacy, in all climatic conditions!  Places like Dubai were riddled with South Africans in PR, event management, advertising, etc.

    One incredible coincidence regarding Don Andrew.  When I was getting my MBA in the early 70’s at Amos Tuck Business School, Dartmouth College, which was an all-male Ivy League university in New Hampshire, we used to drive 2 hours in snow, etc. to see girls (they called them “mixers”) at a “Seven sister” girls’ university called Smith College.  Smith was to Dartmouth what Rustenburg was to RBHS.  Fast forward to early 2000s, when all these universities had become “co-ed”, there was an effort to hold a RBHS USA Old Boys’ reunion (I could not attend because of scheduling issues), and I discovered that Don Andrew who had ‘trapeezed’ (does the word exist?) his way around the world, was now in charge of Student Affairs at Smith!

    Had dinner once with Steve Buchner and his family near Washington DC (when my son was at university there).  Steve had some important US government-related job.

    Peter Paul Scholte

    Bridget and Peter, Roy Schreiber and Peter

    I have been so blessed by the life I have been given!

    I was born to Dutch parents in Singapore and at the age of three my dad was transferred to Mombasa.  At the age seven, dad was transferred to Port Elizabeth for a year, then to Johannesburg for a year, and back to Port Elizabeth for four years before we came to Cape Town.

    1960—Monday, the 3rd week of the First Term I arrived at Rondebosch.

    After assembly Bruce McLagan took me to B2 and left me standing at the front of the classroom.  My thoughts were, where can I sit?  All the guys were just chatting before the Master came to start the lesson.  A guy at the back of the classroom, after what seemed ages, stood up and said, ‘NEW BOY’ sit here, pointing to the seat next to him.  I was saved.  The second pupil I met at Rondebosch, Chris Krige.  Chris was also a new boy, having come from Worcester at the start of the term.  The beginning of a new friendship!

    Break time.  Walking through the grounds to see my new school with Chris, I had someone kicking the back of my foot, trying to trip me.  By the time we got to the cricket scoreboard I had had enough and turned around and asked him, ‘are looking for a fight, if you want it, no problem!’.  Classmates name…..he may remember the day!

    After a few weeks at the school I was elected to go on the WP Schools swimming tour with Derek v d Berg.  I had a wonderful tour (my first ever) and we had a lot of fun, and got into some trouble.  Threatened, but not serious enough to stop us from swimming at our first SA Schools Championships.  A new friend and we had a few more tours thereafter.

    I was very fortunate that I loved and was talented in sport, it helped me get into the ‘Rondebosch clique’.


    Playing under 13 and bowling (medium pace) to a batsman who snicked the ball, I witnessed a catch and thought, wow, this is the best wicketkeeper I have seen, Gavin Pfuhl!


    A ‘new boy’, and I wanted to play in the ‘A’ team!  The team was unbeaten Under 13, coached by Tinkie Heyns. They were a close knit unit, pals and playing together in prior years.  I wanted to play in the ‘A’  Team!  To get there I played my heart out and was initially called ‘Dirty Grey’.  I was playing ‘hard rugby’ and as far as I was concerned, I was not playing ‘dirty rugby’.  I had come to Rondebosch from Grey School, Port Elizabeth.


    I was a lazy scholar and enjoyed my days at school and after school.

    After matric:

    I was not balloted for the Army and joined a firm of Chartered Accountants studying part time by going by going to lectures after work and on Saturday mornings.  I enjoyed life and took quite a few years longer to qualify than a disciplined student would.  But I did qualify.

    To-day I am working as a Chartered Accountant, sole practitioner, doing accounting, auditing and taxation, and financial consulting.


    I got married in April 1971 to Bridget Silberbauer.  Bridget is/was a Nursery School Teacher.  We have three children, a son Anthony (37), and daughters, Lucy (35) and Gillian (33).  Anthony is unmarried, Lucy is married to Paul Copson (Fish Hoek) and they have twins (a boy and girl, age 14 months), and Gillian is married to Graham Deneys (Wynberg) (no children).

    Anthony attended Rondebosch from sub A to Matric and I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement as a parent at my old school.  My hope is that my grandson will follow the same schooling tradition.


    We are living in Claremont and have been in the same home since 1979.

    Gordon Slabbert