Dear Old Boy

As tradition goes at Pretoria Boys High School, Friday Assemblies are always a notable affair. Notwithstanding the traditional musical item, the Headmaster's Address is always engaging, relevant and well received by staff and pupils.

The Headmaster's Assembly which took place on 3 May this year is a reminder of one of the few ways the School on the Hill forms young men into the men of tomorrow.

Life skills I hope my children have..

Today's address was inspired by two things - firstly a video I watch from time to time of a 30 year old rapper and performance artist known as Prince EA in which he takes on traditional education and education systems and secondly the stage I am in my personal life as a father where my children will, very soon, be leaving my home. Why I chose these two was because both of them ask questions about relevance. Prince EA questions what schools teach and whether products of the education system (ie you!) are ready for the working world, and my circumstances because as parents, I want my wife and me to have developed in my children the skills they need for the world they will face.

I can get philosophical at this stage and talk about how I want my children - both you and my own - to be nice to others, to be kind, loyal, helpful and caring human beings and how I want you to be able to think for yourself, but today I thought I would focus on more practical skills - things you need to be able to actually do!

Social media is full of lists - the 50 things you need to do to be successful, the 10 things you must avoid when interviewing for a job, the 5 things that make you a good husband and so on. This is my list of things I hope my own children will be able to do when they leave home and I hope you can tick these off as I go through them.

1. You must be able to cook and by that I don't mean warm up 2 minute noodles! You must be able to make a meal, not just for yourself but for guests as well. The meal must be balanced and nourishing, must include vegetables or a salad and must be tasty and nutritious. Enjoy making the meal and clean up afterwards - no matter how late the evening is. Waking up to dirty dishes is simply not on!

2. You must be able to manage your finances. Do you spend money as you get it so that monthly allowances are finished before half the month has elapsed of do you plan for upcoming events? Do you keep some money aside - just in case? And do you have a savings plan? Those of you that know the advantages of compound interest will know that compound interest is your friend - provided you save for long enough. The richest people I know, those who retired early and comfortably, started saving early, so put money away when you can and force yourself to do it. Invest wisely if you can and if you cannot - seek advice from a trustworthy source or join the Business Club and make friends with those boys who are winning the JSE competition. Any way you can - put money away for the future and do so early.

3. For the older boys - drive well and drive safely. Assume that everyone else on the road is a moron that is going to do unpredictable things. Anticipate early and watch for things before they happen. Take pride in your driving and be known by your friends as being a good driver. Learn how to overtake properly, use your indicators and maintain a good following distance. Be able to change a tyre - this sounds simple but it is a critical and valuable skill all of us will need at least once in our lives. And fill up your car's tank before it gets to empty!

4. Know how to clean a house - how to use a vacuum cleaner properly, how to mop and how to scrub and clean a toilet. You may feel these skills are beneath you but no-one likes a dirty house, certainly not your visitors!

5. Know how to wash clothes, iron a shirt and sew on a button or sew a hem that has come out.

6. Write properly - in full sentences and on paper. Say thank-you a lot and mean it but write that note if someone is celebrating a special day, or if someone has lost a loved one. Posting on Facebook or Instagram or in a chat group doesn't count. Learn how to spell!!

7. Look after your health - go to the dentist and the doctor if needs be and exercise as often as you can. Your body needs you to take control. Know what medical aid is and why at least a hospital plan is a good idea.

8. Be able to talk to all people on relevant topics. Know what Brexit is, what the current exchange rates are and who the political parties are that will be contesting next week's election. Know what the sports scores are and what issues are currently trending. Be interesting to be around and educate yourself.

As I went through those eight practical things: make a meal, manage your finances, drive a car, clean, launder, write, personal health and a wide range of knowledge, I hope you ticked off what you can already do and what you still have to learn. And I hope that you remember them!
They are not the definitive list by any means but they are a start. Finally - ask your teachers next lesson what they wish they had learned at your age and ask your parents tonight what they want you to be able to do. Build up your own list - write it down and tick off as you acquire the skill and our jobs as teachers and parents will be partially done!

" It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings. " - Ann Landers

Tony Reeler


Old Boys are reminded that the 100th Annual Old Boys Dinner will be held on Saturday, 1 June 2019 at Pretoria Boys High School.

Old Boy, and past Master Greg Hassenkamp, will be the guest speaker at the 100th Annual Old Boys' Dinner this year. James Orr (2009) Solomon House Old Boy and current Solomon House tutor will be our Master of Ceremonies on the evening. Past Masters Alan O' Brien will be saying Grace and Paul Sommerville will present the Toast to Absent Friends. Old Boy Simphiwe Petros (2008) will be proposing the Toast to South Africa.

Bookings are limited to a first come, first served basis - don't delay! We will do our best to accommodate all late bookings.


Boarders will be pleased to know that the school has agreed to have all three boarding houses open for Old Boys to visit from 17:30 - 18:30 before the dinner. 

DATE: Saturday, 1 June 2019
VENUE: Abernethy Hall, Pretoria Boys' High School.
TIME: 18:30 for 19:00
DRESS CODE: Formal - Black Tie or Lounge Suit
INCLUDES: Three course dinner, refreshments: welcoming drink, wine, malt and cool drinks, entertainment and collector's items
ENTERTAINMENT: Guest Speaker - Gregary Hassenkamp, PBHS Musical Items
COST: R 500.00 Per Person

This event is only open to Old Boys of Pretoria Boys High School & Honorary Life Members of the PBHSOB Association.

More information & bookings >>


There are a limited number of 100th Annual Dinner Commemorative Ties for sale to Life Members of the PBHSOB Association at R250.00 per tie.

We are offering this stunning tie to Association Life Members  on the AlumNet portal for collection at the Dinner this year on 1 June. Alternatively you can purchase your tie at the dinner. There will be a number of regalia items on sale on the evening.

Click here to purchase a commemorative dinner tie. 



A reminder that Old Boys will be able to purchase a copy of Mr Schroder' s book at the 100th Annual Old Boys Dinner on the 1st of June 2019 at Pretoria Boys High School.

Mr Schroder will make himself available for a limited period at the Dinner to sign copies of his book and it will also be for sale on the evening. Thereafter books will be available from the Association Office and any pre-orders which have not been collected will be posted (within RSA only).

All proceeds from the sale of the book at the Old Boys' Dinner will be given to the School to go towards the Cherry Schroder Memorial Bursary which the family established this year and which will assist worthy boys hopefully in perpetuity.


Old Boys are invited to attend Assembly at Pretoria Boys High School on Friday, 31 May 2019 at 7:40. Old Boys who will be attending are requested to please be seated in the gallery, wearing a jacket and tie. Kindly RSVP to the school at pr@boyshigh.com.

Tea will be served in the Staff Room afterwards.


Pretoria Boys High School will be hosting its Founders' Day Golf Day at the Pretoria Country Club on Friday, 31 May 2019.

Businesses are also offered the opportunity to be involved by either sponsoring a tee on the golf course or donating prizes for the prize giving.

If you are interested, please email pr@boyshigh.com



Mrs Baptiste - Sharrap!
Mr Moodley - Can we Caaantinue? @&%, register.
Mr Ewart-Phipps - We are playing under the African sky boys! … (Before 3rd team rugby matches on Saturdays)
Ms Hornsveld - Ja? Not so?
Mr Illsley - uh … uhmm uhh … hmm ..uhh
Mrs Robinson - Fank you
Mrs Holliday - I am allergic to your noise! You can do anything with the Add Maths
Mrs van Straten - I am going to commit a crime!
Mrs van Schie - Thank you means shut up!

George von Berg. Boys Highlights, Number 13 - May 2009



The Cape Town Branch of the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys' Association will hold its Annual Function on Tuesday 4 June 2019 at Rondebosch Golf Club.

The Headmaster, Mr. Tony Reeler, will travel from Pretoria for the dinner. Jacket and tie would be appropriate. A dinner has been organised at a cost of R250.00, payable before by EFT. Drinks at the bar will be for your own account.

Your assistance in contacting some of your old schoolmates and encouraging them to attend will ensure an enjoyable evening amongst your old school friends.

Account Details:

Name: Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys Association CT
Bank: First National Bank
Branch: Constantia. Code: 250148
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 62216338641
Reference: Surname & Last Year at School

Cost: R250.00 per person
Drinks: For your own account
Dress code: Jacket & Tie
Time: 19:00

When paying, please put your surname and year in which you left school as the reference.

Please send RSVP and send a copy of bank EFT by e-mail to mark@gleeson.com


A Stag Luncheon will be held at the 'BURGUNDY RESTAURANT' in Hermanus on FRIDAY 12th JULY 2019 starting at 12h30. It will be a casual, informal opportunity for Old Boys in the Overberg, Western Cape area to meet for some good fellowship.

Retired Judge Roger Cleaver (1953) will propose the Toast to our special "School on the Hill". An excellent menu has been selected with complimentary wine on the tables and a Cash Bar will also be available.

The Function will cost R230.00 per person and payment should be made by in advance by EFT not later than Friday 5th July. Payment should be made to:

Mr. GJ Hassenkamp Nedbank
Savings Account Acc. No. 2958321010
Branch: Rosebank/0977
Reference Name and Surname. PBHSOB.

RSVP's should be Emailed to: cherrylynne1@hotmail.com with your Name, Surname, Matric Year and your proof of payment.

Any queries can be directed to Cherry Cell : 082 823 2283 or Ed Meyer Cell : 082 880 7604


Old Boys living in the Eastern Cape are requested to save the date of 16 August 2019 for this year's Old Boys gathering which will be held at Old Grey Club in Port Elizabeth this year.

More information:
Mark Muttit mark@rcgins.co.za 


Philharmonic orchestras to stage free lunchtime concert at Artscape

... Featuring Nigerian cellist Nwuko Sunday Kelechi and Pretoria-raised Stellenbosch clarinettist and saxophonist Cameron Williams (2016) as soloists, the senses-soothing concert is scheduled to unfold in the Artscape's charming Opera House Chandelier Foyer from 1pm..


Beyers de Vos
Old Boy Beyers de Vos (2007) was recently longlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for his novel Talion, which was published last year by Penguin.

About the book:
Pretoria: Five people with distinct lives, living in different sections of the city, but all tied together in ways they have yet to understand. Ben and Freya are orphaned twins, and Freya believes them to be as close as twins can be, but Ben has kept secrets from Freya that have led to his murder. Mr October is a widowed father, a rugby coach at a high school, and a devout Christian, but harbours a dark past that haunts him...


Click here to read more about the long list >>

John Illsley

Congratulations to John Illsley, senior deputy headmaster at Pretoria Boys High School, who graduated cum laude with his Master's degree in History at UP recently.

"For me, graduation is the culmination of years of researching and writing a thesis at master's level. I always wanted to do this, but only managed to achieve it later in life, and I am pleased that I persevered," he says. "My fascination with history was encouraged by my parents, who took me to different historical sights both nationally and internationally when I was growing up." John then directed this interest into becoming a history teacher, a field in which he now has over 30 years of experience.

He says he's considering undertaking a PhD in the future - an adventure we fully support!

IMAGES & TEXT: The University of Pretoria


The committee commenced its work in June 2018 focussed on tracing class members. The first letter advising classmates of the reunion was sent on 30 July 2018 and various updates were sent to classmates regularly.

Inge Paulsen-Liddle, who heads up the Old Boys Association office, provided invaluable assistance and support providing amongst others, a detailed programme and checklist and a list of her current addresses of our class members.

The Reunion took place on 17 May 2019 and the final tally of attendees was as follows:

  • Paid and Accepted - 39
  • Unable to attend - 47
  • Deceased - 37
  • Unable to trace - 17
  • Spouses - 16
  • Guests - 7

Two classmates who had paid and intended to attend had to withdraw at the last minute so the actual number of classmates in attendance was 37.

The Reunion commenced at 08:00 with guests assembling on the Solomon House lawn. Coffee, tea and rusks were served, name tags were issued, and old friends had time to re-acquaint themselves.

Mr Reeler then took a large group down the driveway towards School House pausing from time to time for explanations. Rather than stating the obvious, he dealt with matters that had changed from 1959 with particular reference to school and staff numbers, changes in dress code, new sports introduced and the like. He explained that whilst he had not attended the School, he had a long association with it which included his father who was an Old Boy.

Those who did not take the walk spent an interesting hour in the impressive and comprehensive School museum and then everyone assembled for tea, coffee and snacks in the Bill Schroder Centre on the south side of the School hall.

Assembly commenced at 12:00, with Mr Reeler extending a welcome to the fifty-niners and their wives. That was followed by the School Song. Although the Song was not known in our day, no one could fail to be moved at the sight and sound of one thousand five hundred and fifty boys in full school uniform singing their School Song passionately with their hands over their hearts.

The School Orchestra then performed two works which confirmed the music department' s reputation as being the finest in the country, a reputation it has achieved due to the leadership of Dr Niel van der Watt, the director of the department.

Tiny Barnetson then addressed the School emphasising the critical influence that teachers have on all of our lives and encouraging the boys to support and promote this vital profession at all times. Click here to read the address >>

The bugle band of our time has been replaced by an award winning pipe band, and piper Unjoo Kim together with organist Mr Philip Loots gave a moving performance of Highland Cathedral. The familiar Forty Years On was sung by the entire congregation, no doubt bringing back many wonderful and emotional memories for the Class of 1959.

The Reunion lunch was held in the Central Dining Room. Alleyn Field took control as Master of Ceremonies and the thought and preparation he had put into his function was most appreciated.

Joan Hill (nee Bramley), Derek' s wife said grace, Charles Stewart proposed the toast to the South Africa and David Good toasted Absent Friends. All three lent the occasion the dignity it deserved.

An excellent three course meal was served and a wide range of beverages were not only available but substantially consumed.

Following on his outstanding performance at the 50th reunion, John Dickerson was asked to propose the toast to the School. It proved to be an inspired choice and the obvious thought and time that he had put into his speech was most evident and appreciated.

And then, in a unique turn of events, Andre du Preez announced that he had written the words of a song to the School to the tune of Danny Boy which he sang in a lovely baritone voice. He received a standing ovation.

Messages had been received from a number of classmates who were unable to attend in particularly from Hans Verburg, Tom Law and Keith Kinsella.

Various attendees recalled past incidents and Alleyn closed proceedings at 17:00 to allow enough time to go to the front of the School, sip a glass of sherry and listen to the Last Post played from the western bell tower.

Classmates took leave of each other determined to meet again at the 70th Reunion and united in their appreciation of the extraordinary School they had attended. It had been a wonderful, entertaining and emotional day.

TEXT: T Barnetson



Two stories recently came to me after reading the latest newsletter :

1 ) Capey Jones

When in standard 9 my classmate Michael Leemhuis and I decided to not attend school every Thursday but rather go to his house to play snooker and have a few beers. This went well for a few months until the school secretary phoned Michaels house one day and he answered the phone. That was the end of this. It was Capey Jones that found something not right about Michael and I not attending his math class on Thursdays and reported us. We each got six of the best from Mr Abernethy and our parents were not impressed.

2 ) Bob Fair

In 1975 I was one of the Navigating Officers on Safmarines flagship and firstclass passenger vessel S.A. Vaal. We operated from South Africa to Southampton? and back. On one such trip soon after Bob Fairs retirement he joined the Vaal for a holiday to the U.K. Him and his wife came to the bridge for a bridge visit soon after leaving Cape Town. I was on the 8 / 12 watch giving the bridge visit that morning. He was so surprised to see me and I wondered for many months what he was thinking when he saw me as one of the two Navigators in command of the vessel with 1000 passengers and must have wondered if he would ever get to Southampton! We had a few beers when I came off watch and got together several times during that voyage.

Kind regards,
Philip Theunissen ( 1971) Vancouver, Canada


Purchase regalia items via the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys' Association online shop on the AlumNet portal or email info@pbhsob.com for more information. Card and cash facilities are available at the Association Office.

Please note Regalia is only available to PBHSOB Association Life Members.

"Old Boyz" items are available to all Old Boys of Pretoria Boys High School. Life Members of the PBHSOB Association can purchase these items online. Old Boys must please email their queries to info@pbhsob.com


Videos play and important part of my life, at home we have three video machines (2 VHS, 1 BETA). We have our own private collection of movies. We have video contracts at three shops (Dial-A-Movie; Videotique; CNA Top 40). I watch an average of 3 ˝ hours of TV a day, excluding rented videos. We rent a movie about twice a week at least. I watch any type of movie except a love story. Age restrictions are no problem, as I simply watch the movie not rent them and I have seen many 2-18 and even some 2-21 movies.

It's too late. I'm a confirmed videot. Some days I'd rather sit and listen to music than read. For me to get off videos would be like a druggie getting off drugs. I'd have to go to a rehabilitation centre. I can, therefore, not write this essay on the importance of reading books so that we don't all become videots, but I can write on what it is to be a videot.

We like watching movies based on books so that we can pretend we are not videots by saying: "Oh yes, I read the book - most exciting." We enjoy going to movies, drive-ins as well. You will find 90% of the brotherhood of videots enjoy playing video games at the café. Brendon Smit, George Evangelou and I: all great videots. I often play games with Brendon and I spend R3 a week playing games. I love video games and will play them forever. We videots stick together and have several hangouts, e.g. Longhorn, Pools and Games at Sunnypark.

Someday, maybe, I shall see why I should start reading, but at the moment I am content to be one of those frowned upon youths who has been dubbed a videot.

C Minnaar - Form II H - The Pretorian 1989.


Click here for the latest school sports results

  • 31 May 2019 - Founders Day Assembly
  • 1 June 2019 - Winter Sport vs St. Benedict's (H)
  • 8 June 2019 - Winter Sport vs St. John's (H)
  • 14 June 2019 - End of Term 2
  • 15 June 2019 - PBHS Highland Gathering

Click here for more


It was with great sadness that the school learnt of the passing of Amanda van Zyl on the 1st May 2019 after a long illness.

Amanda joined the staff at Boys High after an extended career at the State Theatre where, amongst other things, she was responsible for public relations and Front of House management. She filled the newly-created role of Head of Cultural Activities which was set up to fill the growing need for an expanded cultural programme at the school. In addition, she took on the role of oversight of the existing clubs and societies, giving guidance and helping them grow.


She took to the role very quickly and, over the next fifteen years would make the position her own, fiercely guarding against other school events impacting on the cultural programme.

The teachers in charge of these activities felt they had a champion who would actively promote this aspect of school life and she certainly did. Added to this responsibility were two further roles - that of co-ordinator of the Matric Dance and producer of the annual dramatic production.

Her Matric farewell dances were legendary with exotic and spectacular themes ensuring that the boys had the evening of their lives and certainly one to remember for them and their partners. Nothing was to stand in her way as she made sure that the themes were not only top-secret until the last minute but were meticulously detailed with careful attention given to each aspect of the event.

The annual production took on a greater importance in the last few years with collaboration with our sister school, Girls High, as we co-hosted major productions every two years, usually in the form of a musical. The enjoyment the boys and girls derived from these shows was a tribute to Amanda's drive and devotion. Nothing was left to chance and she made sure the shows were of the highest quality. From programmes to front of house to musical accompaniment to the backstage, she oversaw each detail to give the entire show a professional feel, based on her years in the State Theatre. She called on numerous contacts from the past to help and really came into her own with "her boys" who took part in these shows.

Amanda was fiercely proud of her role in the school and her boys and she would stand up for them at all times yet demand nothing short of excellence from them. It was made clear that she would do anything for them provided they committed to attending rehearsals, learned their lines and gave their best at all times. Many boys who took part in these productions grew in confidence and stature under her sometimes gruff but always caring guidance.

Amanda defined the word "passionate" in all she did and boys found a home in her "space". She had a way of getting the most reluctant of participant to join her shows! Yet - each time the boys would grudgingly admit that they had a great deal of fun. Perhaps her crowning moment was in the most recent show, Pirates of Penzance, when she persuaded a group of Form Vs to play the part of the policemen. They were truly wonderful in their performance which was an experience these boys would never forget.

Amanda battled with her health in the past few years, yet, despite numerous medical procedures, including amputation of her one foot, she never complained and never shirked her responsibility. Her kindness and compassion for others took first place in her life and she didn't want to be a nuisance to others. She retired early on medical grounds and we wish her a thoroughly well-deserved rest after 15 good years at Boys High

Thank you Ma'am for all you meant to our school and our cultural programme. The impact you had on our lives will long be remembered.

Tony Reeler




Mack Rogan, past president of the South African Knee and Arthroscopy Society, distinguished knee and orthopaedic surgeon, passed away in Johannesburg on 27 April 2019 at the age of 75. We will all suffer from the loss of this giant and pioneer of knee surgery in South Africa. Mack is left by his three loving children Francis, Theresa and Ruarri Rogan and his lifelong friend and wife Kathleen (Finegan) Rogan. Mack was extremely fortunate to have his entire family present and support him through his last days.

Mack has always excelled in every aspect of his life, and his schooling was no exception. His senior high school was Pretoria Boy's High, and in his final year of school, he was head prefect. He passed his matriculation with distinction in 1961.

After he matriculated, he studied at the University of the Witwatersrand for his MB BCh degree in medicine. In his third year, he undertook to do a BSc majoring in microanatomy and biochemistry. He obtained his BSc in 1964 and completed his medical training at the University of the Witwatersrand qualifying as a medical doctor in 1968 with his MB BCh degree. In 1969, Mack did his housemanship under Prof D J du Plessis, who had a reputation for being a severe taskmaster.

Read More >> 


Well-known SABC TV news reporter and commentator, Cliff Saunders, passed away on May 6 at age 79. He died of heart failure in his townhouse in a Northcliff complex in Johannesburg. His health had been deteriorating for the previous three years.

Cliff matriculated at the School in the mid 1950s.

He worked for the SABC for 33 years until he retired in 1994 and was considered controversial by many because of his pre-eminent television coverage in the late 1970s and 1980s, especially during the pre-Namibian independence era and the Angolan War.

Read More >> 

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If you have any interesting news items and photos or just want to let your fellow Old Boys know what you have been up to after school, please send all information to info@pbhsob.com