Dear Old Boy

Headmaster's Assembly - 27 July 2018
"The Guy in the Glass"

Today's assembly was inspired by two people - one who sent me a video of Mark Andrews' (ex-Springbok lock) talk to the rugby players at the opening of the Kearsney Festival of which we were a part and someone who asked me to look at a book titled "At What Cost" - subtitled "Defending Adolescent Development in Fiercely Competitive Schools."

I have not completed the book yet but the concerns raised by the author are around expectations and performance in high-achieving schools such as ours and what happens to those boys who don't meet those expectations or who cannot meet those expectations. There is a very real concern that we celebrate high-profile achievement which is beyond the reach of most of us, to the detriment of those who then feel unworthy and useless.

Perhaps our message has become clouded over time which is why I wanted to make it clear today. In making it clear, I return to the words of Old Boy John Smit who spoke at last year's Founders Day Assembly and said that Boys High encouraged boys to be the best versions of themselves they could be. And that is what we are about.

We set high expectations yes, but those expectations should be obtainable. These include expectations around behaviour and conduct which is obtainable for everyone. We expect our boys to do their best on the sports fields and in the classrooms - again to do "their" best and I know that most teachers celebrate the boy who has improved as much as the boy who comes first. In my Maths class you get a Smartie for improving - just one - but I acknowledged not only excellence but relative excellence.

In assemblies we do acknowledge top achievement and indeed we must, but it mustn't be to the detriment of the rest of us. Acknowledging top achievement must be to celebrate with that boy and to be pleased for him and to inspire us to reach the heights of which we are capable. I have said to you many times - there will only be one Head Boy and 35 Prefects which leaves the vast majority of us not. That doesn't mean we cannot be leaders in our own way. There will be one school Dux - that doesn't mean that the rest of us who do not have the same academic talent just give up - it means we achieve according to our abilities. So how do we know if we have indeed done our best? Who tells us what those standards are?

That brings me to the second point. In Mark Andrews' speech, he read a poem written in 1934 by Dale Wimbrow called "The Guy in the Glass" which I shall read to you now. This poem was read after every match by the members of the 1995 World Cup winning rugby team in their quest to be the best they could be.

The Guy in the Glass
by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

You will notice that the author doesn't say a single word about winning medals or races or coming first. What he speaks about is doing your best. Being able to be at peace with oneself. There is something funny about mirrors. We look into them almost every day, usually in the mornings as we prepare for the day with our ablutions and getting dressed and then a night when we get ready for bed. Sometimes we like what we see and sometimes we don't. Tonight, when you look into the mirror one last time before going to sleep - linger awhile and look, not just at your reflection but also into your own soul. Were you happy with yourself today? Did you behave well, did you help someone, did you improve a mark, did you practise play well and so on?

On Saturday we take on our friends from Maritzburg College in our biannual fixture and we know we are in for a tough game no matter what sport we play. After that game you will have to look your teammates and coaches in the eye and tell them that you have given your everything and done your best. But then, you will have to look at the guy in the glass - you - and that is the guy you cannot fool. You may be able to fool your coach, your teammates, but you cannot fool yourself.

If the guy in the glass says to you that you have tried your very best - then smile at him and be proud of him. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it doesn't matter what team you play and what level of expertise you are. What matters is how you do related to your own ability. What matters is the guy in the glass.

Do not think of yourselves as unworthy, useless, insignificant because others have more talent than you in certain areas. Do not think your triumphs are small because only others get public recognition. Think of yourself in terms of your own abilities and celebrate your achievements because no matter how small the world may think they are --they are massive to you, and that is all that counts!

- Mr Tony Reeler

Improved? Illegal modifications made by the CLASS OF '88
- The Pretorian 1998

CLASS OF 1998 - 20 YEARS ON 2018

Reunions are funny things, both peculiar and really entertaining. This year's 20 Year On for the class of 1998 was no different. Having been at the 10 years on a decade ago and having enjoyed it thoroughly, I thought the 20 year would not be able to beat it. However, it completely smashed it and was hands down the best one yet. We all met prior to Friday Assembly on the lawns next to the fountain, with a flood of nostalgia and respect rekindled. Everyone has those fears of seeing people you are no longer in touch with - but recognise - and have no clue what their names are. It was the ice breaker that set up the whole weekend.

The school showed off spectacularly. The infrastructure is impeccable. Friday Assembly's proudest offering was that it had not changed in 20 years. It was well balanced, heartfelt and traditional, with a well cultivated cheekiness that brought back very fond memories. It was as we had hoped it would be. There is something humbling and reassuring when seeing potential that Boys High is offering South Africa.

We had a very enjoyable golf day which allowed everyone the ability to get back in touch. As a poor golfer, it is glaringly obvious that golf has nothing to do with the actual playing of golf. The afternoon allowed everyone to slip back into adolescence effortlessly. We spent the Friday evening after the golf at the Old Boys Club and although we had envisioned a family evening, it was a more social pre-beer reuniting old friends and catching up - it was thoroughly enjoyable. Saturday's home sports fixture was an opportunity most guys took to have a walk around the school. Some very proudly offering tours to family and friends, others quietly reflecting.

Saturday evening's black tie dinner was the reason everyone made the effort. Some needed a little more effort to get into their suits than others. The food was great, the company was exceptional. Seeing the Masters was as much a treat as seeing old friends. Grace was gracefully delivered by Brad Gold. Andrew McKeaveney passionately toasted South Africa, paying particular attention to all our hard fought human rights. David Hedding delivered his Absent Friends speech with compassion and reverence. Between the serious stuff we were entertained by our cheeky MC in Gareth Gilbert, who controlled the mood of the evening brilliantly. Stories, stats and forgotten memories of 20 years ago were comprehensively brought back to life by Bruce Van Wyk in his toast to the school. His speech reflected the diverse group of men in the room, touching social, cultural, academic and sporting achievements from 20 years ago. We heard reassuringly from the boss about what is going on, and what is being planned. Boys High is in good hands. It was an evening that celebrated the past. It did so in a very familiar and very impressive present.

It was a weekend filled with seeing different people, catching up and reminiscing. It was a very special weekend, made all the more special by how much effort the school put in. That effort was appreciated and matched by Old Boys, some flying in from around the world and country. Boys High is a special place. Made special by the people that cherish it. Having that many people together that care about something is special in itself. If you ever get the opportunity to go to one of your reunions, take it. It is one of those rare events that offers much more out than you put in. It is very much like Boys' High that way.

- Trevor Bannatyne

Class of 1998 Golf Day

The sunny winter weather and Waterkloof Golf Club presented the Old Boys with a perfect environment and setting for the 1998 20 year on reunion golf day. There was keen interest leading up to event resulting in an excellent turnout of 32 "golfers". A great mix of boarders, dayboys, sportsman, cultured folk and academics participated with most eyeing out the trophy on offer and desperately wanting to avoid the dreaded prize for longest day.

The atmosphere was festive pre tee-off with everyone reconnecting and keeping very well "hydrated". Out on the course, there were clearly some players who have spent more time playing golf than being in the office over the last 20 years. On the flipside there were some very dangerous looking swings and numerous shanks putting players all over the course at risk of death. The golf was played in good spirit and everyone looked very relaxed enjoying their time spent with friends.

An informal (yet jovial) prize-giving was held in the bar area post golf from which point the bulk of the players headed off to the Old Boys Club for the family braai. A special mention to Gary Sternberg and Andrew Hannay for winning the day. Well done gents!

- Andrew McKeaveney (1998)


An upgrade in the standards of hostel life has been initiated. We deemed it appropriate to publish these helpful tips for boarders of future generations.

1. DO drop your shower bag
Our showers are cleaned to match private hospital standards. Anything that comes into contact with the floor becomes instantly antibacterial.

2. DON'T set a morning alarm.
We find that our guests, particularly those of junior status, prefer to remain undisturbed in the morning to allow for a comfortable sleep-in.

3. DO bring a plastic bottle.
We encourage the use of our many USN dispensers which are distributed throughout the hostel building.

4. DON'T bring empty containers into the dining hall.
Selling our award-winning food to franchises such as Woolworths is a seriously punishable offence.

5. DO Broadband.
Access to internet gaming and connection is offered at the 24-hour internet café in the east wing of the hostel building.

6. DON'T strain yourself.
Please make use of the Jib-operated cable kinetolift (J.O.C.K) which allows for effective two-way transport between your dorm, dining hall and sporting facilities.

7. DON'T pay fare.
Note that our taxi service to social hot spots such as Hatfield is free-of-charge on week nights. If under-age, please consult your Head of House for assistance.

Text & Artwork: Barry-Jay van Wyk, Boys Highlights Issue 10, May 2008


Pretoria Boys High School Parents' Association in association with Petrichor Adventures is proud to announce that we are hosting the Pretoria Boys High School 24hr MTB Challenge from Saturday 10 November to Sunday 11 November 2018.

The event is hosted over a 24hr period and boasts a vibrant race village and a varied track with a surprising array of different riding features as riders traverse through Pretoria Boys High's lush premises on a 6km circuit.

Entrants set up camp on the rugby fields at the start where there will be music and lots to eat and drink.

The 24 hour format is unique as it combines endurance and riding in changing conditions in a social environment.

Click here for more information >>


The Four Schools' Concert will be hosted by Pretoria High School for Girls and held in the Pretoria Boys High Abernethy Hall. All tickets cost R80 and all seating is reserved.

Concert dates & times:

Sunday 23 September @ 15:00
Sunday 23 September @ 19:00
Monday 24 September @ 19:00
Tuesday 25 September @ 19:00

Book here: https://www.phsg.org.za/events

L: Jurrien Muller after hitting a hole-in-one at Pretoria Country Club against Menlo Park on 23 August 2018. Congratulations! R: The annual Pipe Band assembly took place on 24 August 2018. Congratulations to all the pipers and drummers on their achievements.

Images & Text: PBHS


The Pretoria Boys High School Aeronautical Society will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a reunion dinner. All Old Boys who were members of the Aeronautical Society between 1993 to present are invited to attend this special occasion.

Date: 20th October 2018
Venue: Sommerville Pavilion, Pretoria Boys High School
Time: 18:30 for 19:00
Cost: R270.00 per person (partners welcome)

To book for the reunion dinner please deposit the relevant funds:
Pretoria Boys High School - collections
First National Bank
Branch code: 250655
Account number: 62565719691
Swift code: FIRNZ AJJ
Reference: 7500/042 Surname

We hope to have a fantastic turnout of past members to celebrate a quarter of a century of activities; the achievements of those who went into the industry and the passion for flying in its various forms.

Please RSVP to Mr Illsley: john@boyshigh.com

CLASS OF 2008 - 10 YEARS ON 2018

The Class of 2008 held its 10 year on reunion over the weekend of 17 and 18 August 2018. Around 120 Old Boys got together over the course of the weekend, participating in the various activities that had been arranged. We were lucky to have Old Boys attending from outside the borders of Gauteng, including KwaZulu-Natal, the Western and Eastern Capes, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and even some travelling from overseas (Botswana, Malawi, the UAE and the UK).

The weekend started with about 90 of us attending Friday assembly at the School, followed by tea in the new Bill Schroder Centre. It was a true privilege to be able to attend Friday assembly again and to have the opportunity to have a look around the new School Hall and Bill Schroder Centre, which are both truly world class facilities in their own rights. It was great to see how many Old Boys still had their hymn books, which they brought with them to assembly (although some lacked covers and other lacked pages, reminding us all of the lengths to which we went to save our friends from getting lates). It was even better that many of them did not need their hymn books for the singing of hymn number 7, I Vow to Thee My Country, the clear favourite of our class and a hymn which most of us could still recite from memory even after 10 years.

After our visit to the School we made our way to Silver Lakes Golf Estate for a little bit of golf and a lot of ball searching. All who participated had a great afternoon. We ended our Friday festivities in traditional fashion at the Old Boys Club, reminiscing about our days at the School on the Hill over a boerie and a beer. Some of us ended up enjoying a few more lemonades than anticipated, and resulted in us receiving an additional, last-minute apology for the dinner the next day due to "ill health".

A few of us gathered at the Old Boys Club again on Saturday afternoon for a friendly game of soccer, before making our way to the School for the reunion dinner, our main event of the weekend. We were honoured to have a few special Masters with us at the dinner, namely Mr Reeler, Mr Illsley, Mr Schroder, Mr McBride, Mr Mansfield, Mr Smuts, Mr Keeton, Dr van der Watt and Mr Ewart-Phipps.

Warwick Stone, our Master of Ceremonies, conducted the evening and Tiwonge Tembo said Grace. Simphiwe Petros, Shaylin Bhana, Juan Jardim and Jason Webber made toasts to South Africa, Absent Friends, the Masters and the School respectively. Mr Tony Reeler responded with an update on the School, and Mr Schroder, who was Headmaster while we were at the School, was encouraged to give an impromptu speech, which delighted us all enormously. The dinner ended with the singing of Forty Years On and a number of boarders complaining about how the food in the dining hall was never that good when they were at School. We then made our way back to the Old Boys Club for a few more lemonades before saying our good byes and promising one another that it cannot be another 10 years before we reconvene.

A special word of thanks to the School for hosting us for such an enjoyable weekend, to Mrs Inge Paulsen-Liddle from the Old Boys Association for her invaluable assistance with all of the reunion arrangements, and to the Organising Committee who helped to put the weekend together and to get the Old Boys out in their numbers. Here's to the next 10!

Jason Webber


We appeal to all Old Boys to please send recollections of events at Pretoria Boys High School that you found particularly poignant or humorous. With the help of Dr Trebot Barry (1956), the PBHSOB Association would like to put together a coffee table collection of reminiscence. This can only be done through the participation and contributions we receive by Old Boys.

Please send your recollections to info@pbhsob.com


Somerset's Johann Myburgh SNAPS his bat in half as he hits huge boundary in T20 win over Hampshire

Johann Myburgh (1998) broke his bat in half when he hit a boundary during Somerset's six-wicket win at Hampshire in the T20 Blast.


Nobel laureates gather in Beijing as China reaches out to top scientists

... "China is now opening up more to the world," Michael Levitt (1964), who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems, told the Global Times..


Chiliboy named Sharks captain for Currie Cup

Durban - The Sharks on Monday announced that hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle (2004) will captain them in the 2018 Currie Cup tournament.


Yorkshire sign South African pace bowler on three-year deal

MATHEW PILLANS (2009), a 27-year-old South African pace bowler, has set himself the target of playing for England after signing for Yorkshire on a three-year deal.



Many things involving restoration have a common factor, and that is the time that it takes. While there is progress it feels that things are not getting done as fast as would be desired. Many times one stands back after many days and hours of work and tries to figure out just why is there seemingly just so little progress. But there is. Restoration of things old possesses all kinds of manner for exposing new cans of worms on an all too regular basis. These are the delaying factors. There is no point in brushing over new found hassles just in order to proceed with the task at hand. The worms do not just go away like that. Just give them a few short months or even years, and sure enough they will crawl through into reality and stare you in the eye again. The best approach is to just hammer away and iron out these progress retarding factors. The visible progress will then give a sense of achievement, direction and inspire determination. It is funny how we always find time to fix up mistakes. The old saying "a stitch in time saves nine" is a good approach to take to heart.

Since the last update, all the heavy curtains and their railings have been dismantled and made available to the drama department. The soft board sound insulation panels have been removed from within the recess profiles of the high arches on the west side of the interior that mirror the window arches found on the east side of the venue. The result of removing these materials has exposed the volume of the room. Once the florescent lights have been dismantled and removed the volume factor will be enhanced even more. The replacement floorboards which had been made by recycling the wood removed from the initial dismantling of the raised flooring could not be installed with the immediate intended aim due to the fact that further faults in the support structures were discovered. This led to the removal of larger areas of damaged flooring. In order to avoid too much apparent patch work in the final repair work due to the different colour of non-original woods, it has been decided to use the damaged flooring that has been removed in order to make as many floor boards as possible. This entails endless hours of recycling the Douglas Fir that had to be removed. The process requires much and repeated use of the surface planer to get straight edges. This then allows the use of the table saw to rip the pieces of wood to the desired width. Edges are then given a final straight edging on the jointer. The planks can now be matched, glued and clamped to produce boards that will finally be trimmed to size on the circular saw, and then put through the thicknesser machine so as to match the required thickness of the new recycled floor boards.

In removing some of the floor boards, it was enlightening to discover a circular steel ring on a mounting bracket that was secured to a joist member. This was taken to be a mounting that would have been used for the guy cables or ties to secure the horizontal bar that was used for gymnastics in place. The other three mount rings were discovered. One of the three existing photographs of the early gymnasium clearly shows the horizontal bar in its position. It was recommended by Mr John Illsley that laminated glass be installed within the flooring structure so that these features will be visible. This will be done. A brass trimming will be installed bordering the glass inserts. Another significant discovery was made very recently by the Headmaster, Mr Tony Reeler, when he enquired about some brickwork that was obviously a repair job. On closer inspection within the venue and then outside on the corridor, it became clear that an original doorway must have been removed and then the opening bricked in. Careful measurements have revealed that the removed doorway was in all probability a matching double French door the same as can be seen in the photograph referred to earlier. This has led to the decision to knock out the bricked in doorway area, and replace the double French doors that would in all likelihood been there as part of the original structure. This will create a balance in the features of the room as they would have been in the beginning. The discovery of this doorway has significantly helped in possibly explaining the roof and ceiling structures of the venue. It can reasonably be accepted that the one door entrance was close to the change room, and the other door entrance was close to the storeroom. Gymnastic venues of old all had a storeroom for a variety of equipment, and a change room was also required so as to allow boys to change into the physical education dress of the day. The only other item of interest that was found, was a R1 coin dated 1978. In its day, that coin was a sore loss to the person who let it disappear under the floorboards, in that it would possibly have bought a pie, a coke, and a crunchie bar at break. There may even have been enough small change left for a small after school snack.

Several photographs have been taken both for interest sake, and for progress and procedures.

Yours kindly
Paul Ewart-Phipps


The Eastern Cape Old Boys Dinner was held on the 24th August at The Old Grey Club.

Craig Williams, Anthony Marx and myself enjoyed a round of golf with Mr Reeler on the Friday afternoon before attending the dinner.

As always the Headmaster's address was very informative and by all accounts everyone enjoyed the company of the Headmaster and his wife Rose.

Kind regards
Mark Muttitt


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.

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

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The Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys Association is pleased to announce the following advertising options available on our new AlumNet Portal:

Home Page Sponsor
Purchase one of five rotating spaces on the PBHSOB Association AlumNet home page for R600.00 per month.

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Displayed at the bottom of the home page and rotate with other sponsors within the online portal. Purchase this prime advertising space for R700.00 per month.

Please click here or email info@pbhsob.com for more information

Worlds to create, worlds to shatter,
For him it is a simple matter.
Imbedded deep inside his heart
He has a gift, a Muse's Dart
From which flows pure and strong
The strains of sweet Erato's song
To pulse in vitriolic streams
Through his vast, inspired dreams.
When alone in his vivid world
He sees before him, wide, unfurled
His hopes, his aims, wild and free
All his, all pure reality
But round his leg a mortal chain
Declares his reverie in vain
And sadly he must leave his all
And hearken to the mortal call.
On those dear, sweet, upturned faces
And these trailing shabby laces
And demand that they be shown
The ins and outs of brush and pen
Just like a clockwork; ten times ten.
Oh fickle fate, Oh misery
Must he endure it - patiently.
Yet in this gulf of great despair
He finds that there is talent there
Though the pervert will persist
To add that horrid Dali twist.
Yet still, he sighs, it has been found
That all sorts make the world go round
Thus hopefully he starts to lecture
On rural Cape Dutch Architecture.
Spare his a thought, thrombotic flock
He is no being hewn from rock
So when like Anthony he stands
Gesticulating with his hands
Keep this little thought in mind
He's only trying to be kind
And hoping that its not too late
To drive some culture through your pate.
The verse by SJ Bold, The art by AJ Bunton - The Pretorian 1958


Click here for the latest school sports results

  • 3 - 21 September 2018 - Form V Trial Examinations
  • 8 September 2018 - Cross Country - ASA Champs @ Port Elizabeth
  • 21 September 2018 - Athletics - Inter High @ PBHS
  • 28 September 2018 - End of Term 3

Click here for more

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The Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys' Association has recently teamed up with a company called AlumNet and most of you should have received an email or SMS from the new system encouraging you to log in. Click here to access the Alumnet Portal

All Old Boys will be able to register or log in and update their details on the new portal. As a Life Member of the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys Association this exciting new platform will also allow you to:

  • Purchase regalia from our online shop within the system
  • Network and send messages to other Life Members
  • Place an advertisement in the classifieds section
  • Take part in forum discussions
  • And many more features

If you have not yet received any communication regarding the new online platform or are having a problem logging in, please email info@pbhsob.com



My brother János Béla Fazakas ( known as John) Pretoria Boys High 1974-1979 passed away on 12 June 2018 at Erasmuskloof Mediclinic after a short but sudden illness. He will be sorely missed by brother George ( also old PBHS 1967 - 1971) and children Johnny, Jason and all his Biker friends.

George Fazakas


  • 31 AUGUST & 1 SEPTEMBER 2018
    30 YEAR ON - CLASS OF 1988
  • 21 & 22 SEPTEMBER 2018
    50 YEAR ON - CLASS OF 1968
  • 26 & 27 OCTOBER 2018
    40 YEAR ON - CLASS OF 1978
  • 9 NOVEMBER 2018

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