Dear Old Boy

I have always thought that delivering a speech in front of an audience this large would feel a lot like playing guitar in a Friday Assembly. However, at this point I can't help but feel the same nervousness one gets right before one asks Mrs Holliday for one's AP Maths results, and the same anticipation one feels right before the whistle blows for the start of the Candies' match.

Mr Reeler, staff, honoured guests, parents and the stars of tonight's show: the matric class of 2018, it is my great pleasure to address you this evening! Standing upon this stage, after hearing the five chimes heralding out exit, is a truly surreal feeling, one of both jubilation and of immense pathos. It seems to make this mammoth task of delivering a leaving speech yet more daunting. How does one begin to convey the indescribable, immeasurable and unique moments of this experience in words of which even Mrs Mentz would approve? It is, for the usual lack of vocabulary: very difficult.

Most would agree with the premise of the sound of music that "the beginning is a very good place to start". So I begin our journey in the shoes of an overly-enthusiastic and stupefied Form I boy. Staring up at the two truly resilient Norfolk Pines of Main Drive in awe, while Mr Blackmore delivered his first words on the values of a true Boys' High boy, and I had my first taste of the school's fine ethos. Who would have known how that first week would work its way into our memories? Discovering the wealth of our grounds and the rich history of our traditions like the Last Post, and making new friends all along the way has become so much a part of who we are. The Form I year was truly one of happy mistakes and astounding moments: such as calling a prefect by an incorrect name and racking up "lates" by the dozen, while also experiencing the passion of the whole school at our first Inter-House gala and the excitement of construction commencing on our new hall.

Just imagine our excitement as we became Form II's: lackadaisical and proud! Sadly this feeling was not to last, as we quickly found ourselves with much still to learn. Bush School proved a welcome escape from our comfort zones for a whole three weeks. As out symptoms of homesickness and internet withdrawal began to dissolve, our independence and co-operation under the watchful eye of Mr Armstrong, began to grow.

Our senior years came upon us in a flash. We began to grasp the full responsibility of growing up, juggling our carefully chosen subjects with the sport, music and societies in which we had become so involved. These years proved to be some of our most enjoyable and trying years as relationships, tours and leadership roles beckoned. Before we knew it, our own friends were becoming prefects and we found ourselves taking up the role of the "biggest fish" (relatively speaking) in the school. Our adventures culminated in this: a suitably exam-ridden year that would pass far too quickly - adding the prefix "final" to pretty much every activity we could think of. The Matric Dance saw us dressed dashingly to the nines, sporting a stunning partner at our side - a sight a person might have found hard to believe if they were familiar with our previously unshaven, hysterical, prelim-induced state just the week before!

All of which has led to this. It is astounding to see just how far we have come in these last few years! In our brief time here, we have forever engraved our mark upon this school. The sight of the whole school, bound together on the stands at our weekend fixtures will resound in the memories of spectators as we lifted our school colours proudly for those running onto the fields - our war cries will forever ring in our opponents' ears! The dramatic mastery of our annual productions will make for stories we tell our children well into the future - not to mention the several million photographs we'll be able to show our grandchildren!

The melodies of the music department will echo throughout the buildings long after the last note rings. The sounds of bagpipes and drums and the driving rhythm of the gumboot dancers will bring a nostalgic smile to our faces as we walk down Main Drive years from now. The influence and effort put into our clubs and societies will be felt across both our school and our city.

I am continually surprised by what we have managed to overcome in getting this far. Who can relate to:

  • The panic of long nights of homework and the frantic completion of procrastinated projects?
  • The devastation of dislocating a shoulder five minutes into the first rugby match of the season?
  • The frustration of load-shedding during IT PAT work sessions?
  • The awkwardness of speaking to parents after receiving a Friday-detention; oddly, for throwing a tomato at a ceiling fan, all in the name of "curiosity"?
  • The indignity of being turned away at Jolly's as you clearly didn 't resemble the 18-year-old on your very authentic ID card?

Through this all, we kept our resolve, our spirit and our determination and surmounted all the obstacles along our long and winding path to where we now stand.

However, we owe what we are now to more than just pure grit, determination and the usual "Boy's High Spice". Had it not been for all the teachers we have encountered along this journey, we would be truly and hopelessly lost. The looming image of teachers lurking in the corridors, in their black academic gowns is one of a special, long-standing tradition, a tradition one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the world, let alone in this country. Spectators of this sight may liken our teachers to the professors of Hogwarts - prepared to pull out their wands at the first scent of any trouble. However, even though matric chemistry borders on the edge of what seems like witchcraft, this fanciful image isn't too far from the truth.

There is a magic that teachers bring to this school; a magic that radiates through the classrooms, floods our corridors and holds us steadily in place throughout our adventures here. What else, if not magic, can so seamlessly plant the seeds of curiosity in our easily-distracted teenage brains; engrave the values of respect and integrity into our daily lives and teach us to appreciate those comical moments between working that make classes so memorable? It is a magic that we always value, however often we seem to take it for granted. Thank you, teachers!

I must confess that I do not see the 303 inspiring faces in front of me as my "friends". A scary statement to make. We are part of the "connected generation" as most envious "Generation X's" like to put it. We have access to information at the snap of a finger and are capable of communicating with more people over greater distances than any generation that came before us. Social media has ingrained this notion of the "faceless friend group" in our generation, fed by the number of "likes" one receives. If such a fake and superficial relationship can constitute friendship, then what I have found here are not "friends".

I have found brothers. Brothers who come to one another in their hour of need. Brothers who are loyal to a fault, and never waiver in the face of adversity. Brothers who inspire integrity in a time where accountability fails. A camaraderie that I am proud to share with all of you, regardless of where we find ourselves in the world.

Those of you who know me well will recall my love for classic rock. I admire music for its simple premise of conveying powerful messages in small, powerful packages of well-appointed lyrics. As we contemplate our final few days on these hallowed grounds, I can't help but turn to a song made popular by the British rock band, Dire Straits in 1985:

"Through these fields of destruction, baptisms of fire; I've witnessed your suffering, as the battle raged higher. And though they did not hurt me, so bad, in the fear and alarm; you did not desert me, my brothers in arms".

I therefore urge you all, to go forth into the future: proudly carrying aloft the values of loyalty, integrity, honesty and respect which our School on the Hill is built on. The responsibility now falls upon us to take what Boys High has given us, and use it to change our country and the world for the better: and it starts with resounding that simple greeting of "Ma'am or Sir" that distinguishes a Boys High boy anywhere in the world. Carry yourself such, that no matter life's ebb and flow, you can say you were proud to be clothed in shades of red, white and green.

Then, when you look back from afar and asunder, you will be able to say: "Tis there I Iearned to live".

2018 Matric Valedictory Speech - Adrian Rae

IMAGE & TEXT: The Pretorian 2018






The PHSOB Club will be offering some great specials after the PBHS vs AFFIES match this Saturday. Refreshments at Club prices! All welcome!

The School will be playing AFFIES this weekend at home. The First Hockey match will be at 10:50 on Hill Astro, and the First XI Rugby will play on Brooks Field at 13:15. Show your support!



Convenors of the Hermanus lunch Ed Meyer , David Leppan and Greg Hassenkamp with Roger Cleaver, who proposed the Toast.

We enjoyed an excellent luncheon and good comaraderie at the Burgundy in Hermanus on Friday 12th July 2019. Ed Meyer as MC welcomed everyone, especially those who had travelled from outside the Overberg like Bill Schroder, Mike Stegmann, Roger Cleaver, Vernon Els and Frank van der Velde . Ed gave some feedback on the memorable 100th Old Boy' s Anniversary Dinner in Pretoria, which he and Greg had attended and which had been so well reported in the last newsletter. Greg had delivered the Toast and received a standing ovation from the over 400 Old Boys present.

Ed then invited Bill to tell about his book and the launch in Pretoria and he signed copies for those of us who bought the book at our lunch.

David Leppan proposed a toast to ' Absent Friends' , Arne Pitlo (1961) and Trevor Clarke (1963) who had both died in the past year. David gave us a special grace and we then enjoyed the main course, before retired Judge Roger Cleaver (1953) was invited to propose the 'Toast to the School on the Hill.' He recalled some of his special memories and his observations of the achievements of the school and in making a valuable contribution to developing young adults, who will play a vital role in the new South Africa. A stimulating discussion ensued and recall of our own school experiences ensured that a really enjoyable lunch was shared by us all.



A typical AP (Advanced programme) Maths test at Boys High:

Anyone who flunks this ______ (adjective) mathematics test will have to stay after school and wash the __________ (noun). 

Problem 1
_______ (someone in your class) bought a bag of Boys High Spice for R ________ (number), a hymn book for R _______ (number) and a lates-slip with _________ (teacher's name) signature on it for R420.00. If he had R500.00 on his tuck shop card, how many ______ (plural noun) would he end up with?

Problem 2
Two girls from Meisies Hoėr had 10 koeksisters each. If the first girl traded four koeksisters for six _________ (plural noun), and the second girl traded ______ (number) koeksisters for two Boys High boys' cellphone numbers and three _______ (plural noun), how many __________ (plural noun) would each of them have left?

Problem 3
You are currently 4 minutes late for __________ (teacher's name) class. If you removed ________ (subject) books from your backpack and threatened a Form I to ______________ (verb) your books, you would have __________ (number) Fridays from __________ (House Master). Represent this in a ____________ (noun) shaped graph.

- Ebraheem Cassim, Boys Highlights Issue 30, July 2019



At Summer Sports' Day in January this year among a number of additional cultural activities which Old Boys could participate in, the Art Department of Pretoria Boys High School hosted Old Boys on one of the fields. Easels and tables were set up and a wonderful morning of sketching, painting and creating was had by all!

Below are some of artworks which were created by Old Boys and current boys.


Renowned South African Artist, Carl Jeppe joined for the day and donated his magnificent sketch to the school.



The 13th Annual Eastern Cape Dinner will be held on 16 August 2019. Pretoria Boys High School Headmaster, Mr Reeler will travel down from Pretoria to attend the function. Old Boys on the area are encouraged to attend as this will be Mr Reeler's last visit to the PE branch as Headmaster.

Date: 16 August 2019
Time: 19:00 for 19:30
Venue: Old Grey Sports Club, 2 Lennox Street, Glendinningvale, Port Elizabeth
Price per person: R100.00 - cash bar available
Dress: Smart casual

Please RSVP to Mark Muttit mark@rcgins.co.za or 064 616 7681



Dear Inge

Thank you for sending me issue 15 of the 2019 PBHSOB Association newsletter. As always, I found it a fascinating and uplifting read!

I was deeply saddened, though, to learn of the passing of Clive Randall. He and I taught in adjacent koppie classrooms for two years (1976/77). I fondly remember his unfailing good humour and his enviable ability to read serious mathematical textbooks with consummate ease! He was a good man and society is the poorer for his departure from our presence.

Please pass on to his family my condolences.

Best wishes,
Clayton Christie

Mr. / Ms Scribe / Sender,

Thank you, I've thoroughly enjoyed your very comprehensive coverage of PBHS's CENTURY. Well done ! Even speeches and photos available !
A great night was obviously had by all attendees.
I was fortunate to attend our 60th reunion two years ago and subsequently enjoyed a meal with Mr and Mrs Reeler in Brisbane, during their Australian tour.
I can only confirm that the realisation of how much greater Boys High is today, can be credited to the Principals and staff in these later years.
The whole experience we had on both days. The manner and attitude of the students on the day was enlightening, including the far more sports now available to the boys.
The port, during the bugle call of the last post and the beer enjoyed here in Brisbane tells me, you have a lot to be thankful for Mr Reeler's contribution to the Greatest etal, he will be missed.

Best wishes for the next TON.

Kind regards,
Ray Dunn.
SOL ' 57.

During our preparation for our 60th Matric reunion, John Dickerson challenged me to write a poem about the school, knowing that I have an amateur interest in writing poetry.

I took up his challenge and my poem received the following review from John: "You see I was right. You were in the cupboard, but now you are out and have started the beginning of a promising new career." So, as a 79-year-old wannabe poet, it is my pleasure to present my poem for publication. It is dedicated to my fellow 1959 Matriculants.


Old Boy

There is a school way up on a hill
And if you go there you will find it still
Still you'll find it in the echoes of your mind
The hopes and fears and dreams of every kind
That once so vigorously drove the spirit of your youth
But now the ageing brain must face the truth
Science has changed what were our toys
By virtue and labour we are now Old Boys
No rhythm or rhyme or structure of line
Should you bother to waste your time
Please don't curse, it could be worse,
This old fart never did learn verse

Alleyn Field
Class of 1959.



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



Mike (Proccy) Proctor-Sims (1979) has published his second book, a novel called "Fracking Hell". One of the fictional main characters in the book, James Miles, was educated at Boys High before becoming a mercenary and then a South African policeman. Miles and his partner, along with two Australian intelligence officers, have to stop an international cartel from destroying large parts of South Africa' s Karoo and Australia' s Outback. They want to do this to pave the way for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from beneath the surface of these sensitive, water-scarce areas.

After leaving Boys High, Mike completed his national service before graduating with a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University. He then joined the SABC, spending 27 years as a TV News Journalist. He opted for early retirement to fish and write.

Fracking Hell can be purchased at Fogarty' s and Jimmy' s bookshops in Port Elizabeth, at McNaughton' s Bookshop at Graaff-Reinet or online from Fogarty online by clicking here >>


Aiden Markram' s captaincy of SA-A team may be an indication of future role in SA cricket

Aiden Markram' s leadership role during the SA A team' s upcoming tour to India may be an indication that he is earmarked for bigger things in the future.


Lock brothers lock-up 10th title

Zimbabwe' s doubles pair of Benjamin and Courtney Lock won their 10th professional tennis title together after a straight sets victory over the third- seeded partnership of Canadian Martin Beran and Briton Joshua Paris to lift the Old Mutual ITF Zimbabwe F2 doubles title at Harare Sports Club yesterday.



Film adaptation of Damon Galgut' s 'The Quarry' to be released

A film adaptation of The Quarry by Damon Galgut is currently in post-production.

Galgut' s novel, first published in 1995, tells the story of a man who commits a murder on a lonely stretch of road. The victim is a religious minister on his way to take up a post in a nearby town.


Paving the Way to Alzheimer' s Cure, One Algorithm at a Time

Israeli scientist Shahar Barbash is making waves in the pharmaceutical world with a new approach to image analysis that has even chemistry Nobel laureate Michael Levitt on board.



Click here for the latest school sports results

  • 27 July 2019 - Winter Sport vs AHS (H)
  • 9 August 2019 - Public Holiday (Women's Day)

Click here for more



It is with sadness that we record the passing on the 15th July of Justine Armstrong, wife of the late Malcolm Armstrong, a past headmaster of PBHS. Mrs Armstrong will be remembered as someone who ably supported her husband in his various responsibilities at the school, which included being the senior housemaster of School House. She also played an important role in the annual production with her work on the costumes. The Justine Armstrong award for music, awarded annually at Valediction, is one of the ways in which her memory will be perpetuated. A memorial service was held in Johannesburg on 19th July which was attended by friends and family as well as representatives from Boys High.

- John Illsley


Obituary: Kenneth Samuel Schmulow, 29 June 1953 - 11 July 2019, Life Vice-President, Solomon House, 1971.

Ken passed away on 11 July from esophageal cancer. In his last letter to me he spoke about death, not his, but of my father's twenty years ago. That was Ken.

He had been battling it for a while in his stoic non-complaining way. He had just turned 66 and hated any talk of the stuff, the illness, the consequence. He would correspond about it, frankly and with an open sincere sense of engagement. He had an opinion about things. But would seldom allow you closer than that. Ken would probably not have wanted anything written about him. Which is why I am writing this. He would have welcomed, or at the very least entertain, a difference of opinion.

Ken was a man who was deeply private, a man of few friends and many acquaintances. That, at the very least, was one of my lasting impressions of him. Family mattered more than anything, and on more than one occasion he urged me not to wait too long, 'you will never look back', 'kids are the best investment you will make'. He was right, I learned, and as with many other things, more on course than most. He saw the world through an incorruptible prism of manners and decorum. It dictated his every interaction. He was, in short, a mensch.

But Ken, the man, was not without his flaws. An ardent man will always rub up against the world, and he sometimes did. He had no time for people who lacked civility and would cut off without regret anyone who did not meet the measure of the manners so deeply instilled in him. A welcome burst of opinion in a world so lacking in principle.

His was a name I knew well before I knew anything about PBHS. He was a character of my childhood, one of the names that I would remember on my first day at school, and see etched onto honours boards. It was a name of a man who had been a friend of my father, they had adventures together, smoked on the koppie. There were fights and there was blood. But there was friendship and despite the fact that they never saw each other again after school - they would from time to time speak on the phone - and quickly rekindle around the memories of when they were boys.

I met Ken not long after his father Victor had died. Vic incidentally was also a Life Vice-President of the Association. He joined the directorate of the Association and served in various capacities. Mostly he would lend his insight and wisdom, ever unmoving in what he believed.

Ken was progressive, I think is the term we would use, and took exception to some of the more reactionary and frankly bigoted thinking of the day. He was human.

My father had broken his nose. The way my dad told it, it called for an ambulance. When I asked Ken, on about the second or third occasion I had met him, he said, 'yes, we'd had a fight, I came off worse.'

Ken was a wonderful human being, he was full of life. The world needs people who are human, and he was one.

Ken is survived by Colleen, their sons Kyle (matric 2002), Jason (2004) and grandsons Noah and Eli.

Eugene Ashton, Solomon, 1996.




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