Durban High School

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Durban High School (D.H.S.)
Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Type All-Boys Public School(state)
Motto Deo Fretus (In God We Trust)
Established 1866
Locale Urban (125 st.Thomas Road,Durban)
Head Master Mr Leon Erasmus
Grades 8–12
Number of students 1000
Houses Swales, Grice, Langley, Campbell and Payne and Blackmore
School colour(s) Navy blue and Oxford gold
Newspaper The Herald
Boarding houses Blackmore

Durban High School is an all-boys public school in Durban, South Africa.

DHS opened its doors in 1866 in two rooms and with 7 pupils in Smith Street. From there it moved to a disused granary in Cato Square in 1880, just after the Zulu War, and then to the Old Hospital on the foreshore. In 1895, it moved up onto the healthier Berea to its present site, where it flourished. The ten acres plot was granted to the School by the Durban Town Council. The first enrolled student was a boy called Eben Coates and he was also the first Head-boy. There is also a related primary school: Durban Preparatory High School (D.P.H.S.). The school has approximately 1000 enrolled students, all boys, and includes a small boarding establishment and over 75 teachers. The headmaster is Mr. Leon Erasmus. It is the oldest standing school in Durban and one of the oldest in South Africa.


There are six houses:

  • Swales – Old Gold
  • Grice – Turquoise
  • Langley – Red
  • Campbell – Green
  • Payne– Oxford Blue
  • Blackmore (the boarders' house) – White

Blackmore House is a home for over 140 boys. The boys' needs are catered for by food provision and dormitories with a maximum of 6 boys per dorm. The boys can go home most weekends and return on Monday mornings.


A wide range of sports and activities are offered including climbing, golf, fishing, surfing, chess, football, basketball, and hardball as well as the more traditional athletics, cricket, hockey, and rugby which have been played at the school for over 100 years.

Notable people[edit]


  • Robert Russell, Scottish born first Headmaster(1866-1875).
  • Lt Col A C Martin, Military Cross. Headmaster from 1943-1952. German prisoner of war for the first two years of his appointment.
  • Izak Van Heerden. School, Natal, Springbok and Argentina rugby coach.POW in Germany with another DHS teacher, Bill Payn. Taught at DHS for 39 years. Izak died at the school in 1973.
  • 'Skonk' Nicholson,renowned schools rugby coach.Coached seven Springboks including Joel Stransky and Butch James, both world cup winning fly-halves when he coached the first XV at Maritzburg College. DHS First XV rugby, First XI cricket and Head Prefect. Natal School's Rugby.
  • Bill Payne, Springbok Rugby.Taught at the school from 1915-1953. Bill fought in both World Wars and was awarded the Military Medal in 1941, aged 47 while in action in the Western Desert. Provincial cricket, boxing, baseball and athletics. German prisoner of war with another DHS teacher Izak Van Heerden.
  • Sqd Ldr G F Chater, RAF. Distinguished Flying Cross, Battle of Britain pilot..
  • LCW Theobald. Latin teacher and first XI coach from 1949 to 1967.Coached eight SA cricketers including Trevor Goddard, Hugh Tayfield, Barry Richards, Lee Irvine, Dennis Gamsy. First XI cricket.
  • Aubrey Samuel Langley, Headmaster from 1910–1931. Introduced rugby to the school (he hated soccer)[1] and was responsible for establishing the Prep School which has produced 70 international sportsmen, including 4 England Rugby players, an All Black and the New Zealand wicketkeeper.
  • Norman Lucas, inspirational Science teacher at the school for 41 years.
  • Tony Human, Senior Boarder Master and Science teacher. The school's longest serving teacher, 1965-2014.
  • Pierre-Louise-Joseph d'Hotman de Villiers, Comte de St Pol, French Master. He taught at the school for 28 years.
  • George Armstrong, first 'old boy' headmaster of the school 1952-1959.
  • Tom Howard, Vice-principal. Born in Wiltshire UK, he joined the school in 1931 and remained for 40 years.





  • Bronek Masojada, Rhodes Scholar. CEO Hiscox Insurance,London. Past President of Insurance Institute of London, Director of LLoyds of London.
  • Stephen Bradley Saad, founder and CEO of Aspen Pharmacare, Africa's largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. First XV rugby.
  • Alex Ritchie. Engineer, entrepreneur and hot air balloon pilot who saved Sir Richard Branson's life.
  • Dr Jonathan Beare, International financier and philanthropist
  • Dr Cecil Renaud, international financier and philanthropist.
  • Alan J Hellman. Founder and original CEO of Game Stores, Africa's largest discount retailer.
  • Vernon Crookes, CEO Crookes Brothers one of Kwa-Zulu's Natal's oldest companies.
  • Dr Graham Bell, founder and CEO of E-Nose Pty Ltd(Biotechnology), Sydney Australia.
  • Graeme Robertson. Direct marketing advertising guru in the UK. The Graeme Robertson Trust was established in his honour in 1991. First XV rugby.
  • Howard Buttery. CEO of Bell Equipment, Africa's largest manufacturer of heavy earth-moving equipment. The company is the largest producer of Articulated Dump Trucks in the world.
  • Christopher Seabrooke. Director of numerous JSE listed companies, CEO of Sabvest and Chairman of Metrofile Holdings and Transaction Capital. Chairman of the State Theatre, the largest theatre complex in Africa.
  • Mick Goss, attorney, advocate, businessman and horse breeder. Captain, Natal Schools rugby.


National Union of South African Students(NUSAS)- Presidents:
  • Ian Corbishley, Headmaster of Northlands Boys High and Northwood Schools, 1985-1996. Chief Superintendent of Education(Management Training and Curriculum), National Department of Education(2002-2006). Director of The Unlimited Child.


Over 250 old boys died, and more than 2,000 were injured in both World Wars. I Victoria Cross(VC), 27 Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC), 22 Military Crosses (MC), 10 Military Medals(MM) and 8 Distinguished Service Orders (DSO) were awarded to old boys in these and subsequent conflicts. In the Battle of Delville Wood in 1916,12 old boys were killed, 9 wounded and 3 were taken prisoner.

Arts and media[edit]


  • Justice Brian Law.
  • Justice A.E. Carlisle.
  • Justice Leo Carney.
  • Justice Ramon Nigel Leon.
  • Justice B.D.Burne.
  • Justice David Friedman. Dux 1952.
  • Justice Alan Magid.
  • Justice Neville(G N) Holmes, Judge of the Appellate Division.
  • Justice Jonathan Heger, Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, formally the Appellate Division.
  • Justice Malcolm Wallis, Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal and honorary Professor of Law in the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.



All represented South Africa except where noted:

   ** - All five played in the Lords test match in 1960.
Over 200 old boys have played provincial cricket in South Africa or county cricket in England.
Surfing, swimming, and lifesaving[edit]
  • Shaun Tomson, 1977 IPS World Champion Surfer.
  • Travis Logie, surfer. Won the gold medal at 2002 ISA World Games.
  • Jason Ribbink, surfer. Captain of the victorious SA team at the ISA World Games in 2002.
  • David Weare, international surfer.
  • M Thompson, Surfing.
  • Byron Jeffers, SA Swimming. 43 SA junior championship and 3 Africa junior championship records. 8 British age group records and youngest swimmer to medal in SA National Championships aged 14. First team All-American in 200m relay. 2000 Commonwealth Games.
  • Leandro Jorge. Swam for Mocambique in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
  • Michael Bolstridge. Selected to swim for SA in the Olympic Games in Montreal(1972). The team was banned from participating.
  • G. May, SA Swimming.
  • Merlin Fredericks, SA Swimming.
  • B R Challenor, SA Swimming.
  • Alan Burt, SA Lifesaving. First XV rugby.
  • C Murray, SA Lifesaving.
  • Guy Nothard, SA Lifesaving.
  • R Coetzee, SA Lifesaving.
  • Tony Dumas, SA Lifesaving.
  • B Edwards, SA Lifesaving.
  • Lester Kitto, SA Lifesaving. First XV rugby.
  • M. Hardaker, SA Lifesaving.
  • Brandon Lloyd Ribbink, SA Lifesaving.
  • J. Zwart, SA Lifesaving.
  • Colin Woodcock, SA Water-Polo. Head Prefect and Natal School's Rugby.
  • D P Basel SA Water-Polo.
  • D R Botha, SA Water-Polo.
  • A Shedlock, SA Water-Polo.
  • J M Catterall, SA Water-Polo.
  • Nicholas Wilson, SA Swimming. All Africa Games 2003, Abuja, Nigeria. 2003 Afro-Asian Games, Hyderabad, India. All Africa 4X100m Relay team.
  • D Collopy, SA Lifesaving and Water-Polo.
  • P E Lanterme, SA Lifesaving.
  • A M Scott, SA Lifesaving.
  • Vernon Kirby, SA Davis Cup. Runner-up 1931 and 1937 French Open, Men's Doubles.
  • David Adams, SA Davis Cup.
  • John Yuill, Professional tennis player. 1974 SA Davis Cup Team.
  • E Getaz,SA Tennis.
  • V R Gauntlett, SA Tennis.
  • J Hendrie, SA Tennis.
  • J D Cockerell, SA Tennis.
  • S D Cockerell, SA Tennis.
  • C J J Robbins, SA Tennis.
  • Eric Dalton, SA Davis Cup.
  • S Willis, SA Tennis.
  • Rory Donnellan. Rhodes Scholar, SA Equestrian. Natal School's cricket.
  • Hank Mcgregor. Four time K1 World Canoe Marathon Champion. Winner of the Dusi Canoe Marathon and 7X winner of the 240 km long Berg River Canoe Marathon. World K1 and K2 champion in 2014(Oklahoma River, Oklahoma City).
  • D L Bartho, SA Canoeing. K1 Avon Descent(Australia) champion in 2004 and 2005 and K2 champion in 2007 with his brother Brett.
  • Brett Bartho, SA canoeing. K2 Avon Descent champion(2007) with brother Daryl.
  • Dr Richard Venniker. Second in the 2014 World Masters Single Canoeing Championships, Oklahoma USA.
  • E J W Browne, SA Rowing.
  • David Uniake, SA Basketball.
  • J E Wraith, SA Basketball.
  • Reneshan Naidoo, SA Badminton(2012) while still at school.
  • N C Woodroffe, SA Badminton.
  • S Lapinsky, SA Gymnastics.
  • Mike Sellick, SA Casting. First XV rugby.
  • Lt J F Britz, Military Medal.SA Boxing.
  • D Napier, SA Baseball.
  • C R Munro, SA Baseball.
  • J Banks,SA Musketry.
  • E H Halley, SA Musketry.
  • M J Hardaker, SA Musketry.
  • M Statham, SA Yachting(1995, 1998, 1999).
  • L A Evans, SA Yachting.
  • L H Horsfield, SA Yachting.
  • Leslie Nathanson, SA Yachting while still at school.
  • D Hudson, SA Yachting. Now a veteran, came 2nd in Laser SB3 World Championships, 2009.
  • C Goodricke, SA Yachting.
  • Dr Garth Allardice, centre half at Kaizer Chiefs football club. First XV rugby and Natal School's rugby, football and athletics.
  • Robin Lowe. Addington and Durban United football teams. SA Footballer of the Year(1966). Killed in a motor accident in 1968.
  • Johnny Sinclair, midfielder, Durban United football club.
  • Gareth Irvine, goalkeeper, Durban United. First XV rugby.
  • Louis Arde, captain SA amateur football team.
  • Basil Hollister, Durban City and SA amateur football team.
  • Ernie Rodrigues, Durban City football.
  • Patrick Destombes, Durban United football team.
  • C M Banfield, Football.
  • Rupert Ellis-Brown. Durban Mayor. Represented SA in sailing in Olympic Games in 1924(Paris) and 1928(Amsterdam).
  • M S Barker, SA Powerlifting. SA Schools rugby.
  • T G Mitchell, SA Karate.


  1. ^ Gray, Stephen (2012). "Noel Langley & Co.: Some South Africans in Showbiz Abroad". Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa 24 (1): 16. doi:10.1080/1013929X.2012.645356. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

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