Parktown Boys' High School

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Parktown Boys' High School
Parktown Boys High School logo.png
Wellington Road
Johannesburg, Gauteng, 2193
 South Africa
Coordinates 26°11′6″S 28°2′6″E / 26.18500°S 28.03500°E / -26.18500; 28.03500Coordinates: 26°11′6″S 28°2′6″E / 26.18500°S 28.03500°E / -26.18500; 28.03500
Type Public High School & Boarding
Motto 'Arise'; English from the Latin 'Surgite'
Established 1920 (1923)
Head Master Mr Derek Bradley
Staff ~50 (full-time)
Grades 812
Gender Male
Age 13 to 18
Enrollment ~800 pupils
Houses Trojans, Romans, Spartans, Thebans, Tuscans and Vulcans
Colour(s) Red & Black         
Publication The Rampant
Former pupils Old Parktonians
Old Boys
Badges Rampant Lion

Parktown Boys' High School is a public high school for boys in Parktown, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. One of the oldest and most respected schools in Johannesburg,[1] the school is consistently rated as among the best performing schools in South Africa, as well as in Africa.[2][3]

Parktown Boys' sister school is Parktown High School for Girls, in Parkview, Johannesburg.

Parktown Boys' has a rich history which includes the use of boaters (called 'bashers'), a distinctive red and black uniform, school songs, and particularly 'Parktonian' language which has evolved over the years. The school motto is 'Arise' ('Surgite' in Latin).[4] The original school buildings have provincial heritage sites status.[5]


North Western Suburbs High School was founded in January 1920, in disused wood and iron buildings which had previously been Police Barracks at the top of Canary Street in Auckland Park. There were eighty-seven pupils in five Form II classes, four for boys and one for girls with acting Headmaster, C. Hare. The site is now occupied by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The Acting Director of Education, W.E.C. Clarke, the Inspector of High Schools, officially opened the new school with an address to the scholars and staff. He apologised for the lack of decent furniture and playing fields and promised that a new modern high school for boys would be built on the Parktown Ridge overlooking Milner Park and a new high school for girls near Zoo Lake.

The first Headmaster, P.M. Druce, arrived at the beginning of 1921 and, in February, the name of the school was changed to North Western High School. In April the first hatbands and ties arrived. The colours were purple and white.

On 1 September 1921 the school was divided into five houses: Romans, Spartans, Thebans, Trojans and Tuscans. On 19 September the name was changed again, this time to Parktown Boys' High School with the motto Arise, and the school badge a rampant lion. When the Rand Revolt took place in 1922 the school, which was in no-man's-land, had to be evacuated for a short while.

At the beginning of 1923 the masters and boys moved to the new buildings in Wellington Road on Parktown Ridge. They took little with them except the school name, motto and badge, the names of the five houses and the traditions they had built up. When the school reopened in the new premises, there were 435 boys on the roll and the school colours were changed to red and black. The girls remained at Auckland Park.

The Old Parktonian Association, which was formed in 1925, bought the grounds in Bedfordview but later moved to Craighall Park. Strong links with the school are maintained.

When Mr Druce retired in 1938 he was succeeded in turn by B.A. Logie, C.A. Yates, F.J. Marais, J.A. Cameron, N.A.M. Scheepers and T.P. Clarke, Parktown's previous Headmaster for a record 23 years, as well as Mr C. Niemand.

In 1985 Druce Hall was opened to accommodate boarders and following the school's tradition in the classics, in 1987, the name Vulcan was given to the sixth school house to which all boarders belong.

Parktown Boys' High School was the first government school to allow boys who were discriminated against because of their colour into a mainstream white school in 1991. This was a bold step and can be attributed to the free thinking management which is passed down to the boys.

Parktown Boys' High School was the first school in South Africa to install an international standard water-based Astroturf playing surface. This surface has hosted many national and international games.[6] More recently, Parktown has built Surgite House overlooking the McCorkell Oval (named after Neil McCorkell the school's former cricket coach and former Hampshire county cricketer who became a centurion in March 2012) to incorporate the administration and entertainment needs of Old Parktonians, as well as the state-of-the-art Sydney Klevansky Sports and Cultural Centre.[7]


Current Headmaster[edit]

Mr Derek Bradley became Headmaster in June 2015 after the resignation of Mr Calla Niemand in September 2014.

T.P. Clarke[edit]

Parktown's previous headmaster was T.P. Clarke, the longest serving Headmaster of a public school in South Africa. Mr Clarke entered Parktown as a 'formie' in 1958. In 1975 he returned to the school as Head of Mathematics, being promoted to Headmaster in 1987. Guiding the school through the turbulent 1990s into a new millennium, Mr Clarke retired in 2010.


Parktown's previous Headmasters were (from 1920): Mr C. Hare (Acting), Mr P.M.Druce, Mr B.A. Logie, Mr C.A. Yates, Mr F.J. Marais, Mr J.A. Cameron, Mr N.A.M. Scheeper, Mr Calla Niemand, Mr Pillay (Acting)


Parktown Boys' High prides itself on an outstanding academic record that boasts numerous awards. Past Matriculants have consistently achieved excellent results over the years.[8] Parktown Boys' has produced a number of Rhodes Scholars.

The school is divided from Grades 8 to 12 (Matric), and grades are referred to as 'Forms' at the school.

The academic subjects offered each year include:

  • Accountancy,
  • Additional Mathematics (Independent Examinations Board),
  • Afrikaans,
  • Art,
  • Art Design,
  • Biology,
  • Business Studies,
  • Computer Application Technology,
  • Computer Science,
  • English,
  • Geography,
  • History,
  • Information Technology,
  • Life Orientation,
  • Life Science,
  • Mathematics,
  • Mathematical Literacy,
  • Physical Science,
  • Visual Art, and
  • Zulu.

Cultural activities[edit]

Cultural activities refer to all exta-mural activities excluding sporting activities.

Recognised cultural activities offered to the learners at Parktown include:

  • Cadet Band,
  • Chess Club,
  • Choir,
  • Blade Smith,
  • Gaming,
  • Film Study
  • Drama,
  • First Aid,
  • Heart of the Lion (the school’s charity programme),
  • Media Centre,
  • Oratory (Public Speaking and Debating),
  • Photography Club,
  • Stock Exchange Game and
  • Traditional Dancing.

Recent additions to the cultural side of things include:

  • The General Knowledge Quiz,
  • Scrabble
  • The History Society and
  • The Philosophy Society.

Cultural life also extends to visits to art galleries, museums and musical performances.[9]

Sporting activities[edit]

The Parktown Basher

Parktown Boys' High prides itself on a tradition of sporting excellence, having had large numbers of Springbok, National, and Provincial sportsmen come from its ranks. Recently Parktown's First Waterpolo side were the best in the country winning two national tournaments, and Parktown's first Hockey side are regular Aitken Trophy winners.

Summer sports offered by the school include:[10]

  • Cricket,
  • Rowing,
  • Golf,
  • Waterpolo and
  • Swimming.

Winter sports offered by the school include:

  • Athletics,
  • Cross Country,
  • Soccer,
  • Hockey,
  • Rugby,
  • Shooting and
  • Squash.

Tennis is offered throughout the year.


Rugby is arguably the most popular sport at the school. Parktown Boys' currently fields 18 rugby teams from Under 14 to Under 18 level.

Traditional rugby 'rivals' of the school include:

The First XV are known as the 'Men in Black' or the 'Black Lions' (a reference to their all-black kit) and traditionally embark on at least one tour every two years. Recently this has included tours to Argentina, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand. Parktown are also a regular fixture at the annual Easter Rugby Festivals held throughout the country.

Parktown hosts the annual Under 14 Rugby Festival, a national rugby festival aimed at giving under 14s a chance to experience the festival atmosphere and to play against teams that they would not ordinarily play against.

Druce Hall[edit]

Parktown Boys' High School has a weekly boarding establishment (i.e. from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon), which is known as the Druce Hall. The Druce Hall was officially opened on 9 June 1985 and is named after P. M. Druce, the first Headmaster of Parktown Boys’ High School.

The boarding is supervised with a ratio of one master to every 15 boys. A member of the boarding establishment is allowed the opportunity to experience life to the full at this fine high school.

School songs and chants[edit]

War Cry[edit]

The School's Mascot – The Rampant Lion, with members of the Cadet Band performing the school War Cry.

Ukuloe Moena Bani

Ukuloe Moena Sebi

Ukuloe Moena Bani

Ukuloe Moena Sebi

Zingti Negeti


P – A – R – K

Zimba Zimba Zimba Zea

T – O – W – N

Zimba Zimba Zimba Zea

Arise – Arise


Old Boys of Parktown[edit]

Sung to the tune of the unofficial National Anthem of Scotland 'Flower of Scotland', Old Boys of Parktown is sung at rugby derbies.

Last of the Mohicans[edit]

This chilling tune is played by the famous Cadet Band at rugby matches, as well as at the induction of every new set of Prefects where the entire school claps out the rhythm of the music and forms a symbolic passage for old Prefects and Matrics to leave the school.

Sing Him a Hymn![edit]

A Old Boy favourite because of its salty lyrics, this chant is used to express contempt and dislike for a particular individual, and perhaps even a rugby referee, in a way few other chants could. It is often said that if one would like to find other Old Parktonians in any room around the world one only needs to shout out 'Sing Him a Hymn...' and the answer will come back loud and clear.


Orientation and initiation[edit]

As part of their orientation and initiation into the school, all 'formies' (Grade 8/Form I) receive a coloured button to wear on their blazer which indicates their 'formie' status as well as what house they belong to for the duration of their Form I year. Other activities such as remembering the names of all the members of all First Teams of that year, having to carry around bricks dressed as dogs and posters in the second week of school, PT sessions, and other fun activities are encouraged. At the end of their second week of school, all formies are assigned a Matric 'Old Pot' who will help and guide that formie through their first few months at the school. The Old Pot/New Pot braai is held in the first term.

Harmful 'initiation' is discouraged throughout the school.[11] However, team-building activities and orientation are viewed as tools to foster a sense of pride amongst boys and staff members.


Parktown Boys' High School is one of the few schools in South Africa that proudly still continues with the tradition of Cadets and Cadet practice every week. This practice is seen as an exemplary way of instilling discipline and teamwork into young boys.

Memorial parade[edit]

Parktown conducts a Memorial Parade and Service on the Sunday nearest 11 November (Remembrance Day) every year for Old Parktonians and South Africans in general who have died in various conflicts around the world. It is compulsory for all Form Is and IVs to attend.

Interclass games[edit]

Before 2013 to celebrate the school's birthday, interclass games involving touch rugby, chess, soccer, the obstacle course, hockey and numerous other games were held on an interclass basis on the last day of the first term. Boys were encouraged to bond with their classmates and were assigned different colours per class to distinguish themselves from other classes. Everyone was expected to participate and contribute.

The First Rugby and Hockey sides to play the Old Boys were traditionally announced on this day.

Third Cricket/Hockey v Teachers Matches[edit]

Every year a fierce contest of will and sporting prowess takes place between staff and Third Cricket

The White Blazer[edit]

A rumour had swirled around the corridors of Parktown for years concerning the mythical white blazer that was awarded to a student who received full colours in sports, academics, and culture, that was displayed outside the headmaster's office. In fact it was an Old Parktonian blazer and had had no official place in the school's history.

In line with the ethos of holistic education at the school, Parktown introduced the award of the White Blazer in 2010. Although previous Matriculants would have qualified, M. Daniel (2010), M. Marki (2012) and J. Gilbert (2013) have been awarded the White Blazer.

Old Parktonians[edit]

Old Parktonians, men and women, engage with the school(s) on many different levels, and are encouraged to contribute to the development of the school in any way possible, from attending annual reunions to coaching school teams.

The Parktonian Foundation,[12] Surgite House, the Parktown Waterpolo Club,[13] a vibrant Facebook page,[14] the annual Surgite[15] publications and the Old Parktonian Sports Club,[16] all aim to foster a vibrant Old Parktonian Community.

Old Boys' Day[edit]

Every year in the first term Old Boys are invited to play against current school First Teams in a variety of sports. The day culminates in rugby (versus the Lions u18 side) and hockey games between the Old Boys and the recently announced First teams. It is said that that if the Old Boys win, the First XV will have a good season, and vice versa.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Past Matriculants of the school have gone on to be leaders in all fields of South African life, from leaders in commerce, Members of Parliament, renowned academics, Springboks rugby players, other internationally renowned sportsmen, musicians and artists.

Some of this include:

  • Sir Henry Benson, President of the ICAEW, Member of the House of Lords,
  • Eric Samson, businessman and founder of Macsteel,[17]
  • Gugu Zulu, "the fastest brother in Africa", racing driver, († 2016),[18]
  • Ian Davidson, Member of Parliament and Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance,[19]
  • John Varty and Dave Varty, noted wildlife conservationists and filmmakers,
  • Dr Bertie Lubner, businessman and philanthropist,[20][21]
  • Cecil Berhmann, businessman and developer of numerous iconic properties in Johannesburg and Cape Town,[22][23]
  • Wayne Ferreira, international tennis player and Olympic silver medalist,
  • Eric Sturgess, international tennis player who reached the finals of three Grand Slam singles tournaments and won six Grand Slam doubles tournaments,[24][25]
  • Joseph Wolpe, psychologist and psychology theorist,
  • Stanley Smollen and Royce Schulman, World War Two escapees from an Italian P.O.W. camp,[26]
  • Denis Hirson, author,[27]
  • Byron Bertram, South African professional tennis player,
  • John Copelyn, Member of Parliament, Trade-Unionist and CEO of Hosken Consolidated Investments,[28]
  • David Ipp, South African and Australian jurist,
  • Stanis Smith, architect and renowned designer of airports around the world,[29]
  • Sydney Hudson Reed, minister and founder of the Treverton Preparatory School and College,[30]
  • David Soggot, human rights and anti-apartheid lawyer,[31][32][33][34]
  • John Burland, C.B.E., engineer and researcher,
  • Christo Coetzee, distinguished South African artist,
  • Manfred Gorvy, businessman and founder of the Hanover Acceptances Group,[35]
  • William Cobbett, South African political author,
  • George Getzel Cohen, radiologist and anti-apartheid campaigner, Member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons,
  • Paul Loewenthal, Judge of the District Court of Queensland,[36]
  • Murray Ball, renowned New Zealand cartoonist,[37]
  • Maj Cornelius Arthur van Vliet, South African Major and Battle of Britain pilot,[38]
  • Maj Gen Philip Pretorius, South African Army General,
  • George Seddon Harrison, Chemical Engineer and lecturer, University of Stellenbosch and University of Cape Town,[39]
  • Sidney Charles Hossy, surgeon and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons,[40]
  • Adam Kuper, anthropologist,
  • Leon David Markovitz, former Mayor of Cape Town,
  • Alfie Hughes, South African soccer captain,[41]
  • Abraham Morris Rudolph, paediatrician and Honorary Professor,[42][43]
  • Paul Fryer, Olympic swimmer,[44]
  • Miklos Salamon, businessman and chairman of mining houses in South Africa,[45]
  • Brigadier General Dick Lord, pilot, winner of the Distinguished Service Cross,[46]
  • Brigadier George Kruys, led South African forces in two major battles during the invasion of Angola in 1975 (Operation Savannah (Angola)) (Ebo and Bridge 14), worked in reconstruction and development in the post-1994 arena,[47]
  • Jack Penn, M.B.E., Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, author, and sculptor,
  • Bradley Carnell, South African football player,
  • Patrick Stapleton, Profession footballer, Leyton Orient FC. London, England,[48]
  • Richard Hope. Professional footballer, Maroko Swallows,
  • Jon Jon Park, Olympic swimmer, Canada.
  • Ralph Zulman, Judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal,[49]
  • Percy Baneshik, South African playwright and theatre critic,
  • Jackie Mekler, South African athlete and five time winner of the Comrades Marathon,
  • Lloyd Strauss-Smith, opera singer,[50][51]
  • Raymond Louw, journalist, editor and media commentator,[52]
  • Martin Israel, pathologist and priest.[53]


Notable academics include:


The following Old Parktonians have represented the South African National Rugby Team (the Springboks):

  • Johannes Stephanus Albertus Oelofse (1926–1978): Scrumhalf playing 4 tests and scoring 2 tries in 1953 (also known as Hansie Oelofse),[66]
  • Alan Menter: Came on as a reserve for the Springboks on the tour matches to France in 1968,[67]
  • Peter Arnold Cronjé: Outside centre playing 7 tests and scoring 3 tries between 1971 and 1974[68] and
  • Paul Campbell Robertson Bayvel: Scrumhalf playing 10 tests between 1974 and 1976.[69]
  • James Dalton also attended the school for two years until Form II.


The following Old Parktonians have represented the South African National Cricket team (the Proteas):


Old Parktonians who have played for the national hockey side are: South Africa South Africa: Lance Louw, Neville Berman, Justin Rosenburg. Noel Day, Andre du Preez, Keith Jones, Brian Morton[73]

Music and Art[edit]

Some notable musicians and artists who attended Parktown Boys' High School are:

Aside from those mentioned above, Old Parktonians have been awarded the C.B.E., M.B.E. or O.B.E.s a number of times, these include:

  • H. de la Hunt (M.B.E.), H.H. Greenwood (M.B.E.), J. Selikman (O.B.E.), and J.R. Stewart (M.B.E.)

Parktown Boys' High School has also had some notable associations including:

  • Jake White[77] coached the 2007 IRB World Cup winning Springboks and started his rugby coaching career at Parktown Boys' High School in 1982.


  1. ^ Oldest School in Jhb Oldest Schools in Johannesburg Series
  2. ^ Sunday Times [] Retrieved 25 June 2011
  3. ^ The Herald 2013 [1] Retrieved 02 March 2014
  4. ^ Google Translate [2] Latin to English translation
  5. ^ O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9. 
  6. ^ O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9. 
  7. ^ Sports and Cultural Centre
  8. ^ Academics Parktown Boys' Webpage
  9. ^ Cultural Overview Parktown Boys' Webpage
  10. ^ Sport Overview Parktown Boys' Webpage
  11. ^ Biography [3] Retrieved 3 September 2012
  12. ^ Parktonian Foundation [4] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  13. ^ Parktown Waterpolo Club [5] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  14. ^ Parktown Old Boys Facebook Page [6] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  15. ^ Parktown Old Boys Facebook Page [7] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  16. ^ Old Parks [8] Retrieved 26 April 2011
  17. ^ Financial Mail Biography [9] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  18. ^ Biography [10] Retrieved 22 July 2016
  19. ^ DA [11] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  20. ^ Dr Bertie Lubner, Philanthropy [12] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  21. ^ Dr Bertie Lubner, Old Boy 1948 [13] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  22. ^ M & G Article [14] Retrieved 31 January 2013
  23. ^ SACSC Roll of Honour [15] Retrieved 31 January 2013
  24. ^ Telegraph Obituary [16] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  25. ^ O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9. 
  26. ^ Stanley Smollen [17] Retrieved 07 January 2015
  27. ^ Denis Hirson [18] Retrieved 03 April 2014
  28. ^ John Copelyn, [19] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  29. ^ Wits Review [20] Retrieved 9 July 2016
  30. ^ Obituary [21] Retrieved 9 March 2013
  31. ^ Independent Obituary [22] Retrieved 1 June 2011
  32. ^ M & G Obituary [23] Retrieved 1 June 2011
  33. ^ M & G Obituary [24] Retrieved 1 June 2011
  34. ^ The Guardian Obituary [25] Retrieved 3 June 2011
  35. ^ Financial Mail Biography, [26] Retrieved 8 May 2011
  36. ^ Obituary [27] Retrieved 9 March 2013
  37. ^ Biography [28] Retrieved 8 May 2011
  38. ^ Biography [29] Retrieved 3 July 2011
  39. ^ Obituary [30] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  40. ^ Obituary [31] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  41. ^ O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9. 
  42. ^ Abraham Morris Rudolph: An Appreciation [32] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  43. ^ Abraham Morris Rudolph: Personal Biography [33] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  44. ^ Camp Information [34] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  45. ^ Who is Who SA [35] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  46. ^ Dick Lord Obituary [36] Retrieved 27 November 2012
  47. ^ Obituary in the South African Sunday Times 29 September 2013
  48. ^ Leyton Orient FC ex Players Association
  49. ^ Note [37] Retrieved 28 April 2011
  50. ^ Biography [38] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  51. ^ Biography [39] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  52. ^ Bizcommunity Report [40] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  53. ^ Times Obituary [41] Retrieved 28 April 2011
  54. ^ Times Obituary [42] Retrieved 3 June 2011
  55. ^ [43] Retrieved 28 May 2011
  56. ^ Wits Review [44] Retrieved 28 May 2011
  57. ^ Allan M Sinclair [45] Retrieved 28 May 2011
  58. ^ Reference [46] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  59. ^ [47] Retrieved 7 March 2013
  60. ^ SAMJ [48] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  61. ^ Colin Caro Wits Alumni [49] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  62. ^ Colin Caro [50] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  63. ^ Peter Folb [51] Retrieved 7 July 2011
  64. ^ University of Leeds, Obituary
  65. ^ Allan Heydorn [52] Retrieved 9 May 2012
  66. ^ Player Stats [53] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  67. ^ An Interview with Alan Menter [54] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  68. ^ Player Stats [55] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  69. ^ Player Stats [56] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  70. ^ O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9. 
  71. ^ List of Springbok and Protea Cricketers [57] Retrieved 21 March 2014
  72. ^ ESPN Cricinfo [58] Retrieved 1 December 2016
  73. ^ Overview of Parktown Hockey [59] Retrieved 1 February 2015
  74. ^ Die Antwoord Discussion Boing Boing Retrieved 29 November 2010
  75. ^ Die Antwoord Discussion Boing Boing Retrieved 29 November 2010
  76. ^ Craig W. Hinds [60] Retrieved 2 December 2010
  77. ^ Jake White

External links[edit]