Thu, 15 Apr 2004 00:00
We profile Pretoria Boys' High.
Profile of a school


We profile Pretoria Boys' High.

In the 1880s, about the time the first rugby club, Pretoria, was established in Pretoria, the government of Paul Kruger's South African republic founded a school, the Staatsmodelskool on the corner of Skinner and Van der Walt Streets in Pretoria, the republic's capital. It was a small school but became famous during the Anglo-Boer War because Winston Churchill was temporarily imprisoned there.

After the war Lord Milner set about getting education going in what had become the Transvaal. The Staatsmodelskool then became Pretoria High School, opening in 1901 with 14 pupils. In 1903 the girls moved to their own building and the boys' primary and high schools were run separately. The school then became the Pretoria College.

Then a 60-acre site was found on Waterkloofkop and the school, much backed by General Smuts, was opened there in 1909. Smuts, Louis Botha and JBM Hertzog sent their cons to the school with its grand buildings in the style called English Classical Revival.

It is still a grand school set on a hillside amongst tall pine trees.


Motto of school: Virtute et Labore (By means of goodness and effort)
Date of foundation: 1903
School address: PO Box 11790, Hatfield. 0028


Unlike Johannesburg schools where soccer was the early game, Pretoria Boys' High played rugby from its foundation in 1903, originally in the lower leagues in Pretoria, then a part of the Transvaal Rugby Union. Three coaches looked after the rugby between 1910 and 1977 - Tom Wilkinson, Bill Brooks, whose name is preserved in the 1st XV field which was a field hospital during the Anglo-Boer War, and Will Hofmeyr who coached from 1936 to 1977. Hofmeyr was the son of WH Hofmeyr who was headmaster of the school for 25 years. His seven sons went to the school. One of them, Murray, an outstanding sportsman, played fullback for England. Will joined the staff the year after his father retired and coached the 1st XV from 1941 to 1977. At one stage they beat Affies for seven years in a row.

Rugby is still a passion at Pretoria Boys' High. Each year they put some 25 teams into the field.

In 2000 was invited to a tournament in Dubai, hosted by the Exiles Club. The school played three matches, winning all three.

Traditional Rivals

Affies, near neighbours, are the biggest rivals by far. But there are other traditional matches - KES, Jeppe, Potchefstroom BHS, St John's and Parktown.

Famous Old Boys

Apart from Murray Hofmeyr, who played for England, other old boys have played international rugby. There were the Springboks - Nico Bosman and Robbie Brink, who was part of the 1995 World Cup winning team. Chad Leon-Cachet captained UCT and Oxford and played for the Netherlands. In 2004 John Smit was appointed Springbok captain. He had already played in 26 tests and was the captain of the Sharks and of Natal. Brian Liebenberg was at the 2003 Rugby World Cup – in the centre for France.

Chiliboy Ralepele, Pretoria Boys’ High’s captain in 2003, is back at the school in 2004 and chosen for the SA Under 19 team, a powerful hooker who came to Boys’ High from Tzaneen. Great things are expected of him