Thu, 15 Apr 2004 00:00
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We profile Paul Roos Gymnasium of Stellenbosch.

School profile

We profile Paul Roos Gymnasium of Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch - one of the most beautiful towns in the world, a cultural triumph. Arguably South Africa's greatest cultural achievements have been Cape Dutch architecture and the Afrikaans language. Both a glorious in Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa.

The town was founded in 1679 by the good Governor Simon van der Stel and named after him. He blessed the town by prodding acorns into the soil, and today
it is known to many as Eikestad - Acorn City with its shady oaks.

Cape Dutch architecture with its thick white walls and cool black thatch is there in one historical monument after another. And Stellenbosch became a centre of Afrikaner learning and culture.

The British captured the Cape in 1806 and decided that all people should speak English. Teachers were imported to make this happen. The same happened in the churches. The Dutch speakers did not like this. The Scottish ministers became heads of Afrikaner families and schools sprang up to provide mother-tongue education. 

The first school had been opened in 1683 but education in the town began in earnest in 1859 with the opening of a seminary for the Dutch Reformed Church and a gymnasium which became Het Stellenbosch Gymnasium in 1866.  In 1874 some higher classes became Victoria College and then in 1918 the University of Stellenbosch.  In 19009 an old boy of the school, Paul Roos, captain of the first team to be called the Springboks, was invited to become the sixth rector of the school.  He remained rector till 1940.  On his retirement the school's name was changed to Paul Roos Gymnasium.


Not only the name was changed; the premises were also changed till they reached their present site on the other bank of the Eerste River in the late Forties. For years and years the school had used the university's fields but, thanks largely to a gift from Oubaas Markötter, the school acquired its own fields. Always the school shared the colours of the university - the maroon jersey with the gold collar and cuffs.

The school's rugby has been perhaps its greatest pride, one of the greatest rugby schools in the world.

The school will have 23 teams playing in fixtures organised by Western Province.

Traditional Rivals

There are all the Cape schools – Bishops and SACS going back into the 19th century and increased through College rivalry, Paarl Boys’ High and Paarl Gim. Then there is their annual contest, whole school against whole school, with Grey College of Bloemfontein.

Famous Old Boys

Some of South Africa's most famous Springboks have attended the school - more Springboks than from any other school. The following old boys have played for South Africa:  Jim McKendrick, Arthur de Kock, Robert Shand, Paul de Waal, Koei Brink, the three Luyts – Freddie, Richard and John –WA Krige, Tokkie Scholtz, Kenny Starke, Nic Bosman, Bob Loubser, Japie Krige, PK Albertyn (captain), Paul Roos (captain), AF du Toit, Ballie Wahl, Gert Brynard, Attie van Heerden, Jackie Tindall, Daunce Devine, Phil Mostert (captain), George van Reenen, Theuns Kruger, Nico du Plessis, Ferdie Bergh, Gideon Roos, George Daneel, Tjol Lategan, Jannie Engelbrecht, PK Morkel, Manus de Jongh, Boet Prinsloo, Mannetjies Michau, Hempies du Toit, Justin Swart and Cobus Visagie – 39 in all.

In addition JA Krige played for England in 1920 when he was studying at Guy's Hospital.

The outstanding recent player is Schalk Brits, a hooker who played for South African Schools and South Africa Under 19 for two years with distinction.

School Information

Name of school: Paul Roos Gymnasium/Gimnasium  
Motto of school: Semper Splendidior (Always brighter)  
Date of foundation: 1866
School address: Paul Roos Gymnasium, Suidwal, Stellenbosch.  7600