We profile Diamantveld, one of the leading schools in Griqualand West.
Diamonds made Kimberley and it did so at a great rate. Diamonds were found in the area in 1866 and Kimberley was founded in 1871, turning the Colesberg Koppie into the biggest man-made hole in the world in the feverish search for the wonderful gems. It became the richest diamond mine in the world and made many people wealthy, including Cecil John Rhodes.
Geographically Kimberley, being between the confluence of the Vaal and the Orange, belongs in the Free State, but the British had an interest in what was under the ground that the Boers did not have. The Boers besieged the city during the 2nd South African war but in search of freedom not diamonds.
Kimberley took its name from John Wodehouse, the first Earl of Kimberley, the colonial secretary. Wodehouse succeeded his grandfather as Lord Wodehouse in 1846 when he was 20. (His father had died in 1834.) In 1866 he was created Earl of Kimberley, a small town in Norfolk near Wymondham. Kimberley signified a royal meadow. The Diamond City takes its name from that village.
Kimberley with its conglomeration of physically active young males also became a sporting centre, and Rhodes was the guarantor for the first-ever overseas rugby tour to South Africa and Griqualand West the first holders of the Currie Cup.
Hoërskool Diamantveld of Kimberley - the Diamond School in the Diamond City - is much younger than neighbours Kimberley Boys' High or Christian Brothers' College but it now far surpasses them in rugby influence in Griqualand West.
The school was founded in 1935 in the building which had housed the Kimberley Teachers' College, uncomfortably adapting the training college's facilities to a school. Five years later the school acquired its present buildings and raised its flag.
The school is an Afrikaans-medium, co-educational high school.
Name: Hoërskool Diamantveld
Motto: A posse ad esse (Making possibility a reality)
Number of pupils: 730 (320 boys)
Number of boarders: 110.
Number of rugby teams: 6
The school has much professional coaching in recent times, including that of Abri Minnie, who did so much to build rugby at PW Botha, Swys de Bruin, who coached Griquas, Dirkie Strydom, Tom Drewitt, Christoff Lotter and Springbok prop and current assistant coach of Griquas Dawie Theron.
It is no wonder that the school has been an achiever in Griqualand West. In 1999 it won the Kimberley League and was runner-up the next year. ??
In 2004 they have flank Ryno Booysen, captain Izak van Westhuizen, flank Glen Poulton and speedy wing Deon Assegaai in the Craven Week side.
Springboks Flippie van der Merwe and scrumhalf Mannetjies Gericke are old boys. Hooker Wessel Lightfoot went on the 1985 internal tour with the Springboks. Provincial players include Luther Bakkes, strong loose forward who captained Griquas, Henk Diedericks and Louis Carney but the old boy who has had and continues to have the greatest influence in South African rugby is André Markgraaff whose son is currently in the first team. Markgraaff played for Western Transvaal, Western Province, South West Africa and Griquas. He captained the South African Barbarians and would certainly have been a Springbok had opportunities been equal. He went on to become the president of Griqualand West, the coach of the Springboks and the convener of the section committee.
Kimberley Boys' High are no longer the force they once were and now the biggest rivals in Kimberley are Noord-Kaap. Outside of Kimberley there are the two strong Upington schools, Hoërskool Upington and Duineveld and then across the dry land Kalahari of Kuruman who call themselves the Lions.