DIE AFRIKAANSE HOERSKOOL - KROONSTAD
We profile Die Afrikaanse Hoërskool, a great rugby school in a great rugby area – the Rooiskool with its annual tussle with the Blouskool and a huge crowd to watch.
Kroonstad, so they say, took its name from a horse called Kroon. Kroon belonged to the great Voortrekker leader Sarel Cilliers, whose museum is in the town. Poor Kroon fell into a pothole in a stream and drowned. The stream was called Kroonspruit, and when a town was established there in 1855, it was called Kroonstad. For a while in 1900 it was the capital of the Orange Free State as the government withdrew from Bloemfontein and the invading British.
Kroonstad grew to greater prominence with the discovery of the Free State goldfields in 1938 when an intended borehole on the farm St Helena struck gold. A gold rush ensued. Industries followed and a farming community changed. The Northern Free State, south of the Vaal River, is a well-watered grassland, good for supporting cattle and growing maize. It remains, away from the mineshafts, a good agricultural area.
There are two schools in Kroonstad which are known by their colours. Die Afrikaanse Hoërskool is known as the Rooiskool – the Red School. It has some 650 pupils, of whom about 270 are boys. Roughly 200 pupils are boarders.
Name: Die Afrikaanse Hoërskool
Motto of school: Werk Veredel (Work ennobles)
Date of foundation: 1957
School address: Private Bag X53, Kroonstad. 9500
Since 1964, when the first Craven Week took place, Die Afrikaanse HS has had over fifty players at Craven Week, three of whom have played for SA Schools – Rodney van Vuuren, Braam Els and Jaco Barnard.
Three old boys have played for South Africa – Jan Schlebusch, Kulu Ferreira and Braam Els.
Since 1957, the school has had three coaches. Piet Hertzog coached from 1957 to 1981. Since then Jerry Erasmus and Gert Kotzé have coached in tandem. Their record is excellent.
In the Nineties, the 1st XV was unbeaten twice and had its worst season in 1999 when it won 16 of 20 matches. It won the Northern Free State league in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997. In 1991 it lost in the final. In 1992, 1996, 1998 and 1999 it lost in the semi-final.
Kroonstad High School the Blouskool, the Blue School. That’s the big one that brings thousands of onlookers to the match. A crowd of near 20 000 is not unusual.