HOER VOLKSKOOL POTCHEFSTROOM
Potchefstroom on the Mooi River, an attractive town, claims to be the oldest town in the old Transvaal and was once the capital of the Boer republic. Its name a bit of a mystery. The commonest belief is that it is called after potsherds (potscherf) found near the river – stroom.
The other suggestion is that it takes its name from the man who saw to the first settlement, Andries Potgieter, the Voortrekker leader – the name being a combination of ‘Pot’ Potgieter, ‘chef’ ‘chief’ of his Voortrekker group and ‘stroom’ stream. He established the settlement in 1838 on the banks of the stream, known as the Mooi River, where he took his oath of office as first President of the Transvaal Republic.
The new town was the subject of the Sand River Convention allowing the area north of the Vaal River (The Transvaal) to become an independent republic, thus making it the Transvaal’s oldest Voortrekker town.
It became for 17 years the capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Potchefstroom, where the national flag of the Transvaal Republic, the Vierkleur, was hoisted for the first time, was the first capital of the republic. Pretoria, as the seat of government, gradually assumed pre-eminence and the town on the Mooi River eventually had to relinquish its status.
Among other Transvaal firsts that Potchefstroom could claim were the first Afrikaans and English-medium churches, the first qualified teacher to set up school, the first printing press, the first experimental farm, and the first shot in the war of 1880-1881 between the Transvaal and Britain.
Since the 1930s it has been a centre of the gold industry, agriculture and education – lots of education. The Gereformeerde Kerk transferred its theological seminary, established in 1869, from Burgersdorp to Potchefstroom in 1905 and the institution developed into the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. It is now a part of the North West University.
Hoër Volkskool was opened on an old church building, since demolished, on 19 April 1922 with 23 pupils and a staff of two temporary teachers. The man behind the founding was PM van der Lingen, an inspector of education. The first principal Jack Pauw took office on 11 October 1922. Oom Koos Burger joined as the first permanent teacher.
The next year the school moved to the showgrounds with 140 pupils and five teachers. In 1924 the first school buildings began and the pupils were able to move out of cowsheds! In 1928 the school moved to its new building.
Now the school has 1160 pupils, 370 of whom are boys. It has had boarding facilities from the start.
Colours, Badge and Motto
The colours were settled as black, gold and red in 1925 – black because Oom Koos wore a black jacket.
The eagle on the badge symbolises victory. The three links in the chain symbolise unity, loyalty and good spirit. Koos Burger designed the badge.
The motto is Sapientia Vis Vera – wisdom is the true force. PM van der Lingen provided the motto.
Jack Pauw, who played flyhalf for Western Transvaal against the 1924 Lions, was the first rugby coach at the school which embraced the game from the start.
The first year of triumph was 1939 when the 1st XV, captained by tall Josef Fürstenburg, won the Administrator’s Cup. In all the school won the Administrator’s Cup seven times – in 1939, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1961, 1976 and 1983. The Under-15 won the Director’s Trophy in 1987 and 1995, the Under-16 the Beeld trophy in 1996 and the 1st XV the Super 12 in 1998.
There have been three Old Boy Springboks – Nic Bierman, Daan du Plessis and Jorrie Muller.
In 1981 the school produced 12 players at Craven Week, four of whom played South African Schools. In all, from 1964 to 2004, the school has sent 188 players to Craven Week, six of whom played SA Schools.
Volkies has nine teams and competes as a Medium School.
Its great rivals are Potchefstroom Gimnasium. Volkies vs Gimmies is a great occasion in Potchefstroom.