Wed 21 Jul 2004 | 12:00


Wed 21 Jul 2004 | 12:00

School profile


We profile Hoërskool Carlton-Van Heerden of Upington.


The Great River, the Gariep, the Orange, flows from the mountains of Lesotho towards the Atlantic bringing water and the desert blooms where it flows – an oasis, a narrow strip of green between brown/grey dryness. The water it brings is precious, as are the diamonds that it carried down to the sea.

The biggest town to benefit from the water of the Orange is Upington, not far from Namibia, not far from Botswana and on the fringes of the Kalahari.

The town grew out of a mission station founded in 1875 by the Reverend Christiaan Wilhelm Heinrich Schröder of the Rhenish missionaries. He was working at Amandelboom, now called Williston, when Klaas Lucas, the chief of the Koranna people, invited him to come to !Oama to teach the people to read and write.

Schröder went and, with the permission of Klaas Pofadder, established a mission station at Olyvenhoutsdrift – the olive wood ford. That was the start of Upington in 1873.

In 1882 a former slave, Abraham September, acquired a farm and started irrigating it from the Orange, the start of canalisation at Upington.

Upington grew to be the main town in Gordonia, a district named for Sir Gordon Sprigg, the prime minister of the Cape from 1878 to 1881 and again later. In 1885 Olyvenhoutsdrift became Upington.

Upington? It was named for the prime minister of the Cape, Sir Thomas Upington,  "The Afrikaner from Cork". Upington was born in Cork in 1844, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and came to the Cape for health reasons in 1874 where he died in 1898. He was a lawyer by profession and became attorney-general of the Cape and then in 1882 the prime minister. He established a police station to protect the drift from river pirates. The police station became a part of Upington.

On the edge of the desert vineyards – its sultanas and raisins are famous – and orchards flourish and rose gardens and an avenue of date palms – and then you step into the Kalahari.

It is an interesting habitat in an interesting habitat.

The school

The school is the result of some clever bargaining by a Congregational Church minister.

Saul Damon was born on 15 March 1890 in Mount Frere, as descendant of the Griquas who had settled in Griqualand East, around Kokstad. He was a keen student and studied at the Scottish Mission Seminary in Blythswood and St John's Anglican College in Umtata and then at Adams College in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban. He was ordained a minister in the Congregational Church in Durban.

He worked in Kimberley and Worcester before going further north – to Kenhardt and Upington.

He recognised the need for schooling but fought a lone battle as money was scarce during the Great Depression, but when General Hertzog and General Smuts came looking for Coloured votes against the Nationalist attack on the Gordonia seat, Damon struck a bargain – You give us a school and we vote for you.

Saul Damon did not want the school named after him and so it came to be called the Gordonia Secondary School. Its first principal was AJ Ferreira. He had a staff of four teachers. The school which Carlton-Van Heerden will play in the FNB Classic Clash is named after Carlton-Van Heerden's first principal!

Carlton van Heerden? There was nobody of that name. Carlton van Heerden was two people – two benefactors of the Gordonia school – Jim Carlton, an attorney in Upington, and Callie van Heerden, a building contractor.

In 1945 Gordonia Secondary School achieved high school status and was renamed the Carton-Van Heerden High School in a suburb of Upington called Rainbow.

School Information

Name: Hoërskool Carlton-Van Heerden/Carlton-Van Heerden High School
Founded: 1943
Motto: Labor omnia vincit (Work overcomes all difficulties)
Numbers: 1 400
Rugby teams: 3

Rugby at the school

The school plays against many local schools, including AJ Ferreira, Saul Damon, SC Kearns, Duineveld and Upington.

It last lost to AJ Ferreira in 2000.

The rugby coach is Joey Loubser.

PV: 70

Hoerskool Carlton-van Heerden | Rugby365