Queenstown, in the midst of dramatic Catberg mountains, was founded by Lieutenant-General Sir George Cathcart in 1853 as a farming centre, especially for sheep farmers, and laid out in a hexagon for easier defence in the Border Wars. Patriotic Englishman he named the town for his sovereign, Queen Victoria. His own name survives in the town of Cathcart southeast of Queenstown under the Windvoëlberg.
It is an inland, mountainous area and so cold in the winter. Winters are harsh, sometimes recording the lowest temperatures in South Africa at the Buffelsfontein weather station near Pen Hoek Pass.
Towering above Queenstown is Hangklip, a dramatic outcrop of rock often clad in snow, higher even than its neighbours Madeira and Longhill. These mountains provide Queenstown with abundant water as it rests on the Komani River.
The history of the school starts in 1885, 27 years after Queen's College. It began as Queen's Drive Primary School, a dual medium school.
Eventually the Afrikaans community gathered momentum and made a concerted effort to give Afrikaans its rightful place in Queenstown. This ambition reached fulfillment in 1947 when Afrikaans became the medium of instruction in the high school under the principal DB Malan.
This achieved the long cherished ideal of mother tongue education. In January 1942 the school had its first Std 8 class. In that year too the school committee of the time, chaired by the Rev. Pollock, decided to change the name to Hangklip after the mountain.
In 1951 CJ Potgieter, an inspector of schools at the time, referred to the mountain, saying: "The mountain that bears that name stands on rocks and rises up above all the mountain peaks in the area. It is a watchtower of strength and stands there like a noble man whose aims never waver."
In 1945 the school status was elevated to that of a high school and in January 1946 it began with its first Std 9 class as Hoërskool Hangklip. The number of pupils grew to such an extent that it was no longer possible to accommodate both schools under one roof and wheels were set in motion to build a new high school.
On 15 July 1952 Mrs E Louw, a member of the school committee, turned the first sod for the new school. The 20 January 1954 can be regarded forever as the most important day in the history of the school. It was the realisation of an ideal that everybody had striven towards and so a reason for joy and honour. The words of the principal DB Malan spoke of his pride when he said: "The beautiful buildings reflect the pride of the Afrikaans-speaking community in Queenstown."
Hoërskool Hangklip has gone from strength to strength and is today the biggest Afrikaans-medium school in the Border Country areas.
Rugby at the school
Hoërskool Hangklip is proud of its Springbok – Queenstown born Chris de Wilzem, who played for Orange Free State, Northern Transvaal and, in 1956, South Africa.
The school has six rugby teams, battles against Queen's College, whom it beat in 2004 for the first time in eight years, and enjoys rivalry with the other two Afrikaans-medium schools in the Border area, Aliwal-Noord and Grens of East London.
Name: Hoërskool Hangklip
Motto: Wees Sterk! (Be Strong)
Foundation: 20 January 1954
Pupil numbers: 395
Address: Olivier St, Queenstown.
Postal address: PO Box 657, Queenstown. 5320