The west-coast town of Piketberg was established in 1836 when Sir Benjamin D’Urban gave the ruling farm ‘Grotefontein’ to the church council. The town was under the rule of the church until 1901, and the town developed around it.
It lies at the foot of the sandstone slopes of the Piketberg mountain range, which towers above the wheat fields at a height of almost 1500 metres at its heighest point, known as ‘Zebra Kop’. In earlier years the imposing mass of Piketberg was an establishment for the Khoisan and many examples of their drawings can be seen on the various farms surrounding the town.
Piketberg was one of the few points where a cannon was placed on top of the mountain and fired to warn surrounding farmers when visiting ships entered the Cape for fresh stock or as a warning for farmers to arm themselves and gather together when danger was imminent. This danger was often came from the Gonjemans, who attacked the farms
The cannon has since then been removed and can be seen today in front of Piketberg High School.The High School is located on Simon van der Stel street. Interestingly, Governor van der Stel was almost killed by a charging rhinoceros near Piketberg in 1685.Piketberg has grown in terms of size and infrastructure and now serves as an important business centre for farmers, as well as the surrounding smaller towns.
Hoërskool Piketberg serves a large farming community from the West Coast region.
The school has its beginnings as far back as 1846, when a Mr LH Fick took the reigns as the school’s only teacher, with 36 students. The school was used as a hospital in the second South African War, by the order of Boer commander Maritz.
When school buildings returned to educational purposes, it soon grew. In 1914, high school buildings were established, and in 1935, buildings for primary school education was set aside. In 1956 the school hall was built, in 1958 a hostel, and in 1962 a girls’ hostel. It now has 659 students and 30 teachers.
Name: Hoërskool Piketberg
Motto: Vivat Crescat Floreat (To live,grow and prosper)
Rugby jersey: White jerseys, navy shorts, royal blue socks
Ons sal handhaaf, ons sal lewe
Afrikaners jonk en fris.
Van Piketberg as ons brandpunt
Straal die lig wat in ons is.
Dis die songloed van ‘n daeraad.
Dis die lewe van ons skool.
Bron van kennis, deug, karakter
Dis ons trots waarop ons dool.
Vivat, vivat, crescat floreat.
Words and tune: ML de Villiers (composer of Die Stem).
Rugby at Piketberg
Piketberg has produced some notable Springboks. The first was Champion Myburgh – a 1924 Springbok. Joos Prinsloo, a 1951 matriculant, is a double Springbok, having gained national honours in both rugby and athletics. More recently, Edrich Lubbe and Derick Hougaard spent time at the school, although that was at Piketberg Primary School.
The school has seen a number of its recent pupils represent the Boland. In 2005, Ceonraad Lambrechts made the Boland Craven Week side, and Buys Wiese captained the Boland Academy side. In 2007, Riaan Engelbrecht played Craven Week for Boland. In that year the First XV were privileged to tour France where three games were played against local club sides. The only previous international rugby tour had been undertaken in 1988, when Johan Kotze’s side travelled to Namibia.
In 2008 Coenie Kotzé made the Boland Craven Week side.
Recent Piketberg sides that have stood out were the 2004 side, captained by Jacobus Eksteen and the 2007 side. Both seasons ended with unbeaten First XV’S.
The school plays derbies against Porterville High School, about 25 km from Piketberg, and the most anticipated derby is against Schoonspruit.
Jan du Preez was a member of the Boks 1956 tour to Australia an New Zealand. He has been, and still is, lecturing Chemistry at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.
Professor Du Preez had the following to say about his rugby playing days at Hoërskool Piketberg:
“Games against Malmesbury were really tough when I was playing. But I won’t forget playing for Western Boland Schools with the famous Butch Lochner. He was from Vredenburg, and we later played together for Stellenbosch, Western Province, and the Springboks.
“Things have certainly changed since I was at Piketberg. When I was at the school, the country was at war, and we had no school rugby jerseys. Any jersey would do then. I also remember the playing fields being a lot further away than where they are today.
“In fact, they were at the bottom of the hill, beyond the town itself, and just getting there for practice was a feat in itself! Not many looked forward to the long uphill return after practice.”