We profile Kingswood College of Grahamstown.
Grahamstown was founded in by Colonel John Graham as a frontier town in 1819 at a time when Britain was trying to wrest land and power from the Xhosa. It brought out many settlers from 1820 onwards, many of them Methodists. It is a well known for its churches (Its has 52) and schools, and has a university and a supreme court. Its annual arts festival attracts many people from all over the country, to the pretty town in the hollow.
There were three great private schools for boys in Grahamstown – one Anglican, one Catholic and one Methodist. The Anglican and the Methodist schools remain. Kingswood, the Methodist school, was originally a boys' school but since 1972 co-educational. It was founded in 1894 as the Wesleyan Collegiate School and takes its present name and its ideals from the college established by John Wesley in Bristol, England in 1748. The College is the oldest Methodist educational institution in South Africa, with roots in Settler days of the 1820s. An Old Boy of Kingswood, Bath, Colonel EG Gane did much to establish the school whose headmaster he was from 1894 to 1926.
Name of school: Kingswood College
Motto of school: Studia Hilaritate Proveniunt (Ovid, loosely translated: Give it stick)
Date of foundation: 1894
School address: Kingswood College, Burton St, Grahamstown
Number of pupils: 350 (200 boys, of whom 110 are boarders).
Rugby at Kingswood
Colonel Gane acquired some marshy land, set boys to work, and today the main rugby field is called Gane Field. Rugby football was first played at the school in 1898.
The first coach was Percy Hunter, an Old Kingswoodian from Bath, who was killed in the South African War.
Old Boy Springboks
Two of its old boys, the brothers Bennie and Stanley Osler, rank amongst South Africa's best rugby players of all time.
One of Bennie Osler's contemporaries in the Kingswood side was Jack Slater, later a Springbok and later a headmaster of the school. Both Oslers and Slater played against the 1928 All Blacks in the first test in Durban.
The following Old Kingswoodians have played for South Africa – Bennie Osler (captain), Stanley Osler, who was later headmaster of Kearsney College, Jack Slater, Jack Doble and Tiny Francis. In addition Flappie Lochner was teaching at Kingswood when he was chosen for the 1937 Springboks – at the same time that Danie Craven was teaching at St Andrew's.
The whole of Grahamstown knows when Kingswood is playing St Andrew's – and a great deal of the world beyond the rounded hills as well, for the school has a strong old boys' union. That is the big game of the year. They have been playing each other since 1898.
There are other regular matches as well – Grey High, Dale, Queen's, Selborne and Graeme College.