ST CHARLES COLLEGE
We profile St Charles College of Pietermaritzburg.
Pietermaritzburg is the capital of Natal. Before that it was the capital of the Boer Republic of Natalia, a Voortrekker town, founded in 1838 after the Battle of Blood River and named for two Voortrekker leaders Piet Retief and Gerrit Maritz. Eventually it became a British city but still with strong administrative say in the colony which became a province. And it was an educational centre.
The Oblate Fathers founded St Charles Grammar School, a Catholic boarding and day school in central Pietermaritzburg in 1877 in a building which later became the Ansonia Hotel. In 1914, the Oblates passed the school on to the Marist Brothers. It was now St Charles College. In 1925 the Brothers moved it to the fringes of Pietermaritzburg, a 62-acre farm just beyond Scottsville Race Course.
In 1978 the Marist Brothers closed St Charles but parents and old boys got together and with the help of the minister of education, Piet Koornhof, the school remained open as a Christian school, funded by the state but preserving much of the ethos of a private school.
The school takes boys from the first classes to post-matric.
With the move to Scottsville, St Charles changed from soccer to rugby and played its first match against DHS.
St Charles is a small school but has been able to compete with far bigger schools because of the boys’ spirit.
The Goliaths of the rugby world that St Charles has dared to pit its force against include Maritzburg College, Voortrekker of Pietermaritzburg and Hilton. Then there was brotherly rival with St Henry’s, the Marist school in Durban.
The most famous old boy rugby player is Michel Antelme, the wing of French extraction, who played in the great Springbok sides of the Sixties. His brother Gaston played for Natal and Northern Transvaal. Malcolm Beckett, a great centre, was desperately unlucky not to make the 1951-52 Springbok side. His brother Roy also played for Natal. Roger Seymour played 30 matches for Natal at flyhalf in succession to Keith Oxlee. Garth von Horsten was a stalwart of Rhodesian rugby. In recent times Etienne Fynne, the bulky prop, came up to St Charles from Kearsney and played for SA Schools, Natal, the Sharks, the Emerging Springboks, the SA Barbarians, SA A and then South Africa for whom he played in two Tests.
Name: St Charles College
Motto: Fideli certa merces (A faithful man has a sure reward)
Address: Harwin Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.
Number of boys: 500
Number of teams in senior school: 12