Parktown Boys' High School

Parktown Boys' High School is a public English medium high school for boys situated in Parktown, a suburb of Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa. It is one of the oldest schools in Johannesburg.[1] Parktown Boys' sister school is Parktown High School for Girls.

Parktown Boys High School
Parktown Boys High School logo.png
Parktown Boys High School school crest
Wellington Road

, ,

Coordinates26°11′6″S 28°2′6″E / 26.18500°S 28.03500°E / -26.18500; 28.03500Coordinates: 26°11′6″S 28°2′6″E / 26.18500°S 28.03500°E / -26.18500; 28.03500
TypeAll-boys public school
Motto'Arise'; English from the Latin 'Surgite'
Established1923; 97 years ago (1923)
Sister schoolParktown High School for Girls
School districtDistrict 9
HeadmasterMr Malcolm Williams
Staff~50 (full-time)
Age13 to 18
Enrolment~800 pupils
Colour(s)  Red
RivalSt John's College, Johannesburg
Jeppe High School for Boys
King Edward VII School
PublicationThe Rampant
Former pupilsOld Parktonians
Old Boys
BadgesRampant Lion


The school was founded in 1920, and was originally known as North Western High School.[2] The original school was based in disused wood and iron buildings which had previously been Police Barracks at the top of Canary Street in Auckland Park. There were eighty-seven pupils in five Form II classes, four for boys and one for girls, with acting Headmaster, C. Hare. The site is now occupied by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The Acting Director of Education, W.E.C. Clarke, the Inspector of High Schools, officially opened the new school with an address to the scholars and staff. He apologised for the lack of decent furniture and playing fields and promised that a new modern high school for boys would be built on the Parktown Ridge overlooking Milner Park and a new high school for girls near Zoo Lake.

The first Headmaster, P.M. Druce, arrived at the beginning of 1921 and, in February, the name of the school was changed to North Western High School. In April the first hatbands and ties arrived. The colours were purple and white.

On 1 September 1921 the school was divided into five houses: Romans, Spartans, Thebans, Trojans and Tuscans. On 19 September the name was changed again, this time to Parktown Boys' High School with the motto Arise, and the school badge a rampant lion. When the Rand Revolt took place in 1922 the school, which was in no-man's-land, had to be evacuated for a short while.

At the beginning of 1923 the school boys moved to new buildings on Parktown Ridge.[2] They took little with them except the school name, motto and badge, the names of the five houses and the traditions they had built up. When the school reopened in the new premises, there were 435 boys on the roll and the school colours were changed to red and black. The girls remained at Auckland Park.

The Old Parktonian Association, which was formed in 1925, bought the grounds in Bedfordview but later moved to Craighall Park. Strong links with the school are maintained.

When Mr Druce retired in 1938 he was succeeded in turn by B.A. Logie, C.A. Yates, F.J. Marais, J.A. Cameron, N.A.M. Scheepers and T.P. Clarke, Parktown's previous Headmaster for a record 23 years, as well as Mr C. Niemand, and Mr D. Bradley.

In 1985 Druce Hall was opened to accommodate boarders and following the school's tradition in the classics, in 1987, the name Vulcan was given to the sixth school house to which all boarders belong.

Parktown Boys' High School was the first government school to allow boys who were discriminated against because of their colour into a mainstream 'white' school in 1991.

Parktown Boys' High School was the first school in South Africa to install an international standard water-based Astroturf playing surface. This surface has hosted many national and international games.[3] More recently, Parktown has built Surgite House overlooking the McCorkell Oval (named after Neil McCorkell the school's former cricket coach and former Hampshire county cricketer who became a centurion in March 2012) to incorporate the administration and entertainment needs of Old Parktonians, as well as the Sydney Klevansky Sports and Cultural Centre.[4]

Parktown Boys' is consistently rated as among the best performing schools in South Africa, as well as in Africa.[5][6]

Parktown Boys' has a history which includes the use of boaters (called 'bashers'), a distinctive red and black uniform, school songs, and particularly 'Parktonian' language which has evolved over the years. The school motto is 'Arise' ('Surgite' in Latin).[7] The original school buildings have provincial heritage sites status.[3]

Mr Kevin Stippel is the current acting headmaster at Parktown.[8] Previous headmasters were (from 1920): Mr C. Hare (Acting), Mr P.M.Druce, Mr B.A. Logie, Mr C.A. Yates, Mr F.J. Marais, Mr J.A. Cameron, Mr N.A.M. Scheeper, Mr T.P. Clarke, Mr C. Niemand, Mr R. Pillay (Acting), Mr D. Bradley and Mr Malcolm Williams.[9]

The school is divided from Grades 8 to 12 (Matric), and grades are referred to as 'Forms' at the school. Cultural activities refer to all extramural activities excluding sporting activities. Cultural life also extends to visits to musical performances.[10]

The Parktown Basher

Numerous summer sports are offered by the school.[11]

Druce HallEdit

The School's Mascot – The Rampant Lion, with members of the Cadet Band performing the school War Cry.

The school has a weekly boarding establishment (i.e. from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon), which is known as the Druce Hall. It was officially opened on 9 June 1985 and is named after P. M. Druce, the first headmaster.

The boarding is supervised with a ratio of one master to every 15 boys.


Orientation and initiationEdit

As part of their orientation and initiation into the school, all 'formies' (Grade 8/Form I) receive a coloured button to wear on their blazer which indicates their 'formie' status as well as what house they belong to for the duration of their Form I year. At the end of their second week of school, all formies are assigned a Matric 'Old Pot' who will help and guide that formie through their first few months at the school. The Old Pot/New Pot braai is held in the first term.[citation needed]

Harmful 'initiation' is banned throughout the school. However, there have been numerous incidents at the school which have been widely publicized.[citation needed]


Parktown Boys' High School is one of the few schools in South Africa that still continues with the tradition of Cadets and Cadet practice every week that involves many push ups and exercise for younger grades.[citation needed]

Memorial paradeEdit

Parktown conducts a Memorial Parade and Service on the Sunday nearest 11 November (Remembrance Day) every year for Old Parktonians and South Africans in general who have died in various conflicts around the world. It is compulsory for all Form Is and IVs to attend.

Third Cricket/Hockey v Teachers MatchesEdit

Every year a hockey and cricket matches are held between the staff and Third teams.

Old ParktoniansEdit

The Parktonian Foundation,[12] Surgite House, the Parktown Waterpolo Club,[13] a Facebook page,[14] the annual Surgite[15] publications and the Old Parktonian Sports Club,[16] all aim to foster the Old Parktonian Community.

Old Boys' DayEdit

Every year in the first term Old Boys are invited to play against current school First Teams in a variety of sports. The day culminates in rugby and hockey games between the Old Boys and the recently announced First teams.[citation needed]

Notable alumniEdit

Past Matriculants of the school have gone on to be leaders in all fields of South African life, from leaders in commerce, Members of Parliament, renowned academics, Springboks rugby players, other internationally renowned sportsmen, musicians and artists.

Some of these include:


Notable academics include:


The following Old Parktonians have represented the South African National Rugby Team (the Springboks):


The following Old Parktonians have represented the South African national cricket team (The Proteas):


Old Parktonians who have played for the national hockey side are:

  • Lance Louw, Neville Berman, Justin Rosenburg, Noel Day, Andre du Preez, Keith Jones, Dylan Coombes, Ricky West, Miguel Da Graca, Brian Morton[39]

Music and ArtEdit

Some notable musicians and artists who attended Parktown Boys' High School are:

Parktown Boys' High School has also had some notable associations including:

  • Jake White[43] coached the 2007 IRB World Cup winning Springboks and started his rugby coaching career at Parktown Boys' High School in 1982.


In September 2018, the former water polo coach at Parktown, Collan Rex, pleaded guilty to 144 charges of sexual assault against multiple Parktown pupils and was subsequently sentenced to 23 years in prison.[44][45]

On 15 January 2020, a 13-year-old pupil drowned while attending orientation camp at the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge, near Pretoria. The trip was unauthorised by the relevant authorities, and the pupil wasn't noticed as missing until the following day. The headteacher, who organised the trip, was dismissed in October 2020 following an investigation.[46][47]


  1. ^ Oldest School in Jhb Oldest Schools in Johannesburg Series
  2. ^ a b "Joburg's oldest schools series: Parktown Boys' High School". IOL. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d O'Carroll, Nan (2000). The Lion Roars. Black and Red Books. ISBN 0-620-26532-9.
  4. ^ "Parktown Boys' High School - Cultural: Stock Exchange Game". 8 May 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  5. ^ Sunday Times [] Retrieved 25 June 2011
  6. ^ The Herald 2013 [1] Retrieved 02 March 2014
  7. ^ Google Translate [2] Latin to English translation
  8. ^ "Local public schools outline lockdown plans for matrics". Rosebank Killarney Gazette. 25 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Parktown Boys High School principal fired". SowetanLIVE. 12 October 2020.
  10. ^ Cultural Overview Parktown Boys' Webpage Archived 26 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Sport Overview Parktown Boys' Webpage Archived 10 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Parktonian Foundation "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 22 April 2011
  13. ^ Parktown Waterpolo Club [3][permanent dead link] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  14. ^ Parktown Old Boys Facebook Page [4] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  15. ^ Parktown Old Boys Facebook Page "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 22 April 2011
  16. ^ Old Parks [5] Retrieved 26 April 2011
  17. ^ Edwards, John Richard (2004). "'Benson, Henry Alexander, Baron Benson (1909–1995)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/67861. Retrieved 25 May 2009. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  18. ^ DA "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 22 April 2011
  19. ^ @johnvarty (24 July 2019). "Open Letter" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Telegraph Obituary [6] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  21. ^ John Copelyn, [7] Archived 12 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 22 April 2011
  22. ^ Obituary [8] Retrieved 9 March 2013
  23. ^ Financial Mail Biography, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 8 May 2011
  24. ^ Camp Information [9][permanent dead link] Retrieved 6 June 2011
  25. ^ Dick Lord Obituary [10] Retrieved 27 November 2012
  26. ^ Leyton Orient FC ex Players Association
  27. ^ Bizcommunity Report [11] Retrieved 18 June 2011
  28. ^ Times Obituary [12] Retrieved 28 April 2011
  29. ^ Times Obituary [13] Retrieved 3 June 2011
  30. ^ Colin Caro Wits Alumni "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 18 June 2011
  31. ^ "Emeritus Professor Colin Caro". Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  32. ^ "Peter Tyson" (PDF). Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  33. ^ Player Stats [14] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  34. ^ An Interview with Alan Menter [15] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  35. ^ Player Stats [16] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  36. ^ Player Stats [17] Retrieved 22 April 2011
  37. ^ List of Springbok and Protea Cricketers [18] Retrieved 21 March 2014
  38. ^ ESPN Cricinfo [19] Retrieved 1 December 2016
  39. ^ Overview of Parktown Hockey "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved 1 February 2015
  40. ^ Die Antwoord Discussion Boing Boing Retrieved 29 November 2010
  41. ^ Die Antwoord Discussion Boing Boing Retrieved 29 November 2010
  42. ^ Craig W. Hinds [20] Retrieved 2 December 2010
  43. ^ "Jake White". Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  44. ^ "'He's totally broken'- School sexual assault victims struggle to move on". TimesLIVE. 27 October 2019.
  45. ^ "'Brutal School Ties:The Parktown Boys Tragedy'". 7 July 2020.
  46. ^ "Parktown Boys' High principal fired for charges related to camp where Enock Mpianzi died". News24. 12 October 2020.
  47. ^ Dibetle, Mia Swart,Monako (2 March 2020). "Shrouded in silence: The death of a schoolboy in South Africa".

External linksEdit