Rondebosch Boys' High School

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Rondebosch Boys' High School is a public English medium high school for boys situated in the suburb of Rondebosch in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is one of the top and most academic schools and also the oldest schools in South Africa, The high school was established in 1897.

Rondebosch Boys' High School
Rondebosch Boys' High School logo.gif
Rondebosch Boys High School
Canigou Avenue, Rondebosch

TypeAll-boys public school
MottoAltius et Latius
Established2 February 1897; 124 years ago (2 February 1897)
School districtDistrict Metro Central, Circuit 10
HeadmasterShaun Simpson
Assistant HeadmasterShaukat Ebrahim
CampusUrban Campus
HousesAndrew House
Canigou House
Fletcher House
Marchand House
Ramage House
Colour(s)  Blue
RivalBishops Diocesan College
South African College Schools
Wynberg Boys' High School
AccreditationWestern Cape Education Department
Rondebosch Boys High School.JPG



In the late 1800s, the residents of Rondebosch got together to consider the need for a boys' school in the near future. The idea of an English-medium school was chosen and the Dutch Reformed Church representative of the district, Reverend Benard PJ Marchand, took the lead of this initiative. Marchand obtained the help of several prominent dignitaries and businessmen, including William Philip Schreiner, an old boy of SACS and future Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and Sir Lewis Mitchell, the manager of the Standard bank, to guarantee the initial funding that would be required. In 1897, Dr Thomas Muir, Superintendent-General of Education, approved a grant of £50 to cover the salary, and housing, allowance for the principal of this new boys' public school, the man chosen for the promising job was 38-year-old Robert MacLennan Ramage, a graduate of Edinburgh University. Ramage was an experienced teacher, gaining his experience by teaching at the flourishing new schools of the Colony, having been a teacher at the Stellenbosch (Paul Roos) Gymnasium.[1]

On 2 February 1897 the school opened as the Rondebosch High School for Junior Boys in Glena Hall, a Dutch Reformed Church building in Erin Road. The school started modestly, with the number of pupils enrolled just 8, the maximum it could accommodate at the time. By the end of April, the number of boys on the roll had increased to 28, with the school teaching boys from standards 2 to 7.[1] The first inspection report to Dr. Muir was a positive one, saying: 'This school has made a promising commencement and deserves the unhesitating support of the neighbourhood. The accommodation and equipment are both satisfactory. The teachers are able and zealous.'[1]

By August of the same year, the school in the little church hall was attracting a lot of interest, and its name had been changed to the Boys' High School, Rondebosch.[1] With the large number of applications the school was receiving from the local residents, the school committee was forced to become more selective in acceptances. Before the end of the year, the committee was looking for a site to construct a new, considerably bigger school. Soon after their search began, a nearby property - The Firs, a site with an area of almost one acre of ground, at the corner of Campground and Rouwkoop roads came up for sale. The committee negotiated a loan with the Standard Bank and bought the property for an amount of £1 900. The architect commissioned to design the new school was G G Milne.[1][2] Teaching in the new school commenced on 7 September 1898.[1] In 1947 the High School on Campground Road moved to its current location on Canigou Ave. The buildings at this location, see photo attached, including the Canigou boarding house were designed by architect Kilgour Parker, who was an Old Boy of the school, and well known Cape Town architect. His firm also were the architects for Wynberg Girls' High School and Rustenburg Girls High School, as well as several other schools in the Western Cape.

School SongEdit

Rondebosch's school song was written and published in 1914. The words were written by Cocky Wilson and the music was composed by Mrs Elsie Skaife.[3]

Pride of our school in ev'ry heart

Fain are we all to bear our part,
Singing in chorus her rightful praise,
Joyously we our love proclaim,
Proud of her fair and honoured name,
Loyal and true to her all our days!

Altius et latius Arbor nostra floreat!
Semper natos nobiles
Alma mater pariat!

Higher and higher we would grow,
Ever aspiring more to know,
Lifting our heads to the stainless sky.
Broader and broader we would be,
Spreading a boundless charity
Wide to the world as the years go by!

Old Boys’ verse:

Here's to the school we loved of yore!
Though we may roam the whole world o'er,
Still do the old affections stir,
Seeing her fame grow brighter yet,
Knowing her deep foundations set
Firm as the mount that shelters her.

The chorus translated from Latin:

Higher and wider
May our tree flourish!
May our Alma Mater
Always produce noble sons!


Boarding at Rondebosch Boys' was established in 1904 to accommodate boys from the farming areas of the Western Cape. The tradition of boarding at Rondebosch continues to this day, as a large number of the boys who board at Rondebosch come from rural areas.[4] The boarding houses at Rondebosch currently accommodate 135 boys, with the Grade 8 and 9 boys being accommodated in Mason House and the Grade 10-12 boys in Canigou.[4]


Memorial HallEdit

The Rondebosch Boys' High School Memorial Hall was built to honour the Rondebosch Old Boys who died in World War I and World War II.[5] The hall was built after WWII and can comfortably accommodate 950 seated people.[6] The Memorial Hall has recently undergone construction, adding a 3rd gallery to the hall to accommodate more people.

Old Boys' UnionEdit

The Rondebosch Old Boys' Union[7] was established in 1909 to support the Rondebosch boys and staff and to help Old Boys maintain links with the school and with each other. Over the last century the Old Boys’ Union has assumed a greater role in raising funds for the benefit of both the Prep and High schools and providing other support.

Rondebosch has one of the strongest and oldest Old Boys' unions in South Africa and it has been growing exponentially ever since it was first started in 1909. On 13 March 1913 the first official Founders' Day was commemorated by a cricket match between Old Boys and school boys. This tradition is still continued today with the addition of various other sports matches as well.[8]


Of the 158 final-year students who wrote the Western Cape Education Department exams in 2013, 146 passed at a Bachelor (Degree) level. The class achieved a 100% pass rate.[9]

Year Pass rate (%) No. of candidates who wrote No. of candidates who passed at bachelor's degree level Note
2013 100 158 146 [9]

Rondebosch has won the UCT Mathematics Competition for twelve of the nineteen years since 1998.[10]



Music lessons are offered at the Music and Performing Arts Centre on the school premises.[11] Rondebosch offers music as one of the grade 10-12 subject choices. In 2013, 7 candidates wrote the music exam, of those, 5 achieved "A" symbols and the class achieved an average of 83%.[11]


Rondebosch is the traditional rival of the nearby school Diocesan College (Bishops) as well as SACS and WBHS. Bishops is considered Rondebosch's main rival in rugby, with the first match between them played in 1908.[12] Derby sport matches between the schools are played almost every weekend during the winter sports season a year in both rugby and cricket, as well as in a number of other sports. RBHS, Bishops and SACS participate in the annual Triangular athletics event.

Notable alumniEdit

Whitey Basson



International sports playersEdit







Whitey Basson

Notable past teachersEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "History". Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Boys' High School". Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  3. ^ "School Song". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Boarding House". Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  5. ^ von Zeil, Lt. Glenn. "Three SANDF reserve officers attend Remembrance Day at their alma mater". Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Venue Hire". Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  7. ^ "RBHS Old Boys' Union". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  8. ^ Cricket Corner 7 2013 Pg.8,, Access date: 29 March 2014
  9. ^ a b "2013 Senior Certificate Results". Rondebosch Boys' High School. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  10. ^ "UCT Mathematics Competition". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Music". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. ^ Nienaber, Hannes. "School of Rugby's Top Ten School Rivalries". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  13. ^ Vaughan, Christopher L. (2008). Imagining the Elephant: A Biography of Allan MacLeod Cormack. Lansdowne, South Africa: UCT Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-919895-08-6.
  14. ^ Allan McLeod Cormack - Biographical, Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014
  15. ^ Barker, Dennis, Obituary: Lyall Watson,, Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  16. ^ Bonorchis, Renée (20 September 2006). "Inspiring Research At the Dreaming Spires to Benefit the Poor". Business Day. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  17. ^ MANAGEMENT:Strategy is the political steering wheel,, Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  18. ^ a b "International Sportsmen". Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  19. ^ The legend Archived 15 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine,, Retrieved 29 March 2014
  20. ^ a b Jonathan Trott: 'The red mist happens very rarely now',, Retrieved 29 March 2014
  21. ^ "Ralph Coetzee". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  22. ^ "Dallen Stanford and Brian Vizard Set to Call Major League Rugby Action on CBS Sports Network". Glendale Raptors. Retrieved 23 July 2019.

Coordinates: 33°58′5″S 18°28′35″E / 33.96806°S 18.47639°E / -33.96806; 18.47639