Forty years ago, when I Mc’d a school gathering, I would have said
Dames en Here – dis nou die onderwysers – and Girls and Boys of HHH – dis nou ons!
Tonight I shall have to say
Ou dames en here – did nou julle, die onderwysers – en Dames en Here – dis nou ons, die wat was die boys and girls!
A very hearty welcome to all of you back to the Hottentots-Holland. Welkom terug na die vallei so mooi gelee tussen berge en die see!
Some of our classmates are not here this weekend. Over the last 40 years, many have been taken from us – we have lost some of our friends, teachers, parents, spouses, siblings, even our children and 9 of our classmates. I ask you to stand for a moments silence as we remember all our absent friends tonight.
Donald Buchan, Chris Carstens, Shane Hands, Theuns Labuscagne, Pietie Marais, Clifford Strutt, Johan Vd Merwe, Dirk Vermeulen, Anne-Marie Winter
I don’t want to know where you boys and girls went to school or who taught you!
Judging by the correspondence between ourselves over the last few months and
despite King Lear, Mrs Belcher, en Raka, Mnr Schoeman, they can’t read, neither English nor Afrikaans.
Hulle kan nie wiskunde doen nie, Mnr Verster, nor basic accounting, Mnr Roelofse. Settling their accounts for this event has been problematic. Simple addition, subtraction and multiplication to work out their dues has left me wanting, and ek weet nie of vanaand se boeke gaan balanseer nie! And, then, I am told that one of you is the financial director of Loslyf Magazine!
Julle rekenaar vaardighede is bedenklik! Your computer skills are abysmal. Whoever heard of anyone who does not have email, facebook, whatsapp, messenger, skype or tring me to say the least!
It has been a nightmare communicating with you and organising this event. It feels like It has taken 40 years!
Thanks to our very own Sherlock Holmes, AnneMarie Nieuwoudt Kuhn, who took it upon herself to find you all. Out of 99, 90 were found and 9 passed on. Of the 90, 38 are not here and 52 of you are present here tonight. Give yourselves a very big hand!
The class of 1974 is a special one.
We were the last class to write our matric exams in the old school hall. In fact, we were the last class to utilize just the old school buildings.
We were the last to learn and write Latin in matric!
We were the first matric class allowed to use calculators in our exams. No log books for us!
We were the last matriculants to leave school in South Africa unscathed by television. The government of the day labelled tv as duiwelsgoed and thus we were shielded from its harmfulness.
Selfs die boubedrywighede by die skool, het die duiwel ontketen. Die hoof het in sy jaarverslag geskryf dat die boubedrywighede hul tol eis – in die vorm van al moeiliker uitvoerbare dissipline, opmerklike verswakking in die algemene netheid van die leerlinge ( dit was ons), en ‘n subtitle verslegting in akademise staandaarde. En dis nie eers te praat van die duiwelse geraas vanaf ‘n verskeidenheid van tuisland dialekte wat op die skoolgronde gehoor is nie!
We were not allowed a matric dance. The principal Koos van der Merwe declared dancing sinful – it was like having vertical sex to music – and thus we were bussed to Houw Hoek Inn for dinner only.
Well, forty years later and close to our sixties, I would imagine that most of us have by now participated in all these sinful activities!
Hoekom ‘n reunie?
A few months ago, when organising a reunion at Grey high School in Port Elizabeth where I now live, I had this daft idea of getting the class of 1974 back here again. I don’t think we ever appreciated as pupils here just how magnificent and beautiful this valley, mountains and sea really are, and I wanted to come home again.
I wanted to say thank you to you, the people who helped shape my life and who made me the person I am today.
Ek weet nie of julle weet dat Mnr Schoeman en my klasmaats dit moontlik gemaak het met ‘n tjek van R1200 om my Amerika toe te stuur nie. That trip altered my life and affects my own children to this day!
Yes, on the 40 year journey back here, like the ANC, each one of us will have a story to tell! The road has often not been easy for any one of us, but this weekend we celebrate. We tell our stories. We reminisce. We laugh and we live life and we are thankful for the privileges that we have had and that we have shared with one another.
“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to”
So, thank you for attending this weekend and for continuing to make the stories.
I hope and trust that you will enjoy the weekend together.
Baie dankie. Geniet die naweek!