Welkom! by HHH40

Welcome back to HHH

Welcome back to HHH

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!

The Cape of Good Hope: Day 5 (Wednesday)

Thursday 20 October 2011: 5 years 1 month on … Advantage ED

The holiday agenda for the week was penciled in as follows:

Wednesday                                    AlgoaFM from Waterkloof Farm and wine tasting

Wednesday evening                      Rocking Horse Show – Durbanville (Die Boer Theatre)

Thursday                                        Trip to Robben Island

Thursday evening                            Drinks at Forrester’s Arms in Newlands (Old Greys)

Friday                                           Head off to Montagu (wine tasting)

Saturday                                       Mountain trip (Langeberg) and Potjiekos Lunch (Protea Farm)

Sunday morning                             Return to Port Elizabeth

 (Plus a list of people to see and things to do – if time allowed!)

I am busy inking in the gaps… in the meantime, look at some of the pics on the earlier blog!

Day 5 – Wednesday 5 October 2011

We had been so fortunate with the weather – it just kept on getting better and better. And so our early rise on Wednesday presented yet another beautiful warm windless day,

Sean had arranged to get a lift to Cape Town on Wednesday morning with friends of his. He was off to see the Coldplay concert at the new Cape Town Stadium (built for last years FIFA World Cup) and was scheduled to meet up with us again on Thursday morning.

We were off to the Waterkloof Wine Farm – just behind Somerset West on the slopes of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains, and we had to be there before 10h30 in order for me to do my AlgoaFM chat show via telephone to host Lance du Plessis.

Waterkloof is a modern newly-built wine farm, and they say “every picture tells a story” and “a picture is worth a thousand words”! So please look at the photos accompanying this blog and at the previous photo blog and admire the beauty of the Hottentots Holland basin, the HH mountains, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Gordons Bay, Strand, Somerset West, False Bay and the Cape Peninsula in the distance. My words can certainly do no justice to such magnificence!

After my interview (which was minimal as a result of a discussion about the dangers of fracking – listen to the podcast), we did our first wine tasting of the week: the Waterkloof wines. Then we headed off for lunch on the other side of Somerset West, behind the Helderberg, on the way to Stellenbosch. This time we were visiting the farm  Avontuur, the owner of which is now married to Jake White, the ex Springbok rugby coach.

A splendid meal was had on the terrace, with a view of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak in the southern distance and the Helderberg as the northern vista.

We got home late afternoon, and barely had time for a short snooze, before we were picked up by Sebastian and his father and friend Kallie van Heerden. This time we were  heading off to Durbanville and to the Die Boer Theatre – sort of restaurant come theatre come pub all rolled into one.

It’s owned by Jurgen Human, who studied electrical engineering with me at Stellenbosch and once courted my sister. He went on to work at the SABC, married Afrikaans theatre doyen Dowwe Dolle and is now involved in this theatre venture. It’s quaint, it’s fun, it’s enjoyable. You eat and you drink and you listen to the music. And tonight it’s Country and Western!

The band playing is Rocking Horse, and two of the members of the band of three are Ridgways, cousins of Sebastian and sons of Sebastian’s father’s late brother. So it’s all in the family tonight, except for Sean, who by now was rocking away at the Coldplay concert in Green Point.

So, today had been one of wine, food and song. Another great day which was serving as the prelude for our much-anticipated trip to Robben Island on Thursday. And the weather was forecast to be an even better day – warm and windless. 

Our eyes started closing on the half-hour trip back to The Strand from Durbanville …