Class of 1971: What did they do after school?

This blog was written by the pupils of the Class of 1971 themselves. It would be great to hear from everybody. Two photos of Then and Now would also be super. There are no rules about how much or how little you would like to share or indeed what you would to include. The latest submissions will be included at the top of the blog thereby making the unread entries at the top of the blog.  

Main picture: Montage of Class of ’71’s Assembly & Service Program as well as the Valedictory Address and Signatures [Thanks to Sonia Slement (Venter)]

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Alan Milne: The Story So Far

I would imagine that this is for everybody to read, so perhaps I should leave out my time as a male escort?

Before we track my working career, a few words about my time at Alex. Arriving at Alex in Standard 7 from Cape Town, I fell very comfortably into the vibe of the school and the people– far preferring coed to single gender institutions, of which I had experience with both – schools that is, not genders!

The Bride and Groom

For certain medical reasons, [which we need not go into at this stage], I had never been able to fully participate in sports. I was drawn to and enjoyed other extra-mural pastimes, notably on the stage- which was considered by some to be a bit left of centre.  How times have changed, and it is great to see that, in schools today, the “acting nerds” have become as cool as the sport’s “jocks”!

 This lack of sporting ability or prowess never bothered me, but it certainly did not sit well with some of the staff – particularly the PT teacher. Again, I am grateful that the situation has changed in today’s schools.

In hindsight I see our years at Alex as a period of change and transition in the approach to teaching. We were certainly extremely fortunate to have such talented and innovative educators as Bob Welch, Paul Ellis and Flippie van der Merwe, whose whole approach to teaching both inspired and motivated, as opposed to the somewhat dour approach that our headmaster seemed determined to maintain.

The drama “gang” were certainly allowed a lot of leeway as regards to what we could and could not do. We were permitted to be on the stage at any time, including breaks, and were also give time out, during school hours, to go and look for “props” and “costumes”, if a production was on. Perhaps, not all of this time out was spent actually doing that!

Wedding Day

My Career [thus far]

Immediately after school, on hearing that the SANDF did not require my services, I spent some time at UCT studying drama. It did not take long for me to realise that the stage and I were not meant for one another, unlike my good friend Philip Godawa, who would go on to achieve much in the theatre.

A short foray at Springbok Radio as a studio tech, working alongside some of the stars of radio, led me to realise that I needed some sort of qualification to kick-start a career.  After graduating as radio and radar technician [go figure], I was fortunate to join Sonovision Studios in Johannesburg.

At the time Sonovision was one of the largest recording studios in the country, specializing in the recording of radio dramas, commercials and music.  Having always had a love for music, the environment was heaven to me. It was truly “Rock and Roll”, without necessarily having to include the other elements normally associated with the phrase.

During my tenure there, I was also involved with the recording of many memorable radio shows of the time, including such “classics” as, “The Mind of Tracy Dark” and the 500th episode of “Squad Cars”! I also was fortunate to have an opportunity to do some acting in radio dramas, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  subsequently moved into the emerging corporate communications field, producing and directing audio visual programmes, corporate songs, conferences, product launches and industrial theatre.

Behind the Scenes – Top Billing’s Shoot

The industrial theatre industry was the cutting edge of the marketing and promotions business, and the company that I joined, Multivisio, was the leader in this field in South Africa. No concept was too big or too bold: from hosting multi-media fashion events with over one-hundred models and dancers, plus a live orchestra and rock band, being the first to integrate lasers into live shows, and hiring the Concorde for a week using it to ferry delegates from Johannesburg to Cape Town daily, for a vehicle launch.

Whilst there, I was closely involved with the launching of all the phases of Sun City, as well as the installation of the first IMAX cinema in SA.  I also began creating and directing conferences, locally and elsewhere in Africa and Mauritius.

Home Office

Through a commission from Sun International, I created and produced special visual effects for a number of Extravaganzas at the Sun City Theatre, also doing similar projects for TV variety shows.

I had the privilege of creating some of these projects in conjunction with some of the top talent in South African theatre- Pieter Dirk Uys and the late Bill Flynn, to name a few.

In the mid 80’s two of us broke away to start our own production venture in the Eastern Cape, doing video productions, events and product launches for the motor industry. I also became a regular news reader on Algoa FM and had my own late night music show on weekends, of which I enjoyed every minute. I was also seconded by M-Net to be the regional host/emcee at promotions and roadshows, for the public to meet stars overseas of movies and soaps. Circumstances changed in the motor industry and much of the marketing moved to Johannesburg, leading to us to shut our business down in Port Elizabeth [as it was known then…]

In the mid nineties the family moved to Cape Town, where I joined a television production company, directing television programmes for broadcast on national TV, as well as directing the first live jazz programme on e-TV.

At the Gupta’s Wedding

Additionally, we also produced conferences and events both locally, and further afield. One of our major conference clients for many years was BP and I would often bump into Phil Williams, who worked for the BP at this period.

Interviewing Lisa Peluso from Loving

I also managed to find time for reading news on Fine Music Radio and had a weekend music show on a smooth jazz station, P4 Radio- now Heart FM. 

In 2012 and ’13, I became the Johannesburg based content director for Top Billing, which was extremely challenging but also totally rewarding.   I am not sure whether it can be viewed as an achievement or not, but I headed up the only South African film crew to cover the infamous Gupta wedding at Sun City!  I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent at Top Billing, but I was alone in Johannesburg, with my family remaining in Cape Town, and eventually decided to rather leave the show and return home

Alan and Sandi Milne

On returning to Cape Town, I was approached to train and mentor interns in the MOJO Mobile Journalism programme for the Independent Media Group. This involved teaching graduates how to create and produce video news content using mobile phones, which has become a worldwide trend in the digital era.

 I have subsequently moved within the group to my current position as Executive producer at Volt.Africa, which specializes in digital communications.

Iain and Calum Milne

A lot of our work is filming inserts and content for GQ, Glamour and House and Garden magazines which is right up my ally.  With the next oldest member of my team being only twenty-eight, I am certainly kept on my toes, but revel in the opportunity to work with and learn from creatives who are on the cutting edge of the industry. Much of the last eighteen months has been spent organizing and producing online content and virtual presentations, a necessity brought on by Covid, which has been a challenging but immensely rewarding experience.

 Who knows what the next challenge may be, but whatever it is   I still look forward to each and every working day.

Personal life

On the 29th of May this year, my wife Sandi and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary!

Sandi [nee Hart], was a year behind us at Alex and we started dating whilst we were still at school. The late Mary-Anne van Rensburg, who was in Sandi’s class, was our bridesmaid and Gerry Strimling, was our best man.

From what I have posted regarding my career, you can tell that we have moved around a fair bit.  Sandi began her working career in PE [that’s Gqebertha on the newest maps] at Rob Nettl Optometrists, which is still operating to this day. She has maintained an interest in optics, working for a number of optometrists and also managed the contact lens division for Zeiss, whilst we were living in Johannesburg.

It was only when we moved back to PE/ Gqebertha/Algoa Bay that we started a family.

Alan and Sandi Milne ’21

Our eldest son Calum was born in 1985 and lives with his partner in Cape Town. Calum qualified as a sound engineer – following in dad’s footsteps –   specializing in music recording. The digital revolution affected the music industry hugely, with every Tom, Dick and Harry [or Jane for that matter] being able to download software and have a studio in their bedroom. This was the death knell for most large recording studios, both locally and worldwide.   With his electronics qualifications he wisely he moved into the ever-growing world of IT., He now heads up a team of over sixty staff, who specialize in designing, implementing and supporting end-to-end digital communications, country wide.

Our younger son, Iain, was born in ’88. He graduated form the Waterfront Theatre School, here in Cape Town, majoring in Performance, [Acting, Singing and Dance]. Using this background, he began working as a casting director for commercials and TV dramas. Two years ago, he and a partner established a casting company, with offices in Cape Town, London and Los Angeles. Occasionally he finds the opportunity to also be cast in commercials.  He is currently working remotely from a base in Mexico!

We moved to Cape Town from the city formerly known as PE, in 1994 and, apart form my time living alone in Johannesburg, have remained rooted here in Fish Hoek. Much derided as “God’s Waiting Room”, due to the high percentage of elderly who reside here, our stay here has been a pleasant one. During their entire school careers our boys walked to school, apart from the odd bad weather days and the beach is five minutes away. Plus, this being Cape Town, there is an array of restaurants and wineries within a few minutes drive form our front door. Things could definitely be tougher!  

Our entire family is hugely into food, and we will travel fair distances to try out a new eatery that catches our attention.  We have been known to travel to Hermanus which is 120km away for lunch, and then return home.  We have also been extremely fortunate to have shared incredible food experiences with some top local and overseas chefs.  Obviously much of this has been curtailed by Covid but we look forward to better days. Additionally, I am very blessed and immensely spoilt by having a wife who, herself, is an amazing cook and much of our home time is spent preparing and enjoying magical meals, accompanied by the occasional [ or not so occasional] glass of wine – when the President allows us to. 

L-R Alan, Iain , Nikki [ Cal;s Partner] , Sandi and Calum

I have maintained my passion for music and still play and record at home but have not performed live for many years. I am also an avid collector of vinyl [ LP records], which I began collecting in my early teens:  a hobby which I share with my eldest son. Between us we have a few thousand albums. I also trawl the internet, looking for and downloading anything that captures my attention across many styles of music, from classical to heavy metal [yes, seriously] but I do skip such genres as hip-hop and techno!

During lockdown I researched, curated and hosted an online “Pub Quiz’ which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Sandi retired at the end of last year, though she is currently mentoring new staff at a local optometric practice. I, as previously mentioned, am blessed to still be needed and happily continue to work though, for obvious reasons, most days I do so remotely from my home office, surrounded by my computers, video monitors, guitars and keyboards.

E&OE

Stuart Allen

I started at Alex in the middle of September 1966, fresh off the plane from West Yorkshire, England. It was hot and blowing a Berg wind. How fantastic when a Coca Cola truck arrived at break time and gave us all free ice cold Cokes. This was a welcome change from the free milk we got at school break time in England. Sadly, I found out to my bitter disappointment that this only happened once a year.

I had taken French for two years in England but had to drop it to take Latin and Afrikaans. I had an immediate dislike to Latin mainly because of Mr Wright’s boring delivery, so having achieved five percent at the end of the year I switched to Woodwork. It was planned for me to spend 1967 in Std 6 as well because Mr Cordingley said I would fail the year after joining so late. I beat the odds and passed. I was given three years in which to pass Afrikaans of which my brief time in 1966 was counted as a whole year. I was immediately put into the lunchtime immigrant Afrikaans lessons conducted by who else but Flip. Well, I failed Afrikaans at the end of Std Eight in 1968 so I had to repeat the year, I never failed again.

Yes, I too felt the pain of Waco’s cane and was one of the sixty odd or so who got caned for long hair in one mass execution. I had just got my driving licence and remember getting into my little old Renault and driving home with a sore backside. A couple of you mentioned in your stories about Paul Ellis wanting us to write a poem. This hair story prompted me to remember my poem as handed to him. His hair was getting quite long and he came in to school one day having had a very good haircut which inspired me to write the following.

We had an English teacher

Who had long blond hair

But he had to have it cut

And now most of it ain’t there

His written comment when he handed it back was – actually ‘had’ should be replaced by ‘chose’. I never was much of a poet.

I remember circuit training all too well. In April 1967 I was doing squats in the Quad next to Ian Armitage who was very tall. He got the barbell stuck behind his neck. Next thing I felt this excruciating pain in my foot. The weights had fallen off one end and landed on my foot and big toe. My toe was flat and I could see the bone. I was given some quick first aid, helped to the school lobby and with Mrs Sutton phoning my Mom. It was into Mr Parker’s car, collected my Mom and off to casualty. I was off school for three weeks.

I had Bob Welsh for Geography in Std 7 and like many of us have said, what a great teacher he was. Paul Ellis was the best English teacher ever. I remember Mr Cordingley taking us for RI but he didn’t stick to the scriptures very much. He used to talk about being in the North African Desert during his military days and four-day old bread tasting like cake. He was passionate about us going out in the right direction in life. It was focussed more on life and career guidance and two things that he said stood out for me. The first was that if you want to get a job that will be in demand in the future then you must go into computers and the other was that when you get married you must get an Antenuptial Contract drawn up. I had my eye on Architecture, Civils or Computing as a career and did go the I.T. route. I started as a computer operator at British United Shoe Machinery in 1972, before this they sent me to IBM for an aptitude test because they wanted me to start programming as well. I went to CATE and did three years of nights studying Electronic Data Processing as it was called then.

At Vic Falls

During my early Alex days I lived in First Avenue Newton Park but then we moved to Bramhope. A lot of my friends were the last English Matric class at Framesby. Some of them went to Westering Methodist Youth Guild on a Friday night so I started going in 1971. It was here in June that I met Myra Arnott, who would later become my wife. She lived in Sunridge and had just moved down from Joburg.

By 1974, I had saved enough deposit for a house. My plan was to buy an older property, renovate it and rent it out. Having costed it, I realised I could build a new one for the same money. I bought a plot of land in Lorraine and a builder built me a shell, I did the cabinets, cupboards and finishing off. In the planning all this I thought why rent out my new house. Myra and I got engaged in November 1974, were married in August 1975 and moved in, I had just turned twenty two in July and she was nineteen. We lived there for three years and then moved to a bigger house in February 1979. We started a family and have three daughters, Bev born in 1980, Liz in 1983 and Kat in 1987. All three went to Alex. No grandchildren yet.

I worked in various positions in PE mainly with IBM kit and was one of the first to program VDU’s. I worked mainly in the manufacturing sector, designing and writing accounting and production systems.

I always wanted to have my own business, I dabbled in property and had a couple of flats that I rented out. I had a career change in 1991. I was working for the SA Wool Board at the time. The Aussies had warehouses full of wool and flooded the world market. This brought prices down and the future of the Wool Board was precarious. This was a good time to move. In fact a year later the Board as we knew it ceased to exist. I went to work for Southern Life selling Financial products. Before they employed me, I was assessed by the company psychologist in Cape Town. This was the most fun job I ever had. I think because I was dealing with people and not machines. I was high in the national sales rankings which got rewarded with overseas trips for me and my wife. They asked me to do an MBA and work for them rather than be an agent. Southern was taken over before this could happen so I went completely independent and secured contacts with a number of insurance companies, I also branched out into short term insurance and medical aids.

I have always enjoyed endurance activities and was a long time member of Achilles Athletics Club in PE and have run all distances including Comrades and Two Oceans. The photo is Two Oceans 2001, note the time, purely coincidental.

Myra was getting a bit unsettled about the situation in the country. After much thought and planning we moved to England in September 2002. I know I’m a Brit but it was a foreign country to me. We moved to the Bristol area as it was the biggest financial hub outside London and within easy reach of Europe so we could travel. London is too busy and expensive. We came back as a family which kept us together. I was studying for the English financial qualifications which were mandatory in order to work in the industry. One thing very apparent in the UK is that everything is regulated, much different to the S Africa we left. We all settled into jobs. Kat my youngest was still at school and life carried on. In the latter half of 2003 Myra started to get weak in her limbs, spreading up from her feet. She was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. We couldn’t believe it and went back to PE for a second opinion. We lost her on Father’s Day 2004 after a nine-month struggle. If this setback wasn’t enough, I was made redundant eight months later.

I took a break for a year and renovated my house myself doing bathrooms, kitchen etc. I have worked for the Government for the last fourteen years in the Department for Work and Pensions. I have travelled quite a lot mainly India, South East Asia and Indonesia. I do visit SA every couple of years but have no family of my own there, just my late wife’s three sisters. I do a lot of camping and like quieter campsites run by the National Trust and use my site as a base and hike the coastal path. Hobbies wise I have always liked working with wood and I’m a keen photographer. I considered retiring in April last year after getting back from S Africa a week before the first lock down but carried on, just turned 68, have now applied for my pension, my last day being third of September.

Mount Bromo

I’m not one to sit down and relax and don’t play golf, so who knows what next, another house renovation perhaps?

Lorraine Benjamin [Chantler]

When I left school, I started working at Barclays Bank in January 1972. In 1975 I married Terrence Benjamin, who had joined Telkom straight after school.  In 1976 we applied to do a year of mission work with Youth for Christ and spent time ministering in Jhb and Namibia. After Youth for Christ Terrence did a year in the army then joined Jack and Jill footwear whilst I returned to work at the bank.  

Matric Farewell from left: Trevor Hastie, June Brown, Gay Bailey, Marsha Smythe, Carol Anderson, Louise Brock, Margie Mills, Michael Neff, Lorraine Chantler, and Stuart Allen.

In 1979 our daughter Kim was born and in 1982 our son Dennis.  After having my babies, I was a stay at home mom for seven years and loved every minute of it.  I went back to work at FNB when my children went to school.  In 1992 Terrence and I got divorced and he remarried a few years later.  Both my children attended Alex, and I found it strange to walk the corridors of the school once again, this time not as a student but as a parent.  I found it even stranger that Flippie was now teaching my children. How time flies!

In 2006 I had had enough of working in the bank, and as my children were adults and no longer seemed to need me, I decided to change direction. I then started caring in the UK, looking after elderly people in their own homes, coming home to PE to rest for a few months every year.  I continued doing caring for 15 years and cared for some wonderful people while still managing to have some time off to explore a bit of the UK.  

During that time my son and his wife emigrated to the UK making it possible for me to spend some of my breaks with them.  This also meant that I was able to be with them for the births of my three beautiful grandchildren.

Terrence passed away from cancer in 2019. My daughter remained in PE and I have retired and downsized to a little townhouse close to her.

Myself and Terrence with my daughter Kim, her husband Craig, my son Dennis, his wife Carla and two and a half grandchildren (taken in 2017)

Nicholas von Ruben

Nicolas von Ruben-My first day at school. Notice how empty Cotswold ext. was

It is really interesting reading how we have all navigated life after Alex. It has made me review my path, mostly spent abroad. The challenge I found was keeping it short. But first my recollection of Waco:

Teachers sometimes “referred” me to the headmaster for rule infringements. He would always give me the opportunity to defend myself and I did, on rare occasion, manage to talk myself out of a caning.

He took us for religious Instruction and insisted that I go to his office to remind him. Sometimes, when I arrived he went straight to his windowsill to select a cane. I think he knew I was there to fetch him for the lesson but just wanted to wind me up.     

I really enjoyed school but was not that focused on academic achievement, as a result I did not get a university pass. After my military service I was fortunate to be employed by Murray and Steward and was sponsored to study for a NHD, Civil Engineering, which was undertaken in three month block releases from work. Iain Watson and I where together in some of those blocks. We had spent most of our school years in the same class. During this time and after finishing college I worked on projects such as the elevated freeway over Strand Street, the land reclaimed container berth in PE harbour, the hydroelectric power station at the Gariep dam, the bridge over the Kromme river to Cape St Francis and construction of the Transkei University.

Standard Six

The year 1979 was a time of change as I got married and we went to England for me to go to university. I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering. We remained in England until 1989 when we divorced and my wife returned to PE. We were living in Cornwall and I remained, working as a contracts manager responsible for construction projects in south west England. In this time I also converted a stone barn in Cornwall into a home.

Nico with his Alfa Giulia Sprint circa 1974

Another seismic shift came in 1994 when I went to work for the United Nations Peacekeeping Department in the former Yugoslavia, as an engineer building camps for the military peacekeepers and refurbishing buildings for the Mission’s political operations. I was transferred from there to set up the Security Council mandated mission in Haiti, after which I was transferred to the Mission in southern Lebanon (I lived in northern Israel as southern Lebanon was a conflict zone). It was in Lebanon that I met my wife, Adriana. She was in the Polish military contingent on a one year assignment. From Lebanon I went to the logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. All these posts were as an engineer. At this point I returned to Lebanon, on promotion to chief of logistics, which included engineering. During this time the Israeli Defence Force withdrew from southern Lebanon and we relocated from Israel to Southern Lebanon. Adriana and baby Sophie could not accompany me as southern Lebanon was (and still is) a conflict zone. She moved to our home in France. I then went to the Democratic Republic of Congo and then on to New York to take up the post of Chief Engineer for global peacekeeping operations. We sold in France and moved to New York. This was the last time that I could have my family with me. I was then sent, on promotion, as the chief of logistic to the Mission in Sudan. My family went to Port Elisabeth and we bought a home. I was redeployed back to New York to be the Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary General for the newly established Department of Mission Support. We travelled extensively going to and meeting senior government officials of member states as well as NATO. After this I took up a post as the Chief of Mission Support in Cyprus, providing administrive and logistic support to the Mission. However, I spent a lot of time away on assignment to Darfur in Sudan, assisting with the expansion of that Mission. From there I returned to Sudan as the Director of Mission Support, where we provided logistical support to the referendum that resulted in the south seceding from the north. With a new country of South Sudan the Security Council mandated a new mission to support that government and I was appointed the Director of Mission Support. Throughout my 22 year career with the UN I undertook short assignments to many other missions including Western Sahara, Gaza, Jerusalem, Damascus, Liberia, Baghdad, Afghanistan and Mogadishu to name a few. My last appointment, in recognition of doing the hardship missions, was as the Director of the Global Service Centre in Brindisi, Italy, which had by this time expanded, providing logistics support to global peacekeeping operations as well as communications and IT support to the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes. There is a backup, mirror-image, IT facility in Valencia, Spain, for which I was also responsible. I travelled regularly to Rome and Madrid to meet with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

I retired in 2015 and returned to PE after a 37 year absence. I continued my service with the UN as a consultant mentor to a Senior Management training programme, travelling to Brindisi three times a year until 2019, by which time I was also working as a consultant project manager for the World Bank traveling regularly to Juba, South Sudan. This commitment with the World Bank continues, mostly with work from home. I have just accepted another World Bank assignment in Pretoria, after which I think I will really retire.

Nicolas with the women in his life: Amy, Adriana and Sophie

Working in conflict zones does not offer much opportunity to participate in sport. I did manage to run within the camps were we lived. In New York I joined the NY Road Runners Club an ran the Five Boroughs half marathon series. Since returning to SA I have taken up cycling again and sometimes enter the odd race. I have switched my focus from road cycling to gravel bikes. Adriana and I have two daughters: Sophie is in her second year at Stellenbosch University and Amy who is in matric  (I’m a bit of a late starter).

Anileen Gray [Begbie]

After graduating from Alex, I went to UPE where I completed a BSc degree, majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. I left without completing the HED year, but managed to get a teaching job at Daniel Pienaar Technical High School where I taught Physics and Chemistry for one year. I married Selwin Gray in December 1975 and worked as a Chemist for Firestone while he completed his honors degree in Geology. (I could not support the two of us on a teacher’s salary!). After three months travelling through Europe in a camper van in early 1997, we reported to Carletonville where Selwin started working on the goldmines. I taught Math and Science at the local high school and completed my HED through UNISA. In 1978 we relocated to Port Shepstone where we lived until 1990. At that point I was head of the Math Department at the Port Shepstone High School. In 1988 my twins, Simon and Frances were born. In 1990 we moved to Johannesburg where we lived for two years before emigrating to Canada. We lived in Vancouver, British Columbia for 5 years, and in 1996 we moved to Baltimore, Maryland for Selwin’s work. We have lived here for the past 21 years. In that time, I managed to earn my master’s degree in mathematics and work as the head of the Math and Science departments at two different high schools. I retired from the St. Paul’s Boys School two weeks ago. I am passionate about teaching and loved every minute of the 46 years I spent in the classroom. Although it is nice to be retired and imagine spending more time traveling and with family, I cannot imagine never returning to the classroom again. I can see myself looking for an opportunity to teach again once I am settled in North Carolina.

My son, Simon, is a medical doctor and currently finishing his studies to be a specialist Gastroenterologist. He is married to Lesley, and they have a 15 month-old son, Sidney. We have just bought a house in Chapel Hill, which is close to where Simon works, and we plan to move down there as soon as we have sold our house in Baltimore.  My daughter Frances is a Pharm D and is married to an air force pilot, Kyle. They have a son, Henry, who is 18 months old. My two grandsons are the love of my life, and I cannot wait to spend more time with them.

My hobby is bee keeping. I currently have nine hives in my back garden, and I keep four hives at school where I run a bee club and teach the boys how to run an apiary. We manage to get a crop of about 300 – 400 lbs of honey per season, most of which we give away to family, colleagues and members of our church.

I am tremendously excited about returning to PE to meet up with the class of ’71.

Ralph Tarr

My fellow classmates

Fifty years down the drag and we all have a story or two to tell. So interesting to read what you have achieved and been up to. Wow!

Dean……Here it is. There is no exact timeline to this mainly because I can’t remember but it is in some sort of chronological order.

After school, first call was the army and after the spoon test, I asked, like Colin, to go to the Navy so they sent me to Middelburg in the Transvaal. Take all your sports gear they said it’ll be fun they said. So armed with 3 javelins I caught the train to an unknown destination. In those days the Weermag was like an extra province and if you were any good and worth a place in the team, there was plenty of time to play and practice. Every interprovincial athletics meeting I got my call up to “gooi the spies” and they put you on the train to compete. In those days you got a free ride as long as you were in your uniform.

Brothers Tarr (R to L) Big Tarr (Bruce) Little Tarr (Ralph) Scruffy (Ray) Baby Tarr (Neville)

Must have been a real sight to see a soldier going to war with a few spears but at least never got robbed or mugged.

Having completed my year, I joined the PE Municipality as a computer operator that involved night shifts so enrolled to study towards a BA at UPE but after 2 years, it didn’t work out for me so joined Ford Motor Company in the Service Development Department as a writer of service bulletins for the dealer network.

That was the stepping stone to an incredible 16-year journey with Ford and spent time in various departments understanding the ins and outs of how the company ticked over.

Ford has some extremely well-developed systems that have been copied by most motor manufactures so got a solid grounding to business in the motor trade. In fact, GM was often referred to as the “Ford old boys club”.

Sanctions started to take their toll on Ford and while working as a buyer in procurement, we were tasked to increase the local content within the manufacturing sector.

Regular meetings were had with the directors and heads of departments where we had to report back on progress of components, we were responsible for. These meetings were known by us buyers as “Lies and Alibies” There was huge pressure to meet production deadlines and sometimes had to bend the truth to satisfy those concerned that all was under control. This often led to some highly creative persuasive measures to be able to get the suppliers to fulfil the promises we made on their behalf!!

Lynne and I visiting the kids

Fun times indeed.  

My last position at Ford was District Sales Manager (subsidised tourists as we were called) which meant having to visit dealers and assist with them achieving their sales objectives etc. During this time, I travelled the length and breadth of the country and beyond.

The Ford dealer in Gaborone Botswana persuaded me to join them as Sales Manager and enjoyed some incredible success breaking sales records which some of the bigger metro Dealers could not match.  As a result, was fortunate enough earn travel awards that allowed me to see many parts of the world. Again, as a subsidised tourist.

Sharing a Milk shake with Charlotte

I was eventually promoted to Dealer Principal. 11 years later and after a slump in the market, my contract with Barloworld came to an end and decided to return to South Africa.

We had a holiday home in Sedgefield at the time so moved there and as luck would have it, Honda had an opening in George so applied for the franchise. Soon after, we opened the doors for business. Again, fun times, a big successes and was back in travel mode. This time eastwards to Japan.

Morro bay on the Californian west coast

Six years later we sold the business and was approached by the Ford Dealer to manage their sales team. It was here at age 63, I was sent to pasture so went “farming” to a place called Vanwyksdorp which is not in the middle of nowhere, it’s in the middle of the middle of nowhere in the Little Karoo. Here we build a huge shed with a massive fireplace with the idea of starting a mountain bike retreat. That turned out to be a bit of a damp squib so sold everything and moved to southern California in a bid to settle there and start a business. Sadly, this did not materialise, so we bought a Cadillac and toured the west coast for a while, mountain biked in Oregon and then came home to settle in Bathurst. Full circle 1820.

Lynne and our tourer in the USA

Sport has always played a key part of my life and fondly remember school rugby matches with the likes of my Dad, Harry Pike and Mike Holmes’ dads amongst others, following the play along the touchline with my dad asking for “more fire Alex” at line outs.

Fishing on the golf course dam in Tehachapi

My javelin throwing came to an abrupt end after a nasty fall on my dirt bike and tore ligaments in my throwing arm shoulder.

After playing a little hockey at school I later joined up with Cecil Thompson and Theo Smith at Ramblers hockey club and then got persuaded to join Old Grey to be their goalkeeper for the first side. I managed to be selected to play for EP a few times and when we relocated to Pretoria played for Harlequins club and Northern Transvaal. My last Interprovincial game was at age 39 and had to contend with Jonty Rhodes who played striker for Natal at the time!

The Tequila Shed in Vanwyksdorp

After that my nickname changed from Mad Max to Sieve.

As age crept up, and the knees were taking strain, I started losing money playing golf and fishing became angling with no returns so turned to mountain biking and still at it. Love being out in the country and prefer the more endurance side of the sport. I have 10 Cape cycle tours (Argus) under the belt and 8 years ago had a knee replacement which has had no limitations on distance or performance.

A banana moment on an outride in the bosveld

I’m still 78 kgs of quivering passion.

I have 2 boys, Brendon and Jason from my first marriage. They both live in Pretoria where Brendon is a sports administrator and coach for a private school. He also coaches hockey privately.

Jason has a Master’s degree in wildlife management and has his own business that specialises in tracking for anti-poaching operations and wildlife preservation.

Remarried now for 23 years, Lynne has 2 children Lauren and Sheldon. Lauren lives in JHB running a highly successful pet business and Sheldon is teaching in Hong Kong.

Between us, we have 6 grandchildren who bring us much joy and are truly blessed to have them in our lives.

 Lynne and I have been intrepid adventurers, loving life and scheming our next move but you’ll have to read my book!

Cross on the Green

Ralph    

Carol Goldsmith [Addison]

Carol Goldsmith passed away on 19 July 2020. Her life story below was written by her and was entitled, “Brief autobiography of my life as at 29 November 2019“.

My name is Carol Alexandria Goldsmith nee Addison. Born 15 December 1953 in Port Elizabeth South Africa. Spent childhood and formative years in Port Elizabeth. Attended Sydenham Primary School from 1959/60 -1966, for Sub A, Sub B, Standards 1 though to 5.  Then to Alexander Road High for Standards 6 – 10 i.e., from 1967 to matriculating in 1971.  It was at Alexander Road that I met my best friend in Std 6. Her name is Ann Fick so she was called Ficus and still is to this day.

After graduating from high school, attended The University of Port Elizabeth, as did Ficus. We both left 4 years later with a BA and HED and a trip hiking Britain and eurailing Europe as part of our experience. We also both taught at the same School as our first posting. Eventually we did separate and got positions at other schools both going to various places in the Cape Provence (as it was then) but we are still in contact today as grannies.

In 1978 I met Richard and we married 10 Jan 1981 and almost immediately emigrated to Perth to start our life together. Our children arrived in 1982, Claire who’s now given us two grandchildren Xavier Daniel turning4 in 2020, Everleigh Grace 3 months as I type this. Margaret  in 1983, a successful music teacher currently at Newman College, who brings to the family so much fun and togetherness with her playing of many instruments, her beautiful voice and a great sense of humour. Our third daughter Jane was born in 1985 and she has given us a beautiful, precious grandson Luca Henry who’ll be two years 29th December 2019. I’m so proud of our girls, the women into whom they’ve grown, what they’ve accomplished, and how they live: good honest dependable trustworthy. I pray that they too will grow in God.

I taught at Sacred Heart College while the girls were growing up, mainly English all forms offered in Perth Schools and also English Literature. I also taught at Aranmore College where I ran the ESL programmes. My latter years in education were spent as a lecturer at Notre Dame. I loved this as I taught a great passion, Academic Essay writing and referencing. Also, academic writing using appropriate and correct grammar and vocabulary.

Finally decided no more marking! and so I left and went on to do the course to become a volunteer Kings Park Guide. I loved this and knew I was really doing well as a VKPGuide, especially with Susanna J another guide who was a great mentor/inspiration and a great friend, my pseudo sister.  I was very sad that the illness caused me to resign July/August this year, at the pinnacle of my guiding.

But, with prayers answered, life went on and now Richard and I travel to entertain ourselves and I   keep my mind focused on Botany as we do the wildflower trails.

I also like to spend lots of time with grandson Luca whose parents live in Perth, whereas Claire lives in Ballarat, a real journey to baby sit! But we visit when we can. I do have my gorgeous doggie Pippa to walk exercise. She’s kept me fit and now keeps Richard fit too. Richard has planned a lovely trip away this December of 2019, a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth to Melbourne, then to return to Perth, we travel on the Indian Pacific. We get back just before Christmas to be with our Perth daughters.   I am so proud of our three daughters, and love spending time with them.

Carol is on the left in the family photo, which was taken when our grand daughter was baptised in February 2020.

I praise the Lord and give thanks that I have had sufficient wellness in the past 9 months to be able to do so much of what filled my life prior to “the incident”. Love and God Bless, dear family and friends. Thank you for your love and prayers and that you ‘ve been a part of my travels through life. I look towards God, where earth and heaven will meet and think of Psalm 23. I shall not fear for thou art with me. You comfort me and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Amen

Comment by Anileen: I am devastated to hear about Carol’s death and so appreciate being able to read her story. Carol, Ann, Kathy and I were a “group” during high school. We all played hockey and I fondly remember Carol’s energy and enthusiasm on the field. I used to see Carol and Ann on the campus of UPE, but we were there in the days when the campus was split between the Summerstrand campus and the old Bird Street campus Since the sciences were on Bird Street, I lost touch with them. I regret this and am so saddened to hear about Carol’s passing

Comment by Margie Saunders: I have vivid memories of Carol as a real energy bunny especially on the hockey field. Rest in peace Carol.

Comment by Sharon Rhode: So sad to hear about Carol. It seems that she had a wonderful life though and got to enjoy her children and grandchildren.

Pauline Rowe [Grant]

I married Colin Rowe in 1975 and moved to Cape Town, where we have been ever since. I started work at SAIMR and studied medical technology specializing in cytology through the Technikon and relocated to Groote Schuur where I completed my studies. I then joined a private practice and retired 2 years ago. I actually still do slides on a smaller scale as I have my own practice. 

In between I had 2 boys born 1982 and 1984 and now have 2 grandchildren both of whom are also boys. I must say that I feel like I have spent my life putting the toilet seat down!

I have also travelled internationally quite extensively but as a tourist. Colin and I are contemplating “being swallows” between UK and Cape Town in the future.

School, what can I say! I hated it! Coming from England, I found it very militaristic, strict and behind the times hence was very anti-establishment. There were several teachers that I think back of with some fondness: Mr Welsh, Mr. Fourie and Mr. Wright. Mrs Sutton was always very kind as well. As for the rest, they needed to be put out to pasture and leave the Victorian times behind!

That having been said I do have a lot of memories of laughter and shenanigans in and out of the classroom. 

Margie Saunders [McAll]

Margie Saunders – Alex tennis tour1970
Mother and daughter run on the lighthouse trail

My years immediately post ’71 were somewhat “fragmented” for a few reasons: my early marriage at the age of 20 (eish!) then moving to Gauteng with my husband, and then the birth of my two daughters in 1975 and 1977. Consequently my B Pharm studies before, after and during these milestones were equally fragmented.

Sadly, I was divorced when my girls were very young (2 years and 6 months respectively) and, since it was no longer tenable to work in my husband’s pharmacy (and retail pharmacy is so repetitive and boring), I began my 20 year-long career in the pharmaceutical industry. My special interest was in Research and Development, implementation and monitoring of local drug trials and training pharmaceutical reps on new products. I then “moved on” to the medical scheme administration world where my key responsibilities included, inter alia: Clinical Risk Management (especially specialist referrals and patterns); establishing a Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) department and developing a drug formulary; setting up and managing scheme-owned medical centres around the country. After nearly 11 very rewarding years, I was approached by a national hospital group to run their emergency medicine department that managed approximately 25 medical schemes’ emergency medicine benefits (both locally and internationally). I was persuaded to stay on after retirement age to project manage the set-up of Discovery’s Health’s international emergency benefit.

Where we retired in 2017


Having remarried in 1989 (Brian was my running training partner for many years) and, having resided in PE for most of my career but travelled to Gauteng many weeks each month, we decided in 2017 to sell our home in Summerstrand and build our retirement home in Cape St Francis (luckily our “laatlammetjie” son is an architect). After nearly four years here, I still need to pinch myself when running around the lighthouse and Seal Point and back home along the beach (all you surfers eat your hearts out).

My son aka Brian Junior

(Dean – this is for you – please remember that you told me not to hold back). Whilst I enjoyed sport at school, I did very little post-matric – mainly recreational tennis and squash. In my early thirties I returned to competitive swimming and competed at SA Masters (6 gold medals and 4 SA age group records). I then decided that I would like to participate in triathlons but needed to learn to run. To cut a long story short, I started with a half marathon (21.1km) and then found myself in an EP team and from then on running dominated my sport for many years. My key running achievements were: a national ranking for marathon in my forties (2:58), my two Comrades (both silver medals / top 10 SA ladies), age group wins at SA champs (all distances) and Two Oceans (56km and 21.1km), SA 60+ age group records (15km – 64.01, 21.1km – 1:30, 42.2km – 3:15) and a 60+ world best for 30km (2:20).

Margie Saunders – En route to my World best 60+ 30km


Somewhere in between all this I (eventually) started doing triathlons and, whilst cycling is definitely my weakest discipline, managed to win two age group half Ironman events and win a gold medal at World triathlon champs. My favourite multi-disciplinary event is a run-swim-run event (yay no cycling handicap) and I was fortunate to participate in and win a few world champs events.

My eldest daughter and eldest grandson in Vanuatu


A “minor hiccup” during my competitive years was being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, but I was fortunate that my fitness and general health helped me through 6 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It took a few years to get back to my pre CA fitness, but given that my running has always been my stress reliever, it helped me through a challenging period.

With my youngest daughter and oldest grandchild in Dublin
Brian and I after a long swim in the canals

For those of you that have been to Cape St Francis, you will know that our roads are not conducive to road bikes and I now only mountain bike (albeit that it is not my first love) in between running and swimming. My husband and I are fortunate to be able to train with a masters swimming group in our local pool and in the canals and of course Seal Point beach is on our doorstep. We have been privileged to complete two 12 to 14km swims in the Kromme River together with local and other Eastern Cape swimmers.

Margie Saunders – 2013 World Triathlon champs


My husband and I have five children between us – we each have two daughters (49, 45, 45, 43 years) and a son of 29 (please do not do the math!). My longstanding friend Margie Rudman (nee Portman) and her husband Rob are my younger daughter’s godparents. We are fortunate that Brian’s daughters live in St Francis Bay (10km away) but my two daughters live very far away – in Vanuatu and Dublin. Our son is a professional architect in Cape Town. I have three grandchildren (14, 12 and 8 years) and Brian has 5 grandchildren ranging from 10 to 21 years.

I look forward to seeing many of you in August!

My other training partner…..

Jenni Gous

Jennifer Gous (should have matriculated in 1970 but due to having too much fun matriculated in 1971)

I have had a chequered career and life. After leaving Alex I went to the Graaff-Reinet Teachers’ College to do a three year higher primary teaching diploma (it was that or nursing in those days!!). I developed a love/hate relationship with the Karoo during that time (love won in the end). I then caught a train to Cape Town to take up a teaching post in Plumstead. After two years I went to Rhenish on the Braak in Stellenbosch but returned to Cape Town after a year.

It was then that I read about autism for the first time and was immediately drawn to working with children with special needs and who live on the margins (teaching neurotypicals wasn’t half as challenging).

The long and short of it all was that I left teaching in 1982 to attend the All Nations Christian College in the UK for two years to become a missionary. Mission work did not materialise and on my return to SA worked in the Anglican Church as a pastoral assistant in the Alexandria Plurality (Bushmans, Kenton on Sea and Alexandria).

The bright lights of Cape Town were calling however and I returned to teaching children with special needs in Claremont where I remained for the next 16 years.

In 2000 I relocated to Johannesburg where I have been ever since. I managed to keep studying during my teaching career and ended up with a PhD in 2010. I am currently the principal of a small school for children with autism in Parktown and I can’t afford to retire!! I am longing to return to the eastern Cape, preferably Kenton.

I have loved catching up with the news of everyone and I am not sure whether I will be at the reunion or not. I loved you Alex guys back then…and still do. Saddened to hear of my buddy Vaughan.

Current interests include:

  • Being an avid birdwatcher (I can’t afford twitching), and loving travelling
  • Exploring the more mystical side of Christianity e.g. Julian of Norwich, centering prayer etc
  • Enjoying grand nephews and nieces
  • Dabbling in a bit of photography
  • Dreaming of living back at the beach

BTW: So I still want to know who put my right shoe on the crossbar of the rugby post and then delivered it to the office whereupon Kay Sutton announced on the intercom

Derek Openshaw

After ’71, Karl Els, Arthur Elhert, Terry Benjamin and I started an engineering journey in Telecoms in what is today: Telkom SA. Obtaining a qualification before doing military service was advised. However, our annual callups were continually revoked and we never did military service! But that Damocles sword impacted our decision making for many years …

A post-Alex Alan (ever the arm-twister, but heart of gold) Zeiss memory: ’72 Al roped me and a few other Alexians into the P.E. division of ‘InterAct’ (Junior Rotary). Our first project was painting a Nursery School next to the mast on the hill north from the Alex grounds. Many more enjoyable, rewarding projects followed.

Derek Openshaw – 75 The day I met Cheryl, when Bestman at a colleague’s wedding

Photo insert: ’75 The day I met Cheryl, when Bestman at a colleague’s wedding

Sport changed from rugby (played at Blues – thanks to Robert Parker) when I met the person I am married to for two score and handful of years, Cheryl Robinson (of the last English-speaking class that graced the classrooms of Framesby High). Cheryl enjoyed playing squash, so ‘obviously’ I started playing. League and competition squash soon followed. It was unreal & weird when I first came up against Piet Snyman (Alex.- Afrikaans Onnie).

Road cycling quickly became integrated into the training routine – thanks to Margie (Portman) Rudman’s husband, Rob. No, the heights of Alexan cyclists:  Von Rubin, Theron and Watson were never realised. But, veteran days (over 45 yrs) alongside some of the ‘old greats’ of the sport was the most enjoyable. Age, in sport, is a great leveller! That was also true of veteran squash – playing interprovincials around the country and had the honour playing against England in 2002.

Let me not get ahead of myself ……. After a ‘6 year honeymoon’ Andrew (’83) and Michelle (’87) arrived – expanded our family which in turn squeezed the budget – some of you been there too, I’m sure!

A shift from engineering to finance (following a BComm) saw us move from P.E. to Pretoria in ’89.  Woodwork was my subject of choice at Alex! Now suddenly in the mid-80’s, I’m drowning in accounting (UNISA distance learning). Any other woodwork or Latin class Alexan enjoy a similar experience? The lecturer suggested I obtain a series of high school accounting books which I mentioned to Brian Heath (Headmaster at Alex at the time) at a squash league game. Two days later Mrs Sutton called to say she had a full set for me: Std 6 to matric. That’s Alex for you! Yes? Two weeks of burning the midnight oil, and std 6 to 10 was dusted … not all exercises… but enough to see me through.

In ’91, Post & Telkom split, I moved over to SA Post (The qualification per 91 ‘Tuks Jool’ magazine cover read: “The only qualification required to work in the Post Office is a long-wet tongue to lick the stamps!!”) A whole new world presented itself. I established a management accounting arm at SA Post which included project managing part of their enterprise-wide SAP system and was fortunate to be offered a part-bursary for an MBA …. Only to be fished out by (then) Coopers & Lybrand’s Consulting division to do what……? Yep, project manage the implementation of the same system in Namibia Post & Telecom in ‘93. I then took a position at Price Waterhouse (Today: C&L + PW = PWC). A memorable project at PW was a post system implementation audit in Natal – only to discover it was designed and built by an Alexan: Andre Lotz, who some of you may well remember. It was great  ‘knowing someone in a foreign land’ and working together – yes, the audit was good! After all, the system was built by an Alexan!!! I finally concluded my wonderful, interesting years of corporate consulting days as the Twentieth Century braced itself for the so-called Y2K gremlin! By this time, I was part-time lecturing at a business school, assisted a few business start-ups, established and co-owned a small labour brokerage in the IT industry.

One of (schoolteacher) Cheryl’s reasons for agreeing to the move to Pretoria was – Nature Reserves. No prizes for guessing where the odd weekend and school holidays were spent during our 32 years in Gauteng. Days of driving, riding horseback or walking in the likes of Pilanesberg, Kruger, amongst others. We count it a privilege to have experienced our Southern African bushveld and wildlife. Cheryl’s classic homeward bound statement was: “Now I’m ready for next term!”

A parallel path … mid ’75, telecomms qualification now completed, a crossroads presented itself. Do I continue the engineering route, or move into the ministry. The Damocles sword still hovered! Helping me unpack this, the late Rev Griff Rogers (Newton Park Methodist) suggested it seemed best to obtain the required B Theology (UNISA), as I could continue studying if and when the call up came. (Final exemption from the military arrived in ’84!!)

So, a week before our wedding in ’77 I gained the entry required recognition as a lay-preacher (Theol Certificate MCSA), and UNISA BTh began in ‘78! After many ‘sit op die klip’ years, months, days, I eventually entered the ordained ministry of the Methodist Church SA at the turn of the century.

The years we spent with the four Pretoria congregations, two of them simultaneously in my final years, were extremely rewarding. Each with its own challenging, steep learning curve. Early in this new journey, I met Prof Malan Nel when undertaking a course at the University of Pretoria (Tuks). I soon discovered this amazing gentleman was internationally recognised as SA’s leading Practical Theologian. I have been privileged to walk an academic path with Oom Malan to this day – through master’s programmes, becoming a ‘visiting’ lecturer & facilitator’ at Tuks, and finally obtaining a PhD at the age of 64! My thesis cites a certain Prof Trevor Hastie in the empirical section (Thanks Trev) And one of our Alex English teachers, Renee (nee Jordaan) Van Der Merwe was my editor! Wonderful working with Renee for almost a year, and chatting to Oom Flip.

Lunch at the Rose Garden Tea House, P.E. 2018 with the Van Der Merwe’s

Interestingly, Cecil Thompson asked me the other day: “What is it with the ministry and old Alex students? A number seem to end up in ministry!”  and he listed a few. So, Class of ’71 includes Cecil himself (ordained pastor in the Full Gospel church) and Gay is married to Rev Rob (Umpire Kidson) Penrith ….. mmmm closest tongue-in-cheek connection is possibly – osmosis – via WACO (Cordingly – the son of a missionary!)

‘Re-tyre-meant’ dawned at the end of 2018. Now more recently, January past, Cheryl and I relocated to a riverside cottage on the banks of the Keurbooms River, east of Plettenberg Bay …

‘Retired?’  Eish, English has its limitations!  So, maybe best said in a more descriptive language: Oom Flip se Afrikaans: ….”Ek het afgetree, maar nog nie uitgetree nie!” – as I continue to do research and writing – thanks to today’s technology – for my two Alma Maters: Tuks and UNISA – which I guess will continue … until eyes fade … and fingers can type no more… or Microsoft Word’s integrated Dictate can no longer make out what I’m croaking ……

Meanwhile, stay safe, secure, and sane …. until we meet again

Dean McCleland

After passing my CA and completing articles at Price Waterhouse in PE, in 1980 I joined Barlows in Joburg where I worked for 35 years. Initially I worked in finance rising to Financial Director at a small subsidiary by my mid-thirties. A promotion as F.D. to larger company followed. Part of my responsibilities were to turn this company around financially. After a year it was obvious that the company was unsalvageable. As a reward I was offered a directorship or a much larger company but with almost intractable problems. To me that was more of the same but with enormous headaches. Instead of the promotion I applied for a lateral move/demotion to run Projects which mainly encompassed IT. For the last 15 years with Barloworld as it was then called, I did ERP implementations, set up costing systems and ran Value Based Management seminars to group companies, amongst other projects.

After a brief two-year marriage in my late twenties, I got divorced and relocated to Durban with Barlows. At 31, my boss challenged me to run a marathon with 3 weeks of “scientific training“: week 1 – 1 x 15kms training, week 2 – 1 x 21kms training, week 3 – 1 x 32km training, week 4 – run the marathon. In week 3 I bailed the 32km training run at 21kms and week 4 loomed with 42kms to be run. By 32kms I was delirious but my boss grabbed my arm and kept me going. To cut a long story short, I finished in 4h28, 2 minutes within the cutoff. [Haydon I must still get you for that].

I must have been a soft touch because my best friend challenged me to enter the 1000km challenge but our target would be 2000kms of races per annum. That meant running the equivalent of a marathon a weekend. Of course, when one is young, one’s body accepts such punishment. Naturally we travelled the whole of SA to meet our target. A Saturday 21km at Fort Klapperskop in Pretoria would be followed by a marathon in Durban on the Sunday. “Freebies” would be doing a 10km cross country or road race on Wednesday night. After a few years, Ashley’s body started complaining so he withdrew from the challenge. Fortunately there were other mad people like me whom I could rely upon. This Challenge morphed into the Around the World Challenge i.e. running 40,075kms of official races anywhere in the world. After 10 years many of the initial 200 competitors had withdrawn.

February 2015 was the big day, the 8th person in terms of the SA rules to run around the world. For me the official point of running around the world was the 11km mark on the Jeppe Quondam 21/42 race. As is tradition, a bunch of challenge participants would run the whole way with the finisher. As a twist I twisted the arms of a whole bunch of non-running family & friends to run from that point to the finish with me. What a response; a friend from Durban, some hiking friends and my sister. I even twisted the organisers to give all of them a medal even though they had run 10kms of a 21kms race. Included in the 40,075kms, were 94 marathons and greater than 1000 half marathons. After completing 50,000kms in races to January 2020, I have had to retire /slow down. After a childhood injury to my back and 3 subsequent back operations, I am now battling to bend or run.

So Gary, when you claim that I must be mad, I totally agree with you. We were all deranged but I have made so many friends and memories in the process.

The final race in order to achieve my goal of running 40,075 kms with some of the people who would accompany me on the full 21kms if they were runners and only 10kms if they were non-runners such as my sister and my daughter.

After suffering from various aliments in her mid-forties by the age of 50, Janine’s health was on a precipitous downward spiral. By 55 she was bed-ridden. For the next 4 years, she was in and out of ICU continually and in her last year she was in a coma for six and a half weeks. Finally at the age of 59, Janine passed away.

I have published four books since retirement:

  • The Cassocked Man: Mired in ControversyThe Life & Times of the Cape of Good Hope’s First Colonial Chaplain- Rev. Francis McCleland;
  • On imperial Service with the 10th Hussars during the Boer War;
  • The Bondelswaarts Anti-Colonial War through the Eyes of Three Men and
  • My magnum opus Port Elizabeth of Yore.  Only volume 1 of 4 has been printed so far. Volume 1 is Defying the Odds: Port Elizabeth – From the Khoi to 1860.

I have two children, a son and a daughter, but I have no grandchildren yet.

Philip Godawa: My Professional Life

If I’m honest I suspect that subconsciously I was inclined to think of school as an extracurricular necessity to my drama activities, both at school and the many amateur theatre groups in PE. I was very lucky that teachers like Mr Wright and Mr Ellis were so understanding and supportive.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t passionate about the theatre and I have been so very lucky to be able to make my living doing something I love. Not all plain sailing by any means but the highs outweigh the lows. I’ll try and be brief and just pick out a few highlights.

My late Dad made a very wise condition to my going into the Theatre and that was that I get a degree so I had something to fall back on. Off I went to UCT and got my degree in Drama and a Performer’s Diploma. Ironically the only time I have been asked about my qualifications was when I started working in China in 2006 – the Chinese are extremely education orientated. In fact I was placed on a higher earning tier because of my degree when I worked for Disney Shanghai on “The Lion King” – so thanks Dad.

After University I worked as an Actor at the then Capab & in Johannesburg for 5 years. I then decided to spread my wings and go back to England to try my luck there (what courage one has when one is younger!) It was very tough but I managed to keep myself in work for most of the 5 years I was there but eventually I decided to come home and based myself in Johannesburg but worked as an actor all over the country on Stage, TV & Film.

Although I loved acting I had a growing interest in Directing. There’s a well-known saying that the most difficult part of directing is getting your first job, and my goodness is it true. I knocked on hundreds of doors and after quite a number of years the then Napac offered me a small production which I wrote and directed for their supper theatre and that then lead to bigger productions. I continued acting and directing and then “The Phantom of the Opera” landed on our shores. All the big international productions have what’s called a Resident Director – a glorified name for a “quality controller” – and that position has given me the opportunity to travel to China, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, The Philippines, New Zealand & Europe. After Phantom I went straight onto “The Lion King” – as Resident Director. That not only lead to my being appointed one of the Artistic Producers of “The Closing Ceremony of The Fifa World Cup 2010” but also to an 8 month stint living in Shanghai doing the first Mandarin production of “The Lion King” and I don’t speak Mandarin! Everything had to be done though an interpreter. For months afterwards I would speak in very short sentences and wait for the translation, even when speaking English.

I love China (I’ve even performed in Wuhan!) and having worked there so often I have seen a great deal of the vast, magnificent country and learn many of its cultures. I was lucky enough to Direct & Co-adapt a Mandarin production of “Pride &  Prejudice” in Beijing just before the pandemic. (Please don’t think I’ve been smoking something, “Pride & Prejudice” is always among the 10 top favourite books in China). I’m hoping that travel restrictions permitting to be working there again later this year – hence my not being able to attend the reunion.

As you can see, I have been so extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to do such a wide range of work – so much of it being in the right place at the right time. I am truly thankful. I sincerely hope my “now” photo doesn’t seem pretentious but while we were in Turkey Lord Weber paid us a visit and absolutely hated the sound. Hence the irony of the following photo which looks as though I am telling him off when in fact I was getting a right royal bollocking.

Comment by Sharon Rhode: Wow Philip! What an amazing career you have had! You always had great talent and your unwavering belief in yourself and your chosen path has certainly paid off! 

Colin Buxton: Bucco’s Life

After matriculating, along with several others at Alex who had asked to go to the Navy, I found myself in the 3rd South African Infantry, Potchefstroom.  I guess our love of surfing wasn’t what they needed.    My dad on the other hand thought otherwise. Watching me building surfboards for my mates he suggested I set up my own surf shop.  Of course, this was in the very early days before Country Road and Billabong and I didn’t think there was any money to be made from surfing.  So, it was off to UCT to study oceanography which I figured would keep me close to my first love, surfing.  But the subject was dead boring, and I became a geologist instead.  Now you may be wondering how someone with such a love of the ocean becomes a geologist and finds himself in the Namibian desert working on a uranium prospect.  It finally dawned on me too, so it was back to Uni to complete my degree and honours in marine science.

Then – The 3 musketeers – Bucco, Moose and Droogie.  Not sure whether this was Std 9 or matric
 

That’s when I really started to wonder whether my dad was right.  There were no jobs for marine scientists anywhere in the country.  So, second best was to stay at Uni and do a Masters.  By then Trevor Hastie had found his way to UCT and we shared a house for several of our postgrad years.  But jobs were still very hard to find until I landed a contract position at the Port Elizabeth Museum in 1981 studying fish.  I got married to Lynne (nee Bishop), a PE girl who I’d met in Cape Town, we bought a house and started a family in 1983 with a beautiful little girl, Samantha-Anne.

Now – Lynne & I

My laboratory was the ocean, the job entailed a lot of SCUBA diving and fishing from Cape Agulhas to Mozambique and I was being paid to have fun. These were truly the best of times.   Along the way I completed a PhD which opened up the opportunity of a permanent position as lecturer in the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University.   So in 1987 we packed up and moved to Grahamstown where my son David was born.  Surfing had now taken a back seat to golf and anyone who plays the game would know that once that bug bites you stay bitten! 

We loved our time at Rhodes, but in 1996 our world took a dramatic turn with the offer of a position at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, Tasmania – “Tas where?” my friends would ask.  Yep, up for the challenge, we packed our bags with two young kids for an adventure in what was famously a British penal colony.

Trevor (on my shoulder) and a few mates with the boards I built with Norman Quick (also sitting)

To be honest I saw AMC as a stepping stone to a job somewhere on mainland Australia and didn’t imagine staying for long. But we fell in love with the place and wild horses couldn’t now drag us off the island.  Of course it helped that in 1998 I landed a dream job at the University of Tasmania in Hobart where I was asked to set up a new marine science institute.  Fifteen years in the making I’m proud to say the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies is now the leading organisation of its kind in Australia.

My work done, I retired in 2014 to establish a small consulting company which still keeps me busy.   Looking back I can’t describe how lucky we have been.  Australia has been very good to us.  Samantha has her own advertising agency, Inclusive Creatives, and my son David is a medical specialist at the Alfred hospital Melbourne.  And we look forward to him giving us our first grandchild later this year.

2019 – Coast 2 Coast cycle trip across UK

Sadly though, all of this moving around has meant that I lost touch with pretty much all of you and our many other friends in SA.  But I have remained in touch with both Trevor Hastie in California and Gary Ward in Brisbane.  Which brings me to my life changing moment that Dean was asking for.

On our last visit to California, a little before COVID hit, Trevor took me for a bike ride around his neighbourhood in Palo Alto.  I was knackered at the end as I hadn’t been on a bike since Std 8, but something about it clicked and on our return to Tassie Lynne and I, both well into our 60’s, took up cycling. We are now regular bike riders, choosing bikes over a car to get around, being members of our local cycle lab (spin class for enthusiasts) and spending our holidays on our bikes, the last being a Coast2Coast trip across the UK.  It’s been a truly life changing thing.

Well that’s all folks.  If you are ever in Oz come down to Tassie and visit.  Reading your various blogs has been an amazing ride down memory lane and I dearly wish I could attend the reunion.  So enjoy, and I’ll raise a glass from afar on the nite!!

All the best Colin

Colin on swimming:

Back in the day we used to spend hours in the pool at 49a Shirley Street where lap races trying to impress Rene was high on the agenda. It was here that I developed a talent for butterfly….perhaps not a talent as such but at least I was better than Spook, Moose and a few other of the boys.

It follows that I was volunteered for the 50m butterfly event at the annual school gala. Confidently I stepped up and we were off.   It must have looked very good for a few seconds but then I realised I was fast running out of breath.  No-one had mentioned you had to breathe if the length of the pool was more than about 5m.  That’s when my stroke started to come undone and panic set in.   After what seemed an eternity, oxygen starved and thoroughly exhausted I rolled onto my back about 20m into the race.  

The crowd was going wild and I looked over to see Simms and Welch standing up, laughing hysterically and cheering me on as I made it to the side of the pool. That’s my lasting and fond memory of Bob whose geography class was my favourite at school

Clive Buttner: ‘James’ for Short

Hello to all the 1971’s
It’s been fantastic to hear from so many of you from around the world. Although I only spent 1 year at Alex it was undoubtedly the most enjoyable year of my schooling. I even managed to acquire the nickname James within a week of starting matric & it stuck for many years.
After school & army training I tried my hand at a few careers then settled on the building industry, I studied Quantity Surveying at Technikon in PE & Durban & worked for a number of building companies in PE, East London, Durban & Transkei during the 70’s and 80’s
During my time in Transkei in the mid 70’s I played for the Transkei rugby team & I tried for years to convince everyone that I was an international player but as it only causes laughter I have stopped mentioning it!
In the mid 80’s I moved to Knysna & started a company manufacturing & building timber log homes, initially in all parts of SA & later in many countries around the world
T&B Log Homes is still going strong today
I emigrated to New Zealand in 1997 & moved to Brisbane, Australia in 2000 where I have been since
I am currently working in the field of civil engineering contracting, not nearly as stimulating as building beautiful timber buildings but am enjoying it nevertheless
A few years ago I was lucky enough to catch up with Vincent Cory in Cape Town, he’s as delightful a fellow as always & looks very similar to when he was at school!
This photo is from the 25th reunion of the 1971 matrics in 1996
all the best to everyone

25th reunion of the 1971 matrics in 1996

Karl Els

Karl Els, Carol Addison, Kathy Lang, Dave Brnic at the matric farewell.

I was born 28th April 1952, in a nursing home in Sydenham, North End, Port Elizabeth. My mother, Beryl, informs me that I was an en caul birth, or a ‘veiled birth,’ that is where a baby is born with an intact amniotic sac. She taught me how to read and write before I started school. I spent a lot of my early years drawing comic strips.

School was still structured from Sub A to Sub B, then Standard 1 to 5 in those days and consisted of what we called ‘Junior School.’ Standard 6 to 10 was considered ‘High School.’ My Father, rather forebodingly, had to drag me, crying and wailing, to my first day of school which was at Sydenham Primary. Needless to say, I did not enjoy school and spent most of my days daydreaming, for which I got into a lot of trouble all the way through my entire school career.

After I turned 8 years old, we moved to the suburb of Cotswold. I started Standard 1 at Cotswold Junior School (now Cotswold Preparatory) and became friends with Derek Openshaw. We soon discovered that both of our father’s worked for Posts and Telecom before it eventually became Telcom SA.

After a few years, the school decided it needed an upgrade and renovations were planned for upgrading both the school grounds and classrooms – which led to my own classes being held in nearby vacated shop buildings. I remember that Miss Wepener was school principal at the time and wore out many straps on my backside. Mr. Louw was the school principal at Cotswold high and he and I and I had many get togethers testing canes on my backside for not doing my homework. To help distract me from my homework I threw myself into my extracurricular and sports activities; rugby, cricket, tennis, athletics, gymnastics, swimming, you name it! I did everything just to help myself escape those long dreadful days in class. My drawing skills improved significantly as well, and I submitted a few nature study illustrations which were mounted in the biology class for many years. 

In Standard 5, my last year of Junior school, I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated as a scholar patrol officer. I say pleasantly surprised, but it was more like totally mind blowing, considering my history with the teachers at the time, although I do believe my friend Derek may have had something to do with it.

For my High School years, my dad had wanted me to go to the Technical High school in Newton Park, but he had taken too long to apply, and the school was full and no longer accepting enrolments, so I ended up going to Alexander Road High.

According to Mr. Cordingley, the then headmaster (whom we nicknamed ‘wacko’) I had the honour of being his first caning for that year, however that was only the beginning. I subsequently earned regular canings from both Mr. Welsh and Mr. Simms for being late, having long hair or being sent out of class for misbehaving. Art was my only redeeming subject, Miss Chilcot was my Art teacher and I proudly still have the book award I received from her for art achievements. 

Standard 6 still left me hating school, but I had found two new loves, Carol Addison and hockey. I eventually made first team and was so proud to be part of a great team of guys. I think that for that year we were unbeaten by all the schools we played against. Cecil Thompson was my secret hero, and I took inspiration from him to play my best. One of my biggest heartbreaks and disappointments, which affected me for many years, was being the only student not to receive a colours blazer for hockey. 

I participated in other sports too; athletics, swimming, and high board diving. After school, I virtually lived at the Newton Park swimming baths and quietly qualified as a swimming bath lifeguard with the help of my lifeguard friend Aapie. 

Carol Addison and I were school sweethearts and remained so up to the middle of Standard 10. Carol informed me that she was emigrating to Australia and so our long relationship would end but not our strong friendship. We did manage to see one another again when I visited Perth, and again when Carol and her husband visited Auckland. Carol and I kept in touch over the years to come, but sadly, she was called to heaven in July 2020 after a long illness.

In 1972 I joined Telcom SA. After completing a three-year apprenticeship at Olifantsfontein College, I asked Esme’ Vermaak for her hand in marriage. When we got married, we happened to live in a flat close to Miss Chilcott, my art teacher, in Central, and I regularly visited her for many years. A great lady I hope to one day meet in heaven. 

Towards the end of matric (standard 10) I had met Esme’ and we continued to go out during my apprenticeship years. The Telcom training college was at Olifantsfontein near Pretoria and every fortnight Friday I drove down to PE to spend the weekend with Es and drove back Sunday evening to be in time for class Monday morning. I did that for three years. No canings during the three years there, by the way. We married in 1974 and were married for 43 years until cancer took her away from me in January of 2017. 

My son Kyle was born in 1982 and still lives with me. We are best mates and go fishing together and practice 3D archery with our compound bows. 

After my Alex years, I continued to play men’s hockey and eventually gave it up for road cycling. I became an honorary member of the Veteran Men and Ladies Cycling Association and was the Editor of the cycling newsletter for many years. 

In 2000 we emigrated to New Zealand. I joined a small private company in a small town in the middle of North Island called Taupo. I learned all about residential security alarms and today I am self-employed and contracted to ADT security. My wife Es got a job in Auckland as a radiographer and so we moved to Auckland in 2001. 

In 2002 I changed careers and studied for two years and qualified as a graphic designer. I’m proud to say that I never got caned once during the two years. 

I worked for a lot of different sign and print companies over the years to gain experience in the print and sign industry. Nearing retirement age, I needed to plan for a future where I could keep busy and earning but at a more relaxed pace and eventually returned to residential security alarms as a contractor. 

Today I am blessed to have met a beautiful lady who is also retired, and we have combined our families and are hoping to get married in the near future. 

I still draw and paint and create 3D models which I occasionally sell. Life has been good to me I have been very blessed. My God is an awesome God.

Margie Saunders: I was in the “Art class” with Karl for standards 9 and 10 (in lieu of Latin which I dropped at the end of standard 8) and sooooooo admired his drawings and paintings. Luckily I was fortunate to get good marks for the history of art and architecture which brought up my average (my practical marks were abysmal!).

Sharon Rhode: Wow Karl! Such impressive art works! Sad to hear about Carol and Em. I was in Taupo in 2011 judging dressage, it is a lovely town and I so enjoyed being there and in New Zealand, very like SA a long time ago. Wishing you a wonderful future with your new partner.

Karl Els and his son Kyle

Iain Watson

For the record, on my many visits to WACO’s office there was NEVER any tapping of sticks on tables !!!!! My butt had blue strips on it for weeks after each appointment.

Janet and I  ……..  a long long time ago …….

Military training 1972 – enough said. Joined Dorman Long (PE) as a learner draughtsman in 1973, during this period I met Janet Webster (Commercial High), we were married in 1976 reception at the Hunters Retreat Hotel. Nico von Ruben was my best man.

I met up with Nico in PE about 2 years ago and we had a catch up, over a bottle of wine, on our careers and cycling exploits both then and now.

1978 I obtained a NHD Civil Engineering from PE Technikon, it was known as CATE back then (College for Advanced Technical Education) and I ventured into the world of Consulting Engineering working for small consulting practices in PE.

In 1993 I was approached by a company called Knight Piesold Consulting and asked if I would be interested in establishing a regional office in KwaZulu Natal. We have been in KZN ever since, initially in Pietermaritzburg and currently in Hillcrest outside Durban. We have two wonderful daughters Megan and Sarah and 4 Grandchildren all of whom live in Hillcrest …. we are blessed to have them so close.

All of the above appears to be rather mundane however…….

Phinda January 2021 ….. ready for game drive.

In 2006 I was approached by Thames Water London to lead an investigation into the cause of a tunnel failure on one off their many water reticulation tunnels.

After much debate I resigned from Knight Piesold and we headed for London. Having established the cause of failure, the team was tasked with establishing repair and preventative solutions for the long term future of the system.

In amongst all of this we found the time to travel around the UK and Europe extensively, and have some wonderful memories.

However in 2009 Sarah, our youngest daughter, announced that she was expecting her second child and that she wanted Mom to be present.

After much debate I informed Thames Water that we would be heading back to SA toward the end of 2009.

I then phoned the MD of Knight Piesold, cap in hand, asking for a job. I was pleasantly surprised to be reinstated to my previous position and appointed to the Board. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.

Needless to say we settled back into life in SA and little Erin arrived to be greeted by her Grandmother.

Company policy is that Directors must retire at age 63, which I did after signing an agreement to complete outstanding projects over the next 4 years. This period has elapsed and I am RETIRED.

To keep fit I am into Mountain biking, those of you that are mountain bikers will have heard of Giba Gorge, Shongweni trails, Karkloof trails etc etc , these are all on our doorstep and if ever you are in the area please contact me and we can organise a ride.

Vaughan Jones

This is the info that I received from Trevor Hastie about Vaughan:

Vaughan was an English master at Grey High School, and he ran the surfing club. Here is a link to an article that describes how he died in the surf in July 2014 in Summerstrand.

https://www.zigzag.co.za/features/rest-in-peace-vaughan-jones-1952-2014/

I used to look Vaughan up from time to time when my family and I came from California to visit my family in PE. We would meet on the beach or in the Summerstrand shops coffee house. Below is a picture of us together around 2010 or so. His students had a nickname for him which was “billos” (for biltong). After years in the sea and sun his skin was quite wrinkled and leathery. Of course they never called him this to his face. After school and army he went to UPE and then taught at a school in George for a number of years. He ran the school surf club there at Victoria Bay, which is near George.

The photos below of Vaughan Jones have been kindly supplied by Gary Ward.  According to Gary all of them were taken on one or another of their surfing trips circa 70 / 71. Colin Buxton is changing the flat tyre.

Vaughan Jones and Gary Ward allowing Colin Buxton to do all the work in
changing the tyre
Vaughan Jones

Allan Zeiss

This information has been supplied by Margie Saunders [McCall]: Since I now reside in Cape St Francis close to Allan’s widow Santa, who lives in St Francis Bay, I committed to establishing a few details of Allan’s life. Allan obtained a law degree as well as his Masters at UPE. He worked at the Port Elizabeth Metro for 21 years and then at Coega (CDC) for 10 years. He died in June 2012 after a short illness. May he rest in peace.    

Allan Zeiss at his graduation

Comment by Rod Forster: I would just like to add a small snippet reflecting on Allan’s father Bob. During my school years at Alex, whilst our family was going through some personal difficulties, I will never forget the amazing kindness shown to our family by Allan’s dad Bob. He went about it in a very humble and caring way. Would just like his family to know how  immensely, it was appreciated.

 

Allan Zeiss in later life
First Rugby Team
1971 Athletics Team

Sharon Rhode [Edelson]

Here are some of my oldies:  

  • Matric dance with Gary!
  • Our much loved staff contingent.
  • I think most of you have this one. Class of 71.
  • Std. 9 dance!
  • Interhouse plays – House for Sale, me playing an American film star with Phillip Godowa in the main role.

More recent: .  

  • With my son Greg and Jade, at their Wedding near Plett. in 2018
  • Christmas 2020 in Cape Town with my husband, Michael, his oldest son Philipp, wife Phyllis and son Mads, Greg and Jade.
  • Shovelling snow at home in March this year, we had 40 cm and temperatures of minus 8 degrees. It is quite unusual for us to have so much snow and so late in the season.

How lovely seeing all of your replies! I too have very fond memories of Alex and also of so many of my fellows and teachers. I always dreamed of becoming a vet but dear Mr. Cordingley put paid to my ambitions, when he asked how on earth I imagined that I would ever be able to dehorn a bull, considering my size and strength!


Below a brief summary of my life after Alex!
I worked in a professional stable yard in Johannesburg after leaving school and soon realised that my ability to earn a living doing what I loved most, was rather limited. I then started working in Accounting as a clerk at Bristol Myers, where my boss encouraged me to study and I began studying for my B. Com through UNISA. During my 9 years at Bristol, I moved up to head of Accounting and then to the IT department and received training in programming and systems design at IBM, which is where I met my first husband Matthew Walsh. We were married in 1982 and Matthew was transferred to Bloemfontein. 


Our son Greg was born in 1984 in Bloemfontein and I graduated with a B. Com. in Accounting and Business Economics. We returned to Johannesburg in 1986 and Matthew and I separated after a year in Johannesburg, after which a divorce sadly followed. I continued working as a contract systems analyst in Johannesburg and whilst contracting back to Bristol Myers, my good friend and associate Kathy Green and I decided to open our own consultancy. We ran a successful consultancy, Walsh Green and Associates for 22 years implementing ERP systems in various medium to large enterprises. 

Meanwhile my love of horses and dressage took me down the path of becoming a dressage judge. In 2005 I embarked on my international judging career and a qualified FEI 4 star judge and still judging internationally. My judging has taken me to many different countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.  Whilst attending the World Equestrian Championships in Aachen in 2006, I was seated, quite by chance, next to the man who was to become my second husband, Michael Rhode. Michael is a top amateur Grand Prix dressage rider and also a businessman.  We were married a year later in 2007 and we live in Germany, in the beautiful forest area, near a small village called Oer-Erkenschwick and yes, I am now also fluent in German.

I started learning German 6 months before I left SA. I sort of did a turbo course. It wasn’t easy learning German with all of the tenses and articles and absolutely no logic behind the articles. Very few people spoke English in our town and so it was a bit difficult at the beginning but I was fairly fluent after a short while and I manage all of the accounting and salaries etc. in German. We are not retiring any time soon but being self-employed we can pick and choose when we want to travel (Covid allowing).

We run our property business from home and still have some dressage horses at home. My son Greg married PE show jumper and triathlete Jade Hooke in 2018 and they currently live in PE, where she still has her stable yard.  I was lucky to be able to travel to PE in March/April for a month, to enjoy the birth of my first grandchild Jennifer Jade Walsh. My brother Ivan Edelson, also ex Alex (Matric year 1968) still lives in PE , he is a sworn valuator and an ordained Anglican priest at St. Cuthbert’s. 

Bobby Welsh was also a firm favourite of mine and left an indelible impression on me. His teaching methods surpassed those of any of other teachers, he had a way of commanding respect without really trying and I remembered everything he told us in class so well that studying for exams became virtually unnecessary. 

Mr. Wright sadly didn’t bring out the best in me, I found his lessons rather boring (perhaps the subject matter didn’t interest me enough) and I switched to Bookkeeping in Std. 9. Some of his nicknames I remember were, Baldibus or Wrightibus and someone once wrote on his board, ‘ this class is like a Model T- Ford with filled with nuts and screws and a crank in the front.’ I remember the housewifery course in Std. 6 with Mrs. Maggs very well and how we had to split one egg into two for the scone recipe. An incredibly difficult task which doomed most of us to failure. I also remember Flippie on his back demonstrating how to change a nappy and also how he demonstratively grabbed his crotch one day whilst explaining the meaning of the word kruis, which can be translated as a cross and also a crotch.

I also remember being infatuated with Mr. Ellis. He too was a gifted teacher and made English come alive for me. I remember punching Arnold Viviers in Mrs. Bowls biology class because he kept teasing me and calling me Sharry the Shark! I got sent to Mr. Cordingley, who told me in no uncertain terms that young ladies do not punch boys! On another occasion I was rather bored during English class and kept twanging my plastic ruler, this earned me an English essay as punishment. I wrote an excellent essay that seemed to please Mr. Ellis’s replacement (I forget her name) until the last sentence which read, ‘All teachers are dirty sods.’ (I didn’t really mean it, I was just angry that I had to write a long essay on why I twang my plastic ruler) so I was off to Winston again for a very stern dressing down and a forced apologise to all of the teachers during their tea break! 

Does anyone remember Jimmy holding Titch upside down in Miss Chilcott’s class and banging Titch’s head on the floor. I don’t remember why Jimmy did it but I remember them both being sent to Wacko.

Funny how these memories all come flooding back.

Gary Ward and Sharon Edelson at Matric Dance
Teachers

Back row, left to right:   Cricket pro?, Piet Snyman,  Braam Brink, Mr Hiscock Caretaker, Renee Jordan, Robert Parker, Mr Jones ( I think – briefly taught Maths),  Flip, Dennis Woolard.

Middle row, left to right:  Lisa Haus, Christel Botha, Annemarie Belge, Helen Simmonds, Tuck shop lady-Mrs van Hysteen,  Denise Zietsman, Johanna van Rooyen, Unknown lady, Blanche Workman, Kathy Sutton, Maureen Matthews.

Front row, left to right: Louis de Lange, Rita Wienand, Robin Wright, Peggy Maggs, Tony Simms, WAC, Bob Welsh, Joan Dickason, Jannie Fourie, Paul Ellis.

Sonia Slement [nee Venter]

After leaving our Alma Mater I did a Private Secretaries (as it was called back in the day) stint at CATE (a.k.a Technikon, a.k.a. NMU) got a job and saved for a dream trip which was realised in 1976 in the form of a Contiki camping tour around Europe.  We then hired a car and explored the length and breadth of the UK before returning to PE to settle down for a while!   We had two beautiful daughters who both inherited our love of travel and duly spread their wings immediately after graduating from NMU and Technikon.   Basing themselves in London they worked and travelled far and wide.  They both married local PE (Gqeberha!) boys and went on to bless us with a tribe of six of the best grandchildren.  Over the years we visited and travelled with them around the UK including Scotland and Ireland.  As our older daughter has been based in Singapore for a few years now, we’ve popped over to explore Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia on various visits to them.   Between overseas visits, my hubby and I made the most of the great South African outdoors embarking on many beautiful hiking trails in and around the Eastern and Western Cape.

On the grindstone front, my last job was at the CSIR where I worked for 25 years, mostly as a PA but also fulfilling a few other roles along the way and was fortunate enough to be afforded the privilege of travelling nationally and even internationally on a couple of occasions.  I loved working in that exciting environment but when retirement day arrived in 2014 I embraced it!  After retirement I did some invigilating and assisted in typing up a section of a doctoral student’s thesis.   Currently an avid gardener, while desperately waiting for soil-embedded fingernails to morph into those elusive green fingers I also enjoy doing some needlework and reading.

Gary Ward

Gary at Kings Beach 73

After leaving school I did what all young blokes at that time had to do, spend a year doing military service – basic training in Potchefstroom and the rest in Rundu at the western end of the Caprivi Strip.  The following year, 1973, I started Uni at Rhodes.  This is where I was blessed to meet the loveliest lady on the planet.  We married in 1977 while still at Rhodes, and are married still, 44 years on.  At the end of 1977 we moved to Durban where we had both secured lecturing positions at the University of Durban-Westville.  We spent two great years in Durban and then migrated to Australia in December 1979.

We spent the first seven years in Australia living in North Queensland.  We both furthered our post-grad studies at James Cook University in Townsville.  I completed my PhD and worked in academia while Mary went into teaching.  This period also gave us the opportunity to to do much 4WDriving and exploring in the northern and central Australian outback in our free time.

In 1987 we moved down south to experience “the big smoke” of Melbourne – and cooler weather – which was a big change from the tropical north.  Melbourne has amazing pubs, restaurants and attractions and we enjoyed visiting many of them, and again took advantage of our time there to discover the wonderful flora and fauna of the Victorian countryside.

However, the weather proved to be cold and unpredictable, so at the end of 87 we packed up once more and moved back to sunny Queensland, but to Brisbane, which lies just north of the NSW border – 1000Kms north of Sydney and 1350kms south of Townsville (that’s the geography instilled in me by Bob Welsh coming to the fore !!!).

After a few years with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, I joined the Queensland Government’s Treasury Department in an office that specialised in government statistics.  By the late 90’s I was running the office as the Queensland Government Statistician.  Around 2005 I joined Treasury’s executive management group, with responsibility for a handful of portfolios (including Federal Financial Relations, Deregulation, Macro and Micro economics, and the Office of the Government Statistician) and worked happily in that capacity until I retired in 2014 at age 61.

Gary Ward in 2021

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Treasury – the work was varied and extremely interesting – I love being retired.  I get to play golf as often as I wish !!!  Also, we are now able to travel when we wish, both abroad and at home.  Mary and I share a great love for Australia’s beautiful beaches and the outback, and we try to get out to enjoy them as often as we can. My mother still lives in George and we have been back to SA quite a few times in recent years to visit her and old friends.

I’ve attached a “then” photo taken at Kings Beach in (I think) 1973, and two “now” photos, taken quite recently.

And herewith a little response to some wonderful memories so amazingly remembered and kindly shared by Harry Pike.

My goodness, Harry, you have a memory like a steel trap !!!  How on earth do you remember all this stuff from so long ago?  I have to say I’m in awe of not only you, but also many others who seem to remember so much from the old days.   Please keep the anecdotes coming, it makes for great reading.

You are quite correct – buzzing to and from school on our little 50cc bikes was great fun, as were my early experiences with the MGA.   It’s amazing that you remembered!!   And yes, I did love that car.   It was a great little sports car and great fun to drive.   And more so knowing that my father and I had restored it, literally, from parts.    When my father bought the car it was being used as a chicken coop in a back paddock somewhere in PE.    The motor and transmission and other assorted bits were packed away in boxes, and by the time we got it, all the wiring had deteriorated very badly.   So you could say we restored it from scratch.

I drove it while at University, and also the two years following (78 and 79) when my wife and I and I took it to Durban where we had been offered lecturing positions at the University of Durban-Westville.   Sadly we had to sell it at the end of 79, just before we hopped on a plane to migrate to Australia.

I have attached the very last picture I have of it, taken in Durban at the end of 79.

We bought two more MG’s.  A MGB in 1988 when we moved to Brisbane and a MGF in 2009.   Mary always wanted another MG so she got to drive both of these on a daily basis.   Sadly they don’t make MG sports cars any more.    The modern MG’s are pretty bland and are difficult to differentiate from all the other 4 door sedans on the road.   It’s a great shame.

You also made reference to the school hockey team. I have a few photos of my time at Alex, including this one, the second of the two attachments to this email, which shows the Alex 1st hockey team – either 70 or 71.

Thanks again Harry and everyone else who has sent in stories of our time at Alex.   The time that you all have taken to do so is greatly appreciated.

Hockey team

Vincent Cory

I am so privileged to have experienced Alexander Road High back then, and my respect for Mr. Cordingley is as strong as ever, ever though I felt the wrath of his cane a few too many times. Each one well deserved, I might add. How lucky we were to have had such a tremendous teaching staff, something I only got to appreciate after I left school.

Vincent Cory on the left Kay Sutton, June Brown and Colin but how did these two guys manage to invite the first chicks?

Harry, thank you for the photographic memories you forwarded, especially the rugby team which beat Grey 13-8. I still remind some of the “old “Grey boys about that whenever I get the chance, much to their irritation.

Regarding my business life, I left Port Elizabeth for Cape Town along with my brother’s family on the day I wrote my final matric exam paper. I then joined the SA Reserve Bank in Cape Town, primarily as they paid me a salary whilst doing my army training. After army, and back working at the bank, I was transferred back to Port Elizabeth. Soon thereafter I accepted a job offer with BP, and spent 21 wonderful years with the company, during which time we had 7 transfers within SA, finally ending up back at BP’s Cape Town Head Office. In 1994 I decided to venture out into business on my own, and was fortunate that it turned out to be reasonably successful. I purchased a second business in 2000 and a wine farm in 2005. By 2012 I had sold them all and have been retired in Cape Town ever since.

Karin and I have three daughters, Robyn living in Johannesburg, Dayle in Cape Town and Andrea in London. We enjoy travel and prior to Covid were spending four to five months of the year overseas where we would rent an apartment, on a monthly basis, so as to get a feel and to enjoy the different cities / country’s culture. We got back from our last trip two weeks before lockdown last year, which was very fortunate. Now I spend my time playing a lot of tennis, and generally enjoying life with friends and family.

Phillip Williams

I have been swimming upstream most of my career & mostly in global corporates. After a wasted year of compulsory military service in Potch & Rundu in then SWA, I moved to Grahamstown to do a B. Com at Rhodes, majoring in Economics & Business Administration. On completion, I joined Ford as a grad trainee in Supply Chain Management. In 1980, I moved to Cape Town to join Atlantis Diesel Engines (a joint venture with Daimler Benz & Perkins Engines). After 5 years there, I did an MBA part time at Stellenbosch Business School & on completion, moved on to BP as their Procurement Manager. They were very happy years surviving a good few retrenchments as transformation evolved. In 2009, BP followed Shell & moved their HO to Johannesburg. As this was never on my game plan, I opted for an early retirement at age 55. Fortunately for me, PetroSA (previously Mossgas) were setting up a Strategic Procurement sector in their Cape Town head office & I joined them on a 2 year contract. 2 years became 6 & when the gas reserves off Mossel Bay started to run out, it was time for me to retire.

While our plan was always to find a comfortable & affordable gated estate in Cape Town, we never did. My wife inherited a holiday home from her parents in Natures Valley where we always enjoyed visiting. By chance, I saw an ad for Knysna Lifestyle Estate which ticked all the boxes. So we had a home built & moved to paradise 2 years ago & are loving life in the Garden route.

Phil back in 71
Phil & hat courtesy of Cele
Gary & Phil playing in front of a few hundred students at 1 of the Rhodes Folk festivals. While we may look confident, pretty terrifying to say the least

Gay Penrith [Bailey]

50 years ago, I was working in an IT dept! Rob and I got married two years later (48 in Sept) and we had a family of two. Our son is now a Baptist pastor in Benoni and our daughter a pharmacist lecturer at NMU. Both attended Alex. We have 5 gorgeous grandchildren. We were called into the Anglican ministry in 1984 and had two amazing years at theological college in Grahamstown.

Sonia Venter and Gay Penrith [Bailey]

After serving in various parishes for 30 years we then relocated back to Grahamstown where Rob became the Chaplain  at DSG, and I worked at St Andrews College as PA to the Second Master. We loved our time there in the schools and saw the wonderful educational opportunities young people have today. I wish I could have my education over!! Although we are now retired, we continue to serve the community around us. I am fortunate to have two mornings a week working as a bookkeeper for a medical aid broker. We have travelled extensively and in 2019 visited Ireland, UK, and Australia. We cannot wait for Covid to get under control so we can travel again.

Harry Pike

I am so enjoying reading the contributions, from around the world, of members of the “legendary” Alex Class of ’71. Thanks, once again, for setting it all off. While it is great to note the names of all who have contributed to date, it is also bitter-sweet to be reminded that some of our group are no longer with us and that we are most fortunate to still be around to enjoy this sharing.

To the “Three Musketeers” of Colin, Trevor and Gary……..pleased to see that you guys are still making your presence felt across the world. Oh for the days of the “nifty 50’s” and their buzzing morning arrival under the trees near the hall and Gary’s much-admired restoration of his red MG!

And to Rod Foster; he who lead me to Friday night youth gatherings and the games of snooker ; fondly known as “RC” for the manner in which he was able to accomplish some difficult shots!

As Trevor and Anileen did with their respective visits to “Bob” Welsh, I was able to get to see Paul Ellis in 2016, another of the Alex teachers who made a strong impression on me. He arrived at Alex early in his teaching career and was there for a relatively short period of time. He was looking really well and we were able rekindle early memories and compare notes on our experiences in the teaching profession. I count myself fortunate to have been at Alex during his brief tenure.

As for the “Then and Now” (and taking the lead from Gay) …….attached pic 1 is with Mike Holmes on the Wild Coast in 1970; pic 2 circa 1974 (and trying to keep up with you, Dean, and Colin, unfettered after Alex and the SANDF!); pic 3 is with Mike again in PE, 50 years on, in 2020 (again, with no worries about visiting a barber!).

While clearing out a collection of accumulated “stuff” before relocating to the UK late last year, I came across some material collected by my mother (she was a great family “archivist”). I have attached some of the retained material as I believe that it may be of interest to some of the ’71 group.

Pic 4 is a newspaper clipping, giving a brief report of the 1st XV 1971 rugby match against the school in College Drive. While one of the teams claimed that “it was just a pre-season game”, the result was a noteworthy achievement nonetheless. I seem to recall that the Alex 1st hockey teams of ’70 and ’71 also enjoyed their fair share of success against the same school.

Pic 5 is of two pages from “Alexander the Great”…..what memories this conjured up! The small pen drawing is one of Mike Neff’s little “masterpieces” in which he was able to capture so well, and amusingly,  elements of Alex school life.

Pic 6 is included for general interest.

Anecdotes in number you will, no doubt, continue to receive.

A vivid and amusing recollection, and possibly at the expense of one of the aforementioned “Musketeers” :

Final day of matric and a group gather at the picnic grounds near Cape Recife after departure from school. There is much celebration of wide-ranging nature to mark the significant milestone, assisted by the intake of various refreshment in some cases, which carries on for much of the afternoon. Late in the afternoon a good number of those in the gathering  are called to assist a fellow celebrant in his search for his much-treasured watch. He is in quite a state (of disrepair?) and looking wildly around in the sea sand of the dunes while calling on “St Anthony” to assist him in his search. His antics, with his accompanying exhortations, cause much humour to those attempting to assist him. Remarkably, given the area and the circumstances under which the watch was lost, it is eventually unearthed and returned to its effusively (and amusingly) grateful owner.

Hope that some of this material serves to jog memories and motivate a few more contributions to this trip down memory lane.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for sharing this pic. You guys certainly looked the part, never mind
how you felt!

I enjoy seeing this sort of material. It certainly helps fill a small part of the 50-year “gap” between “then and now” (how time flies!).

After completing my year at the pleasure of the SADF, I continued my pre-Alex itinerant wanderings and took off for Natal to study, only returning to PE for infrequent visits as other members of my family also moved from PE.

As mentioned in an earlier email; going through material, so carefully collected over the years by my mother, prior to my most recent move brought back so many memories of the Alex years and of the many  who contributed to the enjoyment thereof.

Harry Pike with Mike Holmes on the Wild Coast in 1970
Harry Pike circa 1974 unfettered after Alex and the SANDF
Harry Pike with Mike Homes in PE, 50 years on, in 2020 (again, with no worries about visiting a barber)

The first rugby team of Alexander Road High School were responsible for a surprising upset when they met Grey High School for the first match of the season Robert Parker, former prop of the Eastern Province is acting as the coach of this team for the first time. The team that beat Grey 13-5 is in the back row left to right: Cecil Thompson, Michael Holmes, Eugene Viljoen, Phillip Pneumaticatos, Paul Harper, Alan Jacobson, Mr. Robert Parker (coach), Middle row: Glen Truscott, Alan Zeiss, Johan Labuschagne, Robert de Kock, Neil Sampson, Clive Buttner. Front row: Vincent Cory, Derek Openshaw, Vaughan Jones, Ralph Tarr [captain], and Peter Pedersen, de Kock and Buttner served as replacement at half time. It was also the first time that Alexander Road beat Grey’s first team

Alex Matric 1971

Due to the family having to move from place to place through the demands of work circumstances, Alex was my 6th school enrolment when I arrived midway through Std 7 in 1968. And retrospect allows me to appreciate just how fortunate that move turned out to be! The three-and-a-half years at Alex were the happiest of my varied school experiences.

My lasting perception of Alex is that of a “happy” school, and a great mix of real “individuals” amongst the many pupils from diverse backgrounds. While due credit must be afforded “Waco”, credit should also go to his management team and to the many strong, and often colourful, characters on the school staff who, no doubt, made lasting impressions on the Alexians who passed through the school. Here I think of people like Messrs Welsh (a man for whom I developed great respect), Simms, Snyman, Ellis, Wright, Richardson, Wienand, Woollard, van der Merwe, de Lange, Parker, to name but a few.

I retired, after 40 fulfilling years in education, as headmaster of a boys’ prep school in Durban (a fact that would, no doubt, have raised a few incredulous eyebrows had some of the Alex staff been around to witness it!), choosing to follow this path due to the positive impact of some of the abovementioned on my life.

As is the case with many of our ’71 year group (some earlier than later), I have joined the Southern African diaspora and am enjoying a “late-life” adventure by settling in Bournemouth, Dorset, England.

Sandy Solarsh [Cohen]

I studied Graphic Art after school. I then embarked on a yearlong working holiday, it was 80c to the dollar, I went with a friend. We first worked on a kibbutz in Israel for 3 months & then went backpacking through Europe, Scandinavia & Britain. It was such a life changing experience for me, from little old PE.

A recent photo when Marc & I went fishing, on the last long weekend. Not a fish in sight but a rare fun day off for us. 

On my return I went to Jhb & married with three children. I was a sales rep for many years selling corporate stationery. I have two grandchildren; one lives in New Zealand. My husband passed away in 2016 & I am now remarried & we have our own business in Jhb. I live a very busy life, working in our business, having my one daughter in Jhb who just got married & my other daughter devastatingly passed away from an aneurism at the age of 29 yrs. in 2015 but I have a gorgeous granddaughter from her who is turning 12 yrs old soon. My son is married & lives extremely well & happily in New Zealand. 

Trevor Hastie: The American with a PE Accent

I have enjoyed reading the stream of emails, blogs, and all the comments, and catching up with you all.
Waco was a legend. I know that I got caned for long hair at age 16 or so (this was after I fell under the bad influence of Colin Buxton and his pals!).

I have lived in America for 40 years with my wife Lynda (from Zimbabwe), have two adult children Samantha and Timothy, and as of 3 months ago, a grandson Jackson. But that is jumping ahead.

Colin Buxton, Gary Ward, Vaughan Jones (and “Porky” David Paton) and I were keen surfers in our last few high-school years and later. Colin showed some rarer pictures of us from back then in his blog.

Here is a picture of me with the board that Colin and another friend Norman Quick made for me (I still have the board today!) The other picture is of Vaughan and me painting the Alex badge over the front entrance.

In 1972, Colin Buxton, Gary Ward, Phil Williams, and I all spent nine months in the army at Potchefstroom — the worst year of my life! Gary and I nearly bought it that year. After a weekend pass in PE, we hitchhiked back to Potch, and the bakkie that picked us up slid off the wet road and flipped over a fence into a field on the other side. None of us was hurt (even though I was in the open back).

After army, B.Sc (hons) at  Rhodes University, then worked at Medical Research Council near Cape Town from 1977-1979 as a biostatistician,  and did a M.Sc part-time at UCT. Colin and I shared digs for much of that time, ending up in a big house on Bishoplea Rd in Claremont with a lot of good friends (including Patti Booth, two years junior at Alex), whom we are still close with today.

I left Cape Town in 1980 to start a Ph.D program in Statistics at Stanford University in California. Just before I left SA I met Lynda, and lucky for me she joined me in California four months later. We got married in December 1981 in Cape Town, and are approaching our 40th anniversary.  Picture on the left taken in 1982, on the right 2019 with Samantha and Timothy.  

After obtaining a Ph.D from Stanford in 1984,  we spent a year and a bit back in SA (I was again with MRC), and then in 1986 moved to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where I started a position at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a “member of technical staff” in the data-analysis research group . Bell Labs has a wonderful history, and saw the birth of transistors, lasers, photovoltaic cells, C, C++, Unix,  to name a few  (an interesting book: “The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation” by Jon Gertner.) The S language used in the R programming environment was developed in our group. I wrote my first research monograph “Generalized Additive Models” with my lifelong colleague Rob Tibshirani while at the labs, as well as “Statistical Models in S” with John Chambers and others.  We spent 8 years there, during which our two children Samantha and Timothy arrived. We were not well off, and I learned carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring and general building skills out of necessity, since we bought a “fixer upper” and could not afford to pay contractors.  Sadly, Bell Labs got split up along with AT&T, and by the early 2000s it was not the place it used to be.

In 1994 we moved back to Stanford University in California, where we are today. I am a professor in Statistics, and we live on campus in one of the original faculty homes (built 1913).  Once again, the acquired carpentry skills came in handy – by now we can afford to pay contactors, but we still like to do much of the maintenance work ourselves. Like many academics, my webpage https://web.stanford.edu/~hastie/ can tell you more about my work and career if you are interested. I have “produced” 21 wonderful Ph.D graduates so far (and 3 more in the works), 10 of which are by now professors at Universities around the world, and the others work in the tech industry as data scientists. Since coming to Stanford I have written 4 more  books with colleagues, two popular ones being “Elements of Statistical Learning” and “Introduction to Statistical Learning with R”. We managed to persuade our publishers to allow that the pdf for all these books can be downloaded free of charge from our websites. Tibshirani and I also produced a free online course called “Statistical Learning”, which is available through edX and is based on the second of these named books. In 2018 I was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. My research work has enabled me to travel all over the world (to conferences and the like), and for the last 8 years or so Lynda has been able to come with me, which has made it all much more fun. We were set to go to Estonia and St Petersburg in 2020 until Covid 19 got in the way.

I play  tennis, squash, have a Saturday cycling group (more gossip than hard cycling!), I run (since Covid), and sometimes surf (full disclosure: I was never a good surfer – I mainly do body-boarding). I also dive for abalone (perlemoen, but much bigger), up the coast from San Francisco. The conditions are very similar to the cold-water conditions around Cape Town. Here is a picture of me with Vaughan Jones at Summerstrand in about 2013, and on a wave in Maui in 2016

I was a huge fan of Bob Welsh, and he was certainly my best-ever school teacher. He taught us concepts, and encouraged us to think. In 2005 I visited him and his wife in PE on a return visit to SA, after not seeing him for a very long time. Jannie was visiting as well, and we had a very nice tea session. Bob was still a keen tennis player at 75 yrs.  The other picture was taken when we visited Colin and Lynne Buxton in Tasmania in 2018 while I spent a two-month visit at University of NSW in Sydney.

We have visited South Africa many times over the years, initially about every two years, and more recently every year. We are all dual citizens, and Timothy is currently living in the family apartment in St James in Cape Town.

We barely survived the last four years with our version of Zuma, but normalcy has been thankfully restored and we are much happier with President Biden. At 68 I am not yet retired, but think of it a lot! (There is no retirement age at most American universities, but they do start offering incentives around my age!)
 
I had planned to attend the Alex 50th reunion, and in fact was an active recruiter, but now traveling half-way around the world is not too attractive with Covid not out of the way in SA.

My sister Cathy’s husband Keith Gibson taught at Alex for many years, and retired in 2019, so I kept up with the news. My brother Paul also still lives in PE, and has a brick factory (Zikhona).

All the best and I hope you have a fabulous reunion

Trevor

Renee Ferreira [du Toit]

Rene in 1971

I will be the easiest  (along with Margie) to be found as I am still in my childhood home in Shirley Street (hence my email address). I retired from NMU at the end of 2019 after 34 years and am loving a life of leisure. I am surprised at the number of us who ended up in education. It was not my first choice after two weeks of student teaching Maths at Alex at the age of 20. But I am grateful to have joined NMU after 12 years in the private sector. The flexibility allowed me to be with my two daughters while they were growing up. And now that I have retired I am loving my time with my four grandsons. 

Margie Rudman [Portman]

After leaving Alex in 1971, I did a Chemical Technicians course at CATE (now Technikon) and worked in a pharmaceutical lab and later in the GM labs. I got married to Rob Rudman (our dating started way back in Std. 7) at a whole 21 years old, had 3 children and am now a granny to 5. We are now in our 47th year of marriage.

After a teaching stint at Alex spanning nearly 20 years and then retiring for 10, I started helping out at Alex at reception, where a year later I now find myself permanently ensconced and very happily so! So I can say my life has really revolved around this Alma Mater of ours, be it very different from our days here – can’t wait to show those of you who will be at our reunion.

During the years of raising our children, I continued to play a little tennis here and there at a very social level and trained with the masters swimming team to try and keep fit.

My retirement gift to myself was a Mediterranean cruise, and we have visited a few countries and travelled SA extensively. I attach a “then” and “now” photo. The “then” taken on the Alex tennis courts in my matric year (I battled to find a school photo!) and “now” was taken officiating at a mountain biking event, a sport in which I became involved in at an administrative level. This lead me to visiting another three overseas countries as the manager of our SA Team participating in the World Champs in the early 90’s when I was much younger!

Stuart Parmenter: The Paint Man

Stuart Parmenter – Last days of School

After harassing our English teacher in her Summerstrand flat, a crowd of us went down to the beach to celebrate.

Most of the males in this photograph would be called up for military duty soon after this. I was sent to Kimberly as was Clive Butner. Vaughn Jones arrived there some time later.

I met my wife-to-be, Jennifer Ilsley, just after finishing my stint in the army.

My first employment was at Mangolds Engineering in Stanford Road where I was a junior lab assistant. I managed to convince them to send me to what was then CATE. I spent the next couple of years doing night classes there.

Stuart Parmenter – Mangolds Engineering Labs

Stuart Parmenter – Playing at the Four Winds Folk Club

On the social side, I got involved with playing in small dance bands and at the local Four Winds Folk Club.

In 1975 joined Dulux Paints in Struandale as a laboratory technician. My primary role was colour development.

Dulux offered me a transfer to Pretoria to provide technical support for the car plants (Nissan, BMW & Ford). There were new technologies being developed and I really enjoyed the activity.

Jenny and I were married on 5 May 1979 prior to our move to Pretoria.

My next transfer was to Dulux Paints Head Office in Alrode, to support the collision repair (panel beater) side of the industry and run the training centre. As result of this I became very involved in developing training courses with merSETA and the Retail Motor Industry.

My two daughters, Tamlyn and Megan, were born and went to school in Johannesburg. Tamlyn in 1991 and Megan in 1992.

Around about this time, I started organising competitions at motor shows with local spraypainters. In 2013 I was sponsored by merSETA to select and prepare a young spraypainter to compete at WorldSkills, held in Leipzig, Germany. We came 8th in a pool of 25 countries.

Stuart Parmenter – SA Competitor putting the finishing touches to his panel

I represented South Africa as an Expert in car painting for 8 years before I handed over to my successor.

I was approached by BASF in 2000, they were doing interviews to replace their Technical Manager in the automotive paints division. Their office was in Midrand, Gauteng. I stayed with BASF for 5 years.

My next move was to 3M in Woodmead as Automotive Technical Manager. I really enjoyed 3M, they are innovative and are always looking for new ways to do things. I stayed with 3M until my retirement at the end of 2019.

My eldest daughter, Tamlyn moved to Port Elizabeth and is married with two sons.

My younger daughter has moved to England and is currently living in Clapham

We sold our house in Johannesburg (during the first waves of Covid-19) and moved back to Port Elizabeth. We have been living (back) in Port Elizabeth for almost a year now.

Stuart Parmenter – Megan, Jenny & Tamlyn

Marie Juta [Steyn]

The day I wrote matric I reported at the Provincial Hospital to start a nursing career but soon realised that I did not want this as a career. After a year auditing and a year at UPE starting a BCom degree, I joined Standard Bank for the next 25 years during which time I had the privilege of serving Mr. Cordingley at the Standard Bank Agency at the base of the Elizabeth Hotel for a number of years. During my bank career I was married, was a foster parent and eventually adopted my son, now 33 years old. Soon divorced, left PE and Standard bank and joined Quest Employment Agency in Cape Town. Then moved to Gauteng and joined Damelin School of Banking, later known as Mill Park Business School until my retirement. I returned to PE to retire. 

Other blogs on Alex

Alex of Yore: Bob Welsh – One of the Originals

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/alex-of-now-a-trip-into-the-future/

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/alex-of-yore-paul-ellis-with-poetry-in-his-veins/

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/alex-of-yore-miss-chilcott/

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/alex-of-yore-the-formative-years/

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/alex-of-yore-kathy-sutton-a-gem-of-a-secretary/

http://thecasualobserver.co.za/class-of-1971-what-did-they-do-after-school/

Tags: ARHS, Alex

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