Fri, 05 May 2006 00:00
Potchefstroom on the banks of the Mooi River is the oldest town in the old Transvaal, in the world of Sarie Marais and the struggles if the Afrikaner people, and this is reflected in the history of HTS Potchefstroom.
The town was founded in 1838 by the Voortrekker leader Andries Potgieter. Say Voortrekker and you are already talking about struggle and suffering. Potchefstroom was at one stage the capital of the old republic, and that, too, is the story of struggle, the bitter battle of the Afrikaner to survive the Britain'S harsh imperialism. And it was that that produced the origin of HTS Potchefstroom.
War has nasty sides for more than just the soldiers, and as the forces of the British Empire gained momentum, the Boers took casualties. It started to provide for war orphans.
In 1903 an orphanage was opened in the small NG Kerk at Vyfhoek near Potchefstroom. From the church the growing orphanage moved to tents and at the same time an orphanage was opened in Potgieter Street, Potchefstroom. The two orphanages were amalgamated in 1903, and in 1905 JP Bredell became head and Dominee ML Fick proposed the addition of an industrial school to the orphanage. The school became the School of Industries in 1905 with subjects such as shoemaking, tanning, wagon making, cabinet making , gardening and clothes making. What the pupils made was often sold at a time when the state's allowance for an orphan was £21 per annum and for a day pupil £11. The pupils maintained the buildings.
In 1910 the girls were moved to a separate facility and in 1922 the school became known as the Potchefstroom Industrial Schools. In 1930 the two schools were separated. In 1943 the school became the Hoër Tegniese Skool Potchefstroom. After World War II the subjects on offer increased and also the school's products. After that the school grew in numbers and faculties, mainly a boarding school.
By 1976 there were 900 pupils at the school which was then tops in South Africa at athletics. In 1985 there were 1 500 boys at the school, its highest.
In the Nineties of last century the rugby flourished and became a power in the old Western Transvaal, now the Leopards.
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