Thu, 08 Apr 2004 00:00
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We profile the great Pretoria School, known everywhere as Affies.

School profile

We profile the great Pretoria School, known everywhere as Affies.

Everybody calls it Affies, which makes communication easier.  In fact the school was founded to make communication easier, for it was the first high school to use Afrikaans – and not Dutch – as a medium of communication.  This was in 1920, five years before Afrikaans became an official language of South Africa.  It was founded in a private home in the middle of Pretoria.  Eventually it followed its rugby players and found a new, elegant home near Loftus Versfeld.


Name of school: Die Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool
Nickname: Affies
Motto of school: Laat daar lig wees.  (Let there be light)
Date of foundation:  January 1920
Headmaster: Dr Pierre Edwards
School address: 1 Lynnwood Road, Pretoria.   0002


The school opened in January 1920 with 44 pupils and three teachers.  On 4 May 1920 it founded a rugby club at the school.  There were no grounds at the school and so the boys were forced to go to the Eastern Sports Grounds, some 3km away.  The man behind the development of these grounds was Robert Loftus Owen Versfeld.  He was also the man who encouraged the grassing of fields and used kikuyu grass to do so.  The stadium next door to Affies bears his name.  The school in fact played all its important matches at the stadium till 1960. Then the school developed its own, intimate ground.

The school fields some 25 to 30 teams each year.  Some of them have been great sides, for example the team of 1996 which won all 27 of its matches, accounting for such opponents as Maritzburg College, Grey College and Pretoria Boys’ High.  The score against Boys’ High was a record 62-13.  That team won the Beeld Trophy (the descendant of the Administrator’s Cup and the Director’s Trophy) for a record third successive year. 

The first principal of the school, Pa le Roux, took a keen interest in rugby.  The present principal, Dr Pierre Edwards, played rugby for South Africa.

Traditional rivals

In 1923 Affies played Pretoria Boys’ High for the first time.  The two schools are such close neighbours that it could almost be one campus. Close neighbours make keen rivals.  The rivalry between the two schools is certainly keen.  Other early opponents were Helpmekaar, Potchefstroom Volkskool, Potchefstroom Gimnasium, HS Rustenburg, HS Pietersburg and Heidelberg Volkskool.  Waterkloof, a relatively new school, has also proved a great rival.

Famous players

The following Affies old boys have played for South Africa – Louis Schmidt, the original Blue Bull, Tonie Roux, Pierre Edwards, the present headmaster, and Grant Esterhuizen. Fourie du Preez and, at Sevens, Dirkie Strydom.  Gert Bezuidenhout the test referee is also an old boy. In modern times there have been Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies and Wynand Olivier - World Cup winners.