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Below is an extract from the Head Master’s Address at the Special Assembly held for Old Boys on Friday 3 June 2016, the day before Founders Day.
On the 1st of June 1866 Durban High School opened its doors for the first time with 7 boys arriving at “Mansion House” in Smith Street. This is almost to the day, 150 years ago. This makes us the second oldest school in KZN and the oldest government school in Durban. I believe that it is the people and special characters that this School has produced that makes us what we are today. Our older Old Boys will remember Bill Payn and Izak van Heerden. The next generation will remember Des Thompson and AJ Human, but I want to tell you this morning about the Old Boys who I have been working with since I have arrived at DHS.
In years to come they will also be remembered as men who have done more for this School than most before them. As a School, we want to acknowledge these men this morning and thank them for their contributions.
Mr Chris Seabrooke:
Chris was in the class of 1970 at DHS and was Academic Dux in that year. You can see his name on the Honours Board. Chris is a director of numerous JSE listed companies. He is currently CEO of Sabvest, Chairman of Metrofile Holdings and Transaction Capital, Deputy Chairman of Massmart and a director of Brait, Datatec and Net1 UEPS Technologies. He is a former Chairman of the South African State Theatre and Deputy Chairman of the inaugural National Arts Council of South Africa.
We are indeed lucky to have him as Chairman of the DHS Foundation Trust. He has donated considerably in his personal capacity to capital developments at the School and he also contributed substantially to our bursary programme at DHS. We all know about the Seabrooke Theatre that he financed; however, he is also financing the Music Centre that we are currently building. It will appropriately be named the Chris Seabrooke Music Centre. Mr Seabrooke, as a School we are extremely grateful for all you have done for us and as a small token of our appreciation we would like to present you will a certificate and a leather bound copy of our 150th Heritage Brochure.
Mr Howard Buttery:
Howard attended DPHS from 1955-1959, DHS from 1960-1964 and was Head of Langley’s. He attended the University of Natal from 1966-1973 and served articles at Wadley, Wood & Bonella, now PricewaterhouseCoopers. He became Financial Director of Bell Equipment in June 1973, and Executive Chairman of the company in 1980. Howard retired in June 2010.
Currently he is Chairman of BancABC Botswana, a listed entity that fully serves bank subsidiaries in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and Mozambique. He also currently serves on the board of many private companies, including companies in Mauritius, Switzerland, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Panama, all of which are involved in the distribution of yellow metal equipment. He continues to serve on the board of a number of international finance companies and investment funds.
Mr Buttery, as a School we are extremely grateful for all you have done for us and as a small token of our appreciation, we would like to present you will a certificate and a leather bound copy of our 150th Heritage Brochure.
Mr Stephen Saad:
Stephen is unable to be with us this morning but I would like to thank him in his absence. Stephen matriculated in 1981 and played as a flank forward in the 1st XV. In 1997 Stephen started a Pharmaceutical company. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited is now the world’s 9th largest generic pharmaceutical company, with 15 businesses and 17 manufacturing sites on six continents which distribute product to more than 150 countries across the world.
Stephen’s exceptional leadership and entrepreneurial spirit earned him the coveted Ernst & Young 2004 World Entrepreneur of the Year Award for South Africa. He narrowly lost the World Entrepreneur title in 2005 in a vote-out. In November 2012 Stephen received the Sunday Times Business Leader of the Year award.
As a School we are extremely grateful for all he has done for us and will present him with a certificate and a leather bound copy of our 150th Heritage Brochure at a later stage.
We will continue to acknowledge our Old Boys and there are a number of them who are extremely generous. Every year, I will use this function to do just that.
Before I go on I would like to pay tribute for what the DHS Foundation has done for the School:
Major Capital Development at School:
2014 Blackmores refurb (dormitories) : R6 million
2015 Blackmores refurb (apartments) : R1 million
School ablutions : R1.5 million
IT Up-grade : R1 million
2016 Maths & Science Centre: Victor Daitz : R5 million / DHSFT : R2.5 million
Music Centre : R3 million
Helped with the financing of our two new 23-seater buses that you probably saw parked in the parking area.
Total: just over : R20 million
Future Proposal – up-grade to classrooms : R10 million
Not only did these Old Boys contribute out of their own pockets, but they have made these funds available from the Foundation to invest in the school. Please thank them again for what they have done for us.
Two men who are not Old Boys but who have been part and parcel of the whole process:
Mr Mike Fennel:
CEO of the Foundation and Retired Head Master of KES. Mr Fennell with his vast experience in Education has been a pillar of strength to me and the School. Mr Fennell, as a School we are extremely grateful for all you have done for us and as a small token of our appreciation, we would like to present you will a certificate and a leather bound copy of our 150th Heritage Brochure.
Mr Rob Mutch:
Financial Manager of the Foundation:
Mr Mutch, who came to the Foundation with a corporate back ground and with his vast financial expertise he helped us as a School to re-organise our Finance Department and he also put structures in place that were extremely beneficial to us. Mr Mutch, as a School we are extremely grateful for all you have done for us and as a small token of our appreciation, we would like to present you will a certificate and a leather bound copy of our 150th Heritage Brochure.
Thank you once again Gentlemen, for your support of our School. We are extremely grateful for what you have done for us.
To go back to our 150th celebrations: This year we have already had the following events:
• Cricket Festival
• 150th Assembly where we opened up the time capsule
• Rugby Festival
• Hockey and Basketball Festival
• Cultural Week
• Cross Country
Coming up are:
• Football Tournament
• U12 Rugby Sevens Tournament
• SA Schools Badminton Tournament
• SA Schools Inter Provincial U17 Sevens Tournament
• U16 Water Polo Tournament
We have also produced a 150th Calendar and the Heritage Book. We had a banner on Tollgate Bridge, the logo at Mitchell Park and two supplements published in the Mercury and Berea Mail.
Leading up to the Founders Weekend, we attended a get-together on Thursday 26 May with the College Old Boys at College Rovers, on Monday 30 May I had tea with the older Old Boys at Caister Lodge, on Thursday 2 June the 1956/57 and 1966 Matric years got together for reunions, we hosted our Golf Day and the first of our two Music evenings. Today (Friday 3 June) we have this Special Assembly and then the Old Boys Banquet tonight with nearly 800 Old Boys from around the world attending.
Tomorrow (Saturday 4 June) is the big day when we tackle College on the Sports fields, culminating in the 1st XV encounter at 15h30 on Van Heerden Field. Afterward the game, we have a marquee for the Old Boys and supporters to get together and the second Music evening in the hall. Please support us at all of these events.
Gentlemen, and I am now talking to our Old Boys, I have said it a few times but I want to say it again; I do not want you to only be proud of the DHS of your years, I want you to also be proud of the DHS of today. A truly South African School for South Africa. Those of you who were here last Saturday when we played Glenwood would have seen our boys in action on and off the field and they were simply outstanding. You will again witness that tomorrow.
Thank you for joining us today.