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On Wednesday, 23 November 2016, at the Final Assembly of the year, we began saying our farewells to our Head Master Mr Leon Erasmus as it was his last day with the boys of DHS.
The DHS Boys gathered in the Memorial Quad to pay their respects to Mr Erasmus. A number of the Matric boys presented speeches of thanks to this man that they so admire.
RCL Chairman and Deputy Head Prefect of 2016, Libo Mngomezulu, recited a poem which he had especially written. In it, Libo described Mr Erasmus as, “A man that saw the diamond within the rock not the rock within the diamond. The Great Durban High School called and he answered with a whistle… For a great captain sees the light beyond darkness and calm beyond the storm. With tradition as his compass and excellence the destination he steered the great ship”.
Joshua Spooner, Deputy Head Prefect, also took to the lectern to say a few words and related the farewell to his own experience. “It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our Head Master Mr Leon Erasmus today. Both his days and my days at this fine School are numbered, and so I would like to take this opportunity to honour you Mr Erasmus, one last time”. Josh described Mr Erasmus as having vision for the school and leading with honour. “You led the school with faith, composure and vision – honouring those who deserved honouring and disciplining those who needed discipline, but not once did you ever raise your voice at anyone, which is a true sign of your character and something that I will never forget. Your passion and love for this school rubbed off on everyone around you and you created a culture in DHS where the boys were once again proud of their great School,” Josh added.
The speeches culminated in the awarding of gifts, with Head Prefect of 2016, Mvumeleni Mathenjwa presenting a Memory Box to Mr Erasmus filled with individually hand-written messages from the Boys to Mr Erasmus for him to take back home to Cape Town. Samkelo Ntetha, the newly appointed RCL Chairman for 2017, thank Mr Erasmus for his guidance and handed him a gift of a photo canvas featuring memories of Mr Erasmus’ time at School.
During his 3½ years at Durban High School, Mr Erasmus strived to ensure that most of his vision for the School was carried out. Not only was he the driving force behind the 150th celebrations of the school, but the new Music Centre that was opened at the School last month, made possible by the support of Chris Seabrooke, was part of Mr Erasmus’ dream for the School. Mr Erasmus also provided direction on the Victor Daitz Maths and Science Centre which is currently being built.
Erasmus will now take up a post near his home town, as the Headmaster of Fairmont High School, but said that he will follow DHS’ progress with keen interest next year. “I have no doubt that School will continue to play a significant role in education in KZN and the country as a whole,” he added.
The Assembly was a moving ceremony which ended with the boys of Durban High School linking arms with Mr Erasmus and performing the School Song in his honour … farewell, Mr Erasmus, we will miss you!