March, new statue mark College 150th

2013-03-04 00:00

AN air of palpable excitement gripped the precinct of the city hall on Friday morning as over 1 000 Maritzburg College boys, their teachers, old boys and invited dignitaries flooded out of the venue to form up for the two-kilometre march to the school as part of the celebrations of the school’s founding 150 years previously on March 2, 1863.

As a helicam buzzed overhead taking in a view of a broad river of straw bashers flowing down Chief Albert Luthuli Road, the column took shape.

The Caledonian band formed the van, behind them came important dignitaries, including the acting headmaster, Keith Guise Brown, and his newly appointed replacement, Chris Luman, recently arrived from New Zealand.

Next in line were the school drill squad, the staff and the boys. Bringing up the rear were the old boys, a contingent of mounted police and an ambulance.

Before setting out, an address by Mayor Chris Ndlela emphasised the close ties between the city and its oldest school. The school then made a presentation to the city of a framed picture of Clark House. Before starting out the streets rang out to a College war cry delivered with considerable gusto from over a thousand throats.

With the formalities out of the way the procession was ready to proceed.

The 150th march was a repeat of a similar event held on the occasion of the school’s centenary in 1963, which in its turn was a re-enactment of the far more informal affair when the school moved from its home in the old Boys’ Model School building to its present site in College Road in 1888.

The weather gods certainly smiled on the occasion, the cool, slightly damp conditions making the thousands of bottles of water and the ambulance unnecessary precautions. The pace was more a leisurely amble than a march, providing an ideal opportunity to catch up with friends and acquaintances.

Once arrived at Maritzburg College, the dignitaries and staff were seated under an awning erected on the recently revamped Forder Oval, while the boys and others with an interest in the school formed up around it.

Addresses were made by acting headmaster Guise Brown, sculptor Llewellyn Davies, retired Anglican bishop and old boy of the school Michael Nuttal. Davies then unveiled a full-sized statue of a College boy throwing up his basher.

The statue was presented to the school by the Gauteng Old Boys’ branch.

The morning’s proceedings ended with a mass photograph of all the boys and staff.

Saturday, the actual birthday of the school, was celebrated with a lavish dinner dance held in the Alan Paton Hall.

— Witness Reporter.

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