PhD was logical next step, says ex-teacher (63)

2011-04-15 00:00

HE was a founding member of the South African schools water polo association and has been active in water polo and surf lifesaving in KwaZulu-Natal.

He is writing a book and his idea of a good time is visiting the Swiss Alps to hike in summer and ski in winter.

To top it all, Nico Lamprecht (63) was among the people who were awarded doctorates by the University of KwaZulu-Natal this week.

Lamprecht describes himself as someone who has been involved in various sports throughout his life.

Asked why he wanted to pursue a PhD in his 60s when most people are thinking about taking things easy, his answer is simple — he already has a masters degree and it was a logical step.

“At the time I had completed a book with a co-author, titled Langley’s Legacy — The History of Durban High School Rugby 1910-2003 and a PhD seemed an appropriate step,” Lamprecht told The Witness.

It was a mini thesis on autobiographical texts of South African prisoners of the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War, who were incarcerated in British ships anchored in Durban and then shipped off to Ceylon that stimulated an interest in primary texts for his masters.

But when he saw an advert in a Durban paper asking for postgraduates interested in doing a masters or doctorate with assistance from the Netherlands Language Union, he contacted the Afrikaans Nederlands department in Durban to pursue the matter. “And as they say, the rest is history,” he added.

For 25 years, Lamprecht taught Afrikaans and coached rugby and swimming at Durban High School.

Later he served as a subject head and head of department. In 1996 he was promoted to Afrikaans subject adviser with the Education Department.

After a three-year break, in 1999 he returned to the classroom at DHS until 2001.

Then he travelled overseas, teaching in Bratislava, Slovakia, before returning to South Africa in time for his formal retirement from education.

But retirement could not be further from his mind.

As well as getting a PhD, he is writing the history of South African water polo from 1899 to 2010.

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