Aliwal Road Primary School

Posted by on Dec 27, 2014 in Blog | 25 comments

Aliwal Road Primary School

I cried on my first day of school. My Sub A teacher at Aliwal Road Primary School (ARPS), Mrs Blomerus took me by the hand and led me to the Sub A classroom where she sat me down, gave me a little wooden board and big dollop of green clay and in her kindly voice soothed away my sadness and helped me to make a little clay figure. She was amazing. The years that followed were the happiest of times.

I have the fondest memories of Mr Haupt the headmaster, or ‘Hooftie’, as we called him and of Mrs Blomerus who were firm but kindly in their manner. The vice-principal, Mr Naude was a bit intimidating and no-one intentionally got on the wrong side of him and although corporal punishment was not used at ARPS, Mr Naude had his own way of dealing with naughty pupils. He had the “Look”! I shudder to think of what would happen to some of the kids today if they ever had to experience the ‘look’ from Mr Naude. He could wither a child on the spot with one of his stares and, especially the boys, would feel the effect of one of his controlled but scathing tongue lashings if they stepped out of line. He did not brook any bad manners or bad form when it came to the classroom or playground.

Hooftie on the other hand was like a kindly grandfather. If you were ever summoned to his office for a misdemeanour you felt so bad about it for disappointing him that you made sure you never did it again. He would talk softly and make you understand why you should not do things like that. We all loved him. Assembly was held every morning when Hooftie would read from a children’s Bible and we would sing things like “Jesus loves me this I know” and “All things Bright and Beautiful”. Then Mr Haupt would give us a little talk. He retired in 1970 after many many years as principal of the school. On his last day the school presented him with a cheque for R400.00 which he was going to use to spend time caravaning around the country. Sounds such a little now but back then it was a small fortune.

Proud History

The school itself was founded as a School of Industry for Girls in 1836 by Lady D’Urban, wife of the Governor of the Cape. In 1909 it became co-ed and changed its name to Aliwal Road Primary School and continued as such until 1988 when it was forced to close due to dwindling numbers. I remember hearing of its closure with great sadness.

Because of its great historical value, the building has been preserved and it is now an education museum as well as a Centre for Conservation Education currently under the curatorship of Ms Sigi Howes. Part of the museum’s function is to collect as much archival material as possible on schools all over the country. They have for instance the most amazing collection of school brass bells and very old classroom desks and equipment. Some schools are very well represented and have box files full of photographs and even items of uniform dating back years and years. The first time I visited the museum I eagerly looked for the box file on Aliwal Road school and to my great disappointment found only a handful of items in the box. For one of the oldest schools in the country it saddens me that all that history is ‘missing’. I immediately went home and looked through all my photos and old report cards and made copies which I gave to Sigi the next time I was there. I even have my old Prefect’s badge and house badge (blue for D’Urban – the other house was Van Riebeeck which was yellow…more orange really) which I am a bit loathe to give up just yet.

Please please….if there is any body who went to ARPS please contact me. I will co-ordinate any material and hand it over to Sigi who I am sure will be thrilled. She is planning to write a comprehensive history of the school and is busy collecting information. Without your input a valuable part of Cape history could be lost forever.


  1. Hi There, my brother and I both went to ARPS. We were the Butler brothers of 1956 and 1959. George and Danny Butler. It sounds like you were roughly of the same era. My sisser Veronica Jorinde in 1963, I think.

  2. Thanks for the blog of that history. I was at ARPS during 1963-1969. I too remember Mrs Blomerus in Sub A. And recall much of what you covered. Follow-up contact is welcomed. Now live in USA.

  3. I went to that School as well and my Teacher was Mrs Blomerus.
    Wow what a trip down memory lane , Mr Haupt who always smelt like “Old Spice after shave”
    I remember quite a few names including the gentleman who left a comment before me!
    I think we were in Sub A together.

  4. What a delight to read this! I was at the school from 1969 – 1972. The principal’s motto was “Spare the rod and love the child”. I remember he left and was replaced by another principle. We sang Jamaica farewell when he left, and i dont think there was a dry eye in the school hall. I think Mr Paris was the person who replaced him? Mrs Blumeris was my teacher too, and was wonderful. However sub B was Ms Witte, who was somewhat stern and terrifying to me as a young girl.

    • Gustav du Toit Haupt was my grandfather. I was at his final assembly in 1970, at the age of 5 and I very clearly remember the adapted version of Jamaica Farewell being sung: “Down Aliwal Way, where the lights are gay, Mr Haupt drives down in his Chevrolet…”. It was one of his favourite songs to play to us on his guitar. Happy memories!

      • Happy memories indeed. I remember that too and it was also my final assembly at ARPS as I ‘graduated’ on to Wynberg Girls’ High. He was a fine man and there must be many of us who remember him with great fondness. Thanks for sharing Mandy and Mallorie.

  5. Recall everything you wrote Sharon.We truly had great times and I also remember your brother Geoff. My late brother Chummy and I with my other brother David and sister Lindy all went to ARPS.I remember Denise Gillespie as well.

  6. I remember attending ARPS only for a few weeks in November/December 1973. I was in standard 3. I had just arrived in Cape Town from Britain and it was a bit of a culture shock for me. We learnt cursive writing with a fountain pen which I found challenging. I don’t remember much, but I do remember the D’Urban and van Riebeeck house names. I went on to Wynberg Boys’ Junior and High schools, and ended up at Milnerton High School.

  7. I was at ARPS from 63 to 68. Both my brother and I attended school there.

  8. I went to A R S in the fifties. Mr Naude was my history teacher and instilled in me the love of that subject because of the way he told the stories, making it all so real. He would sit on a pupils desk while talking and if anyone wasn’t listening would throw a blackboard duster on their desk. Mr Haupt was such a special, caring person and was our class teacher in std 5. From there I went to Wynberg Girls High which was rather a shock to the system !

  9. I was a sub a and b scholar at ARPS in 1968 and 1969 before my family moved to the northern suburbs. I have fond memories of these two years and it’s nice to see others writing about their experiences at this school.

    I recall some students playing music in the library during the lunch break, weekly cake raffle, marbles and some good friends.

    • I remember the music in the library too. Mr Haupt was fond of Francois Hardy and the Seekers if I remember correctly. And the cake sales were legendary. Fudge and cup cakes!

      • Hi Sharon
        I remember you and your brother std 5 .i enjoyed the library but i listened to the Led Zeppelin LP.I came there in std 3 from Kalkbay Primary..Aliwal Rd.was the best years of my life there ….coming from a school that used to cane us.I enjoyed school at Aliwal Rd. and had no fear.My late father was also taughtby Mr.Haupt.and he was in the 2nd world war.True .Yes I rememember Listenig to Fracois Hardy”All over the world” in the library as well!

  10. I recall my brief time at ARPS (1973-74) with fondness. Had Mr Naude as my Standard 5 teacher in 74 and his history lessons were very engaging. Mr Naude and Mr Paris could be quite strict, but I always found them to be fair. My younger brother Paul and sister Barbra were at ARPS at the same time, before our return to UK in 75. Still have some of our old end of term report cards – happy days!

    • I was 2 years behind you and agree Mr Naude was a wonderful teacher. Mr Paris looking back now was an appalling headmaster. I was from a poor background and still recall him reading out about 15 names in the quad and holding us back to admonish us because our parents did not pay the voluntary school fees. Friday was a spelling test and on Mondays I was called into his office in lunch break and threatened with a caning as I had done badly and he believed I was not learning my spelling. After a few of these he did in fact start caning me for about 6 weeks, I think the teachers must have said something because it stopped. I was later diagnosed with dyslexia but still managed to go to university and qualify as a Chartered Accountant.

  11. I was at ARPS from 1951 to 1957…sub A to std 4.
    Mr Haupt was then the Headmaster (what a gentleman) Mr Naude my teacher….
    Strange how I still think of them with much childhood memories….
    2 of my best friends back then Naomi Hendricks and Sandra Parker….

  12. I was at ARPS from 70-72 . Great memories from years ago.
    Played in the football and cricket team and was a prefect in 72.
    Would be good to hear from anyone who attended during that time.

  13. I am Tony Haupt, son of “Hooftie”. We lived in Rondebosch so my brothers and I all went to Rondebosch Boys School. Nevertheless, my younger brother and spent many happy hours playing in the school grounds and even the classrooms. This usually occurred a couple of days before term began when my dad spent time there to get things organised. We were sometimes given tasks like sorting out the tuck shop (payment in sweets!)
    I recall when the school took over the large old house next door and for a short while we had a new place to play.
    I am sure most of you know how routine played a major part in his (and our) lives. Every December on the day school broke up my dad would rush back home where everything was ready for our departure to Onrus(t) River for some 5 weeks of camping. Between my Dad, my brother and I we had an annual presence at the camp site for 50 years! I knew many of your teachers, some of which were personal friends of my folks. I quite understand your comment about Percy Naude, he could be intimidating..
    I happened on this site by complete accident, thinking that Google would never have info relating that far back – how wrong was I. Lovely to read your comments above, thank you for the memories 🙂

    • Hello Tony. Thanks for getting in touch. You must be so proud of your father’s achievements at ARPS, knowing that he left such a legacy in the hearts of so many of the children that were in his care. ARPS was a truly happy time for me. Whenever I drive past the school these days, I still get a little smile on my face and think “the best of times”. 😄

  14. Hi my name is Hazel Goodes (was Dowling) and I was at ARPS from 1961 to 1968. Like many others have mentioned before, I also remember Mrs Blomerus, Hauptie for their kindness and of course the MOST fantastic teacher ever, Mr Naude! I wish that there had been more teachers like those three. There was also Miss Sylvester who was the Std 1 teacher, Miss Michelle for Std 2 and Miss Godsiff who did Std 3. My two sisters also went to ARPS, Carol was five years ahead of me and Elsabe seven years ahead of me. Very sadly we lost Carol in 2013. Don’t know if anyone remembers John, the caretaker. I remember him with fondness and then he had a helper join him, but I can’t remember his name.

    • Hello Hazel. I remember you well – you were ahead of me by two years. And yes, Mr Naude could be intimidating but he was a good teacher. He used to make history come alive with his story-telling capabilities and I am sure it had a lasting influence on me because I have always had a passion for history and now genealogy. I remember John very well and his assistant was Alec. They had a little room next to the tuck shop and they were always kind to the children who, now that I think back, must have constantly interrupted their lunch breaks by popping their heads in the door to say hello! I also remember the traffic warden in his brown uniform and the little “Stop” paddles with which he used to stop the cars. I think his nickname was Toffee Sticks because the paddles kind of looked like that.

    • Yes, I well remember John the caretaker. Always came to school on his bicycle. I have fond memories of ALL the teachers we had. I was a pupil at ARPS from 1948 to 1954. As far as punishment was concerned, hidings, or cuts as they were known, were discontinued. But if boys were caught fighting it was on with the gloves. Fortunately my brother and I took up boxing lessons with Mr Naude, so we could look after ourselves. Lovely to read all the comments.

  15. Hi all. Very happy memories of ARPS. I went to the school from Std 2 and had Miss Cloete as my teacher. Miss Godsiff our Std 3 teacher is one of my facebook friends. Remember Hazel Dowling well. She ran the truck shop with Karen Seymour. I was a perfect together with Debbie Lewis, Leszek, Jennifer Henderson and more. Loved ARPS

  16. Sorry prefect not perfect

  17. Tony, I had the privilege of teaching on the staff when your Dad was principal . He was a wonderful man. Very caring! When I left in 1968 I kept in touch and often visited him and your Mom at their lovely cottage in Glebe Road. I have such happy memories of my time at ARPS.

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