Lückhoff’s pride honoured in photo exhibition
Sports heroes, diplomats, community leaders, educators and politicians are among the well-known learners of the Old Lückhoff School in Stellenbosch who were honoured as the school’s achievers at the opening of a photo exhibition on Friday.
This exhibition – honouring those Lückhoff learners who have made a meaningful contribution in South African society and beyond – was formally opened by Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, at a function on Friday 30 October. The theme of this second phase at the former school is “The pride of Lückhoff”.
“This building has the potential to become the meeting place of Stellenbosch residents; we have the wonderful opportunity to transform that what was painful, into a beacon of hope and reconciliation for Stellenbosch,” Prof Botman said at the event. “In this way, Lückhoff has the potential to become a centre where the Pedagogy of Hope can by realised and where a diversity of people and ideas will be welcomed. In this manner, Lückhoff also helps the University in becoming the institution it whishes to be.”
Exactly 40 years ago, on 30 October 1969, learners of the Old Lückhoff School in Banhoek Road, Stellenbosch had to vacate their school under the objectionable Groups Areas Act and carry their desks to their new school in Idas Valley.
On that subject, Mr Brian Pool, a former Director of Education and a speaker at the event, said that the day was “a traumatic and emotional experience, but that it is very good that after forty years we can look back on it.” According to him it is now a commemorative event, “when the rich history of the only high school in our community in the heart of the pulsating Vlakte, is remembered.”
The school building, now owned by the University, was symbolically rededicated to the community in 2007, and the first phase of a permanent photo exhibition was opened in 2008. In 2006, the book In ons bloed (In Our Blood) was published in which the memories of the people of Die Vlakte were recorded. With all three these events, SU’s annual Heritage Day celebrations revolved around the Lückhoff School and its former community – the people of Die Vlakte.
Die Vlakte – of which the Old Lückhoff School largely formed the centre of activities – was an area between Victoria, Bird and Joubert Streets and Banhoek Road in Stellenbosch – and from which people were forced to move under the Group Areas Act.
Lückhoff was the first Afrikaans high school for coloured people in the Boland. The building was erected in 1938; some years after the school had started out in loose-standing houses and other buildings. Learners from as far as South West Africa (today Namibia) attended the school and by 1969 it had more than a thousand learners.
According to Mr Jerome Slamat, Senior Director: Community Interaction of SU, community leaders have worked purposefully with SU over the past few years to record the history of Die Vlakte, as well as to commemorate it. “Lückhoff stands central in this torn history, but it is increasingly also serving as a beacon of hope,” says Mr Slamat.
“Friday’s event is another milestone in the discussion between SU and the people of Die Vlakte,” he added.
According to Mr Hilton Biscombe, a former learner of Lückhoff who compiled In ons bloed, it was a decision of the heart, and part of the healing process that compelled him to commit himself to the project. Mr Biscombe, along with Mr John Abels, a former learner, former national soccer referee and administrator and also co-worker on In ons Bloed, Mr Victor Honey, a community leader and former lecturer at the University, and Mr Slamat, formed the project team for the photo exhibition.
In addition to the Division for Community Interaction, the building also houses the offices of Matie Community Service, as well as a number of other non-profit and community-based organisations.
Prof Andreas van Wyk, Chairperson of the Het Jan Marais Nationale Fonds, that made the exhibition possible, said at the event that the Lückhoff School project provides an opportunity to build an inclusive Stellenbosch, with the expectation for more achievements from this town. Prof Van Wyk is a former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Almost forty achievers were honoured, including Omar Henry (former national cricket player and selector), Cobus Dowry (former Minister of Agriculture in the Western Cape), William (Ossie) Woodman (former national soccer captain and tennis champion), Wilfred Daniels (former head coach of Athletics South Africa), Lesley Crotz (former Moderator of the Volkskerk van Afrika and Mayor of Mossel Bay), William (Willie) Ortell (former Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch), Brian Pool (former Western Cape Director of Education), Albert Davidse & A.P. Hector (the first former Lückhoff learners who obtained university degrees) and Conrad Sidego (former Ambassador to Denmark).
The event was attended by community leaders, former learners and staff members of Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Mr Wilfred Daniels, a former head coach of Athletics South Africa; Ms Yvette Pietersen, a former multiple tennis ladies singles, ladies doubles and mixed doubles national champion; Mr Brian Pool, a former Director of Education and Mr Conrad Sidego, a former Ambassador to Denmark. (More photos available at www.sun.ac.za/media ).