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Famous people from Uitenhage:

Linky Boshoff - South African Tennis player; Won US Open Doubles Title at Forest Hills with Ilana Kloss 1976, Ranked no 1 Doubles 1976, reached 1/4 finals singles French Open 1977 and Wimbledon 1974 and 3rd round US Open 1975; from Riebeek College Girls' High School


  • Arms: Argent, a bee volant and anorle, Murrey.
  • Motto: ORA ET LABORA


The arms were officially granted on July 13, 2001


  1. Miss G. Hearson: 1877 - 1880

When Riebeek was founded in 1877, the town stretched roughly from Cannon Street to Durban Street and from Market Street to Cuyler Street. The streets were rough and dusty and there were no street lights until 1978; but the town was vibrant.
Miss Gertrude Hearson was highly qualified and efficient with a personality, Christian example and integrity that set an extremely high standard. She assisted in playing the organ in the NGK and took part in organising local societies. Her discipline was wise and strong. Regular examinations were held and the examinations had to be written on the black board in front of the rest of the class, which proved to be an embarrassing situation disturbed by the giggles of the rest of the class.  Annual prize-givings were held and reported on in the local newspaper, the Uitenhage Chronicle. These articles reflect an evening (starting at 7pm) of speeches including reports by the examiners, and fine vocal and instrumental music performances. At 10.30 pm the group would partake in refreshments followed by recitations.


2.  Miss E.L.Y. Brown: 1881 – September 1900

Miss Eleanor Brown travelled here on a boat that was bringing reinforcements for the Zulu war and the officers cheered her as she left the ship – a lone woman travelling to the unknown interior. She came to Riebeek as a teacher and was a most efficient woman with a strong personality. She was the niece of Dr Haig Brown, Headmaster of the well-known school, Charterhouse. Miss Brown’s education had been acquired before the days of women’s colleges, but she had received a thorough training in England. She was most successful in teaching English Literature. She was an enthusiastic Londoner, and the great city lived for her pupils in the vivid descriptions she gave of its places of historical interest.
It was Miss Brown who imported the silver bee that principals wear on special occasions. She intended the bee to be worn by all pupils as a school badge with the motto Ora et Labora but this proved to be too expensive. Miss Brown gave the bee to Miss Brehm, who gave  it to Miss Loggenburg. She then presented it to Miss Bartlett and so the tradition was born of the bee being handed to each principal. 
It was under Miss Brown’s leadership that Riebeek  became a senior and junior school. Riebeek had a music department, an art department, needlework classes, tennis courts, a croquet lawn was laid down, a science lab with the latest equipment . Girls could start taking part in debates and there was the establishing of societies. 
Miss Brown was at the helm of the school at a difficult time. She had the qualities of a pioneer and she was prepared to meet the discomforts of an undeveloped land. She displayed tenacity, a strong personality and strict discipline.
By 1896 Miss Brown had much to contend with – increasing number of pupils, no space, no proper classroom facilities, teachers highly qualified with strong personalities and there was irritation and frustration. It was clear that Miss Brown had a passionate temper and the courage of her convictions. She found release by leaving her office and the school and not returning until she had simmered down. Often she would be away during the first week of school and letters from parents appeared in the local newspapers. When admonished by the committee, she showed herself to be a law unto herself and dismissed the whole incident with a curt reply and a flick of her fingers and the pursing of her lips. At times she would resign and then withdraw the resignation. She had an indomitable character and though her health was not good she worked vigorously and robustly wearing down her own resources. She took leave frequently and her visits to England would extend from 3 months to 6 months. Though she was a disciplinarian she did have compassion and a loving spirit. It has been hinted that she had experienced a great personal tragedy, perhaps jilted in love. 
During her reign the hours of attendance became fixed. School started at 8:30 in summer and at 9 in winter. School days were five hours long and the girls had a half hour break. In 1900 she felt she could not go on. After a serious illness she applied to be allowed to resign two years before her time of retirement. She never forgot Riebeek. In England, she kept an open house for teacher and pupils.     


  1. Miss M. Houliston:  October 1900 - September 1905

Miss Margaret Houliston became the principal at a difficult time in South Africa’s history as the South African War had been the cause of friction. The teachers endeavoured to keep the tension to a minimum and encouraged the girls to show tolerance. 
Miss Houliston was a lady of independent spirit. She taught vocal music. During her time it was requested that a typewriter be bought as some children wanted to learn to type but the Committee replied that they had no intention of authorising this. 
During her time, Professor James (head of the Music Department) complained of annoyances from his assistants with a deterioration in health as a result and months of discussion followed. There was a complicated system to decide what would be taught: the principal discussed subjects with teachers and then the teachers wrote to the Committee and then the Committee met to discuss the recommendations and then reported back with the whole procedure repeated until consensus was reached.
In June 1903 a boarder was reported for defying the Lady Principal and communicating by means of notes with BOYS! 
The School Committee held and exercised much power. They controlled the school: They demanded a written report from the principal each month— and insisted it be written in a book not on a sheet of paper. They controlled the teachers, demanding to know every move they made and where they stayed.  They arranged the dates of all functions. 
After six months’ leave Miss Houliston was welcomed back in July 1904 and in August tendered her resignation. The resignation was withdrawn in September but on 27 February 1905 she was granted four months’ leave owing to illness in the family. She however resigned as her sister’s illness hindered her return. She later married and lived in Cape Town where she became an active member as Mrs Shannon of the WCTU representing South Africa at the WCTU Convention in Lausanne in 1928 where she was appointed World’s Superintendent of Social and Moral Hygiene.


  1. Miss G.C. Pollard: October - December 1908

Riebeek College was renowned for its Music Department and its talented teachers had formed an orchestra. During Miss Pollard’s tenure, this orchestra was very much in evidence. Music played a great part in school life. Class singing was a feature and was of a very high standard.
The safe in the principal’s office was burgled and a large sum of money was lost. This affected Miss Pollard so much, she became ill.  Miss Pollard took sick leave when, by February 1908, the position of classrooms, at Riebeek was once more a burning question. All rooms at the school were crowded—a large room held two classes and on fine days the large side stoep was used as a classroom. Rooms were rented in buildings as near as possible to the school.  The loss of the large sum of money, changing times, congestion in the classrooms and no practical solution nor suggestion of a new building frustrated Miss Pollard. She then stayed away from school and then resigned. She was interviewed and asked to reconsider her resignation. But eventually her contract was terminated by mutual consent.


  1. Miss L.C. Elton: January 1909  - 1915

Miss Lucy Charlotte Elton was a  distinguished, intellectual lady who was a strict disciplinarian – some called her straight-laced. She was dignified, respected and emitted an aura of awe. She was always beautifully turned out – immaculately so! Her iron grey hair and her iron grey spectacles enhanced her personality. She was an excellent teacher of English and imbued her girls with a love of good literature. When she left Riebeek, the school library had 1 000 volumes. She had a quick sense of humour. Before leaving, she had to deal with children who removed the ivory covers from the keys of the pianos. 
During a week’s leave, Miss Elton visited Cape Town and accepted the post of principal of the Good Hope Seminary from January 1916. She had given direction to the curriculum and brought stability. Great emphasis was placed on the classics and English Literature. 


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