Our reunion groups

Introduction of Reunion Groups - 2015

BY Mrs Gerber

Just because you should not live in the past, does not mean it is not a nice place to visit …. Especially for a reunion.  So, class by class, we will now introduce the Riebeek girls of the past ….We ask that each group stand after they have been introduced so we can applaud these Riebeek blasts from the past.


  1. 1.  Class of 2005: 10 year reunion

The boisterous Class of 2005 celebrate their 10 year reunion with headgirl, reunion co-ordinator and proud, glowing new mom, Sharne Knoetze Woods and 18 classmates.  In 2005 their drama production was The Meaning of Life and it certainly looks like they have found that meaning judging by all the studying, careers, starting families and other activities they have fitted into the 10 years they have been away. 

Class of 1995: 20 year reunion

The class of 1995 celebrate their 20 year reunion with Lisa Stevens Tarr as the delightful reunion co-ordinator, Jenny McKenzie as headgirl and 21 ladies attending including Samantha Reynolds, daughter of our estate manager, visiting from London.  Anela Mehlomakulo from this class passed away in a car accident before this group’s 10 year reunion and her class donated the board at the front of the hall with the school song on in her memory of her at that reunion.


  1. 2.  Class of 1990: 25 year reunion

Jo-anne Lategan Marais has co-ordinated the reunion of the loud and lively Class of 1990.  They matriculated in the year Nelson Mandela was freed and celebrate 25 years of freedom from school with 18 classmates.  Our guest speaker, Bernadette Maguire, hails from their ranks as does

  • Alison Johnson: Grade 6 Riebeek teacher
  • Headgirl: Cathy Simpson (a regular and favourite at Founder’s Day)
  • Deputy Headgirl: Victoria Monaghan Wolf (in London)

The Riebeek/Muir musical of 1990 was Grease and 2 of our present staff were the driving forces: Mr Hoare as director and Mrs Woods as a co-choreographer. It does SEEM, RIEBEEK COLLEGE, THAT THIS class remains, as the Grease song goes, totally devoted to you and devoted to filling in as many reunion activities as possible into this weekend.

  1. 3.  Class of 1975 – 40 years

The Class of 1975 celebrate their 40th reunion with13 ladies attending and Lynn Eckley McNaughton as the reunion co-ordinator and headgirl.  Lynn McNaughton is in London visiting her daughter and taught at Riebeek in the 80s. Her recent school visit and photograph on our facebook page had old girls commenting:  Such a beautiful person, both inside and out. In 1975 Mrs Woods took the 1st senior hockey team with Lynn as the hockey captain on a tour to Johannesburg – by train!   Their singing caused quite a stir in the then modern and new Carlton Centre.   Mrs Woods clearly remembers a pair of men’s underwear that one of the girls bought for her father in Hillbrow.

Class of 1969 – not an official group but attending

Seven ladies from the Class of 1969 are with us today.  We suspect they are like the regulars of the popular show Cheers whose theme song refrain was “Sometimes you want to to go where they are always glad you came.” Mrs Woods has the fondest memories of them as Grade 11s when she was in matric.


Class of 1965 – 50 years

The Class of 1965 celebrate their golden reunion of 50 years with 13 girls and the Golden Girl and much loved Anne Wates Peltason, Riebeek’s wonderful English department head and efficient Hostel Superintendent. Jean Macguire van Rooyen has served as reunion co-ordinator and Judy Watson was headgirl. 

Class of 1960 – 55 years

Adele Smith Streso, Helen Steyn Winfield and Estelle van Rensburg du Preez co-ordinated the attendance of a group of 9 ladies from near and far, among them the oldest sister of our principal, Carol Dodd Rudman joining us from Graaf-Reinet. (Mrs Rudman, may I mention that your young sister, my boss, wanted the adjective “oldest” put in).  Jenny Gouwer from this class is an ordained Anglican minister.  Her mom is Mrs Enid Mills Gouwer from the Class of 1934.  This young at heart lady is passionate about Riebeek and we request that Jenny passes on our love and best wishes to her mom.


Class of 1955 – 60 years

The Class of 1955 celebrate their 60 year reunion but are unable to attend.  Seugnet Smith de Villiers from the class has sent her best wishes and tells us that they are going to start their planning now to be here for their 65th reunion in 2020.


Class of 1950 – 65 years

Joyce Frost van Vuuren and Maureen Oosthuizen Edelman are the only surviving members of the class of 1950.  Joyce is attending Founder’s Day with her daughter from the Class of 1977 Terry van Vuuren Hattingh and her grand-daughter, Jodi, from the Class of 2010 and our Grade 4 teacher. Also present today is Joan Blignaut Prinsloo from the Class of 1949.  Also here from the Class of 1947 is Elaine Smith Dullisear who was headgirl and the recipient of the Good Fellowship Award. 

There are also a number of Old Girls among our staff and among our audience from various years and we welcome you all.  REUNION would not be correct if spelt without the u and this reunion would not be the same without you (U). 

Old Stories are like Old Friends…You have to visit them from time to time.  Today, these groups get to share old stories with old friends and we wish them a nostalgic time of making new stories and new friends …

 May 12, 2015
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Founder's day guest speaker addresses riebeek...

Founder' Day Guest Speaker speech

BY Bernadette Macguire

When I was in matric, here at Riebeek 25 years ago, I wasn’t the most likely candidate to be standing here in front of you.  In fact, after Mrs Woods called me, I was amused.  After all, I wasn’t the girl who came first in the class.  I wasn’t a sporting star.  In fact, when they chose teams during PT, I was one of the last to be selected.  I wasn’t a prefect and when I directed the school play, which Mr Ossher wrote and it was a good play, I think Elton house came last. So to be honest I didn’t exactly shower myself in glory.


And then I came up with what some people thought was a hair brained scheme.  I wanted to be a TV producer. I had to face a lot of questions and comments…like “Where would you work? There’s nowhere in Uitenhage.”  “Journalists starve to death.”  And …. Is that a job for a woman?”


I was undeterred.  I started wearing long black Goth outfits and medallions…most days I looked like a cross between Morticia from the Adams family and orphan Annie.  I didn’t help me to fit in and I didn’t really care.  I think I thought that if I cultivated the look I might get there faster.


Fortunately, my mother supported me.  She believed that I should pursue my dream and once I’d created expectation, I figured I’d better follow through. 


So fast forward, I finished matric and registered at Rhodes and studied Journalism and Drama and received a post graduate in international studies.  By this time I had my sights set on working for Carte Blanche. It took a few years of working on talk shows like Felicia Mabuza-Suttle and consumer show Isabel Jones Fair Deal, but eventually I cracked the nod to join the Carte Blanche team.


All the theory in the world was no match for the job I embarked upon. I soon developed a taste for doing those stories that are edgy and hard hitting.  If it’s likely to make you feel uncomfortable on your couch, that’s what I’m after.  Terrorism, the underworld, corruption, undercover operations…it gave me an adrenalin rush – or to quote one of my esteemed colleagues – “It makes your bum hum.” 

For all of my offbeat and maverick nature – it’s the perfect fit. Because let’s be honest which straight laced individual will take phone calls like these in their stride…(I didn’t make this up – this happened a few weeks ago all in the space of 2 hours one afternoon while I was editing a particularly disturbing story on the terror group Isis)?


Phone call no 1:

From a friend who is an Africa expert in Mozambique – “Berns, got a big story for  you - you know we’ve been chasing rhino poachers – now we’ve discovered the syndicate is into body parts…there’s a massive trade here and its growing – you keen to come cover it?” 


Was that a trick question?


Literally 20 minutes later:


Phone call no 2: 

It’s the man they call one of our biggest mafia bosses, a real charmer. 

“Dhaling I’ve got a story for you…” and he goes on to share a whole lot of dirt on one of our underworld kingpins and his drug interests….all off the record but fascinating.


Phone call 3:

It’s a mercenary.

“You know there’s over a hundred South Africans fighting Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

“Do you want to go to Yole to meet the SA’s in the military base? We’ll give you the exclusive and you can fly up in one of our charters.” 


Yes please.


My editors and my crew who work with me regularly are used to these calls.  They just shake their heads. 


What I love most is the characters I get to meet.  Let’s take Radovan Krejcir, for example.  For anyone who doesn’t know, he is the billionaire Czech fugitive in Bedfordview who is currently in jail and who many people believe is behind the alleged murders of at least a dozen underworld figures, German sport car drivers and strip club boss Lolly Jackson.  So I was asked to do a story on Radovan Krejcir  in 2010– he’s a shadowy figure and no-one’s ever really gotten close to him – let alone get a TV interview. 


I do some intelligence gathering and find his hangout – his HQ is a restaurant called the Harbour Café.  It makes sense – there are fishtanks all over and I’d seen footage of his house in the Czech republic where he had a shark tank in the centre of his lounge.  Journalists there told me the rumour was that anyone who crossed him might end up in the tank. 


With the crew and Bongani Bingwa, our anchor man, I go through to the restaurant and we find Radovan holding court with a group of men, some clearly his henchmen.  We approach him and ask him for an interview – he’s clearly taken aback and he later told me he thought I was an undercover Hawks officer.  He doesn’t say no to the interview – he’ll think about it and gestures that I should liaise with one of his brawny Lebanese TIC’s. 


What followed was daily visits to the Harbour Café. I spent hours there, sometimes with Radovan, sometimes just with his henchmen.  Eventually they agreed to do the interview. 



It’s a Friday afternoon.  We rendezvous in the harbour parking lot.  His henchmen tell Bongani and I that we’re allowed a notepad and a pen.  No phones.  So we leave those in the car. They will take us. The cameraman can only bring his camera.  We’re separated –  into  3 waiting black BMWs  with dark tinted windows.  We’re driven through the streets of Bedfordview at high speed, up and down several roads.  I’m still not sure why – perhaps as a show of force, to unsettle us.


Eventually we arrive at Radovan’s 3 storey mansion. He joked saying, “First we drink, then we do interview and then I kill you”. I quickly made a deal with the Cypriot house boy that I’d ask for Vodka and orange but he was only to bring orange juice.  I think I really impressed Radovan that day with my capacity for alcohol!


And despite some jokes about an acid bath after the interview, we were driven sedately back to the Harbour café.  It was 3 hours later and my office was distraught and I got quite a tongue lashing but what choice did I have.


Some days you’re interviewing underworld figures. Sometimes its transgender terrorism experts, other days government spies, drug dealers,  rhino conservationists, scamsters or even the president.  Most days you feel like a chameleon because you have to get into a different mindset or headspace for every story and every individual you interview. 


Like most jobs – mine has an element of danger.  I’ve been deported from Ghana, locked up in and office more than once and interrogated.  Our crews have been assaulted – I’ve been attacked with a brick.  In the Cape Winelands we dodged rubber bullets and rocks  when the vineyards were blazing.  At Medupi power station I drove over piles of burning rubbish and watched how angry strikers torched cars and set them light., wondering to myself if mine might be next.


I could escape so many of these situations. Situations I shared with the man who was the love of my life, my cameraman, my partner in everything, Dudley Saunders.  But, as you’ve all learnt in the last few weeks, you can’t escape tragedy.  And it never makes sense.  It didn’t in his case either.  He was a war correspondent for many years filming in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Somalia…practically every hot spot in the world.  Then while filming here in Soweto 16 months ago for a programme called The World’s Most Extreme, he misjudged an oncoming train in the viewfinder of his camera and he was killed.  It was the saddest day of my life.


But you know what?  You have to pick yourself up.  The show must go on, they say.  The next morning I forced myself out of bed at 5 am and I walked for 2 hours with my dogs…I just walked.  I needed to put one foot in front of the other.  I needed to know that I could keep moving forward even though it felt like my world had stopped.


And I made a conscious decision – this terrible tragedy would not define me, it would not define my life.  I wasn’t going to let it.  Through the terrible sadness I threw myself into my work and by the end of last year I broke the record for the most stories produced by any producer in the history of Carte Blanche.


You all know what I am talking about – your hearts are bleeding for Jayde.


We’re all scarred, we all suffer loss and tragedy, what’s important is that when you’re faced with a situation like this – that you don’t curl up in a little ball and wish it all away.  What’s important is moving forward, walking through the fire and the sadness.


The same goes for any situation in life– don’t blame your past, your parents or an event.  It’s not the reason you never achieved your dreams, you never accomplished what you set out to.  You are.


You’ll also learn in life that talent plays a small role…it’s endurance , determination and discipline that sets people apart.  One of our legendary golfers , Gary Player,  said to me recently,  “The harder I practice the luckier I get”.  It’s so true in life. 


Last night I was having dinner with some of the old girls from my matric class and one of them hauled out the yearbook.  I’d forgotten what I’d said about my future then. It read something like this “ Bernadette wants to  be a television producer and run her own show called the Destitute and Unfamous.  That’s pretty spot on.


So I want you all to think about what it is you’ll be looking back at in 25 years time.  And more importantly, how to plan to get there. 


You’ll also learn that the foundations laid at this school run deep.  You’ll learn to appreciate the values and the discipline and cherish the friendships.


And then go and chart your own path, but make sure that it counts.  And you’ll get some help along the way: I always say, “The journey is the teacher.”












 May 12, 2015
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Reunion groups 2015

Class of 1965
Class of 1965
Class of 1975
Class of 1975
Class of 1990
Class of 1990
Class of 1995
Class of 1995
Class of 2005
Class of 2005

Founders day 2015


Founder's Lunch

cathy simpson


Once a Riebeek Girl, Always a Riebeek Girl...

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