Reunion Dinner Key Note Speech

By Andrew Clayton (Class of 1991), President of the MCOBA

Good evening,

On behalf of the MCOBA I would like to extend a warm welcome to:

Our Patron, The Headmaster, Mr. Lumen

Senior Deputy Headmaster, Mr. Marwick,

Head Of Department for 6th form and staff Pastoral Care Mr. Nigel Sutherland,

Invited guests Mr. Andre Bredenkamp and Mr. Rick Brown

Chairman of the School Governing Body, Mr. Steve Colenbrander

Past President’s and Honorary Life Members,

Fellow Old Boys

AND: Particularly those who have traveled from abroad and those enjoying their signature Year Reunion dinners tonight.


160 years!

What a milestone year it is for College, this after our Old Boys 125th year last year.

We have so much to celebrate and so much to be proud of.

Our grand old school has endured a millennium change and three centuries, two world wars, the Great Depression of 1929 with a history steeped in the Anglo-Zulu war as well as the Anglo-Boer war, a change to a democratic South Africa along with a global pandemic and many other significant challenges.

We can appreciate and pay tribute to our grand old institution that has endured and stood firm to its heritage and core principles through all these years.

Under the stewardship of the Headmaster, College continues to deliver superior academic results year in and out and flourishes in the: arts, culture, and the sports arena. 

I know many of you like to focus on the sports results and no doubt the 1st team win on Goldstones, the first in 13 years against Glenwood last weekend, has been a focal talking point.

I wanted to talk into a massive challenge for College which is that our neighbouring private schools target you, our old boys, to send your sons to them. Amongst many things put out to lure you in,  is an absurd perception that the College matric does not stand up to private school education.

This is so far from the truth, and I would urge you to investigate this more fully if you have youngsters looking for their high school / their tribe, which is a brotherhood for life.

If anyone wanted to dispute this notion of the College matric, I will gladly put them in contact with OC Msizi Masikame who is on a full Scholarship at Oxford University and studying his MBA. You do not get into Oxford with a half-baked matric!

Interestingly Msizi accredits his success to the hard work put in , in second form where he was placed  113th in form and by 4th form had moved up to 29th in form . He noted this as a major turning point in his academic life and credit this to his teachers at College.

So there is hope for all those lads in 2K for ‘Klever’!

I can also report that last month I hosted 40 Old Boys at a Stellenbosch students evening and our boys are flourishing in Stellenbosch. I specifically asked them about the step up from the matric work load to that of the university and all only had positive reports on how College had prepared them academically for this.

There is also this perception that the private school’s business network gives them the edge and is a reason to shun College.

College Connect, our business network,  is firing and I can assure that our College business network will dominate but it needs your support

I did want to talk into College Connect.

Sue Buchanan-Clarke has returned to manage this. Old boys has invested almost R500k into this for the next year and the crucial success criteria is that CollegeConnect Commercialises and becomes self-funding.

Critical to this is the support and involvement of Old Boys – you guys here tonight. I want to stress that this has nothing to do with donations. It’s about our College business network where Old Boys do business with fellow old boys because of our old school tie and will include:

  • Business networking breakfasts across the country
  • Giving of work experience to Grade 11 boys and engaging in their career guidance in matric.
  • Recruitment of Old Boys and hopefully recruiting the old boys into firms that Old Boys own.
    • Essentially Old Boys will be standing up its own recruitment firm over time.
  • Doing business with each other so that we all benefit.

One exciting area is Travel and Accommodation.

  • We want to build out a booking system whereby you just WhatsApp Sue for great holiday destinations or business accommodation and we link you to Old Boys who have this accommodation.
    • For all you farmers out there who may have a nice cottage on your farm and you want an extra bit of income by renting it out over weekends. You may never rented it out before. I would like to think you would consider renting it out to a fellow old boy. Please contact Sue at College Connect in order to enable this.
    • For all you businessman who travel and who book into B&B, please call Sue first and book into an Old Boys accommodation. On that note, if you have a spare room or outside room and are happy to rent it out to a college old boy who is staying over for a night on business, please contact Sue at College Connect in order to enable this. Again, you may never have rented a room out before , here is an opportunity to earn.

Old Boys is heavily invested and is part of the College Admissions process.

I want to challenge all of you  to help us secure awesome second formers. The Old Boys office joins up with the School and runs what are called ‘Cottage evenings’ for prospective parents all over the province and we need your help to secure us those awesome families around you and we want your sons at College.

The quality of second former coming into College directly impacts the quality of matrics being inducted into our Old Boys and our College business network and thus who we do business with !

I can report that our old boys Association is in great health.

Membership grows and financially we are in a sound position.  

Once again at our recent AGM on the 24th April we received a clean Audit from our independent auditors.

What was really pleasing was the huge number of Old Boys who ‘zoomed’ into the AGM from all over the globe from young to old. When Old Boys from all ages take this amount of interest in their Alumni, we know we are either in really good shape or have done something really bad. I do hope that it’s not the latter.

The Old Boy’s office, under the management of Dr Melba Nzimande, who took over operations from Sue in January, continues to focus on our core strategy of driving global engagement and keeping all old boys connected through fun events. 

  • 30 Old boys are getting together to attend the Army vs. Navy rugby match at Twickenham, in London tomorrow.
  • We have events in: Auckland, Brisbane and London, taking place, that the Headmaster is attending (at his expense I might add, thank you Mr Luman)
  • There are many other events that include Johannesburg and Cape Town to name but two.

All our events are on our website and if you want an event set up in your region, I would urge you to make contact with Melba and lets get it set up.

What a Reunion week it has been so far.

A sold-out golf day, a special reunion assembly hosted on Barns by the Headmaster for Old Boys, bowling today along with many class dinners that have already taken place in venues across the school and more to follow tonight.

College Old Boys remains focused on:

  1. Keeping old boys across the globe connected
  2. Being relevant to all Old Boys.
  3. This means from the day they consider College, through College and when they leave College, right through to retirement.
  4. Supporting fun events
  5. Supporting our School and its long-term strategies.

After all these years this unique bond that binds us together has ensured intergenerational families remain “College Families” , it is about: passion, brotherhood, tradition and belonging.

I want to thank the Headmaster, our Patron and his staff for once again accommodating us on campus. I for one love that our Old School accommodates here and the Alan Paton Hall looks amazing tonight. It talks to our unique bond we have with College.

Whilst there are so many people who have assisted to make this dinner what it is, there is one person who I would like to call out in particular who has held endless meetings to ensure that the finest of details have been addressed:

  • The good Doctor – Melba ( I hope you all know Melba has a Doctorate Degree in Communication and Media Studies from The University of KwaZulu-Natal!)
  • Thank you, Melba, this is your first reunion and you have delivered with distinction.
  • Few will know of the sleepless nights, 3 am work starts and journeys to Durban to secure our temporary liquor license that you have endured.
  • I want to thank you from all of us at College Old Boys.

I wish you all a wonderful Reunion as you reminisce and rekindle friendships and immerse yourselves into all things College.

It remains for me to ask you all to charge your glasses, be upstanding and drink a toast to Maritzburg College

“To College”

God bless Maritzburg College and God bless our Country. 

Pro Aris et Focis

Opening Grace (Mr. Nigel Sutherland)  – Benedictus, Benedicat, per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum Amen 

Closing Grace (Mr. Andre Bredenkamp )  – Benedicto, Benedicatur, per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum Amen 

Seated at the President’s Table

  1. Chris Luman, Headmaster of Maritzburg College and Patron of the MCOBA
  2. Matthew Marwick, Senior Deputy Headmaster (Class 1988)
  3. Nigel Sutherland, Head of Department for 6th Form and Special Member of the MCOBA 
  4. Andre Bredenkamp, Guest Speaker Reunion Assembly, (Class 1975)
  5. Peter Rodseth, Past President and Honorary Life Member of the MCOBA  (Class 1975)
  6. Craig Edmondson, Invited Guest (Class 1983)
  7. Steve Colenbrander, Chairman of the School Governing Body (Class of 1978)
  8. Craig Mackenzie, Chairman of the Board (Class of 1985)
  9. Rick Brown, Invited Guest (Class of 1964)