History of Groote Schuur Primary

The first pupils of Groote Schuur Primary at Forest LodgeChristmas 1935

One Saturday morning just before Christmas in 1935, Dr F.C.L Bosman a lecturer in Dutch-Afrikaans at the University of Cape Town, who lived in Rondebosch, stood under the clock tower at the Ned. Ger. Kerk in Rondebosch.  He had just returned from a stay in Holland and was puzzling over where he was going to find an Afrikaans-medium school to send his oldest daughter.  She was 6 years old at the time.  He enlisted the help of one of the ministers of the church, who happened to be one of his old students, Ds. A. M Meiring, to find a premises and children to fill the school.

The ‘huisbesoeklyste’ were hauled out and checked to see if there were at least 15 children within a 1 mile radius that would be willing to leave their current school and join the proposed school.  After many days of visits and convincing they got the needed minimum of 15 children.


The school board was approached with their idea of starting an Afrikaans school in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town but their request was rejected.  The board did however agree to running parallel classes up to Standard 2 (Gr 4) at one of the neighbouring schools.  However, when the learners and their parents arrived at the school on the morning of 29 January 1936 to enroll their children, they were told that a meeting of the School Committee had decided to refuse to run parallel classes at their school.  After much drama the children were temporarily accommodated in the hall of the N.G Kerk Rondebosch.

On 13 July 1936 the school was officially recognised and named Primêre Afrikaansmedium skool and Mr D. Lamprecht was appointed as the first official principal.

The number of learners steadily increased (127 in September 1937) and the church hall very quickly became too small.  Many unsuccessful attempts at finding a permanent premises for the school were made.   In the end after some tense and lengthy negotiations it was decided to rent Forest Lodge and a small side field, which were situated in Campground Road.

The Building

The school grounds as we know them now, did not look like this in 1937.  The piece of ground, with the house on it, between the current building and Campground Road was called Forest Lodge.  The area from the top of the swimming pool towards the railway line, was called the Bottom Field and this was actually three different pieces of land, owned by three different people.  The entrance and exit to the building were the same as they are now except that the road around the building was gravel and became almost impassable in the wet, rainy weather.  The trees next to the house were so thick, that when the children played just a few meters away from the house, they would literally disappear amongst the trees.  A teacher had to continually keep an eye on them to ensure they remained safe.

The bottom field was extremely uneven, with a fall of 4 to 5 foot from one side to the other and big pine trees in the middle.  There was a big gulley that ran across the field from Hardwick Road to the corner of the swimming pool.  Somewhere along the gulley, it formed a dam big enough for the school to consider turning it into a swimming pool.  At this stage the property was entitled to 8000 gallons of water per day from the Lekkerwaterfontein, which comes from Table Mountain.  In 1946 this contract was almost 100 years old.

The school struggled tremendously with the poor repair of Forest Lodge and the unsuitable conditions in which teaching was taking place.  Many, many requests were made to the school board for a new building to be built in place of Forest Lodge.  Eventually, after 13 years, ownership of Forest Lodge was transferred to the Department of Education by the High Court in 1946.  The corner stone for the new building was eventually laid on 3 September 1948 and was officially inaugurated on 7 September 1949.

Name and Badge

In a Governing Body meeting held on 27 May 1938, it was suggested that the school get a more permanent name and Laerskool Groote Schuur was decided upon.  In the words of Mr F.C.L Bosman the founder of the school, “n naam wat sowel plaaslik as deur die lengte en breede van die land die hoogste assosiasies het.” ( a name that locally and throughout the length and breadth of the country has the highest associations.)

The school badge was designed by Mr T.O Honiball, the well-known cartoon artist who worked for Die Burger newspaper.   At the foot of the badge is the motto, ‘Groter en Hoër’ (Greater and Higher).  The badge was officially launched on 4 December 1939.

The school song was written by Dr Bosman (the founder of the school) and the music written by Prof. P.K. de Villiers from the University of Cape Town.  The song was made official by way of a concert on 12 December 1940.


Mr D Lamprecht
1936 - 1969
Mr D Marais
1970 - 1986
Mr A Meyer
1987 - 2014
Mr J Arendse
2015 - 2016
Mr V Nefdt
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