The Old Boys' Association regrets to announce the passing of the following Old Boys. The Association offers it's sincere condolences to all Old Boys, their families and friends who have been struck by their great loss.
Hendrik Boet Mentz (1941)
Boet Mentz (11 October 1925 – 1 April 2018) was in Sunnyside House. He left PBHS in 1941 after completing what was then known as ‘JC’.
He was then apprenticed as a Compositor in the Government Printers where he learnt the skilled trade of ‘hot metal type-setting’ on Linotype machines. He enlisted in the army (unit unknown) in 1943 and served in the Italian campaign during World War 2.
He married his beloved Norma in 1948 and they had two daughters, Susan and Kathy.
He worked for the Old Mutual in Pretoria, Benoni and Cape Town. He was then transferred to Johannesburg where he worked for the SA Perm. When Boet retired in 1989, the SA Perm had been absorbed by Nedbank, and he held the position of Regional Manager, Marketing, Northern Transvaal.
Submitted by Pierre Béguin (1949) with additional material provided by Derek Brown and Mrs Val Oosthuizen (formerly of Nedbank)
Karl Röttcher (1953/4)
My Grandfather Karl Röttcher was a form 1 boy in 1950. He was in School House.
His parents wanted him to be schooled in English and for reasons which are unknown to me he was sent 400km by train to attend PBHS.
From the day he arrived at Boys High he was not overly eager to excel in academics. What he did however enjoy was art, shooting and running small businesses from within the School House walls which included barber services and biltong at a price.
In 1952 he completed the Danny Swart statue. The PBHS history books make almost no mention thereof - but in the 1994 version of the Pretorian the following was said:
Bottom: Mr Dan Swart, Mr Bill Schroder and Mr Karl Rottcher look on as the statue is hoisted into place. WHEN Walter Battiss embarked on the sculpture of "the Boys High boy" for the cupola on top of the main dome of the school he could never have anticipated the drama that would follow some forty-two years later. The "boy" was carved out of a solid piece of kiaat. The facts behind the sculpture have through the years been obscured by embellishments to the story. Originally thought by many to have been carved by Battiss himself, it came as a surprise to learn that one of his senior art pupils, Karl Rottcher, did the bulk of the carving. Apparently Battiss only reserved the carving of the face and genitals for himself.
On Friday 19 August, less than two months after he was removed, "Danny Swart" was returned to his place of honour. It was particularly moving to have both Mr Karl Rottcher and Mr Dan Swart present at the replacement ceremony. It should be noted that the funds have not yet been raised to pay for the full cost of the restoration project and any further donations would be appreciated. Other people who need to be thanked for their part in this venture include: Dr Buks Maré and Mr Wim Kossen for their help with the physical removal and replacement of the sculpture; Mr Werner Obermeyer for making the mounting for the replacement and, of course, Dr Trebot Barry without whose energy and motivation, this project would never have taken place.
(I apologise if this may be confusing - these are extracts copied from the digital version of what I think is the 1994 Pretorian.)
On the bottom right hand side of page 7 of the 2001 Pretorian there is a photograph of a boy standing next to the statue, that boy is my grandfather. (I believe the original is in the museum).
My grandfather did not matriculate - somewhere during his form 4 or 5 year he decided that " he had now learned enough" and he "knew what he had to know".
The story told by his age old friend - Glen Smith was that during an exam my grandfather simply got up and decided he had now had enough of school - he walked to his younger brother's (Peter Rottcher's) class and asked him "kom jy saam?" - he did. His younger brother went back to school - he did not.
He was well known to Mr Bill Schroder and had an extreme love and passion for the school.
His son Robert Max Rottcher attended Boys high and we, his grandsons, literally had no choice but to attend PBHS. He was extremely proud that all of his grandsons had been accepted into PBHS, and was equally proud when we were accepted into School House. His daughter Louise was also given no option but to attend Girls High.
He was an advocate of the school and would tell anyone who would listen how good the school was.
He sadly passed away on 8 February 2018 after a long period fighting diabetes.
Thanks to him when my brothers and I attended PBHS from 2001 to 2011 we were the third generation of our family to do so.
Heinrich van den Berg (2007)
Click here to view a copy of the 1994 Pretorian
Keith Ernest Gibbs (1952)
It was almost exactly a year ago that we acknowledged Keith Gibbs' 70 years of association with Pretoria Boys High School. This was done at a Friday assembly and it was fitting that his beloved wife Di was there by his side as the school rose to acknowledge this remarkable achievement - firstly as a Form I boy who rode to school on his bicycle from Riveira and later Sunnyside, ducking through a hole in the fence to gain access, then as a master where many a boy was brought to a shuddering halt by the words "That Boy", as an Old Boy and finally as the first curator of our school museum, a position he held for 13 years and one he loved so much.
Mr Gibbs was one of the first staff members I met, along with my family, as we walked around the school for the first of many times. He was tasked as part of a welcome to the new Headmaster and his family to show us round the school. This would be the 6th Headmaster he had worked with. He took us into his special place, the museum, where he explained as he had many times over, the history of the school and, what the school meant to him and to so many thousands of people. It was very clear how much it meant to him but this was also the first indication I had of the man himself and his special, caring nature as he showed me a photograph of my father in the Sunnyside U15 tennis team and the register entry of my father from 1951 which he had taken the trouble to find. This was important to him that I felt part of his school.
From the time when Keith first entered these gates in January 1947 to last week, when, despite being terribly ill and in great pain, he asked to see his beloved school again and was driven round as per his request with his family, Keith described Boys High as his own happy place, a place where he felt home and where he felt he belonged. It is going to be hard to imagine Boys High without Keith.
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