Wynberg Boys’ honour fallen heroes

Major General Philip Pretorius, left, is one of Wynberg Boys High Schools oldest surviving World War II veterans. He is pictured at the schools Founders Day event with guest speaker and alumnus Andrew Feinstein and principal Jan de Waal.

Wynberg Boys’ High School’s Founders’ Day service concluded a week of their 175th anniversary events on Friday August 26.

“If you are chronicler (a person who has an interest in anniversaries and dates) this ceremony falls at a very special time. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of Delville Wood where seven of the 20 Wynberg men who fought were killed.

“This is our 50th Founders’ Day ceremony and also the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid and a Wynberg Old Boy.

“It is the 40th anniversary of the Soweto student uprisings which was the beginning of the end to race-based education in South Africa. It is also the 25th anniversary of our school being opened to all racial groups,” principal Jan de Waal said in his opening address.

Explaining the significance of the Founders’ Day event, Mr De Waal said: “The members of the Wynberg community who were fortunate enough to survive these wars made a solemn promise to their comrades who had died in combat never to forget them and this is what we are doing today. We are honouring the incredible bravery and sacrifice made by young men from this school who went to war, many no older than our senior boys sitting here today.”

Mr De Waal said the names of the men who had died during the wars were discovered while doing research for the 175 anniversary book. The names were read out as part of the service for the first time at a Founders’ Day event.

The guest speaker at the event was Andrew Feinstein, an Old Boy who matriculated in 1981.

Mr Feinstein said the values that he had learned at the school were influential in his decision to expose the corruption he discovered while working in government. “I had the great priviledge of serving under Nelson Mandela,” he said.

Mr Feinstein said that Madiba would “remind us at our caucus” that their role as parliamentarians was to serve and not to enrich themselves. Mr Feinstein described how he had uncovered evidence of corruption and resigned from parliament when the ANC refused to launch an investigation into his claims. “(In the arms deal) we spent R70 billion on weapons we didn’t need and have never used. This was when we as government were saying we couldn’t afford to pay for ARVs,” Mr Feinstein said.

He said the school’s teaching had helped him with his ultimate decision to expose the corruption.

“I was taught to think for myself and to be true to the values and ethics this school had taught me,” he said.