Bergvliet High’s matrics of ’73 look back on 50 years

Sigi Howes, Kenwyn

Over this past weekend, Bergvliet High School’s matric class of 1973 held its 50th reunion over three different activities. The main event was held at the school on Friday November 10 and was attended by over 50 people.

The head boy of 1973, Eberhard Gersie, and deputy head girl, Debra Skene, welcomed everyone, including the current principal of the school, Patricia Demas. Bruce Wedderburn was the compère for the evening.

In 1973, the suburb of Bergvliet was quite different from what it is today: it was still partly rural, surrounded by farmland and wetland. With only a few exceptions, all the pupils lived in Bergvliet or Meadowridge and had attended either Bergvliet or Sweet Valley primary schools, and therefore all knew each other.

Bergvliet High was still a relatively small community school, with just over 500 pupils. The matric class was 73 strong. Nineteen of them passed with what was then called a First Class Senior Certificate Pass, and there was only one A aggregate; the latter was no easy task to achieve then.

Although wealth was relatively rare, parents had aspirations for their children, and it was expected that some form of study – be it university, college or trade – should follow matric.

By and large, they spent a happy, well-balanced seven years (in some cases one or two more!) at Bergvliet. They shared many memories, laughter and friendships during that time, and last weekend it was time to come together once more to celebrate their half-century milestone.

Many of them had remained friends over the years, but a gathering like this gave everyone the chance to meet with those they haven’t seen since they stepped out of the school in November 1973.

Finding everyone initially was not easy, but, thanks to social media and personal networking, all but four could be traced.  Of the 73 matriculants, seven had died and 62 were found. Six were living in New Zealand; six were in Australia; one was half in Australia and half in South Africa; two were in the UK; one was half in the UK and half in South Africa; one was in Spain. The rest were still in South Africa. The Australian and New Zealand contingents were missed, but others flew in from England, Spain and Gauteng.

And what a blast it was! It was a great time of reminiscing, catching up, reconnecting and forging new friendships. Everyone was surprised but delighted at how well and easily everyone connected after such a long time. Proud to be Bergies.

Bergvliet High’s matric class of 1973 held their 50th reunion at the weekend. Picture: supplied
The main event was held at the school on Friday November 10, and was attended by more than 50 people. Bruce Wedderburn, pictured, was the compère for the evening. Picture: supplied
Bergvliet High principal Patricia Demas, left, with the matric class of 1973’s Sigi Howes and John Lawrence. Picture: supplied