After the Anglo Boer war (1899-1902), Lord Milner implemented an all English policy. This made the Afrikaners even more resistant and bitter toward the British. British public referred to the Afrikaners as “boors”. This according to the dictionary is synonymous with a Dutch peasant or lower class citizen. During December of 1906 responsible governance of the schooling system had been awarded to the old Transvaal Government. The “Het Volksparty” wanted schools to function as CNE (Christian National Education) institutions. Their aim was to correct the ungodliness that reigned within public schooling.
The local primary school had surpassed the 180-learner mark to justify a secondary school. The teacher college in town already trained CNE teachers. It came as no surprise when in September of 1914, Heidelberg had been awarded a secondary school to be called “De Volks Hogere School”. Master Louw was to be the first principal and the school grew well ahead of the times. Afrikaans was the language of choice even though it was only officially recognised as an official language on the 8th of May, 1925.
The school has numerous prestigious sport awards, of which most notably a six time winner (and one shared) trophy of the Administrators’ cup in rugby, the cricket administrators’ cup and a shared inter provincial hockey cup. Furthermore, the school kept true to its motto – for people and country. They educated children, who have gone on to achieve extraordinary things for our country. By 1970, the number of learners were already 960. This was also the year that JP (Koos) Bekker, was appointed as the headboy. 15 years later, he would go on to become the CEO of Naspers. Today, he is widely considered to be one of SA’s top entrepreneurs with an estimated net worth of R9.6 billion in 2018. Other pupils have kept SA on the straight and narrow, like duo judges Blackie Swart and Schabort. A colossal name in Afrikaans dramas, PG du Plessis also completed his school years at Volkies. A few notable others include: Prof Peet Pienaar who assisted farmers with weather patterns based on the lunar calendar. Johan Vorster, member of the famous Afrikaans boy band, Eden, and co-writer of the popular “De la Rey” song.
Emmarentia Scheepers matriculated in 1943 and would bring international acclaim to SA with her beautiful soprano voice. As Emma Renzi she received a merit award from the SA president in 1987 as well as similar awards from the Italian Government.
Volkies, as all learners of the school are known, have delivered many sporting greats, such as Springbok prop Ockie Oosthuzien, Protea fastbouler Fanie de Villiers, Bafana Striker Lebo Maboe and Protea netball star Elsonet du Plessis. Other schools struggle to keep up with the calibre of Volkies and their achievements nationally and international.
Participation and balanced individuals are core to the Volkie tradition, as they are proud to say: ”Once a Volkie, always a Volkie.” Wessel Oosthuzien, is another example. He barely made the school’s 4th rugby team, but became one of the most respected professional sports photographer for the past 54 years in South Africa.
In 2015, Volkies celebrated a century of delivering balanced individuals for their country.
Their school’s anthem, written by Dr AG Visser, who served on their governing body, confirmed their ambitions:
“Daar’s ‘n skool met ideale, gebore uit die nag
Uit die nag van stryd en lyde voor die opkoms van die dag
Dis die Volkskool hoog verhewe, ons hoop die onderpand Dat daar wag ‘n toekoms heerlik vir ons volk en vaderland”