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Diamantveld High School

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 28 JANUARY

UPDATED: 28/01/2020

28 JANUARY 1935, Afrikaans Medium High School (now Diamantveld) begins with 51 scholars.
28 JANUARY 1965, USA Bowls team loses all 5 matches against Griqualand West at the Kimberley Town Bowling Club.

DIAMANTVELD – HAVE A GREAT 85th BIRTHDAY
On 28 Monday January 1935, the first Afrikaans-medium High School in Kimberley opened, with Dr JF O’Grady as the principal, four staff members and 51 students. The name was later changed to the Diamantveld High School. The school was established with the help and support of a few pioneers – Dr JR Albertyn, Mr F van Rensburg, Mrs Hendricks, the only two Afrikaans churches and Mr Stander, the Afrikaans-speaking inspector.

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Diamantveld High School

It can be said that the establishment of Diamantveld High was the beginning of the Afrikaans culture in Kimberley. The first classrooms were on the top floor of the old residence of the original Kimberley Teachers’ Training College. The school gradually increased in size and popularity. On 23 February 1968 the new hall was inaugurated, and on Founders Day, 28 January 2007, was named after the Dr SM Cerff, the second principal.

The original hall, which is part of the main building, was named in 2008, after Mr JP Spangenberg, the third principal. On Founders Day in 2010, the main building was named in honour of the first principal, Dr JF O’Grady. The hall in the Sports and Cultural Centre was brought into use on 29 August 2009, and named after Andre Markgraaff, a former student (1970 to 1974) and one of the sponsors.

It was a small and humble beginning, but as Diamantveld remained faithful to its roots, it quickly became one of the most famous schools in the country. Many former pupils have made significant contributions around the world.

Nothing yet found for this day in Kimberley’s history. Research continues….
(Pictured is Manie Maritz in Upington during 1914, and his force entering Upington. Both pictures are prior to the battle on 31 January 1915).

DID YOU KNOW

A little background is necessary before diving straight into the Battle of Upington on 31 January 1915. (This story will be posted on 31 January).

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Manie Maritz was a Lt-Colonel in command of some 3000 soldiers of the Union Defence Force in the Northern Cape. In the original plan of invading German SWA, Maritz’ force was to assemble at Upington and be the third force in entering German territory, this force to come from South Africa by the eastern border of SWA.

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Pictured is Manie Maritz in Upington during 1914.

It was suspected that Maritz had been in contact with the Germans in connection with the Boer rebellion, and evidence afterwards showed he had in fact been in contact with them as early as 1912. On 23 August 1914 he went to Schuitdrift where the early contacts with the Germans had occurred, crossed the border in SWA, and telephoned the German commander at Keetmanshoop. Maritz apologized for shooting the German at Schuitdrift but at the same time asked for arms and ammunition in assisting an uprising in South Africa.

Beyers, in overall command of the Union Defence Force, resigned on 15 September 1914, this after receiving an envoy from Maritz.

Nakob police station had been captured by Andries de Wet and his Vrij Korps on 16 September. (The Vrij Korps were irreconcilables from the AB War living in German SWA, and wore German uniforms). Three days later this same force captured Rietfontein, an isolated police station on the northern border of SWA and SA. They had two field artillery pieces as well as two machine guns, the artillery being manned by Germans.
Maritz was summonsed to Pretoria but instead he took his 900 strong force northwards towards Schuitdrift on 2 October 1914.

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Pictured is Manie Maritz in Upington during 1914, and his force entering Upington.

Maritz entered into open rebellion on 9 October at Van Rooyen’s Vlei near the SWA border, and was replaced by Colonel Coen Brits as overall commander of the NW Cape region. Some of Maritz’ men refused to join him and these loyalists were handed over as POWs to a German detachment that arrived at Van Rooyen’s Vlei the following day, on 10 October.

On 12 October martial law was declared throughout South Africa.

The Germans had requested Maritz attack and capture Upington, but he delayed this attack although he had set off twice, but on both occasions he fell back. Instead he captured Keimoes temporarily and then moved into Kakamas where he declared a Boer Republic. Some of his men occupied Kenhardt while another two small forces were sent to Carnarvon and Calvinia. The latter two rebel groups both surrendered to the UDF.

Colonel Brits and his UDF occupied Keimoes where they were attacked by Maritz on 22 October. Maritz was wounded in the knee and his force retired to Kakamas where Brits attacked them two days later, on 24 October. Maritz was defeated and withdrew his force to German SWA.

The wounded Maritz was taken from Keimoes in a motor car pulled by mules.

The news of the uprising by Maritz and his men saw the rebellion then take off in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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