Kearsney College

Kearsney College

Infobox School2
name = Kearsney College

motto = "Carpe Diem"
established = 1921
type = Private, Boarding
locale = Suburban
grades = Forms 2 - 6
head_name = Headmaster
head = Mr Elwyn van den Aardweg
head_name2 = Exam board
head2 = IEB
city = Botha's Hill
state = KwaZulu-Natal
country = South Africa
students = 600 boys
school_colors = Maroon, White
mascot = Greyhound
free_label = Fees
free = R 108 000 p.a. (boarding)
R 74 400 p.a. (tuition)
website = []

Kearsney College is an independent boarding school for boys located in Botha's Hill, a small town that lies between the provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the largest city of KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa.


The College was founded in Stanger, north of Durban, in 1921 by Sir Liege Hulett, a South African sugar magnate. In 1939, it moved to its present location at Botha's Hill, near Hillcrest and overlooking the Valley of a Thousand Hills. On clear days, the Indian Ocean is visible to the south and the Drakensberg mountain range to the north.


*D. Pyne Mercier (1921 - 1922)
*R.H. Matterson (1923 - 1946)
*Stanley G. Osler (1947 -)
*J.H. Hopkins (- 1974)
*E. Colin W. Silcock (1975 - 1990)
*Owen J. Roberts (1991 - 2000)
*Elwyn David van den Aardweg (2001 - present)

The Kearsney Badge

Kearsney's badge was designed by then headmaster, RH Matterson and the chaplain, Rev. HW Irving in 1923. The greyhound is taken from the coat of arms of the founder, Sir Liege Hulett. The scallop shells and dividing chevron are from the arms of John Wesley, founder of Methodism. The pheon, or arrowhead, is taken from the badge of Sidney Sussex College of the University of Cambridge, where Matterson studied.

Carpe Diem

The motto "Carpe Diem", traditionally translated at Kearsney translated as "Seize the Day", comes from the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known as Horace, (Odes 1, xi, 8).

The Choir

Since 1996 the Kearsney College Choir's performances have achieved international recognition. During July 1997, the choir travelled to Vienna to compete in the 26th International Youth and Music Festival and was awarded second place in the choirs category.

In March 1999 the choir toured Europe where they competed in the 7th International Musica Mundi Choir Competition where they achieved first place in the folklore category and second place in the mixed choir category. These achievements gained the choir automatic entry into the Choir Olympics which were held in Linz, Austria. There they achieved great success earning gold medals in the Folklore and Pop Choral categories and a silver medal in the Mixed Boys Choir Category.

In 2002, the choir was invited to sing with the Vienna Boys Choir in Austria.

In 2004, the choir competed in the 33rd International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna where they were placed first in the Mixed Choir category. They were also awarded the ‘Prize of the City of Vienna’ which is awarded to the top choir/orchestra in the competition. The choir then went to Bremen in Germany to participate in the 3rd Choir Olympics. They won a bronze medal in the Contemporary Music Category, a silver medal in the Popular Choral Music Category and gold medal and Olympic champions in the Scenic Folklore Categories.

In July 2006 the Choir participated in the World Choir Games in Xiamen, China where they won one gold and two silver medals.

The Choir competed at the Summa Cum Laude competition in Vienna in July 2008 and it was placed 1st in the Mixed Choir category. The group went on to participate in the World Choir Games (held in Graz, Austria) where it was awarded three gold medals and a silver.

Kearsney College Choir is currently ranked 17th in the Musica Mundi World Rankings and is the top folklore choir.


*Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa


Admission to Kearsney is competitive as applications exceed the number of places available every year and many applicants are turned away or placed on a waiting list.


The years of study are referred to as forms 2 to 6. Second form boys are 13 or 14 years during their first year. The second form spend their first year at the junior house, Haley House. Thereafter they are divided among the four senior houses - Gillingham, Finningley, Pembroke and Sheffield.

The pupil-teacher ratio is 10:1, with a maximum of 25 boys in a class and often less - particularly from Grade 10.

The majority of its school-leavers attend top South African universities such as the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and University of the Witwatersrand, and a few attend overseas institutions.

Subjects offered

*Advanced Mathematics
*Business Studies
*Computer Studies
*Engineering Graphics and Design
*Life Orientation
*Mandarin (The only non-Chinese school in South Africa to offer this subject)
*Mathematics (Pupils regularly excel in the national Harmony Gold Maths Olmypiad)
*Physical Science (Chemistry and Physics)


*The dux (valedictorian) of 1994 graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
*Clifford Chandler (1995) graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2006.
*In 2004, Kearsney had 3 pupils in the Independent Examinations Board exams top 50, the highest number of candidates than any school in its province.
*In the 2005 ISPAT-ISCOR National Science Olympiad, many Kearsney pupils featured prominently including the top three pupils in the country and top three pupils in the province in grade 11 out of 14 500 entrants.
*Out of all the boys taking Physical Science, 50% received distinctions in 2004 and 43% in 2005
*In both 2004 and 2005, 24% of boys taking Mathematics received distinctions.
*In 2004 one pupil achieved 9 distinctions, 2 achieved 8 distinctions, 2 achieved 7 distinctions and 2 achieved 6 distinctions.
*In 2005 two pupils achieved 8 distinctions, 1 achieved 7 distinctions and 4 achieved 6 distinctions.
*The dux (valedictorian) of 2005 was accepted directly into Harvard University [cite web|url=<|title=The Mercury, December 16, 2005] . This is a very rare occurrence, and follows the entrance of a Crawford College matric to Harvard in 2001.


Kearsney has a proud sporting history, and it works hard to maintain a high standard. Facilities include: several rugby pitches (one includes a grand stand), several cricket ovals, an artificial turf for field hockey, 2 swimming pools (one heated), a 280 sq meter indoor weights gym and a nature reserve.

An annual overseas sports tour to compete with other schools takes place in one of the sporting codes. In 2005, the 1st hockey team toured England whilst the 1st XV rugby union team toured Chile and Argentina.

At the end of 2005, Kearsney's 1st XV rugby union and tennis teams were both ranked 4th in South Africa and its hockey and cricket teams were both in the top 20 nationally.

The following games are offered:

*Cross-country running
*Field hockey
*Rugby union

Kearsney has a sporting rivalry with other schools in the province, including Hilton College, Michaelhouse, Maritzburg College, Durban High School and Westville Boys' High School, as well as other schools that are prominent nationally.

Notable Old Boys

*Bradley Barritt, Natal Sharks rugby union footballer
*John Couper (1942), anaesthesiologist
*Etienne Fynn, former Springbok rugby union footballer
*Trevor Halstead, former Springbok rugby union footballer
*Kevin Harris, Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker
*Andrew Hudson, former South African cricketer,
*Justin King, Springbok hockey player
*John. S. Lacey, Harvard Business School alumnus, CEO and President of the Oshawa Group
*Tony Leon, MP and former leader of the Democratic Alliance
*Douglas Livingstone, contemporary poet
*Sir Ian McLeod
*Steve Meyer (2001), Sharks rugby union footballer
*Harry Newton Walker, Springbok rugby union footballer
*Peter Rodda, apartheid activist and author
*Matt Stevens (2001), England and British and Irish Lions rugby union footballer
*Andrew Tweedie, Dolphins cricketer
*Peter Pharoah (1986), artist

External links

* [ Kearsney College official site]


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