Old School

Recently I had a cable repaired at the Cable Maker, in Bordeaux Randburg, and there working from home, in a garage with every piece of equipment necessary to make up and repair any automotive cable, was an Old School gentleman! Going about his business in an unhurried manner, making a drawing, insisting on the exact dimensions, nothing plus or minus, finishing off with: “Leave it with me, I’ll let you know when it is ready!” Being somewhat Old School myself, but tainted with a modern brush, I ruefully said: “I’ll tell my client to stop irritating me, and mention to him that Rome wasn’t built in a day!”

Old School Rome

We’ll oft time come across a building or house that has obviously been built by an Old School craftsman, or by a team well controlled by that person from the Old School! The Italians are famous for producing Villas with marble floors, walls absolutely vertical and plaster that is as smooth as glass. A few years ago we popped over the road to view just such a Villa, but were thwarted from making an offer by the realisation that we were out of the ball park! A family bought that Villa, who went on to become great friends, but that as the expression goes, is another story! Another Old School association is that of Switzerland’s with precision watches! The digital era may have damaged the cogs, but the Swiss continue to be the gauge from which to measure a classy watch.

Old School Swiss watch Breitling

2 A Breitling wristwatch just reeks of collector’s piece.

Drifting through our apprenticeships in the motor industry, we were often thrust into tutor/pupil teams with Old School mechanics, many of whom were immigrants from Ol’ Blighty, and it was from these guys that we were taught how to do it the right way, the Old School way!  Spanners, sockets and ratchets etc all cleaned and placed back in the tool box after use, ready for the next job! And then there was my Dad’s: “The job is only worth doing if it’s done properly!” Another Old School dictum was Safety First! I’m sure that one saved many of us air-heads from potential mishaps!

OLd School overalls and tie

3 Mummy would often send the Old School mechanics to work wearing a tie!

There were a few exceptions to the rule, one being a gentleman dubbed as the oldest teenager in town! Bill Hart had the oldest tool kit in town and with his skills amassed over the years he made those spanners fly! Speaking of which, Bill also took up sky diving at the tender age of forty five!


3 Sky diving at any age

The Old School from which you take that giant leap, either into the world of commerce or industry, or to a higher place of learning where your folks, having worked and saved to send you to fulfill their dream of you becoming a Doctor, Lawyer or an Accountant, is for most of us the place where we realise where we are headed, what dreams you want to fulfill or at least have decided whether Mum and Dad’s dreams are for you or not! My Old School was Wellington College, Wellington, New Zealand, not like your famous Oxfords, Cambridges or Stanfords but with an awesome motto on it’s shield: Lumen Accipe Et Imperti – Receive the Light and Pass It On!

Old School Lumen Accipe Et Imperti

We have much to learn from the Old School and in the words of an old boy of the Oriel College, in Oxford, UK, (A place of higher learning for the past 700 years!): “Those who would have the statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed as they felt it was an insult to African students, should take stock of their situation and realise that they, the disgruntled ones, have much to learn from Oxford, and very little, if anything to offer!” That may sound a little supercilious or pious but the Old School has to agree!

Old School Oriel College

5 Oriel College, 700 years and counting, a truly Old School

The Old School may also show concern at the trend of young Africans, burning places of higher learning as they demand free access to such learning! The Old School would only have been so lucky! Apart from the fact that the untold Billions have been lost in shady deals via the Association of Notorious Cadres, and the budget can ill afford to even finance higher education for repayment by the student once working productively, we have to take responsibility for our own education! It is a basic dictum of life moron! You work hard, in this case your parents who actually are employed and paying to put food in your stomach and a roof over your head, and get rewarded for your efforts with a wage or salary, or if you had worked hard at high school, a bursary! The moron who torched the science lab, and then proudly boasted on facebook that science is not part of African culture, obviously didn’t get a bursary!

Old School morons who reckon science must fall

6 Morons claiming #science must fall

My gardener, Solly recently related to me of the troubling tsotsis, parasites (yes, people), who hang around known drop off and collection points, in Solly’s words, like Monkeys to steal from those that have earned their daily bread!

“Learn not from the Monkey to steal and run, but from the Woodpecker who toils to build his home!”  (Translated from the original Sesotho) Author unknown!

Old School Crested Barbet - woodpecker

7 Is your garden filled with their tokkety tok?

Aaaaaah, the Old School, who still open the car door for Mummy, who gives up a seat on the bus or train for a senior, or lady, who will hand her/his place in a queue to that same senior, who can still write a thank you note in cursive, who play tennis with a wooden racquet without topspin, who putter along on a vintage motorcycle, (or do the Sunday breakfast run on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX 10R), or in a vintage car on Sunday outings, who potter around in the garden to the chorus of nature! Your alma mater, the Old School!

Who doesn’t know Neil Young and his Old Man?


St Vincent School For The Deaf helping the hard of hearing to listen:


Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:


Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:


The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: