One of the oldest schools in KwaZulu-Natal celebrated their 150th anniversary on February 28 with the opening of a museum. My colleague, Kevin Jones, and I had the privilege of being invited to the opening at the Pietermaritzburg school by the School Archivist, Henriette Ridley. The new museum was opened by the most recent former headmaster Rod Jury and it was the first event that the new headmaster of the school got to attend.
It was also wonderful to discover that the museum was curated by Charmaine Naidoo. Charmaine used to be at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum and we had worked with here extensively ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup to put up an exhibition of soccer photographs which still hang on the stairs of the museum. Charmaine has done a fine job of mixing old and new in the small museum, objects and multimedia displays. The funding for the work came primarily from the National Lottery, although the school and the old boys also contributed. Of course the school archivist, Henriette Ridley, a well known personality in museums circles was behind the funding proposal to Lotto.
One of the most interesting display’s for me was one honouring the legendary Skonk Nicholson (James Mervyn Nicholson (6 February 1917 – 27 February 2011)), for many many years the “unbeatable” rugby coach of Maritzburg College who coached the likes of Joel Stransky. Joel famously won the 1995 Rugby World Cup for South Africa with his drop goal in extra time.