Elwyn van den Aardweg //

David Polkinghorne //

Message from Elwyn van den Aardweg and David Polkinghorne

Kearsney’s Centenary in 2021 is an opportunity to reflect on 100 glorious years of camaraderie and team-work and to launch the College into its Second Century. Everything we have at Kearsney is a result of kindness – gifts and benefaction have benefitted every Kearsney boy who has worn the badge since the humble beginnings in 1921 and Kearsney Manor on the North Coast.

The Centenary provides a unique opportunity to literally be a founder of the Second Century and be recorded as one who seeks to join in positioning Kearsney for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

The Centenary appeal is about two opportunities and we would love you to be a part of at least one of these.

The first is in human investment; the strengthening of an endowment to assist future generations of boys with character and of quality to attend Kearsney. The second is investing in the funding of the Centenary Centre, due to be completed in time for our celebrations in 2021.

Thank you for your interest in Kearsney. We hope you will seize the opportunity to celebrate 100 proud years and to launch Kearsney into its second Century. Carpe Diem!

The Shuker Gate

Sir Liege Hulett Room

Our Journey So Far

Founded in 1921 by Sir Liege Hulett in his family home on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal near Stanger, Kearsney College opened with 11 boarders and two day scholars in August 1921. The dangers of malaria initiated the move to the present site on land donated by Clement Stott and JJ Crookes. The new Kearsney College opened in 1939 with 78 boys and 10 staff on its 50-hectare campus.

Today Kearsney has over 640 boys and 130 staff; and is recognised as one of the country’s finest independent traditional boys’ high schools and a leader in education.

Kearsney cherishes its unique history, traditions and heritage, balanced with its progressive and innovative approach to excellence in education.

As the College moves confidently into the future, we remain true to our founding ideals of being an extraordinary place of learning, passionately committed to producing young men of distinction

Growing the endowment fund preserves Kearsney as a centre of excellence and ensures the long-term sustainability of Kearsney into the second century and beyond.

It allows access to Kearsney for financially disadvantages boys and enables Kearsney to attract academic, sport and cultural talent.

Recognition will be given to significant donors who will be publicly acknowledged.

Be a Founder of Kearsney’s Second Century

Centenary Donor Levels

Legacy Donors R1 000 000
Sir Liege Donors R500 000
Platinum donors R250 000
Diamond Donors R100 000
Gold Donors R50 000
Silver Donors R25 000
Bronze Donors R10 000

Kearsney’s world class Centenary Centre is designed to provide state-of-the-art facilities suitable for collaborative 21st Century teaching and learning, in line with international best practice.

The North academic wing of the Centenary Centre comprising four modern classrooms, the Centenary Arch, a multi-purpose Long Room and a courtyard, was completed in 2016.

The South academic wing of 10 classrooms was completed at the end of 2019.

Every three classrooms in the original academic block will also be converted to two as part of a post-Centenary drive to provide classrooms modelled on the Centenary Centre venues.

Providing the world-class facilities appropriate to a school of Kearsney’s international standing requires the support of the Kearsney community through the purchase of naming rights

The Centenary Centre

Naming Rights

  • Naming of the Centenary Centre
  • Naming of the Centenary Long Room, a 300m2 multi-purpose venue used as an exhibition space, for specialist lectures to a full grade and as an examination facility
  • Naming of two Centenary Courtyards between the existing and new building
  • Naming of 14 Centenary Classrooms which can each accommodate 25 boys in 72 square metre classrooms

Centenary naming rights

Centenary Centre R15 million
Centenary Long Room R1 million
Two Centenary Courtyards, each R500 000
Fourteen Centenary Classrooms, each R250 000

Purchase of Naming rights in Centenary Centre

Centenary Classrooms

Peter Francois Centenary Classroom  (KCOB 1954)
John Bester Centenary Classroom  (KCOB 1963)
Professor David Hall Centenary Classroom (KCOB 1952)
Richard and Doreen Tolken Centenary Classroom (KCOB 1954)
Kearsney Striders Running Club

Further financial commitments from KCOB Executive and Class of 1977

Centenary Courtyards

USA and Canada Old Boys

“In the spirit of Kearsney generosity and support, the USA and Canada Old Boys have raised R500 000 to purchase the naming rights to one of the two courtyards in the new Centennial Classroom block. I am so grateful to all of our old boys in North America who have made this possible.

The official opening of this courtyard will take place during Founders weekend 2021. Over the next few months, the opinions of all those who contributed to this fund will be solicited to decide how to name this space and what sort of plaque would best honour their generosity.” Michael Hall (Gillingham 1953)


Peter Francois (Gillingham, 1954)

“I am delighted to have the chance to fund one of the classrooms in the new Centenary Centre. This has given me the opportunity to honour the driving force behind my attending Kearsney and my future success, my mother”

Michael Hall (Gillingham, 1953)

“When my brother David passed away in 1999, I continued his legacy when and how I could – so when the opportunity to fund a classroom in the new Centenary Centre came up, it was my privilege to do so, to thank Kearsney for all it had given to the two of us. When I told my brother’s widow, Peta, of my plans she asked if she could share this opportunity to honour David and his commitment to education. And so, the classroom that we have funded together honours David, but also four generations of teachers and especially the support and dedication of our mother.”

John Bester (Pembroke, 1963)

My late father, Brigadier Jack Bester, who served during the 2nd World War with the South African forces in North Africa and subsequently Italy and earned a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and bar (which was presented to him by the King of England in 1947 while they were on the Royal Tour of South Africa) contacted Stanley Osler, (an ex-Springbok rugby player who had served with him in the 2nd World War), and asked Stanley, who was the Headmaster of Kearsney, where he should send this naughty son of his to school. Stanley Osler said to send me to Kearsney and he would sort out all the naughtiness and teach me discipline. My time at Kearsney taught me to fend for myself, discipline, learn to study and participate in team and individual sport. I was a prefect and head of Junior House (now Haley House) and I Matriculated in 1963.

I was involved in sport – playing rugby for the 1st 15 Team, competing in athletics and swimming where I was selected to represent Natal at the SA National Swimming Championships.

After finishing at Kearsney I completed my Military Service and then went to Wits University as a part time student where I completed my degree in accounting and qualified as a CA (SA). I also attending UCT and completed a BCom (Hons) degree. I further achieved a CMS (Oxon) qualification at Oxford University many years later. These achievements were the result of the outstanding education received at Kearsney and all the learning that came from the participation in all that the College offered.

My father funded my first year of University. While I was doing my articles and studying as a part-time student at Wits I earned the princely sum of R60 per month. In my second year my father informed me that he would not be able to fund my university fees as he had to pay for my brothers Gavin and Michael`s Kearsney fees. He recommended that I speak to the father of a Kearsney boy, who I had helped to sort out some issues to ensure that he remained at Kearsney. He lent me R300 to cover my University fees and books and said I needed to pay him back at the rate of R10 per month and to not miss a monthly payment. This taught me the value of money and the discipline relating to managing ones financial affairs.

My brother Gavin started at Kearsney in 1962 and was followed by my younger brother Michael. Gavin’s three sons attended Kearsney as well and as a result of this the Bester family became extremely close to Kearsney.

I have sat on the Board of Governors as well as serving on the Kearsney Trust as a Trustee for the full term on each of these committees. I have been donating to the Kearsney Bursary Trust for years as I believe one should give back to Kearsney for everything that I have earned and learned from that great school. As a result of my connection to Kearsney, the opportunity arose to sponsor a classroom, and I felt it was an honour to be able to give back to Kearsney.

I believe current and future students need to be given the opportunity in the best available facilities to set the pace and enhance their careers.


Kearsney Striders Running Club

Kearsney Striders Running Club, which has been affiliated with the College for over 20 years, has purchased the naming rights to a Centenary Classroom. This is remarkable and we are most grateful.

Under the guidance of Mr Rod de Villiers (Kearsney staff ,1998 – 2018), the club’s first Chairman, the running fraternity began to see new striking colours at the races around KZN. With the distinctive greyhound on the vest, it continues to be seen, not only on the road, but also at trail runs and track and field events. It is a small club with a big heart, averaging 130 members.

Within a year of the club’s inception, Kearsney Striders runners were seen at the ‘Millennium’ Comrades. In 2002 Kearsney Striders took on the task of hosting its now legendary annual half marathon race held towards the end of January. This race has grown from the initial entries of just under 700 to 1683 entries this year. From its profits, the club has donated to the Kearsney College Foundation, a school in the Valley of 1000 Hills, Rotary International and Hospice. It has consistently appealed to people who want a sense of belonging and purpose. Mr Gavin Bester (KCOB, 1967), who was one of the club’s early members, organised the first 10 Kearsney Striders races. Please join them next year as they mark their 20th Kearsney Striders race in Kearsney College’s Centenary year.

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