About the College BE
Often referred to as "the backbone of the school", the boarders at Maritzburg College are a tight-knit, proud group of boys, whose fierce loyalty to the school that is their home during the academic year often lasts a lifetime. Although stories of the hardships and tribulations of long ago invariably provide merry fodder at the regular reunions attended by boarders of yesteryear, the College BE of today is a progressive, homely environment that combines a supportive staff with many of the traditional virtues that have seen the school flourish for 154 years – camaraderie, commitment, respect and honour.
The structure of boarding at Maritzburg College
Today, the College BE is made up of 390 boys, divided between four houses:
All Form 2 (Grade 8) boys start off their boarding careers in Nathan’s, a stately red-brick building overlooking the school’s swimming pool. There, under the watchful eyes of the house staff and the house prefects (including the Head Prefect, who has a particular mentoring role in Nathan’s), they are introduced to College’s mythology, with its privileges, rules and duties, and in a protective environment are able to learn the ropes as juniors in KZN’s oldest boys’ school.
Within a short while, the 81 boys from 25 different primary schools who are dropped off on that first day of the school year in Nathan’s become a close-knit team of young men united under a common destiny. On that day – a momentous one in the lives of parents and son – they are about to embark on one of the great adventures of their lives, and while they will have to overcome some trials and character-building episodes along the way, for many of them the experiences they go through and the bonds of friendship and loyalty they create over the five years that follow as College boarders provide them with memories to cherish until their dying day. Not for nothing have generations of College boarders – whether they be plain-speaking sons of the soil or (in some cases) high-flying merchant bankers – continued to support their old school with an enduring loyalty that was first ignited in the far-off days of their youth.
After their Form 2 year, the boys then proceed as Third Formers to either of the two senior houses – the famous Clark’s (completed 1888) and Hudson’s, which is the largest of the College boarding houses – where they will remain until the end of their Form 5 year. In that time, they will grow from being the juniors (Form 3 boys are used as ‘fags’ by the boarder prefects, in a closely monitored system that is based on the old Public School one found in Britain) into the seniors of the house, each year gaining a few privileges that make their lives that bit more pleasant.
If he is selected to be a prefect at the end of his Form 5 year, a boy will remain in that house for his Form 6 year – failing which he will re-join all his old friends from his Nathan’s days in Elliott’s (formerly College House) for his final year at the school. There he will have the pleasure of living in College’s newest boarding house, opened in 1998, with its single rooms, large common room and more adult routines, which see the boys go to bed a bit later, have various ‘prep’ privileges etc.