The traditional ethos of Maritzburg College boarding

Maritzburg College generally, and its BE especially, are places that unashamedly believe in rites of passage, and that things are earned over time. Within days of his arrival as a Form 2 boarder, a boy will have to go through something called ‘Vietnam’, which will test his determination and team-work, but will mean that by the start of the school year he will be well on his way to becoming a proud, upstanding young man of Nathan’s.

IMG 1431Over the course of his first year as a College boarder, he will wake up early, polish his own shoes, tidy his own locker and make his own bed; he will organise his laundry and his schoolbooks for the day, and make sure that he knows where his classes are, who his teachers are, and what his duties after school are. He will play sport in the afternoon sunshine, will help with the tidying up after practices, and will do his prep after supper. All the while he will be well fed and hopefully get lots of rest. But he will each day know that he is a junior, one who must climb College’s many rungs to earn his spurs.

He will start every Saturday at 05h00, as he and the other Nathan’s boys prepare the fields for sport, he will line up last for meals, he will spend hours fielding cricket and rugby balls for the seniors, and he will have to pass team testing on Friday nights. Most importantly, he will have to learn the sometimes mysterious ways of College and its boarding establishment, with its rules, duties, privileges and traditions.

But luckily no Form 2 boy is ever alone. All the while he will have around him 80 other boys missing home just as much and struggling in a big new environment just as much, as well as hand-picked Nathan’s prefects to inspire and cajole him, the housemaster and his staff, the sanatorium sisters, and the many College teachers and coaches sympathetic to the boys’ lot.

From this cauldron of bustle and activity are the proudest sons of College forged.