Early Pioneers

John Hall

Submitted by Hugh Solomon G8    John Hall taught at Krugersdorp High School for 39 Years. During many of those years, particularly the 1970 and 1980s John was very involved with Veld and Vlei, Estcourt. I attended G8 in July 1970 and he was the warden of our course.

John matriculated in Cape Town in 1963 where he was headboy at Westerford High School and played for the first team hockey and cricket. After university at Wits and a BA degree he joined Krugersdorp High School in 1969 as a newly qualified teacher, and stayed there, holding positions such as senior housemaster of the girls’ hostel, head of department educational guidance, and senior deputy headmaster.

John was on the administrative council of the Veld and Vlei Adventure School Trust.

Many pupils from KHS attended Veld and Vlei courses at Greystone. The school also formed their own personalised courses at Greystone to promote leadership training and outdoor education. Such courses went under the banner of inter alia Adventure Camp, Boys’ Trip to the Berg, and Prefects’ Camp. John was the driving force behind these initiatives which were very successful.  

Lex Morton from KHS attended course G9 in December 1970. He wrote an article for the school magazine that year saying “We can see the immense value of a movement like this. It is designed to develop those particular qualities of leadership, initiative and so on, which are evident in every human along the right lines. I would recommend this Veld and Vlei course to every boy over sixteen years of age who has the opportunity of attending one”.

I asked Lex Morton 50 years after he had attended G9, to reflect on John Hall the man. He replied: “John was a brilliant history teacher and the history of Outward Bound was well known to him. He had a love for teaching which extended way beyond the classroom and he believed strongly in the growth of the whole soul. Character and leadership development was a passion for him.

He was a hostel master who knew his boys well and he was able to identify those who would contribute and benefit by attending Veld and Vlei. During those years Krugersdorp High had a number of very active and successful service clubs. If John didn’t serve, he certainly had connections because the clubs gave us amazing support.

John was, together with Rob Birt, forever in the Berg. History trips, geography trips, staff team-building etc. He eventually became deputy principal at the school and always preferred his classroom to the office. He became an absolute legend and had a profound influence on the lives of so many students. My three children passed through John’s hands and his influence on them was as great as it had been on me. What I found fascinating was that guys like him and Rob Birt had all these strengths and yet they were youngsters themselves. At a guess I think they were first year teachers when I went to Krugersdorp High School”.

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