HUIS VAN RIEBEEK

Because I accepted my university offer to Stellenbosch University (US) very late, I had no chance of getting a place in the normal recognised university residences. I only really accepted my spot at US in Jan 1995...a mere 6 weeks after I returned from the middle East.
The only spot available for me to board in Stellenbosch was a delightful dump called HUIS VAN (RIEBEEK)

One could really feel I am being harsh when I call it a delightful dump but it was ! A fantastic bunch of guys who were literally from all walks of life and cultures housed in a mens residence in which the owner and zero interest to maintain or improve. We found out why come January of the following year when a lot of us arrived to study and, after paying our 3 months upfront rent, were astonished to see that  HUIS VAN had been sold not a month before....none of us were even advised.

Anyway, just a quick update on my first year spent at HUIS VAN....65% of the students were actually local young lads who were, quite honestly, KICKED out their houses for one year - 90% of these guys were only accepted to STELLENBOSH COLLEGE (SC) which accepted all the left overs from local schools that didnt make it to US. 
I discovered very early on that the proverbial '6 MONTH BUS' always arrived early at HUIS VAN as more than 50% of these SC were kicked out of college for bad grades (or in fact NO GRADES AT ALL) after 4 months. These guys were at SC for one thing and one thing only....a massive non-stop uninterrupted HEDONISTIC JOL.

ODDLY enough for me, now a very mature nineteen year old (LOL) with blonde hair down to my shoulders....oh I remember those sweet days...I found this both awesome AND at the same time, very frustrating. I was studying in AFRIKAANS and taking subjects that were hugely foreign to me - like RENTEREK and INLIGTINSSTELSELS (in English : The theory of Interest and Information systems...or computers)

LONG STORY SHORT....an exceptionally entertaining and completely expected year of PRET PARTYING but of my 12 subjects taken over the year, I was truly delighted to past 10 out of 12 - in Afrikaans, all you wanted to see on your report card was SLAAG (or PASS) as opposed to SAK (or FAIL).....sometimes it was great to see HER(SKRYF) IN ENGLISH... REWRITE) 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS :
1. RUGBY WORLD CUP 1995 - opening match vs AUSTRALIA

For those of you that were around in the mid nineties, you will remember it be a very exciting AND nerve-racking, tension filled time to live in South Africa. Mandela was inaugurated in 1994 and put the world, and our minds as citizens at ease as he started delivering on his promise to build the county instead of break it down after a century and more of colonial oppression.

The1995 Rugby World Cup was a time of celebration for the entire country as the SPRINGBOKS were able to compete against the world best after 2 decades of isolation. It was a time for the team to show what we, as rugby opinionated fanatics  believed, were the best in the world. 

The opening game, played at Newlands in Cape Town (down the road from Stellenbosch) was one filled with hope and excitement and in the end - LATE NIGHT CELEBRATION.

The day started for the men at HUIS VAN with an early morning braai in the front yard which included plenty CASTLE LAGER beers and Klipdrift (KLIPPIES) and Coke. While I do notice that the OLD, MUCH LOATHED South African flag being waved around in the pictures of the game, I do remember that it was the only national flag we had as our leaders were still trying to find the new RAINBOW NATION flag we know and love today.

Needless to say, we all know the result - both on the opening day - having beaten Australia with the most memorable of tries by Pietier Hendriks ( WHO WILL EVER FORGET HIM SHOWING HIS FIST TO DAVID CAMPESE...)and with Madiba himself handing the Webb Ellis trophy to Francios Pienaar....GREAT TIMES...GREAT MEMORIES.


 

2. FRIENDSHIPS FOR LIFE

It is very easy for me to look at the pictures from more than 25 years ago and proudly say that many of these faces remain either close friends of mine or are very much easy to get in touch with. My first year saw me form an an incredible bond with HENRO from Kempton Park and MURRAY - a farmer from Carnarvon...as well as guys like , Papsak, Kwagga, Kokkie and many other intersting but interesting characters.

3. ALWAYS an excuse TO ADJust the Thinking of those around me.

For those who know me...the opportunity to dress up always awakens a very odd side of my personality. While I will be truly honest when I confess that I do not know why themed parties bring out this desire to get people to laugh WITH me, the truth is that over the years, I have actually realised that I dont need to dress up to awaken the 'weirdo' in me.

At US, while I was convinced that I had to look different in order to stand out and be remembered, I am going to confess that as soon as I met Jackie, she made it very clear that I need not look for an excuse to have fun and laugh at myself amongst friends. Remember that she is the one that to this day has no problem with me going a bit overboard but I respect her and listen the moment she says....OK - NOW THAT IS ENOUGH.

Many years later, she encouraged me and accepted the birth of SANTIE...but I will not let the inner Santie make an appearance without her permission LOL

4.  Having grabbed every opportunity to learn and grow

IN MY SECOND year, I felt the need to assist further and ran for our PRIVAATWYK LIBERTAS HK (Hoof Kommittee) Having been elected, joining an excellent bunch of guys under the supervision of our PRIM (Primarius or head of committee) NIls Flaatten and guided by our BESOEKENDE HOOF (independent House head) Prof Paul Kruger.

To say that these guys taught me a lot is actually an understatement as this was an exceptional well run machine. Prim NIls taught me how to master the art of delegation as, truth be told, he was noted as one of the best leader at the time - but truthfully did NOTHING but run a highly efficient committee. His meetings were incredible as they basically took the previous meetings agenda apart and without us knowing it, he ensured we did our job well while he only needed to be there as a figurehead. Sounds like he was lazy - but NO - he was efficient. To this day, I try to run any team I am in charge of in a similar way but find myself falling short quite regularly.

ON the academic front, I did manage to pass all my exams (with the wonderful word SLAAG at the end of every exam) but heading into my third year, I was still 2 subjects behind |(having passed 18 out of my 20 subjects). It did become quite clear that, other than really pushing myself a huge amount in my third year, a fourth year was inevitable. NO PROBLEM RIGHT !