KLOOF PRE –PRIMARY IS TUCKED AWAY IN AN OLD PART OF THE VILLAGE, AND GETTING THERE IS ALMOST LIKE FINDING A SECRET GARDEN
Kloof Pre-Primary, tucked alongside the Kloof shopping complex in Old Main Road, has a long history. The high ceilings and arched corridors, wooden floors and original fireplaces, give it a touch of old world charm and a heritage that the school is proud of.
It was as far back as the early 1920s when Kloof was still a “wild place out in the sticks” that a pioneering resident and community-minded benefactor, Clive Alexander Cheesman, decided the area needed a local school for the families who had settled there. This was mostly to get away from the heat, humidity and mosquitoes of Durban. The ground was donated by the Field family and originally stretched from its present position to just beyond what is now the M13 highway. In fact, part of the school’s land can still be seen across the highway, adjacent to the Methodist Church.
In 1927 the Kloof Government School was established on the present site that was originally developed in 1910. The Kloof Government School then moved to another premises and the buildings were used for many things, including the local police station.
Kloof Pre-Primary school was then established in 1972 by Mr and Mrs Brian Ferraz in the old Kloof Government School building that had been standing empty at the time. Today our school has 8 classes with children ranging in ages from 19 months to 6 years old.
We are very fortunate that we have managed to retain the beautiful and original historical buildings as well as the lovely big grounds. This is a testament to those who have cared for this area over the years and recognized the significance of the school’s heritage.
Memories of Kloof
by Veronica Engelbrecht (nee Freese)
In 1949, when I was 9 years old, our family of 10 moved to Botha’s Hill. My father and brothers owned the two trading stores in the main road. The nearest school in those days was the Kloof School, on the property which is now Kloof Pre-primary School. The school went from Class One to Standard Six (grade 8). I was in Standard Two (Grade 4) in the current Green room, and my brother Lorenz was in Standard One (Grade 3).
We had to travel to school by train every day, and this was very exciting for my brother and me!! We were not happy when we had to drive by car with one of our older brothers. The Station Master at the time was Vickus D. van der Walt. He was a friend of the family, and he later married my sister Mona, who worked at the Kloof Post Office. We were very close, and he would sometimes give us a few pennies, or even a shilling (ten pennies) for pocket money. This was a rare treat, and after school we would go to the trading store across the road, and buy Frozen Lollipops for the train ride home. If we didn’t have enough money for that, we would buy 4 bubble gums for a penny.
Sometimes we would be running late to catch the train home after school, and as he saw the Freese children approach, he would wait for us before blowing his whistle. This would give us enough time to quickly get onto one of the 3 rd class coaches, at the end of the train (which was reserved for the African people). Then we would walk along through the coaches until we came to the 2nd class, for which we had a season tickets (this was for the Europeans).
My best friend was Theresa, and her father was a teacher at Kearsney College. We travelled together on the train, and I would often visit her and play on the school campus. Now my grandson attends Kearsney College!
We had a friend – a boy called Maiden Lello who really liked me. I told Theresa, that I would only like him back, if she also liked him!! So funny how peer pressure has always been around.
The three years in the Kloof School were some of the happiest years of my schooling. I was very good at Athletics, and I usually won all my races.
I remember an incident which happened at the time. I squashed my fingers of my right hand, in the train door, so when I got to school, they bandaged them up for me. That morning we wrote a spelling test and I had to write with my left hand. I didn’t make any mistakes. The teacher praised me in front of the whole class and said: “If Veronica can get all her spelling right, using her left hand, then you should all have got your spelling words right too!” I was so proud of myself – and I still remember how I felt when the teacher praised me!
Recently I visited Kloof Pre-Primary to attend a Grandparents Day at the invitation of my daughter Anita Strauss. I was amazed to see the tree in the courtyard, of which I have strong memories. How time has flown, but it is heart-warming to hear of the success of Kloof Pre-Primary School, and know that I play a small part in its history.