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Old Unionite excels in post-graduate studies      

According to the Department of Human Biology, Old Unionite, Dr David Hume won the FHS Best Publication 2015 (Postgraduate award, Public Health and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) award for his paper entitled: “Electrophysiological indices of visual food cue- reactivity. Differences in obese, overweight and normal weight women” in Appetite (85:126-37).
Whilst the socio-cultural, environmental and lifestyle-related factors contributing to the aetiology of obesity have been widely studied, our work published in "Appetite" is the first to show that levels and patterns of brain activity – as elicited by visual food cues – are different between persons of a normal weight, overweight and obese phenotype. This work represents Africa’s first EEG database sourced from persons with varying levels of body adiposity, and a PhD project which has pioneered the analysis and interpretation of never-before investigated electrophysiological indices (such as cortical rhythms and the latency of event-related potentials) which, prior to the outset of this work, remained unstudied worldwide in the fields of eating behaviour and obesity research.
To our knowledge, our study is the first to demonstrate that – in comparison to their normal weight peers – visual food cues induce: (a) excess beta frequency power in persons of an overweight phenotype (indicative of increased sensory alertness, pronounced anticipatory attentional processing, and heightened early visual food cue-reactivity), and (b) a shortened event-related potential (ERP) latency response in persons with obesity (demonstrative of rapid activation of the neural circuitry responsible for conscious and maintained attentional processing of food-specific stimuli).
To simplify, Mr Jeremy Dyer commented on the Department of Human Biology’s facebook page that the brain patterns of overeaters are similar to those elicited by conventional addicts when stimulated by their “fix”.
David Hume matriculated from Union High School in 2006 and studied under Mr Rory Kroon.

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Old Unionite wins International Award     

It is with great pride that we announce that Old Unionite, Advocate Catherine Breytenbach, daughter of Ben and Wendy Putter of Graaff-Reinet, together with two of her colleagues from the National Prosecuting Authority, have been named winners of the International Association of Prosecutors’ Award, ”Prosecutor of the Year 2016”, and were presented with their award in Dublin this morning. The award is for the case: the State vs George “Geweld” Thomas, the biggest gang conviction in South African history. Breytenbach worked on this matter for 7 years, 3 years of which were spent in the Cape High Court for the trial, judgment and sentencing.
The International Association of Prosecutors has given this prestigious award to this prosecution team for “great sacrifice and with the risk for (their) personal lives” while successfully obtaining the conviction of the “28” prison gang leader, “Geweld”, as well as 16 of his gang members – many to multiple life sentences. The Executive Committee of the IAP also felt that an important consequence of this sentencing is the public’s confidence - it shows that the criminal justice system can successfully address the issue of gangsterism in South Africa.
Catherine spent her whole school career at Union High School, matriculating in 1998 with an A aggregate and was also the deputy head girl. She studied law at the University of Stellenbosch, was admitted as a state advocate in 2004 and has ever since held a position at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Western Cape, in the Organised Crime Component.
Congratulations, Catherine, on winning this prestigious award. You have made the Old Unionites very proud!

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Honours for Kelsey Minaar    

Congratulations to Kelsey Minnaar for receiving an Honours Award in Hockey from Mr Pringle at the Winter Awards Assembly. Kelsey has been selected for the South African under 18 hockey team for a second consecutive year. Well done on an exceptional achievement!
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Old Unionite Dr Celeste Naude excels as researcher    

Dr Celeste Naude, a senior researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) at Stellenbosch University (SU), has been appointed as Co-Director of the newly established Cochrane Nutrition Field (CNF) in South Africa.

She matriculated from UHS in 1996. She is the daughter of Stefan & Marié Naude of Hanover.
The CNF will be under the leadership of Cochrane South Africa, the South African Medical Research Council, and the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care (CEBHC) at the FMHS, along with international partners.
The field will be led by Co-Directors Solange Durão of Cochrane SA and Celeste Naude of the CEBHC, with guidance from an international advisory board comprising representatives from multiple stakeholder and partner groups.

About the Co-director
Celeste Naude is a senior researcher and registered dietitian at the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. Dr Naude holds a PhD (Nutritional Sciences), a Masters in Nutrition and a BSc in Dietetics, and is a registered dietitian in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She is a member of author teams for systematic reviews and evidence summaries addressing relevant research questions in nutrition and health, and collaborates with African and international research networks via the Effective Health Care Research Consortium. Her interests include public-health nutrition, evidence synthesis and knowledge translation to promote uptake of best evidence in policy and practice. She serves on the South African Ministerial Committee on Mortality and Morbidity in Children, the working group for the National Obesity Strategy, the Technical Reference Group on Healthy Eating (Western Cape Government) and the Cochrane Fields Executive Committee. She is an Associate Editor of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group, and an invited member of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa. She has co-authored papers in peer-reviewed international scientific journals and textbook chapters, disseminated research findings at international and national congresses, and been an invited speaker at scientific meetings.

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Brief summary of the life of Gysbert Henry (Pinkey) Watermeyer – 1925 - 2016

Pinkey was born in Graaff Reinet on 7 April 1925 to parents Gysbert and Kathleen Watermeyer. He had an elder brother, Frederick, and a half-sister Diana Lyall. His second sister, Rosamund, died in infancy. Pinkey spent his early years in Graaff Reinet where his father was in the wool business. The family moved to the farm Grootdriefontein which his father bought in the Murraysburg area in 1928.

Pinkey’s initial schooling was by a governess on the farm, after which he went to Union High School until grade 10. He finished his schooling at Bishops in Cape Town, which was the school his father had attended. In 1943, he was sent to Rhodes University. His own preference would have been to go to a technical college to study engineering or to Grootfontein, but this was not to be. In 1944, Pinkey did not return to Rhodes but started farming with his father. Over the next four or so decades, Pinkey and his family moved many times and he farmed on 16 farms distributed all over the Eastern Cape, including the Graaff Reinet, Middelburg, Cradock, Hofmeyer, Fort Beaufort and Grahamstown districts.

In 1988, at the age of 63, Pinkey decided that it was time to retire from farming and sold Varsvlei, his last farm. Thereafter he lived firstly in Graaff Reinet, then Middelburg and moved back finally to Graaff Reinet, where he spent his last years, initially at 7 Paul Kruger Street and finally the Parsonage Street Old Age Home.

Pinkey was a modest man but could well have boasted of many achievements after the age of 70. He was a story teller and raconteur of note and he turned these talents into his autobiography. The result of this was the publication of the book “16 Farms (or the Impossible Dream)”, which recalls in detail the joys, trials and tribulations of his life. Eventually about 700 copies of this humorous and evocative book were sold.

His first year in town away from the farming life that he loved so much was difficult and he wrote in his book that if God had knocked on his door to come and fetch him, he might have replied “What took you so long!”

When Pinkey lived in Middelburg, he took up art as a hobby. Pinkey was descended from a long line of artists – the Leslies. Pinkey’s great, great grandfather Charles Robert Leslie, a Royal Academician, was commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint her coronation as well as the christening of her eldest daughter. Pinkey’s grandfather, Harry Leslie was the first headmaster of the art school in Port Elizabeth but for health reasons moved to Graaff Reinet where he died and is buried here in St James cemetery.
This Leslie talent was to surface in Pinkey who was given a few rudimentary art lessons by his neighbour in Middelburg and from there his hobby blossomed into an art career of note. Some of Pinkey’s art works were exhibited at an exhibition at the Cuyler Street Gallery in Port Elizabeth in 2006. This is what Kin Bentley, Art Editor of the Herald at the time said: “What talent! Pinkey Watermeyer has followed his autobiography with an exhibition of paintings of the highest order. These are some of the finest landscapes I have seen”. In 2006, Pinkey enjoyed an interview on national television about his art.

 Several other exhibitions followed and in 2009, three of Pinkey’s works were exhibited at an exhibition in Wallingford near Oxford in England.
Pinkey eventually grew to love Graaff Reinet and settled down to several productive years of painting and gardening in his home in Paul Kruger Street.

What will Pinkey be remembered for?
1. His great love for the Karroo: This is illustrated by the large number of his paintings which feature the Karroo landscape, and particularly the Compassberg.
2. His great fondness for sport: In his younger days, he loved playing tennis, bowls, cricket and squash. In his latter years he visited the Graaff Reinet Club often to watch rugby or cricket on the TV there. He also loved watching sport at Union High School.
3. His thriftiness: Pinkey did not spend a cent unless it was absolutely essential. Related to this is the fact that he believed that anything that could be repaired should be repaired.
4. His love for animals: The way he nurtured and loved his farm animals especially his Dohne sheep and his pet dogs and cats. The latter provided good company for a sometimes lonely bachelor.
Pinkey also wrote a lot of poetry, much of which is reproduced in 16 Farms.
Here is a poem he wrote about his dog Ringo who died while he was staying on the farm Jericho. It is called “Old Faithful”.
Though the years come and go
no shadow shall darken the glow
of the love in my heart
you did sow.
Beside a little tree
you won’t even see
lies the unmarked grave
haven of my brave.
Generations past and done
and those yet to come
shall never know
how warm and brightly shone your sun
for this lonely one
till at last your day was done
your race was won.

Pinkey passed away peacefully on the 4 August 2016 at the Parsonage Street Home in Graaff Reinet and is buried in St. James Church Cemetery in the town.

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Honours for Kelsey! Congratulations to Kelsey Minnaar for receiving an Honours Award in Hockey from Mr Pringle at the Winter Awards Assembly. Kelsey has been selected for the South African under 18 hockey team for a second consecutive year. Well done on an exceptional achievement!
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ln Honour of Mr Sullivan  

Mr Rory Sullivan is a legend at Union High School. He matriculated at Union in 1968 and has been a teacher and rugby coach at the school for many years, currently fulfilling the role of Head of Sport.
Unfortunately, Mr Sullivan could not attend this last weekend’s very exciting interschools due to having had a bypass heart operation. In honour of Mr Sullivan’s absence, the Union 1st team rugby and hockey boys and girls decided to spell out his name on the sports field……where you can always find him.
Mr Sullivan, we wish you a speedy recovery, and look forward to seeing you standing under the rugby posts on a Saturday again.

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Old Unionite - Sulette Damons

Congratulations to Old Unionite, Sulette Damons, for receiving her Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase) Degree from the University of North West in Potchefstroom yesterday. Here seen with proud mom, Mrs Francis Buffels. Sulette is currently a member of the South African Hockey Team and visits her Alma Mater on a regular basis.
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Old Unionite - Health Hero 

Consultant paediatric neurologist Johann te Water-Naude is our latest Health Hero. A consultant who had dedicated his life to helping children with complex brain conditions has been crowned our latest Health Hero.
Johann te Water-Naude, who has spent the past 13 years working at the University Hospital of Wales, was described as “a legend” who goes the extra mile to help his young patients and their families.
The 57-year-old consultant paediatric neurologist was nominated by Joy Wilkins whose son Jacob has greatly benefited from Dr Water-Naude’s expertise.
'He took control of the situation' Joy, from the Grangetown area of Cardiff, said: “My son has very complex learning difficulties, neurofibromatosis, global developmental delay and other challenges.
“He rarely slept as a baby and despite seeing numerous health professionals during his first few years it was Dr Water-Naude who took control of his situation and helped us get our life back as a family.
“He was there in your darkest hours and he’s the only one who really understands what your child is going through.”
Johann matriculated at Union High in 1976 having spent his whole school career at Union. His father was a doctor in Graaff-Reinet.

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Old Unionite selected as South African A-side Assistant Coach

Union High School wishes to congratulate Old Unionite Chumani Booi, for being selected as the new South African A-side Assistant Coach.
Chumani matriculated from Union High in 1998, being Deputy Headboy in his matric year. He made his debut for the Border Bulldogs in 2001 and represented them in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions over the next three seasons. He made 4 appearances for the SA Under-21's on 2001 and in 2003, he was called to the Sharks squad for 2003 and 2004 Super Rugby seasons, making 5 appearances.
Following stints with the Pumas and Griquas, he was also called into the Cats squad for the 2005 Super 12 season, making 10 appearances. In 2006 he ran out for the Stormers and also played for Western Province in the 2006 Vodacom Cup, before returning to Griquas for the 2006 Currie Cup.
He was involved in club rugby for Villagers for the rest of 2007 and 2008, before returning to his first team, the Border Bulldogs, where he eventually played a century of games.
His other achievements include 4 appearances for the South African Under 21 side and 2 appearances for South Africa A.
We wish Chumani everything of the best in this new venture and we are proud to call him an Old Unionite!
(Here seen with Mr Rory Sullivan, and his son, Garry Sullivan.)

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Union High School donates valuable fossil to museum

Union High School recently donated a fossil dating back about 230 million years, to The Graaff-Reinet Museum. The fossil was discovered and excavated by Mr. Lex Bremner on the Ouberg Uitspan probably more than thirty years ago. Bremner was one of a few people in Graaff-Reinet who was granted a permit to excavate fossils in the Graaff-Reinet, Murraysburg and Nieu-Bethesda area. The fossil was on display in the quad of the school since its excavation as Bremner, the caretaker and groundsman of the school for many many years, wished to remind pupils and staff alike of the appearance of a possible common ancestor to all mammals, including themselves. The headmaster of Union High School, William Pringle, is of the opinion that the fossil will be better off at the museum where qualified staff can care for it and conserve it for posterity. The School also wished the fossil to be more accessible for viewing by the general public.

Since The Graaff-Reinet Museum has a research partnership with Dr. Cristian F Kammerer from the Museum für Naturkunde in Germany, who specialises in Karoo Fossils and particularly mammal-like reptiles (therapsids), photographs of the specimen were taken from all angles and sent to him. Kammerer’s excited reaction came as quite a surprise :
“Incredible! This specimen is of immense scientific value”

According to Kammerer the specimen represents the skull and spinal column of a prehistoric carnivore called Rubidgea atrox. Rubidgea was the largest predatory animal in Africa in the Late Permian period (about 230 million years ago), and killed its prey with massive sabre-like fangs. This specimen is extremely important to science, because it includes the first associated skeletal material for Rubidgea or any of its relatives, and will be of immense value in understanding how this animal lived. In South Africa, Rubidgea fossils have only been found in the Graaff-Reinet area, and it is hoped that further field work in the area will reveal additional materials of this rare and enigmatic predator.

Lex Bremner amassed many fossils of different species of mammal-like reptiles (therapsids), the order of animals that gave rise to our earliest mammalian ancestors more than 200 million years ago. The Karoo is the richest repository of therapsids and Bremner walked thousands of kilometers, from 1970 to 1980, in search of their fossilized remains. The Bremener collection of Karoo fossils was donated to the Graaff-Reinet Museum in 1974 and each fossil in the collection is marked with the letter “B” for Bremner followed by the acquisition number. The Graaff-Reinet Museum fossil collection has shed much light on the fauna of the ancient Karoo and with the re-discovery of Rubidgea atrox, continues to do so.
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Founders Day Celebrations

Friday 29 January 2016 Founders Day assembly: 11:00

Old Unionites - Graaff-Reinet Branch AGM: 12:00

UHS Triathlon - Friday, 29 January 2016, Entry free: R120 per team (cyclist/swimmer/runner). Iron Man/Woman: R80 per person

Categories: Junior School Girls: 14:30 Junior School Boys: 15:00 Senior School Girls: 15:30 Senior School Boys: 16:00 Family: 16:30 Men: 17:00 Corporate/Club etc: 17:30 Iron Man/Woman: 18:00

For triathlon bookings contact Mr Hannes Lombard on 049 891 0262 or uhssport@unionschools.co.za Steak Evening at the Tony Burrell Union: 18:00 (R100 per head). Bar opens at 17:00 There will be babysitting by grade 11’s on the school fields from 18:00 – 22:00.

Saturday 30 January 2016 Mother Daughter Tea 10:00 Tickets R50 per person. Tickets available from Mrs Shell at UHS 049-8910262

Old Boys Cricket






 u/9 vs Parents

 Munnik field

Pro 20


 u/11 vs  Parents

 Puttick Field

 Pro 20


 u/13 vs Parents

 Munnik Field

Pro 20


 u/15A vs Old Boys 


40 Overs


 2nd Team vs Old Boys 

 Puttick Field

40 Overs


 1st Team vs Old Boys 

 Murray Field

50 Overs

The UHS 1st Cricket Team and Second Team will have lunch with the Old Unionites in The Tony Burrell Union. The u/15 and u/13 UHS Players will have lunch in UHS Tuck Shop.
Please contact AC Knott-Craig (083 448 3304; andrewknottcraig@gmail.com) should you wish to play - sides filling up fast.
Old Girls Hockey Union Prep vs parents / 'Old Girls': 9:00 – 9:30 at the UHS Astro (contact Lauren Broeksma: 076 8140921)
Union High vs parents / 'Old Girls': 15:30 -16:30 at the UHS Astro (contact Bronwynn Jacobs: 076 394 8952)
Prize Giving - After last match finishes
Braai at the Tony Burrell Union Bar opens at 17:00. Fires will be lit before prize giving - braai your own meat. Braai packs available (R70 per braai pack - salads included).
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A Visit to my Alma Mater and my Old Home Town – by Malcolm Serman

I arrived in Graaff Reinet (GRT) as a young child of 5 years old. My formative years were spent at the Union High School (my Alma Mater) where I spent a wonderful Childhood of learning, playing sport and socialising with school mates.
At the outset of this journey, back to my roots, I want to mention my regret that it was only in the latter years at school that we became friendly with the Volkskool pupils and it became apparent then, as we became friends, and in the years after school, what both English and Afrikaans pupils had missed by not socialising when we were younger.
I last visited Graaff-Reinet in 1985 for my 25th reunion, after leaving school, and I intended and in fact made a booking to visit Graaff-Reinet and my Alma Mater for my 50th reunion. Unfortunately I was unable to attend those celebrations due to ill health.
I was devastated by this turn of events and then the urge to visit my roots took hold and became stronger and stronger as time went by, until in 2015, I felt that whatever may happen I had to visit one more time.
Living in Sydney, I emailed some Unionites to let them know that I would be visiting Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Graaff--Reinet. It was amazing to see the Old Unionites network kick into gear. Emails went around the country and before I knew it, three functions had been arranged by what I have termed the “63ers”, this being the year I matriculated.
We met in Cape Town on the 22nd December and all those present were honoured by our dearly loved Puggy Munnik, who also entertained us with his stories which, as always, he recalled better than any of us could. A most enjoyable couple of hours were spent together reminiscing and came to an end all too soon.
There after I spent two weeks in the most beautiful City in the World, Cape Town – it still outshines any comparable City.
On to Port Elizabeth, with my Cousin Neville, by plane where we met up with a wonderful group of Old Unionites, some of whom had matriculated ahead of me and some after. Lunch at a local Hotel in Port Elizabeth was a buzz with memories flying from everyone at the same time and many wonderful exchanges of our time at our Alma Mater were shared by all present.
After lunch Neville and I travelled on to Graaff-Reinet. My breath was taken away as I saw Spandau Kop from the distance, as we came closer to Graaff-Reinet. Driving down Church Street and seeing the Church, which I had cycled by many, many times, took me back to school instantly.
We turned into Caledon Street and drove down to our Alma Mater and I cannot describe my elation when seeing the Union High School, after so many years and walking on the hallowed turf one more time.
Needless to say we stayed at our roots, at the Hotel once owned by the Serman Families, which, after being renovated on two occasions since, has no resemblance to what it used to look like when we were at school. We were never the less able to identify certain parts of the Hotel as being restored by our Parents during their years at the Hotel.
Graaff-Reinet as a commercial town had changed completely to what it looked like in our years there, but again we were able to identify certain buildings as they were in our hey day at school. What impressed us most about the town was how most buildings had been renovated, were clean and in pristine condition. The architecture of the old Graaff-Reinet has been retained but improved. We visited our homes in Parsonage Street, and thankfully were shown through the properties by the current owners.
We spent two days reliving our youth. We purposefully mapped out the town in our heads and started at the old Railway Station. It was sad to see it so dilapidated but I had to walk on to the Platform again just to check that the train to or from Port Elizabeth was not at the Station. We drove up and down each and every road so as to soak up as much of Graaff-Reinet that we could, in the time available to us.
The First Team Rugby Captain, Robert Henderson, who I had the pleasure of playing with for a number of years, took the time and trouble to travel to Graaff-Reinet, all the way from East London, to spend one day with us. It was a fantastic gesture and we had a really outstanding time reliving our childhood in Graaff-Reinet and Union High.
The PRO of Union High School, Vanessa Harpur, was in Graaff-Reinet at the time of our visit and we gratefully accepted an invitation when one of our Old Unionites, arranged for Vanessa to open the school and give us a tour along its hallowed halls, classrooms, education facilities and of course the playing fields, tennis courts, hockey Astro turf and swimming pool. We also had the honour of meeting the current Headmaster, Mr William Pringle.
The only part of the School, apart from the sport and recreational facilities, that remains from the time we matriculated are part of the girls toilets, the furrow running at the edge of Murray Field and the hedge next to the furrow.
My thanks, once again, to all the Old Unionites who took the time to meet, reminisce and walk down memory lane with me and for those who arranged the social get-togethers. The Old Unionites Association, certainly around the time of the 63ers must be one of the strongest Alma Maters in the world and I am very proud to call myself a 63yer and Old Unionite.
My time spent with my old school friends (not old in years but old in number of years we have been friends), my time in Graaff-Reinet and at the visit to Union High School were the highlights of our trip to South Africa and the memories of this visit and our time together, will remain with me forever.
Standing on the fields and looking up at the mountains above the school running along the Sundays River, I again gave thanks for the wonderful childhood I had spent at the Union High and in Graaff-Reinet.

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OUA Fundraising Initiative

The Old Unionites Assosiation is raising funds which will be used to the benefit of the school facilities and learners. Phase one was sold out and completed.  Phase 2 consisting of 88 plagues is now available and plaques are R2000 each.  If you would like to purchase a plaque and for banking details - please contact Bruce Maree.  Contact details:  chiefscout@intekom.co.za or Tel: 082 783 7027
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