Old Unionites Association

Old Unionites Achievers

Carl Bezuidenhout

Old Unionite, Carl Bezuidenhout, was selected to represent the S.A.Presidents's XV at the International Rugby Board’s Tblisi Cup in the Georgian capital next month.

Carl matriculated in 2004 and was Head Boy of the school, captain of the 1st cricket (played 1st team cricket from Grade 8) ,captained the 1st rugby team (played 1st rugby for 3 yrs), played 1st tennis (also 1st capt) from Grade 8 (5 yrs), was athletics capt. (colours) and senior victor ludorum (2 yrs) as well as school squash champion. He obtained an A-aggregate in Grade 12 and was Interact Chairman.

In the same year he was awarded the WEEKEND POST MATRIC OF THE YEAR "EXCELLENCE AWARD IN THE CATEGORY FOR SPORT". He is the first Union High Scholar in the school's history to be awarded an HONOURS AWARD.(2004)

In his matric year he played Craven Week rugby where he was approached by the Sharks to join their Academy, which he did, and spent 5 years in Durban (he graduated with a B.Com Marketing Degree at the same time). He was on loan to the EP Kings for a season after he joined the PUMAS and has spent the last 3 seasons with the PUMAS and now lives in Nelspruit.

The Steval Pumas’ Jimmy Stonehouse will coach the SA President’s XV at the International Rugby Board’s Tblisi Cup in the Georgian capital next month. The squad of 28 players will travel to Georgia for this new initiative by the IRB as part of its on-going strategy of increasing the competition schedule for Tier Two nations.

The IRB Tbilisi Cup will take place from June 7-16 and apart from the SA President’s XV, will feature Rugby World Cup 2015 hopefuls Georgia and Uruguay, as well as the Emerging Ireland team. Back-to-back matches will be played on each of the three match days (June 7, 11 and 16) in Tblisi, with the teams competing in a round robin format.

The SA President’s XV will get their campaign underway on June 7 against Uruguay. Their second match, on June 11, is against Emerging Ireland before they finish on June 16 against the host nation, Georgia.

As part of their preparations, the squad will gather in Cape Town on Monday, May 20 for a two-week training camp, which will include a match against the Namibian national team on May 25.

The SA President’s XV squad, chosen by the national selectors, includes 11 players from the Steval Pumas, who topped the log in the North Section and subsequently progressed to the Vodacom Cup final. There are also five players from the Regent Boland Cavaliers, four from the Leopards and Border Bulldogs respectively, two from the SWD Eagles and one each from the Down Touch Griffons and Valke.

“I’m very excited about this squad and I know they will represent South Africa with great honour in Georgia,” said SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins.

“It will be a tough tournament in Tblisi. The Georgian and Uruguayan teams will be made up of players with Test experience, while we all know that Ireland have great depth.

“This will be a great experience for Jimmy and his team and widen the breadth of experience for South African players who have aspirations to play at a higher level in our domestic rugby. If they put in the hard work and stick to their strong points, I’m confident they will have a successful tournament.”

They will depart for Georgia on Sunday, June 2.

The squad was selected from the eight provinces in the Absa Currie Cup First Division, but no players involved in any Vodacom Super Rugby squads were considered.

Sulette Damons

Over a decade ago, Sulette Damons’ potential as a hockey player was recognized by her school coaches at Union High School in Graaff-Reinet. Currently a member of the Protea Women’s team bound for the Olympic Games in London, Sulette’s rise to fame is an outstanding “Rages to Riches” story.

The youngest of 3 daughters, Sulette was born in Graaff-Reinet and raised by her parents, Frances and Stephen Buffels, in a 2 room house in Umasizakhe Township. Having lived there her whole life, Sulette’s roots are indeed humble. “That was where Sulette learnt her speed and ball skills,” said her mother – “running with her dog and playing soccer with the little boys in the township.” Mrs. Buffels was employed as a domestic worker by a Graaff-Reinet family who offered to sponsor Sulette’s education at Union High School. It was there that Sulette was given every opportunity to fulfill her potential as a hockey player. She received excellent tuition in her formative years, from dedicated coaches at a school with a proud hockey tradition.

Her sporting prowess was not limited to hockey achievements; Sulette represented Eastern Province on the Athletics tracks as a sprinter in her junior years and was also a tenacious school first team tennis player. Her leadership qualities were also recognized at an early age, when she was elected to captain both school and Provincial hockey teams through the various age groups. She was also a school prefect in her matric year. “Sulette has a remarkable character. She is determined and driven to succeed, yet she is unassuming and genuinely kind in her demeanour both on and off the field,” said a former coach.

Sulette first represented Eastern Province on the hockey field as an Under 13, in Grade 6. She excelled in Provincial teams throughout her school career and was selected to represent the South African Schools’ team in her Grade 11 and 12 years, captaining the side in 2007.

Sulette continued her education at Potchefstroom University where she represented both her University and the North West Province hockey teams. She was selected for the South African U21 team in 2008 and made her debut for the senior women’s Protea team in 2010. She received a B-Sports Science degree in March this year and is currently studying towards a teaching diploma.

“The support of Union High School, the Old Unionites Association and members of the Graaff-Reinet community has helped make Sulette’s success as a hockey player possible,” said her mother. “Without Union High, Sulette would never have achieved what she has. I am so very grateful and proud.”

Union High School and the Old Unionites’ Association have also made it possible for Mrs. Buffels to travel to the Olympic Games in London to support Sulette. “I am very excited and thankful for this wonderful opportunity,” said Mrs. Buffels.

Isobel Dixon

Isobel Dixon (1969) was born in Umtata but raised in Graaff-Reinet. Her father, previously the Dean of Umtata Cathedral, taught at Union High School where Isobel matriculated in 1987. Isobel is the author of two books, Weather Eye (Carapace 2001) and A Fold in the Map (UK: Salt 2007; SA: Jacana 2007). Weather Eye won the unpublished section of the Sanlam Prize in South Africa in 2000 and the Olive Schreiner Prize, administered by the English Academy of South Africa, in 2004. A Fold in the Map looks back, in the first instance, to South Africa from Scotland and England, while in the second, is a reflection on the authors late and much loved father, his illness and death, and also about her four sisters, and her mother, the women who loved him. Isobel has also had poems published in Ask for It by Name and Unfold. She lives with her husband in Cambridge.

William Smith

William Smith is South Africa's best-known and most popular television science and mathematics teacher. He matriculated at Union High School in Graaff-Reinet. In 2004, he was voted 86th in the Top 100 Great South Africans. The coelacanth "living fossil" was discovered by Smith's father, Professor James Leonard Brierley Smith, a renowned ichthyologist



Cameron Muir Dugmore

(16 September 1963 -) was sworn in as MEC for Education in the Western Cape Province on 30 April 2004. He attended the Union Primary School in Graaff Reinet. His father was Principal at Union High School. He has been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Executive of the African National Congress since 1993.



Gletwynne Rubidge

(1968) Springbok spearfisherman grew up and was educated at Union High School. He is going to Spain for the Euro Qualifications in 2007.