MR. J. J. B. REES, 1919-1923



Mr Rees was born in South Wales in 1882.

He was educated there and in England and obtained his B.Sc. Degree at the London University. He was outstanding at games.


After teaching for eight years in England, he was the Senior Science Master at the Johannesburg College (later King Edward VII School) from 1909 to 1919, when he was appointed Headmaster of the Technical High School.


Mr. Rees possessed vision, courage and confidence in his ability to perform the task allotted to him. His rare smile revealed a lovable person within the often aloof and always efficient Headmaster.


He achieved much in the short time before his death in 1923.


samson_smallMr Mshangonni Mathenjwa, known to us all as “Samson”, was born in Maputo, Zululand.  He moved to Durban in 1906.

After leaving School he worked on fishing ships and then worked the winches on whalers.  He became a loader on cargo ships and visited England, China, India, Singapore, Japan, the East Coast of Africa and Australia.

His sea career ended when he fell down a hatch and broke his shoulder, resulting in six months in hospital.

He married his first wife, Lena, in Zululand before coming to Johannesburg in 1912.  After working as a domestic servant in Parkview, for Medical Research and in a shop in La Rochelle, he went into domestic service in 1917 with Mr. Chalmers, who became one of the original staff members of the Technical High School, which later became Forest High.

Mr Chalmers brought Samson to work at the School when it opened in 1919.  He alone has seen every Headmaster, member of staff and pupil who has been at the School over a period of fifty years.

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FOREST HIGH 1920-1944

The School opened as the Technical High School in 1919 in a wood and iron building at the Union Grounds. It was the only School of its kind for boys in South Africa, and offered a specialized Matric course with a bias towards Applied Science. The Headmaster was Mr. J.J.B Rees. Two of the original members of staff were Mr. E. Chalmers and Mr. D.B. Jones.

1920_smallTowards the end of 1919 the School moved out to Forest Hill where the buildings were incomplete and the grounds were rough veld. The pupils dug out the grass, removed the worst of the bumps and played cricket and soccer on a slope.

Of the staff who were there in the next few years, the following are known to have died since the Silver Jubilee issue of “The Forestonian”- Mr. E. Chalmers, Mr. D.J. Bischoff, Mr. T. Robertson, Mr. P.V.W.Pougnet, Mr.S.S. Loubser, Mrs.O.H.M. Crowther (Mrs Watson) and Mr.H.W. Beeton. News has been heard of Mr. R.J. Campbell, who resides in Johannesburg, and Mr. J.M Parker, who lives in Hermanus, has contributed an article to this magazine.

A Paper Chase to Vanwyksrust in 1921 was the forerunner of the Cross Country as we know it today, and a Swimming Contest in the Village Main Cooling Dam was the forerunner to the present Swimming Gala.

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