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News > Reunions > Class of 1989 Family Day

Class of 1989 Family Day

A Spirited rendezvous in Constantia with friends and family on a wintry day. All about support, friendship and giving back.
23 Sep 2023

In May 2023, Craig Christian (1989K) and his classmates set a rather unconventional date for a reunion – the 2nd of September 2023, to be precise. While a 34-year reunion might sound unusual, Craig had a heartfelt reason to make it happen.

It all started during a 1st XV rugby match in the third term of the previous year. It was then that Geoff Axten (1989S), a friend of Craig's, shared some concerning news. Huldane Murray (1989W), a close friend, had been diagnosed with leukemia and was facing a serious battle. Craig and Haldane, both avid sportsmen who played rugby, and shared the cricket pitch since 'standard two', had a special bond.

Upon hearing the news, Craig remained in close contact with Haldane, regularly checking on his well-being. When Haldane's remission was annonced, it made Craig reflect on the fact that this year the matrics of 1989 were all hitting the significant milestone of 50 years of age.

It felt like the perfect time to come together to raise bats and caps to all those classmates who had been supporting each other over the years. A Class of '89 Family Day was decided on.

Craig and his classmates agreed that there were several compelling reasons why such a gathering was special and important:

  • Acknowledging lifelong bonds and reconnecting with old friends: Craig and his classmates had spent their formative years together, sharing countless memories and experiences at Bishops. The school had left an indelible mark on their lives. However, after school, many of them had lost touch due to the twists and turns of life.
  • Extending the family: Many ODs had started families of their own, introducing spouses and children whom their extended OD family had never met. Thus, the idea of an OD family day was born – a chance for everyone to meet and celebrate as one big family.
  • Generational wealth and the rich network of knowledge and experience: The class of 1989 was made up of a treasure trove of experience and expertise.  Wealth was not seen as just being about finances; it also included a wealth of skills, knowledge, and know-how. Craig referred to Paul Murray's address to the 1989 ODs, highlighting that the greater OD family comprised over 70 diverse career paths. This vast resource could serve as a platform for mentorship, career guidance, and support. The day aimed to introduce the idea of harnessing this resource to benefit not only ODs but also their children and other family members.

Thirty-one classmates and their families met in Constantia, on a cold and wet day that was filled with the warmth of friendship and cameraderie.

Craig hoped that this initiative might inspire other OD year groups to do the same.  He extended his heartfelt thanks to the individuals who played pivotal roles in making the Family Day a resounding success.  A special shoutout went to the following classmates and friends:

  • Geoff Axten and Nick Behr (1989K), who generously provided the Club House Restaurant Constantia as the venue.
  • Duncan De Groot (1989G), for proposing a toast and setting a date for their 35th annual reunion in 2024.
  • Paul Murray, for providing updates on OD affairs.
  • Charles Canning (1989O), for entertaining everyone with his skillful bagpipe performance.
  • Cecil van de Merwe (1989F), for sponsoring the champagne from Merwieda Wine Cellars.
  • Lastly, Craig expressed his gratitude to the ODs, their spouses, and their children who made the day special.

This reunion was a testament to the enduring friendships forged at Bishops, and Craig believed it was just the beginning of many more gatherings to come.

In the photograph above:

Top left to right: Grant McCoy (1989G), Dough Jenman (Birt), Martin MacGregor (Ogilvie), Nick Allen (Gray), Oliver Steynor (Ogilvie), Murray Carlyle (O), Phil Dicey (Founders), Anthony Farr (Founders), Charles Canning (Ogilvie), Jonathan Van Breda (School), Simon Berrisford (Gray), Derek Moss (School), Matthew Le Roux (Birt), Geoff Axten (School), Rowen Belchers (School), George Joubert (Founders), Cecil Van de Merwe (Founders), Andrew Vintcent (School) and Rob Forsyth (Kidd).
Standing Middle left to right: Asim Gani (Kidd), Michael Kornmuler (Ogilvie), George Grieve (School), Peter Milne (Kidd), Cecil van der Merwe (Founders).
Bottom left to right: Craig Christian (Kidd), Haldane Murray (White), Peter Koch (White), Dale Symons (School), Duncan de Groot (Gray), Ian Solomon (Birt) and Nick Chadwick (Gray).

Thank you to Craig for submitting this story to us.


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