Assembly 22 March 2022


Assembly on Humility:

I deliberately chose the theme of HUMILITY for assembly today, after the weekend that we have just had. I would normally start the assembly by now unpacking the word “humility”, and perhaps looking at worthy examples when especially you young College men have shown – or have failed to show – the kind of humility that is expected of you all.


However, I’ve decided today to focus directly on the stirring events of the past weekend, but through the lens of humility. In my culture, which I suppose is an old British one, we are expected to show a certain modesty or humility when we have enjoyed success. It is regarded as good manners to display humility and not to crow and boast about one’s wins and successes.

So, bearing that in mind, how should I describe the events of Saturday, when, alone, this Maritzburg College of ours, took on the other schools of our town at rugby and hockey, and PREVAILED in some style? If I was to follow the advice and expectations of my great-great-grandparents, I would have said that Maritzburg College enjoyed “moderate” success over the weekend. Perhaps I would say that Maritzburg College had “a fairly decent” weekend. If I was really trying to be modest and humble perhaps I would even go so far as to say that Maritzburg College had had a “so-so” day on Saturday.

These descriptions – modest and humble as they are – do not do justice to the magnificent day that this old school enjoyed on Saturday, and I can tell you that I was not the only person who, when he saw the bashers going sky high on Basher Ridge for the first time in 30 months had a speck of dust in his eye, as he gazed across Goldstone’s.

It is right and proper that we pay tribute to the young men who did so well for the First XI in their win in the morning, and the members of the First XV, who put on a fine display against our old opponents from across town in the afternoon.

But, whether you were the goal-scorer Graham for the First XI or Bester with his three tries for the First XV, or representing the under 14F rugby team, you all played with pride, skill and fire. And I must also single out the supporters sitting on banks of Pape’s and on Basher Ridge. My old dad, who has watched College rugby for 60 years, said that he had never seen the College supporters more alive and more passionate than what he saw on Saturday. And I also have deliberately mentioned my old team, the under 14F rugby side. After all the hype of last week and no doubt the fire and brimstone talks that Mr Waters had given them at practice, they found themselves 22-0 down at half-time in their first outing in the famous Red, Black and White. They faced a large defeat on such a special day, and I can only imagine their TREPIDATION as half-time loomed. But the team talk given by Mr Waters worked wonders, and the team came roaring back in the second half to win the match 29-22, in doing so denying their opponents any further points in that second half. And so, whether you were in the First Team or in the U14Es or U14Fs, or whether you were a supporter firing up our sides and defending the honour of Fortress College, let us acknowledge the day with a rousing round of applause.


But let us return to the theme of today, which is humility. It is vital that we remember that this was but the first match of a long winter season. We have many dangerous opponents awaiting us over the next few months, and again and again we will have to fire ourselves up as a school to take on these friendly rivals, whose seasons will in many cases be made – especially if they are from KZN – if they are able to claim the prized scalp of the Red Black and White.


A sense of humility will compel us to work harder and to do things better each week, and only with due humility and hard work will our teams be able to triumph over the best schools in the country. But that humility does not just apply to all our sportsmen and of course our coaches, and moving on to Basher Ridge, although there were stirring sights on Saturday, there is still much room for improvement.

Emotion and good, old-fashioned College mSatana were desired, but you College boys must at all times display the decorum and humility expected of you, especially when in public. They were aspects of your behaviour that were brought to my attention that are of some concern.

Any misbehaviour is unacceptable to a school such as ours – an old and noble school, driven by a value system. Such behaviour cheapens you and me, and the good name of our school. Remember – we are in this together.

We want these stirring gatherings of the College tribe to be events of great camaraderie, of brotherhood and of good cheer, and any misbehaviour takes some of the shine off the success of the day. Only with humility and a hunger to do better, can we improve and grow, and take the fight to our sporting opponents over the holidays next week and beyond.


Pro Aris et Focis


Matthew Marwick
Acting Headmaster