Union High School

Old Unionites Achievers

Carl Bezuidenhout

OIn 2014, Old Unionite, Carl Bezuidenhout, was selected to represent the S.A.President's XV at the International Rugby Board’s Tblisi Cup in the Georgian capital.

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 XV rugby for 3 years), played 1st tennis (also 1st captain) from Grade 8 (5 years), was athletics captain (colours) and senior Victor Ludorum (2 years), 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, 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 Edinburgh in Scotland.

Mr Bezuidenhout has returned to his roots in Graaff-Reinet, where he and his wife, Leigh, intend to raise a family, and was appointed to the teaching staff at UHS in 2015.

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.

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 went to Spain for the Euro Qualifications in 2007.