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Introduction and History


Rhenish Primary School provides a diverse educational experience that encourages the love of learning and enables children to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. RPS is an English medium, co-educational government school comprised of Pre-reception Class (5 year olds) to Grade 7 and located in the historic town of Stellenbosch, South Africa—about 50 kilometres from Cape Town. Our classes are small to ensure a personal involvement in each child’s progress.


The Rhenish School was founded in 1860 by the missionaries of the Rhenish Society, as the first girls' boarding school in the Cape Colony.  The school opened on 1 May 1860 in a building in Alexander Street belonging to the Rev. PD Luckhoff.  The first principal of the school, which started with eight children, was Miss Bertha Voight.

In 1862 the Rev. Terlinden bequeathed to the school, a single storey house on the Braak, which later became the double storeyed building now housing the PJ Olivier Art Centre.  It then had an enrolment of 29 boarders and 18 day scholars.

It was largely due to the efforts of the Rev. J Weber that Rhenish survived and remained self-supporting during difficult times in the country.  He served on the committee for nearly 40 years and his descendants have retained their links with the school ever since.

The school was taken over by the Government in 1901 and four years later the foundation stone of a new building, alongside the building bequeathed by Rev. Terlinden, was laid and the building was officially opened as "The Rhenish Girls' High School" on 10 February 1906.  In 1958 when the High School moved to its present location in Krigeville this building became the Rhenish Girls' Primary School, with Miss Molly W Archibald as the first principal. In 1958 there were 205 children enrolled at the Primary School. In 1966, when Miss Archibald retired after 7 years as principal of the school, 318 children were enrolled at the school.

In 1967 Miss Rosalye van Dÿk was appointed as the next principal of the Primary School. In September 1984 the Primary School moved to its present buildings in Krigeville.  Miss van Dÿk retired at the end of 1984, after 18 years as principal of the school. At the end of 1984, 250 children were enrolled at the school.

A new era began for the Rhenish Primary School in 1985 when the school became co-educational and Mr Bruce W Niland was appointed as the first headmaster of the school. He retired after 27 years loyal service as headmaster on 31 December 2011. At present there are more than 650 children at the school. 

In 2012 Mrs Anne Tarr was appointed as the Principal following Mr Niland’s retirement. She left Rhenish in October 2014. The number of children enrolled remains at just more than 650.

In spite of the many changes and advances that have been made to keep abreast of trends in education, Rhenish Primary School still remains steeped in history, tradition and its English ethos.

2010 was the school’s 150th year of existence. We are indeed “Rooted in the Past and Positioned for the Future”.

The Rhenish motto remains, "Ebenezer" - Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

School Houses

There are three School Houses at Rhenish Primary School: Terlinden House, Weber House, and Van der Stel House. The House system was introduced in 1935 (the school's 75th birthday) by the school’s principal at the time, Ms Olive Siggs, to give "recognition for work done and to direct the competitive system into more impersonal chambers."  Each House is named after a historically well-known and respected figurehead, and each House represents admirable qualities identified by its own mascot and colour.




Van der Stel   


Terlinden House:  named after Rev G. Terlinden, founder of the Rhenish School, Terlinden House is represented in green with an elephant as its mascot for tough endurance and a long memory.

Weber House: named after Rev J. Weber, one of the original and most influential Rhenish missionaries from Germany, Weber House is represented in red with a tortoise as its mascot for steady perseverance and determination—“slow and steady wins the race”.

Van der Stel House: named after Simon van der Stel, founder of Stellenbosch, Van der Stel House is represented in yellow with Pop-Eye as its mascot for good health and physical strength.

Once a child is allocated to a House, all family members are assigned to the same House, even if it is years later when a child joins the school. If both parents attended Rhenish, the eldest child, if a boy, will be placed in his father’s House. If the eldest child is a girl, she will be placed in her mother’s House. All additional children will be placed in the same House as the eldest child.

Rhenish Today

Rhenish Primary School is well-known throughout the country as a centre of excellence where young girls and boys are educated to assume an active, mature and confident role in our society. We strive to develop our children’s confidence and self-esteem so that they are fully equipped to cope with the pressures and challenges of life.

We believe in the diversity of education. Whilst success in the classroom is essential, it is equally important to provide our children with the opportunity to experience a broad range of activities and interests. Our skilful and dedicated staff and our superb facilities allow us to make this possible. In addition to their curricular responsibilities, our educators are involved in providing an extensive choice of extra-curricular activities to give balance to a child’s educational experience.

A visit to our school during “school time” is the only way to grasp the full extent of what the school has to offer its children. However, the following is a list of academic information and extra-curricular activities offered at Rhenish Primary School:

Professional, committed educators
• Favourable learner / educator ratio
• A relevant and challenging curriculum
Remedial education & TAT classes
• Modern media centre
State-of-the-art computer centre
Outdoor education for Grades 5—7
Day trips
Entrepreneurial development
Science Expos for Grades 4 – 7

• Christian ethos
• Child-centred environment
Community outreach
Environmental awareness
• Strong leadership
Pro-active Governing Body with professional expertise
Strong parent / school relationship
• Team work

Physical Activities
• Instruction and participation in physical education and traditional sports

Athletics          Cricket             Cross-country running
Field hockey     Netball            Rugby
Swimming        Tennis  

• Sports facilities

  • 25 metre swimming pool
  • 4 all-weather tennis courts
  • 5 all-weather netball courts
  • 2 rugby fields
  • 2 cricket pitches
  • 4 all-weather cricket nets
  • 3 hockey fields
  • Sports pavilion

Cultural Activities
Music department

  • School orchestra
  • Marimba/percussion band
  • Music concerts
  • Individual and group instrument lessons

• Junior and Senior choirs
• Drama department (annual drama production)
Art department
• Chess (periodic interschool chess tournaments)
• Eisteddfods
• Public speaking competitions
• Scripture Union