Preserving Boxing Memories
The Helpmekaar College which was formerly known as Hoërskool Helpmekaar situated at the corner of Empire Road and Melle Street, Braamfontein was the first Afrikaans school in Johannesburg.
In 1921 a group of Afrikaners wanted their children to have an alternative to English Schools and construction of the school started in 1925.
Some notable people attended the school like Mimi Coertse, Gert Potgieter and the renowned author Chris Greyvenstein who wrote The Fighters – A pictorial history of SA Boxing from 1881, Springbok Saga – a comprehensive illustrated history of SA rugby and a number of other books on boxing and rugby.
Over the years the school has produced many top sportsman and Springboks and Steve Groenewald is now in the process of establishing a Helpmekaar Sports Museum.
As a part of this project Steve held a meeting in Florida Hills near Roodepoort with a group of boxers who had attended the Hoërskool Helpmekaar.
Former South African lightweight champion Stoffel Steyn, brother of Andries and Gert also former SA champions presented some memorabilia from his boxing career.
Marion von Graevenitz and Len Jr. wife and son of the late Lennie von Gravenitz who represented South Africa in the bantamweight class at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki also donated some memorabilia.
Von Graevenitz was possibly one of the youngest ever boxers to represent his country at the Olympics as he had only celebrated his 17th birthday on January 31 that year. He also has the distinction of having the longest name of an Olympic boxing entrant – Helmuth Arthur Otto Leonard von Gravenitz.
Others in attendance at the meeting were Dick Groenewald a former show jumping Springbok, Piet Crous former WBA junior heavyweight champion and some members of the East Rand Veterans Boxing Association.