A Word from Thomas Keller

Review of the years 1977 -1983

In mid-1976 I received a letter and an invitation from the then headmaster, Dieter Faulhaber, to work as a teacher at the DSD. I said thank you and declined, as I was getting ready to tackle a world trip with a friend.

However, Dieter’s letter was shortly followed by a job offer as Vice Principal from the Chairman, Dr. Fritz Bünger. I accepted and started in Rossburgh in January 1977.

My first impression was a bit mixed. Despite friendly teachers and small classes (you couldn’t have taught in a better setting), I didn’t have my own classroom and everything was a bit makeshift here and there.

My class and I were moved to the teachers’ room, since the small former kindergarten only consisted of 5 classrooms.

My blackboard was a wooden board painted green, which had to be washed after each lesson, as in the old days, with a sponge and water. The enthusiasm and joy of being back in South Africa after several years of teaching in Germany outweighed this somewhat primitive start.

During recess, staff stayed either in the hallway or on the porch in front of the classrooms.

It was clear to the school association, board, parents and teachers – it couldn’t go on like this – because we didn’t have another room available and where should the 7th class be housed next year?!

In a local teachers’ magazine, Mr. Faulhaber read an article about the St. Agnes School, which was founded in 1904 and was to be closed at the end of 1977. He shared this news with the school board, who immediately began negotiations. The move to our new and much larger school building took place and the 7th grade got their classroom in 1978.

After about 6 months, Dieter Faulhaber resigned and returned to Germany with his family.

The board of directors of the DSD commissioned me to take over the management of the DSD and shortly thereafter I became the new principal.

My area of ​​responsibility, as instructed by the board, was to maintain close contact with the three Lutheran congregations and the Catholic Church. We needed students and needed to fill the classes! There were still doubts among the parents whether the DSD was really on par when it came to the level of education compared to the local government schools, the German schools here in South Africa and also those in Germany.

This was a very clear question that we were asked by the technicians and directors sent from Germany, whether their children would find contact in Germany again if they returned after 3-5 years.


Success control and curriculum of Baden Württemberg

For this concern, Dr. Bünger had a solution. He designed the necessary forms. No later than 6 months after our students went to other schools, that school received a detailed questionnaire asking them to report on the student’s progress and grades.

After these reports got here, the teachers and board were informed.

So far, the school had followed the Natal curriculum for the most part. Some German textbooks were also ordered, and each teacher had, for the most part, the liberty to decide what they taught.

Before I left Germany, I bought the necessary teaching materials. Since there is freedom of teaching materials in Germany, as a teacher I could order anything I wanted from the various publishers for free. This is how the curriculum from Baden Württemberg came to the DSD.

One of my first tasks was to draw up a curriculum of the most important subjects for our school, especially with regard to the seamless reintegration of the students not only in Germany but also in Austria and Switzerland. This curriculum consisted of a combination of the Natal curriculum and the Baden-Württemberg curriculum.

Accordingly, we also ordered the textbooks for all classes – from class 1 to 7. With small classes and good teachers, our students in Europe have always been successful. Later, when our students wrote their matrics here, many of them were in the “top ten”.


The all important money

Small school, small money….big school, big money!

The new school had everything we needed, except for a sports field. We had SPACE!

But with that, our expenses also increased and of course with the many new textbooks, musical instruments and other learning materials that we ordered from Germany.

Our loyal and regular donors in Germany were kept informed of the status of “their” school by letter, which the Trust’s secretary, Eva Gutschmidt, had been doing for 40 years. But we had to show our donors that we also do something. So it came about that the DSD organized a so-called slaughter festival. Our new chairman, Roland Fritsch, was a master butcher and knew where to get the best meat, and the parents’ association organized the festival with a German brass band.

Since we wanted to save the cost of renting a hall, the school’s courtyard was covered with a tent and small rubber balls were scattered on the concrete floor to serve as a dance floor. At around 5 a.m., the last guests were ‘asked’ to go home, because cleaning up began at 8 a.m. – after all, everything had to be clean and in order for the lessons on Monday. The slaughter festival became more and more popular. 445 guests was our record.

At Easter, our so-called Easter Festival/Bazaar took place. So we kept looking for more ways to raise money for our school.

Tuition – Dr. Fritz Bünger

As many know, you don’t have to pay a penny for school fees in Germany. It’s different in South Africa.

During my school career, my parents had to pay quite a bit so that I could go to the German School in Johannesburg. Later I went to a government school where the tuition was R4.00 a year – a more or less symbolic contribution.

The parents of the DSD had to dig deep into their pockets from the start, because the DSD received no financial support, neither from the South African state nor from Germany.

All inquiries, requests and promises for funding came up empty. The board couldn’t force the parents to pay more tuition…and the teachers had to be paid. It was Dr. Bünger, who in turn, tackled this matter professionally. In Germany, an e.V. (registered association) was founded, letters for financial support were sent, and slowly some money came together, which was then managed by the “Von Falkenhausen Trust”.

Walter Drewes, tax and accountant, managed the money together with the board of the Von Falkenhausen Trust. Today there is no school in South Africa that does not charge tuition. 30-40 years ago, you could buy a house with today’s school fees at other schools… fortunately not at the DSD.


In order to “feed” the school with children, the board decided to set up a Kindergarten. The necessary structural changes were made by Armin Vach, member of the board. Walls 480mm thick had to be broken through. Our first kindergarten teacher, Gisela Spreemann, started in 1979 with a small group of 11 children. The group kept growing, so after 2 years we hired a second specialist.

German as the language of instruction

I think very few people know that all German schools in Kwa-Zulu Natal have permission to teach German as the language of instruction for all subjects in the first 4 school years.

This privilege was won by the Natal and Southeast Transvaal Schools Association (SAG) when the government tried to abolish this privilege, which had existed since 1910, in the 1960s.

The SAG made representations to the then First Minister John Vorster, who then continued to grant this right to German private schools and German community schools. The law still exists today.

German school with South African characteristics

It soon became clear to me that we wanted to be a German school with a South African influence. Our students should experience the best of both countries. The German language, mathematics and regional studies as well as good English/Afrikaans. After some years we were even able to offer French and Zulu.

But it was also important to give the children a certain South African school culture, so that when they go to secondary school from the 7th grade, they at least know what an “Interhouse Gala” or an athletics competition divided into different so-called ‘houses’ is.

With our first swim festival, the school was then divided into two ‘houses’ or groups to compete against each other. Trophies were donated, and you swam for your house, either ‘Haus Max’ or ‘Haus Moritz’.

On a cultural level, each class and its class teacher had to make a contribution to the annual ‘Bunter Abend’. Even the little ones in the Kindergarten loved performing on stage. The parents were proud when their child was allowed to recite or sing something, and they were there with their cameras and video devices.

Another highlight of the school calendar was the ‘prize distribution evening’. The best students were recognized and given prizes. Trophies were donated for the best in the class, and the best student in the 7th grade got his/her name immortalized on a trophy.

So we started introducing South African customs and passing them on to our students, but not neglecting German.

Today – 2021

Today I am happy to have been a small cog in the development of the DSD. I’m happy that the school has moved out of the city hustle and bustle into one in a quiet area. I am happy that the school is growing. I am also happy to be invited today, be it to distribute prizes, to auction the students’ art to their own parents or to roast the good German bratwurst at the Easter bazaar. It makes me happy when I hear about former students who struggled in math class and are now engineers, master carpenters or computer engineers.

However, the greatest joy is when I can greet my old students at the DSD when they take their children to school or at general events.


Our school is a very good school. For 50 years, many have worked hard on the thing – GERMAN SCHOOL.

Another 50 years is not impossible. I wish the same for our school! Thank you to you, our donors, because without your regular contribution we would not be able to celebrate our 50th anniversary this year… Every penny helped!

Thomas Keller

Principal 1977-1983

Luyanda needs your help

Despite the terrible events in the last few months, everyday life goes on. You may remember a student from our school named Luyanda? We reported her progress at our school to you over the years. Luyanda is now in a High School in Pinetown, but diligently participates in the evening classes every Monday, where all high school students continue with their important German lessons. Most of this teaching takes place online (some children are in boarding school) and unfortunately this is a major obstacle for Luyanda, who comes from a previously disadvantaged household. Luyanda doesn’t have a laptop or cell phone credit to log into class every Monday. At the moment Luyanda comes to the school in the evenings, borrows one of the school laptops and takes part in the lessons. The problem is that she not only sits alone at school every Monday night, but also has to walk home alone in the dark. It’s not far, but it’s still not safe for a girl to be alone on the streets of Durban after sunset.

We are telling you this story for the following reason: we would like to buy Luyanda a used computer that she can set up in her home. Then also a small “router” that we pay monthly so that she also has WiFi access. For around R 8000 we could finance her a used computer and WiFi access for a year. This would not only help her to maintain her knowledge of the German language, but would also make her daily school work much easier.

If you have the opportunity to support Luyanda, you can do this here:

From South Africa:

Deutsche Schule Durban
Branch Code: 331-926
Acc. No.: 406 199 4076
Ref.: Luyanda & Your Name

From Europe:

An Excursion to the Bergtheil Museum

Last Friday our Grade 4 learners visited the Bergtheil Museum in Westville to learn about the first German settlers in Durban. The story goes as follows:

Natal’s first German community owed its existence to the immigration scheme of an English Jew, Jonas Bergtheil, who arrived in Natal in 1843 and established the Natal Cotton Company three years later. Bergtheil saw the potential of European settlement along the coast and approached the British colonial office for immigrants. When first the British and then the Bavarian governments rejected his plans, he turned to the Kingdom of Hanover for support. Thirty-five peasant families (about 188 people) from the Osnabrück-Bremen district accepted his offer and arrived in Natal on 23 March 1848. They were settled near Port Natal and called their new home Neu-Deutschland (New Germany).

Bergtheil’s cotton scheme failed after the first two crops were ravaged by bollworm. Furthermore, the ginning machinery he had ordered from England never arrived. The settlers soon abandoned cotton in favour of market gardening, and when their five-year contracts with Bergtheil ended many did not renew them. The fledgling community may well have foundered within a generation since the immigrants did not maintain contact with Germany and had no vision of a distinctly German community. The arrival of a Berlin missionary ensured that the language and religion would continue for the time being.

Pastor Carl Wilhelm Posselt (1815–85) agreed to care for the congregation in New Germany, where he consecrated the first chapel of the Berlin Missionary Society in South Africa on 19 November 1848. He conducted mission work among the Zulu farm labourers and in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, and in 1854 established a second station, Christianenberg, for this purpose. He also taught Scripture in the little German school which the settlers had established. In 1852 the congregation was briefly moved to Emmaus because of famine on the coast and declining numbers of settlers. Bergtheil succeeded in stemming the flow of Germans into the interior, and in 1854 Posselt returned to New Germany where he continued as missionary and pastor until his death in 1885.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Germany,_KwaZulu-Natal

Our International School


Did you know that 43% of the families at our school do not speak German at home? This means that these students only learn and speak German at our school. Nevertheless, they do very well and mostly pass the DSD I and DSD II exams. These Exams are written by Grade 9 and Grade 11 pupils respectively to gain varsity acceptance in Germany. Really proof that the Deutsche Schule Durban opens the door to Germany and the world for South African children.

The exact percentages are as follows:

Children where both parents (or legal guardians) speak German is 26%. Family houses where only one parent / legal guardian speaks German is 31% and, as mentioned above, 43% of DSD families do not speak German at home.

Help us continue to offer these opportunities to our children. Donate under the following link and open the door to Germany and the world for a child:

The “deutsche Sprachdiplom” at the DSD


Last year 18 scholars in grade 8 & 11 wrote the exams for the German Language Certificate I & II (DSD I & II). We are very proud of our learners, all of whom passed!

And a special mention goes to Stefan Friedrich und Felix Kroeber, the best of each year, who passed with 92 and 93 out of 96 points respectively. Well done!

Yesterday we had a small ceremony to hand out the certificates and to express our admiration for the effort put into the German classes by our learners and their parents. Every Monday evening High School students (mostly, but not exclusively, DSD alumni) gather at the DSD to continue German SAL as an extra subject up to matric.

The German Language Certificate is an official proof of German language proficiency, is organised and recognised by the Federal Republic of Germany and is extremely valuable for our learners for future studies, scholarship and job applications in a German speaking country as well as in South Africa.

Our new Playground is complete

Last week our Kindergarten children could finally play on their new playground for the first time!

When the building process started, we unfortunately had to take the old playground down, because all the building work took up a lot of space.

Although the extension was completed in May already, the re-building of the playground took a bit longer than expected.

We wanted to use this opportunity to renew and upgrade the playground.
Because our school depends on donations a lot of the time, we sometimes had to wait for donated items, such as the AstroTurf. We also had no professional help with regards to the set up and had to rely on our staff who are already very busy as it is. We even had parents that donated their time to the school and helped us setting everything up.

Now our playground is finally complete and our children can look forward to the following activities:

  1. A Tricycle Track
  2. Two big Jungle Gyms
  3. Big Climbing Tyres
  4. A large Sandpit
  5. A variety of Swings

and much more…
We wish our kindergarten children many happy hours on their new playground.

There are pupils in the new extension

For a while, all you could hear coming from the extension was the sound of the construction workers, painters, plumbers etc. who were adding the final touches.

Now could finally welcome two new classrooms full of children to our extension and they are very excited to be in their new “home”.

Buy-A-Brick Initiative

Buy-A-Brick here and help us to complete our Kindergarten Extension

Please add the word “Brick” after your Surname in the Donation Form below, so that we know whose name we can write on our wall.

Last Donations: 31 January 2018

These are the different Donation Categories:

Donation Type:


Amount of Bricks:

Name Plaque:

Eternity Donation (Platinum) R 7 000

500 Bricks

5 Bricks
58cm x 16cm

Legacy Donation (Gold)

R 5 500

400 Bricks

4 Bricks
46cm x 16cm

Loyalty Donation (Silver)

R 4 000

300 Bricks

3 Bricks
35cm x 16cm

Community Donation (Bronze)

R 3 000

200 Bricks

2 Bricks
23cm x 16cm

Minimum Donation

R 1 500

100 Bricks

1 Brick
23cm x 16cm

Thank you for your Support!

Our Kindergarten Extention (German)

Unser Kindergartenanbau ist nun fast fertig! Wir sind schon ganz aufgeregt und freuen uns so bald wie möglich einzuziehen. Es werden jetzt nur noch die letzten Feinarbeiten gemacht, und dann ist es soweit.

Obwohl der Anbau nun steht, müssen einige, kleinere Projekte noch fertiggestellt werden, damit das gesamte Projekt abgeschlossen werden kann.

Diese kleineren Projekte sind:
1. Eine neue Einfahrt auf das Sportfeld zu bauen (Die Alte wurde durch den Anbau zugebaut)
2. Den Kindergartenspielplatz wieder aufzubauen (Dafür brauchen wir neuen Kunst-Rasen und Klettergerüste)
3. Umbau des jetzigen Verwaltungsbüros, deren Lage und Layout momentan suboptimal ist (Der Anbau gibt uns nun die Gelegenheit und den Platz, diese Änderungen durchführen zu können)

Weitere Information und die damit zusammenhängenden kosten finden Sie im unten anliegenden PDF Dokument.

Wichtige Projekte an der Deutschen Schule Durban

Wollen Sie uns dabei helfen diese Projekte Fertig zu stellen? Das können Sie unter folgendem Link: