The history of the Jeppe Schools is intertwined with the history of Johannesburg. In 1890, just four years after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, realising a great need for education for the children of the mineworkers, the Anglican Church established St Michael’s College in Troyeville. The buildings of the School were bought by the Witwatersrand Council of Education in 1897 and the School was renamed the Jeppestown Grammar School. Financial difficulties forced the parents to assume responsibility in 1898. It was closed for the duration of the Anglo Boer War and in 1902 re-opened its doors. It became a government school, one of the so-called Milner Schools, in 1903 and renamed the Jeppestown High School for Boys and Girls.

The magnificent stone buildings were built in 1909 on land donated by Sir Julius Jeppe. They were designed by Ralston, a student of Sir Herbert Baker. The Prep School, also initially a private school, occupied the buildings in Troyeville that the High School vacated when it moved to new premises. Building of the new Prep School commenced in 1916 on land also donated by the Jeppe family. In 1919, after the First World War, the Girls’ School was established in their new buildings further down Roberts Avenue and the Boys’ School became Jeppe High School for Boys.

This chequered history and battle for survival shaped the School’s ethos in its formative years. Our motto Forti Nihil Difficilius – for the brave nothing is too difficult – eloquently captures this fine fighting spirit which has stood Jeppe boys in good stead whether in battle (170 staff and old boys lost their lives in the two World Wars and the border conflict), facing personal trauma and hardship or never giving up in a tight match. The School’s black and white colours originate from Headmaster James Humphrey Allen Payne’s alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge. The badge depicts a gold bar between wavy black and white lines representing the ore of the Witwatersrand.

In 1986 when Johannesburg celebrated its Centenary, the Main building of the School, and the dome-shaped First World War Memorial, which had been opened by Field Marshall Jan Smuts in 1926, were declared national monuments.

Oribi House, the oldest Hostel, was built in 1912 and from 1916 Tsessebe House occupied Friedenheim, the gracious home of Sir Julius Jeppe. Friedenheim had previously been owned by Sir Abe Bailey and served as the British Headquarters during the Anglo Boer War. Tragically, Friedenheim was condemned as unsafe and demolished in the early sixties. The oldest buildings on the property, apart from the Friedenheim stables, which are now used as change rooms, are Roan House, previously Keith Hall and Thabana or Sable House, which was built in 1902 for the Marx family. It has an impressive wooden staircase with stained-glass windows.

Julius Jeppe was the School’s major benefactor. He was elected to its first Governing Body and served as its Chairman from 1918 until his death in 1929. He was knighted in 1922 for his services to the community having been involved not only in the establishment of the three Jeppe Schools but also in the founding of the Turf Club, the Rand Club and the Johannesburg Children’s Home.

Although it has an illustrious history, Jeppe has never been an elitist school. It has always enjoyed representation from a diverse cross-section of the community. It has continued to turn ordinary boys into outstanding young men who have gone on to make a major contribution to the development of the city and the country whether it be through education, law, medicine, commerce and industry, politics, the arts or sport. Boys at Jeppe get a real education for the real world.


St. Michael’s College

1890 – 1891

Rev. H.B. Sidwell (Rector of St. Mary the Less)

1891 – 1896

Rev. G. Perry

1896 – 1897

Mr. J. Rossouw (Acting)

Jeppestown Grammar School

1897 – 1899

Mr. J.H. Hardwick


Mr. A. Muller (Acting)

1899 – 1902

(School closed for the duration of the Anglo-Boer War)

Jeppestown High School for 

Boys and Girls T.E.D.

1902 – 1905

Mr. C.D. Hope

1905 – 1917

Mr. J.H.A. Payne

Jeppe High School for Boys

1919 – 1936

Mr. M.D. Manduell

1937 – 1942

Mr. A.H. Childe

1943 – 1962

Mr. A.J. Grant

1963 – 1966

Mr. H.N. Beckwith

1967 – 1978

Mr. H.P.A. Hofmeyr

1978 – 1997

Mr. D.L. Quail

1997 – 2007

Mr. K.J. Tait

2007 – 2017

Mr. A. Dempsey

2017 –

Mr. D. Jackson