Three decades of dedication

Academia Secondary School principal Mr Rust retires after 34 years.
Mariselle Stofberg
Jeanette Diergaardt

A lifetime education and rugby

The year 1988 marked the start of a memorable journey for Herman Rust, the newly retired principal of Academia Secondary School. 17 January marks the end of three decades of hard work.

“It is satisfying to hear that you can mean something in someone’s life,” Rust said about his time as a teacher, head of department and principal.

The appreciation and visits from old learners – or ‘Demians’, as they are known - are what lies close to his heart, said Rust, as well as hearing about the success of his former learners.

He fondly recalls a former learner he had the pleasure of seeing again talking to him in a shop and offering to pay all his groceries. After a back and forth, Rust accepted the gesture of appreciation.

Motivated by discipline and hard work, Rust is of the opinion that if one cannot give your best in what you are doing, then what is the point? Although there have been some difficult times as an educator, he retired appreciating the curriculum created by the education ministry.

“The curriculum has always been world-class and up to standard,” Rust said, adding that the support and learning plans provided by the ministry are one-of-a-kind. He fondly remembers compliments received by South African education professors commending the ministry.

Before independence

From a school of 600 learners to a school of more than 1 000, Rust recalls the successes Academia has seen. He remembers the girls’ platoon of Academia winning the 1988 championships in South Africa, a tradition that faded away with the cadets back in the day.

With public schools increasing in quantity and unfortunately decreasing in quality after independence, many of the loved traditions faded away, he said. He also highlighted the lack of public schools in the city.

Love of sport

When Rust is not coaching rugby, he enjoys sport in his downtime. Although rugby is his first love, he has an extensive knowledge of various sports. Included in his professional repertoire is his experience in cricket as well as athletics.

The well-rounded Rust coached the under-19 (u19) A and B teams from 1988 to 2004. During that time, the teams played four Namibian leagues, winning two. He is also well-known for coaching the Namibian u19 Craven Week teams from 1995 to 2001. Rust also served as a national rugby selector for the national team, the Welwitschias. Besides school rugby, the former principal enjoys club rugby and is known to be affiliated with the Trustco United Rugby Club.

With regards to cricket, Rust served as team manager for Academia’s cricket team from 1988 to 1990.

Since his start at Academia, Rust recalls being approached to do more than just rugby and as a qualified physical education teacher, he had knowledge on various sports. The ones he had no idea about he used to do research on, reading various books from the library, “unlike today where you can use the internet,” he said. He has served as an athletic coach for Academia, remembering the Namibian National Junior Athletics Championships where various athletes walked away with gold, silver and bronze medals.

When he is not on the field coaching, Rust serves as a commentator for Windhoek Gymnasium during their games and has tried his hand at radio presenting for Hartklop FM on Saturdays, updating the nation on school sports.

A way with words

With not just sports on his brain, Rust also dabbles in poetry in his free time. During high school, he received the Bergland Junior Rapportryerskorps Book Prize for the best learner of the year in Afrikaans. During his retirement, Rust looks forward to spending more time creating emotions with words and translating his love for Afrikaans through his poetry.


Appointed teacher at Academia SS from 1 January 1988

Appointed head of department at Academia SS from 1 January 1995

Appointed as principal of Academia SS from 1 January 2004

1988 – 2004: The u19 A-side played in four finals, winning two of the Namibian u19 A league, two semi-finals and one quarter-final.

Taught mathematics to the winners of the Namibian National Mathematics Olympiad in grades eight and nine in 1990 and 1991.

Achieved a level two rugby coaching certificate in 1993.

Served as secretary of Namibian Secondary Schools Rugby from 1 January 1993 until 31 December 2013

Coached athletics from 1988 in the sprints, walking, middle and long distances at Academia SS

Serve as cluster centre Principal for Khomas Circuit 1 from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2016

Achieved a national certificate for officials in time, track, throws and jumps in grade two in 1985

Was team manager for the following teams:

1988South West Africa u19 school cricket team to South Africa country districts meeting in Potchefstroom

1989 Namibian schools cricket team to Botswana

1989 Namibian schools athletics team to Botswana.

1990 Namibian schools cricket side to Zimbabwe.

Was coach of the following touring teams:

1989 Academia u19 A and B rugby teams to South Africa.

1992 Academia u19 A rugby side to Zimbabwe Schools Rugby Festival.

1993 Academia u19 A and B rugby side to South Africa.

1994 Namibian u19 schools rugby side to South Africa.

1995 to 2001 Namibian u18 Craven Week teams to South Africa

1999 to 2004 Namibian u19 national team to Junior World Cup

2005 and 2006 Namibian u18 Craven Week team to South Africa