CHAPPS Alumni

CHAPPS is the Cowan House Past Pupils Association to which all Cowan House Alumni are encouraged to belong. Being part of an alumni association means a lifetime of connection with the preparatory school which helped to mould the foundations so necessary in life.

The Objectives of the Association are as follows:

  • The promotion of interaction among past pupils of Cowan House.
  • The promotion of social and sporting contacts with other associations.
  • The provision of financial and/or other assistance to the Cowan House Foundation to be
    used for Bursaries, Capital Projects & Social Responsibility activities.
  • The raising of funds for the purpose of implementing the objects contained herein.
  • The furtherance of the interests of Cowan House and its Community.

A once off fee is payable during your Grade 7 year for lifetime membership to CHAPPS.  We do, however, encourage Alumni to contribute towards an optional annual levy to assist with the operational costs related to the Alumni office.

CHAPPS Membership includes:

  • An electronic version of the Cowan House magazine for life.
  • Receipt of the CHAPPS Newsletter each quarter.
  • Invitations to CHAPPS events and functions.

Monthly or Annual Contributions

Contributions to our Foundation Projects are welcome in whichever way our supporters are able to provide. We do not underestimate the impact a monthly or annual donation can make in our Fundraising efforts and we encourage our CHAPPS to commit to a monthly donation, however they are able.

Please complete our PLEDGE FORM to confirm your commitment and we will be in touch. 

Back in Time

Cowan House was founded, as a private venture, in 1948, by David and Joy Black. Situated in Mountain Rise, Pietermaritzburg, it was started as a boys’ prep school. David Black was granted permission to name the school after the residence he had stayed in while studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. So too was the emblem of Cowan House Residence adopted – the Rampant Lion. An initial enrolment of just 7 boys quickly grew to 12 by the end of the first year. In 1949 there were 36 boys to start the year at Cowan House and by the end of 1950 enrolment had increased to nearly 50. Early on, a boarding facility was opened to accommodate the pupils in what was always to remain an intimate and homely atmosphere.

When the Mountain Rise area was rezoned as part of the Group Areas Act of 1963, the school purchased a 10-hectare property in Hilton, where its original, state of the art, wooden buildings and swimming pool were built. The school relocated to Hilton in 1965. By the mid-1990’s the number of pupils was around 180, from Grade R to Grade 8.

In January of 1997, an electrical fire reduced the entire Boarding Establishment to ashes. A passionately supportive Cowan House community ensured that, by the end of that year, the Boarding Establishment was rebuilt – this time out of bricks and mortar. School continued as normally as possible, with boarders being accommodated in mobile homes on T-Field near the Theatre. The re-opening of the Boarding House coincided with a decision to discontinue Grade 8 at Cowan House.

1999 was an enlightened year as girls were enrolled for the first time at the school. Once again, a fresh, new era was born at Cowan House. Further demand from the local community meant that the school opened doors to a Grade RRR class in 2013. The number of pupils has increased steadily over the years and, with two classes per grade. Pupils are mostly from Hilton and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and boarders from various areas in South Africa, neighbouring countries and further afield.

Since inception, the ethos of Cowan House has been based on Christian principles and our dedicated team of professionals ensure that Cowan House children are nurtured, cared for, and stimulated in a variety of disciplines. Outstanding academics, measured by international benchmarking assessments, are complemented by a full spectrum of sporting disciplines as well as cultural, musical, social responsibility and environmental opportunities.

Our 10-hectare campus is a magnificent space for children to live and to grow. To be curious and to explore. To play and to be happy. We believe in protecting childhood. We look forward to providing opportunity for many more children to explore our Wetland, to practice in our Indoor Centre, to compete on our fields and to learn in our classrooms.