Jeppe High rugby player Kaiden Bowie
Tributes and messages of condolences have poured in following the death of 16-year-old Jeppe High rugby player Kaiden Bowie. Image: Supplied

Home » Jeppe High dedicates emotional win to Kaiden Bowie

Jeppe High dedicates emotional win to Kaiden Bowie

Jeppe High secured a bittersweet win against Grey College. The team dedicated the emotional win to their late teammate, Kaiden Bowie.

26-03-24 13:41
Jeppe High rugby player Kaiden Bowie
Tributes and messages of condolences have poured in following the death of 16-year-old Jeppe High rugby player Kaiden Bowie. Image: Supplied

On Monday, Jeppe High secured a stunning schoolboy rugby victory over powerhouse Grey College in a massive upset.

Grey College had previously boasted a 100% record against the all boys’ school from Johannesburg, but it was evident on Monday that the Jeppe boys were playing for something more than just a rugby result.


The match was played just a few weeks after Grade 11 pupil and talented sportsman Kaiden Bowie had tragically passed away after complaining he had not been feeling well following an away match against Hoërskool Die Anker.

With Jeppe securing an unforgettable result on Monday, headmaster Dale Jackson took to social media to pen an emotional letter, which also highlighted how the result was largely inspired by the memory of Bowie.

“I don’t like social media. The last time I did a Facebook post was in March 2018,” Jackson wrote.

“However, the Jeppe High School for Boys 1st XV win over Grey College last night, for apparently the first time in our 134 year history, is probably worth breaking my self-imposed social media ban for … But not for the reasons most people would think.

“Although I had very little, if anything, to do with the victory (it is my daughter’s birthday today and so I wasn’t even at the game), I am incredibly happy for our entire Jeppe community and hugely proud of Drickus Venter, his fellow coaches and the Jeppe 1st team.

“Grey College remain the best rugby playing school in South Africa, and arguably the world (and they recently triumphed over Jeppe at the Nomads hockey festival last Friday, proving they’re so much more than a rugby school) and are a class act – one of the first phone calls I received last night was from their headmaster – and one defeat will not change that.

“However, our Jeppe community has endured an incredibly difficult few weeks and, as we saw in last year’s Rugby World Cup, sport has the power to unite and to turn dreams into reality. Perhaps last night gave yet another glimpse of this power as our boys played for Kaiden, whose rainbow came down from heaven to touch the scoreboard at the end of the game in a visually poetic reminder of his memory.

“As much as the numbers on a scoreboard are important, and dictate the short term headlines, what matters more is the lessons learnt in the playing of sport. As such, my proudest moment last night, and reason for this post, didn’t come at the final whistle but rather when sent the two unscripted photos below – of our headboy and 1st team captain, Risima Khosa, consoling an opponent at the final whistle and then cleaning the change rooms alone, when everyone else had long since departed, as is the Jeppe tradition.

“Another example of the growing humility amongst the boys is the decision by many of our top sportsman to forego the wearing of the iconic white colours blazer, most notably by the 2023 Sportsman of the Year and provincial and national cricket and hockey player, Jaydon Brooker, in favour of the “normal” black and white striped blazer in homage to the “brotherhood” of Jeppe and the commitment to playing sport for the intrinsic reward of doing so rather than the outward symbols of success.

“Those educational and character-building lessons and the value systems which underpin them will last long after the numbers on a scoreboard have faded from memory.

“Congratulations to our 1st XV and our entire community – you deserved a reason to smile and to believe in the power of a dream – but let’s never forget that our mandate as schools is to educate, sculpting men of character, both in and outside the classroom, in both victory and defeat.

“RIP Kaiden – I hope we made you proud.”


The teenager collapsed shortly after an U16 match game and there was an immediate cessation of all the sporting activities as everyone in attendance gathered in prayer while Bowie was tended to by paramedics.

But despite the medical staff’s best efforts to save his life, Bowie was declared dead on the scene.

“We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of one of our learners, Kaiden Bowie (Grade 11) who tragically passed away. Further information regarding his memorial service will follow in due course,” Jeppe said in a statement on Wednesday.

All classes were halted on Wednesday, as the Department of Education made counsellors available to assist learners and teachers who witnessed the tragic incident.

“We are overwhelmed by the care and love that we, as a school, have experienced over the past 24 hours. Counsellors from many schools and organisations have prioritised our boys and staff over their own; incredible amounts of messages; the generous deliveries of flowers are all hugely appreciated,” Jeppe High said in a subsequent statement.