The Teddy Bear

THE STORY BEHIND OUR MASCOT: THE TEDDY BEAR

 

Since his coronation in 1901, “Teddy” and “Teddy Bear” had been nicknames for King Edward VII who was certainly large, bearded and bear-like in stature.

1912: THE KING EDWARD VII SCHOOL WARCRY

  • Itchy ballagoota
  • Skiet a ramma doota
  • SusKanada, Son of Kanovsky Boom!
  • Budias! Budias! Budias!
  • Has! Has!
  • Gigomalaia Gee, Gigomalaia Gee!
  • Teddybears Wha!
  • Who are we?
  • Teddybears!

1912: The first official reference to “Teddy Bears” was in the 1912 school magazine.
Legend has it that our legendary Teddy Bear was a gift to the school from Elsa Stevens, an elderly, invalid lady who lived in St. Patrick’s Road directly opposite the front door of the school. She had complained to the school about the noise made by the bugle band when the cadets passed her house on route marches. The battalion commander then ensured that both band and cadets were silent on that part of the route. In gratitude, she found and bought the biggest Teddy Bear she could find in Johannesburg, and presented it to the Head Prefect.

1919: Teddy became the mascot of the school athletics team and made his first appearance at the Inter-High School Sports of 1919 and at all subsequent athletics meetings (and a few Inter-High swimming galas) until the 1950’s.

1935: Headmaster G.P. Prescott introduced the “Teddy Bears Fair” held on the school grounds – a novel way of consolidating and strengthening the High School, the Preparatory Department and Old Edwardian Society, as well as fund raising.

1963: Teddy retired to his chair in the museum in 1963 after two near-death experiences in the late 1950’s. One where he was captured and another where he had his arms severed at the 1950 Inter-High Gala.

1965: Teddy’s last appearance in the athletics team photograph seems to have been in 1965, though some Old Boys will remember that he was occasionally hauled out later than that as a very visible mascot at swimming galas and rugby matches.

1990’s: A series of illustrations were used by KESFAM in the 1990’s. Introduced by educator Ada Nelson, they depicted the various sporting disciplines.

mid 1990’s: The Old Boys Association’s first project was the creation of ‘The Teddy Bears Arms’.

2002: The School Tuckshop was named the “Teddy Bears Tuckshop” and some new bears were created for use during the Centenary year.

2002: A new bear was gifted to the school in November 2020 at a lunch after Armistice Day Parade.

2002: In the centenary year, a bear was drawn for each sport and cultural offering at KES by Frans Jacobs, father of 3 boys who attended the school.

2012: The original teddy was restored in 2012.

2000’s: Mini KES and KEPS bears were manufactured and sold as fundraisers.

2017: A new look bear was introduced…

2020: This year we are establishing the new bears and introducing a few more bears into the story… …and today, he’s still going strong… …and still smiling… … even if you can’t always see it!

SHARE THE SPIRIT!

 

The KES Teddy Bears Series:

1. Red Rugby Bear: