Chris Windell met his heart-throb, Gussie, at school and married her in 1964. Years later he and Gussie were the residence parents of Oosterhof and Klawerhof for a decade. The couple has three children who are, together with their spouses, all NWU alumni.

He has a glass of white wine with ice in his hand. His eyes sparkling, he sometimes interrupts himself to share one of his hundreds of stories (with all the facts, dates and names) at the NWU.


He is my mentor, my teacher, my example of joie de vivre and inexhaustible energy.


Yes, I am talking about one of the legends on the Potchefstroom Campus, Chris Windell. Thousands of people have crossed paths with this bundle of energy with his snow-white (once dark-brown) hair. I have not yet come across anyone who could not remember some or other anecdote about him.


My very first encounter with Chris was in the early eighties at a gathering of alumni in Durban. Everyone enjoyed themselves because even then he shared stories about our alma mater in his unique way.


Nearly 20 years later, when I came to the NWU as a staff member, I did not at first recognise the man with the snow-white hair, but when I looked into those lively blue eyes, I knew I had met him somewhere before.


He is a “boytjie from Braamfontein”, where his family lived when his father worked on the railways. He can entertain one for hours with stories from his days as a young boy who was full of mischief.


He started his studies in 1960 at the former Potchefstroom Teachers’ Training College (POK or Pote), and he can still remember the names of his class mates.


Music in his blood


Chris is a musician of note and was the chairperson of the Orchestra and Song Committee of the POK.


In his third and fourth years he was a member of a band that played at Shine on the Bult (a shopping area close to campus) every evening when it was dating time. Their payment for the 90 minutes was a hamburger and 50 cents.


Years later, with the start of the Campus Talent Festival, Chris was the first master of ceremonies. His involvement with this festival lasted for 13 years.


The start of a legend


After teaching English for a few years, Chris joined the university in 1975. He was the director for public relations for a number of years and that took him across the country to get-togethers for alumni.


Most students will also remember him as the “oom” who for more than 15 years was the master of ceremonies at open days and the reception of the first years… “And he never told a risqué joke,” they will tell you.


Chris also took the Ikateleng programme under his wing. During the years he and his colleagues saw to it that thousands of school learners were prepared for their final matric exams.


Sitting still? Not a chance!


At retirement age, he said that he cannot just sit still and grow old at home, and that he will still stay on at the university as a fundraiser.


This year Chris celebrates his ripe “old” age of 78, and can still outwalk many people, and his characteristic energy and love of life are just as contagious as those of the dark-haired young man whom I met in Durban all those years ago.


My mentor, my teacher... his task is yet to be completed.


Article: Kiewiet Scheppel, Corporate Communication


Chris Windell enchants the audience during the Pukki Talent Festival in 2015. Even without any formal music training, he conjures wonderful sounds from piano keys.

Boytjie from Braamfontein makes his mark