THE PILOT SCHOOLS
Just south of Durban lies the coastal town of Amanzimtoti
(isiZulu for ‘sweet waters’). Adams College was built slightly
inland of Amanzimtoti in 1853 by the American Board
of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The college was
named after Dr Newton Adams who had established a
mission station there in 1847.
Adams College boasts a proud legacy of being the only
institution in Africa to produce three ANC presidents: Dr
John L Dube, Dr Pixley K Seme, and Chief Albert Luthuli.
Other presidents include first Deputy President of
Zimbabwe, Mr Joshua Nkomo, and the first democratically
elected President of Uganda, Mr Milton Obote. It can
be confidently said that Adams College has nurtured
presidents and leaders of high calibre who shaped the
African continent and the world at large.
The Adams College Development Fund oversees the
Revitalisation, Redevelopment and Repositioning of the
college (3R Project). This initiative began in 2011, and is a
twelve-year plan that aims to modernise the school with
state-of-the-art educational, cultural, sports and boarding
facilities, thereby returning this historic institution to its
rightful place as one of the premier educational institutions
on the continent.
The school population has grown to 1,280 learners of
whom 545 are boarders. There is an urgent need for at least
six new classrooms and a well-equipped library. Despite
these deficiencies, this year Adams achieved first place in
Physics in the Umlazi district and a Grade 12 learner, Mbaso
Sigcau, earned second place in the country in a poetry
competition organised by the USA Consulate.
Adams’ Headmaster Mr Thulani Khumalo (centre) with maths teachers.
Adams College hostel.
Students listen attentitively to inspirational speaker Max Moyo in the school hall.
Healdtown Comprehensive High School
The town of Fort Beaufort lies at the confluence of the Kat
and Brak rivers in the Amatole District of the Eastern Cape.
From this old military frontier post, a dirt path runs along
the foot of the hills to Healdtown Comprehensive, school
of icons such as Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and
Healdtown was started in 1856 as a school to train
evangelists and later as an industrial school to train people
in a variety of trades. By 1917 the Healdtown Institute had
become the largest high school in Africa and a training
college for African teachers, attracting learners from all
over South Africa as well as its neighbouring countries. As
a result of the Bantu Education Act of 1953, followed by
the destruction of the school buildings in 1976 and there
being no more boarding facilities, the learner enrolment
dropped to a level where the viability of the school was
The HSRP conducted a feasibility study in 2011 to provide
support for the existing school and to enable it to become
a model high-performing school. The idea of a Maths and
Science Academy adjacent to the existing school enjoyed
a lot of support and as a result a partnership with the
University of Fort Hare has been established. Known as the
Healdtown Science and Technology Education Resource
Centre (STERC), the project commenced in March 2012.
This project is aimed at creating an enabling environment
in the focus areas of Maths, Science and Technology for
learners at Healdtown and its neighbouring schools. In
addition, interactive learning programmes will be provided
for all types of learners; these include career guidance, life
skills and leadership development.
Students pose with their academic achievement awards.
New perimeter security fencing has been erected at Healdtown; unfortunately some of it has already been stolen.
Healdtown soccer team.
A narrow tree-lined road in eMachobeni situated in
Ubombo, north-west of central Durban, leads to the
entrance of Inanda Seminary, high school for girls. Upon
walking through the school’s gates one immediately
senses that life-long learning takes place on this campus.
Every year Inanda adopts a theme for conscious reflection.
This theme is carried throughout every learning area in the
school, in the classrooms and in the chapel. The theme
for 2012 is a quote from Voltaire: “The Best is the enemy of
the Good”. Reflecting on Colossians 3 12-17, Principal Judy
Tate identifies briefly what being the BEST means at Inanda
B = the advantage of being a compulsory BOARDING
school; a competent BOARD of governors under the
auspices of the UCCSA; aiming for 100% BACHELORS
passes at the end of 2012; BLESSED of God.
E = EDUCATION through school and beyond; an
African ETHOS to develop holistically in leadership, life
skills, integrated technology, critical thinking, social
development, and sport; ENRICHMENT; teaching and
learning takes place in ENGLISH and isiZulu; creating
an ENABLING environment; an EXTRAORDINARY school
belonging to SAESC.
S = SIX core values: honesty, loyalty, self-respect, selfdiscipline,
sociability, responsibility; SUBJECTS – academic
stream; SELF awareness of skills and strengths; STAFF,
academic, administrative and boarding; SUPPORT,
property; STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES and counselling
from Chaplain; Motto - “SHINE where you are”
T = TECHNOLOGY; TRACKING of results; TARGETED
academic intervention; TERMS and half-terms; THINKING,
Reverend Daniel Lindley and his wife Lucy were cofounders
of Inanda Seminary in 1869. In one of his letters
he expressed his wishes: “Out of this school we expect
much to come for this life and the life hereafter. If mothers
make the man, this institution must be set above all price.”
Reverend Lindley would be very proud of Inanda Seminary
as it stands today.
Members of the Catering Club at work.
Inanda Seminary’s well-equipped computer room.
Gathering in the Chapel.
Inkamana High School
Between Eshowe and Vryheid in the Zululand district of
northern KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkamana Abbey comes into
view like a beacon within a deep rural expanse. Established
in 1923, Inkamana High School is situated on a farm on
the banks of the Klipfontein Dam. The land and buildings
are owned by the Benedictine Congregation of St Ottilien
and the school community has adopted the philosophies
of the Benedictine Missionaries.
Learners are expected to view their education as a
means for personal advancement as well as a trust and
responsibility to work for the good of all humankind. When
translated into action, this means to pray with and for one
another, to show respect for others and the environment,
and to educate the whole person – mind, body and spirit.
It is therefore not difficult to understand why this school
has a long history of excellent results. Each year every
Grade 12 learner passes matric with a Bachelor’s pass and
on average each learner achieves at least one distinction.
Sport, particularly athletics, is embraced by all learners
and the school has excelled in the district. Recently the
Umfolozi Canoe Club has engaged the boys in competitive
canoeing much to their delight. Music plays an important
role in the everyday life at Inkamana. Mornings are started
with worship and the singing of hymns in each classroom.
The school boasts six different choirs, a marimba band and
a drum band.
Principal Mrs Isabel Steenkamp has taught at Inkamana
since 1982. She believes that excellent education is
crucial in a fast-changing world and facts in themselves
are no longer enough to be educated. “Creativity is still
essential for growing minds. Students have to develop
critical thinking. The growth and development of the
whole person to become his or her own best is the key
to success. Students should be encouraged to be aware
of what they should know, do and value. By putting these
things into practice, they will be able to make a positive
input wherever they go.”
Inkamana’s Head Prefects 2012.
Shrine to Mary in the Abbey grounds.
The main building on the Inkamana campus.
Lemana High School
Tucked away on the fringe of the Vhembe Biosphere
Reserve near Elim in Limpopo is Lemana High School.
Originally established as a teacher training facility on the
Rossbach Farm by the Swiss Mission Church in 1906, the
name of the school was an adaptation of Lac Lèman, a lake
in the region of Switzerland where the missionaries came
from. The high school was relocated to neighbouring
premises in 1991 and the teacher training college was
phased out in 1998 when the old campus was declared a
Since then there have been many attempts to return the
school to its original community, but first much restorative
work will need to be done to the neglected infrastructure.
The intention is also to reintroduce hostels, thereby
providing accommodation and attracting learners from
Kathleen Mahange was a student at the old campus in
1976. She remembers: “We were taught the whole year in
Afrikaans, we rebelled, and then we wrote our final exams
in English. That taught us perseverance, that under any
circumstances you can come out a victor!” Ms Mahange
went on to study for a BCom at the University of Natal and
later returned to Lemana where she teaches Accounting.
At a public event where government officials committed
to return Lemana to its original campus, a young learner,
Vukosi Maluleke, delivered a speech entitled ‘Lemana
High School: A remarkable monument’ that received
thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Vukosi is
no stranger to public speaking. At a recent inter-schools
debate his topic was ‘Education can change the future’.
“Even though education begins at home with parental
guidance, teachers are the pillars of education, as they
use the best of their knowledge to educate and nurture
learners. Teachers are people who feed minds with an
essence to enrich lives, they form the most essential part
of education and therefore, they should be one of the
highest paid professionals, because they form the basic
foundation of every career.”
A building on the original school campus.
Lemana debating champion Vukosi Maluleke.
Ohlange High School
Inanda (isiZulu for ‘pleasant place’), in eastern KwaZulu-
Natal, forms part of the Greater Durban Municipality and
is the home of John Langalibalele Dube (nicknamed
Mafukuzela), first president of the African National Congress
and founder of the Zulu Christian Industrial School, now
known as Ohlange High School.
The rich history of Ohlange contributes to the pride in
teaching at the school, even if there are more than fifty
learners in a classroom that does not have sufficient furniture
and equipment. In the early 1900s Mafukuzela became
the voice of the Black African liberation movement. “Now
we want to warn our sons and daughters, do not let your
hearts rule your heads because it can never be satisfied”.
Today the teachers believe that they are moving in the
right direction as they concentrate not only on academics
but the ‘Head, Heart and Hand’: The Head – the school has
the vision to educate the head to think outside the box,
to learn more, to go the extra mile. The Heart – teaches
value and respect, Ubuntu. The Hand – God created us
with unique talents, each child comes into the world with
one hand folded, at Ohlange that hand is opened and skills
“We don’t see ourselves as a high school but as an institute
that develops the whole human being” said the Principal,
Mr Thami Dladla. To this end Ohlange will create more
learning areas in 2013 by including Drama, Geography and
Agriculture as further subject choices.
Ohlange choir members performing at a function.
Cheerful Grade 9-12 learners pose for the camera.
Ohlange learner Terri-Lyn Rose is a recipient of a ZK Matthews Educational Trust scholarship for 2012.
Orlando High School
Orlando High School was established in 1939 and was the
first high school to have been built in the black township
of Orlando, known for some of the most important events
in the struggle against the apartheid system, including the
1976 Soweto uprising. During this time the school was
vandalised and the school building as it stands today was
erected in 1990.
There is an average increase of 21% in the number of
enrolments every year. The school has a history of excellent
academic achievement, particularly in Mathematics during
the tenure of the late Professor TW Kambule, also known as
Orlando High also has an excellent reputation for its
strengths in netball, soccer and athletics. All sports are
played on communal fields and courts as there are no
sports facilities on the school campus. Also lacking are
a properly equipped science laboratory and library.
Architectural plans for a hall have been drawn up by an
alumnus and the school is on the lookout for potential
sponsors for its construction.
Grade 12 learners hard at their maths study.
Sports trophies and memorabilia at Orlando.
Catering staff prepare up to 1,500 meals a day.
St Matthews High School
On the bend of a dusty rural road just outside
Keiskammahoek in the Eastern Cape is St Matthews High
School, founded as an Anglican mission school by the
Right Reverend John Armstrong in 1854. This once thriving
educational centre is now a state school with boarding
facilities for girls. While the large parish church is still a local
landmark, the ruins of many of the school’s buildings are
Sadly, the Provincial Government has not fulfilled its
promises made in 2011 in both the areas of infrastructure
and education. There has been limited progress in the
renovation of the senior girls’ hostel, and teachers who
have occupied temporary posts for longer than four years
have still not been appointed as permanent staff.
Despite these challenges teachers are committed to
improving the academic performances of the learners by
providing intervention programmes every afternoon as
well as weekends. In addition, regular Maths and Science
camps are held in partnership with St Andrews School in
The ratio of teachers and learners per class is larger than
average – “teaching a class is like addressing a rally”
confesses one of the teachers. Yet the learners are optimistic
and proud of their school heritage. They enjoy the sports
facilities and agree that the discipline they receive stands
them in good stead for their future as adults.
Learners enjoying some time on the basketball court.
Rudimentary ablution facilities are due for upgrading.
St Matthews’ library.
Tiger Kloof Combined School
Vryburg is a large agricultural town situated halfway
between Kimberley and Mafikeng on Cecil Rhodes’ great
northern railroad, which ran from Cape Town through the
Kimberley diamond fields and northwards beyond the
Victoria Falls. The Tiger Kloof Native Institute was set up
near Huhudi township (Tswana for ‘running water’) by the
London Missionary Society in 1904, and the stone church
which still stands proudly on the premises is a national
The school management teams have worked hard to
enable Tiger Kloof Combined School to become almost
completely self-sustainable, as the Solon Foundation,
which has supported the school for the past sixteen years,
has been forced to reduce its annual donation significantly
due to Europe’s current economic crisis.
Recently the old Bible College was converted into an
impressive school museum by the rector, Mr Peter
Habberton, and the librarian, Ms Cara Pieterse, together
with the dedicated assistance of many of the learners. There
is great excitement amongst the ‘Old Tigers’ (Tiger Kloof
alumni) as they plan to celebrate the 200th anniversary of
Dr David Livingstone’s birthday in 2013.
A Grade 9 class at work.
Grade 12 learners writing their exams in Tiger Kloof’s beautiful stone church, a national monument.
The newly-created school museum, housed in the old Bible College building.
Vryheid Comprehensive Secondary School
Vryheid Comprehensive Secondary School is located
in Vryheid, a coal mining town near the Mfolozi River in
northern KwaZulu-Natal. It was started as an Evangelical
Teachers Training College by a group of Swedish
missionaries in the 1940s.
The original buildings are in a fair condition and in close
proximity to the new school established in 1992. Since the
school is struggling for extra classroom space, it would
be appropriate to extend the school into the unused
buildings. Instead the Grades 10 and 11 classrooms are
accommodated at the hostel where approximately one
third of the learners are boarders.
The hostel buildings are a distance away from the main
school which leaves both teachers and learners separated
from the daily general school activities. Mr Harry Maseko,
Principal of Vryheid, completed his high school career
on the old campus and returned as a teacher to the new
campus. He longs to incorporate the original building
which currently serves as a teacher training centre. He
would like to re-introduce subjects such as woodwork,
metalwork and technology into the curriculum.
A game of chess in the school library.
At work in a motor mechanics class.
Vryheid teachers doing internet research in the library.
Wilberforce College in Evaton, south of Johannesburg,
was founded by ANC veteran Charlotte Maxeke in 1908
under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal
Church. The Wilberforce Institute as it was then known,
was famous for teacher training and providing basic trades
such as printing, tailoring, shoemaking and agriculture to
men and women in South Africa and beyond.
In 1953, under the apartheid regime, the AME Church
leased the school to the South African government and in
1995 the AME Church reclaimed its land and buildings. With
assistance from the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), several new buildings were
constructed and equipped that are now the Wilberforce
Community College, a multipurpose educational facility,
a Distance Learning Centre, faculty housing, student
dormitories and a dining hall.
In years gone by, many of the students came from afar to
study at Wilberforce. These included Joshua Nkomo, leader
and founder of the Zimbabwe African Peoples’ Union, and
Kamuzu Banda, former President of Malawi. Today more
than 80% of the students are from the surrounding areas.
They are mostly bridging students with subjects that
include Business, Office Practice and Entrepreneurship.
If the old buildings were to be restored subjects such as
bricklaying and woodwork would be reintroduced.
Buildings on the old campus.
Mr Mduduza Bhebhe, HOD (Business Studies), stands in a newly built classroom in the Wilberforce Community College.
Some of the lecturers and administrative staff of the College.