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Adams College

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 Govan Mbeki.

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 questioned.

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.

Inanda Seminary

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 Seminary:

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, THOUGHTFUL, THANKFUL.

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 national monument.

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 further afield.

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.”

School trophies.

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 are developed.

“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 the Kingmaker.

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 evident everywhere.

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 Grahamstown.

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 monument.

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

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.


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