Struggle icon school to be a candidate for heritage status

2013-11-04 00:00

REPRESENTATIVES of the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) visited Adams College near Amanzimtoti on Friday to get a report back on an NHC-funded research project, as well as other initiatives designed to make the famous school a candidate for national heritage site status.

“This school produced some of the icons of the struggle,” said Thendo Ramagoma, general manager of the NHC.

Adams College, currently celebrating the 160th anniversary of its founding in 1853, is a former mission school founded by Newton Adams of the American Board of Missions. First called the Amanzimtoti Institute, it was named after its founder in the late thirties. The imposition of Bantu Education under the apartheid regime saw the name change to the Amanzimtoti Zulu Training School. Its name has since reverted to Adams College.

Among the school’s impressive list of alumni are such figures as founding member and first president of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube, Africa’s first Nobel Peace prize winner Chief Albert Luthuli, the first democratic president of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama, first ANC Youth League President Anton Lembede, the late Judge Pius Langa, the first female chairperson of the African Union Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma, and leader of the IFP Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The NHC have funded a research project on the school being undertaken by Thulasizwe Makhanya, a teacher at the school, who is researching the history of the college and its buildings.

During a presentation to the NHC representatives, Marc Skarda of Sesalos Digital Solutions outlined the making of a documentary, Arise and Shine — The Adams College Story, on the school.

The documentary, currently a work in progress, forms part of the 3R Development Project (the three Rs stand for redevelop, revitalise and reposition) undertaken by the school with a number of objectives. These include the construction of a new multi-purpose hall, renovations to the computer, biology and science laboratories, as well as a museum and an African Nepad Garden and Walk of Fame featuring statues of prominent former pupils.

Top of the shopping list is 10 new classrooms. “We are under pressure for funds and we are placing the emphasis on more classrooms,” said college principal Thulani Khumalo.

The school, which has a reputation for academic excellence, currently has 1 168 pupils and 48 teachers, plus 46 ancillary staff, while class sizes are 50 pupils plus per class.

“The school was neglected during apartheid and is now trying to recover. We need to continue to serve the legacy of this iconic institution,” said Khumalo.

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