There is this sad, recurring trend of Grahamstown township schools being threatened with closure. This is even more unfortunate when you consider that the town holds a very important role in South African Black education. Nathaniel Nyaluza High School and Andrew Moyakhe Primary School are among the oldest schools in the Eastern Cape.
It is also interesting to note that, with the exception of Nombulelo Secondary School, township schools are named after someone who must have been very important in the community at some point. Makana Primary School, for example, is named after a very influencial Xhosa seer of the 19th century.
Andrew Moyakhe Primary School, Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School and Makana Primary School might close down in the not so distant future because they fail to attract learners. Perhaps it’s just normal evolution, but the schools have important sentimental value.
Mary Waters Hoerskool was dependent on temporary teachers and now those teachers have moved on. Although the school is not threatened with closure, it is sad to note that it is struggling just because of the negligance of the DoE (Department of Education).
Many of us, including me, do not know the history behind the names these schools are named after. The first time I took an interest in these names was when I started working for the VSA and had to go to the schools regularly. Maybe if we knew, we would play a more active role in helping with their upkeep.
What is the point of all this? Just that these are not just our childrens’ schools but most of us – those who grew up in the town – studied in these schools too. How about working together towards documenting their history and that of their namesakes?