Masibambane College is an Anglican Diocesan school initiated and supported by Education Africa and St John’s College. The school initially started out as a primary school whose construction was funded primarily by the City of Vienna. The year 2010 saw the official opening of the Masibambane College High School whose construction was funded by CEDAR Foundation (Canada).
Masibambane College is situated in Orange Farm, an enormous township situated about 50km south of Johannesburg, South Africa.
HOW THE COLLEGE STARTED
When Education Africa approached Walter Sisulu for his advice on where to build a new school, the late African National Congress veteran did not hesitate to suggest that it be built in Orange Farm, an informal settlement plagued at the time by massive illiteracy and unemployment. Orange Farm was once considered to be the dumping ground for the unwanted, poverty-stricken masses of South Africa, and is thus situated in an extremely impoverished environment. Thomas Zilk from Austrian Airlines was responsible for introducing the City of Vienna to Education Africa. Education Africa then approached St John’s College to assist us in getting Masibambane College up and running and more recently, St John’s approached the Anglican Church to participate as well.
With the investment made by the City of Vienna, Education Africa was able to begin the building of Masibambane College Primary school in 1996 and from humble beginnings, the school has grown into a quality educational institution catering for the needs of over 700 learners. It was time to expand Masibambane College to incorporate a high school.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTNERS
Education Africa acquired the land, sourced project partners and the majority of funding for the buildings, infrastructure and sports facilities of the school. Education Africa also sponsors a number of learners on Scholarships through our Walter Sisulu Scholarship Fund. We have taken the Marimba and Djembe bands to perform in London, Vienna and New York and they have had the opportunity of performing in front of Sir Bob Geldof and other celebrities and dignitaries.
St John’s College ensures project long-term educational growth through the establishment and maintenance of high academic standards.
The Anglican Church represents the religious denomination. It should be noted though that the school is open to all religious denominations
MASIBAMBANE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
The official opening of the Masibambane College High School took place on 3 March 2010. The construction of the High School was made possible through a partnership between Education Africa and CEDAR Foundation (Canada) which provided R13-million for the project. Masibambane College High School currently consists of 10 classrooms, offices and admin area, staff room, ablution facilities and a computer centre – all of which are fully equipped. There are currently 90 learners enrolled at the high school comprising 2 Grade 8 classes and one Grade 9 class. The first matric class at Masibambane will be held in 2013.
Masibambane College High School is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr Aggrey Klaaste, former chairman of Education Africa, Helen Suzman who was a Patron of Education Africa, and Walter Sisulu, a great friend and supporter of Education Africa whose vision of a school in Orange Farm inspired Education Africa to source the necessary funding to build the school and establish the key partnerships to ensure its ongoing success.
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF THE COLLEGE
- 1996 – Phase One: construction of the Vienna Centre including a hall, four classrooms, an administration room, kitchen and ablution facilities.
- 1999 – Phase two: seven classrooms constructed together with additional ablution facilities, temporary offices and a temporary staff area.
- 2002 – Phase three: seven more classrooms and additional ablution facilities are built.
- 2003 – Phase four: construction of the Science Environmental Centre. The funding was received through Brainbows from various Austrian businesses who attended the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- 2004 – An administration centre and two new classrooms were completed, with funding from the City of Vienna.
- 2008 – Phase five: this phase incorporates an aftercare and feeding programme, as well as a home economics classroom serving as a kitchen for Aids orphans and vulnerable children. This phase was funded by the City of Vienna, Life Ball contribution and personally through Mag. Renate Brauner, Vice-Mayor and Deputy Governor of the City of Vienna birthday. The construction of a gatehouse and related infrastructure, as well as equipping of the school with the necessary fire safety requirements to get government approval for the high school, were also completed.
- 2009 – Plans for the new high school are approved and construction begins.
- 2009 – Fully irrigated, multi-purpose sports fields are built and equipped with funding from HSBC in honour of the British & Irish Lions Rugby tour to South Africa.
- 2010 – Phase 1 (High School): 10 classrooms, offices and admin area, staff room, ablution facilities and a fully equipped computer centre are completed for the high school. The funding was received from CEDAR Foundation (Canada)
Our most recent (2010) insurance valuation of the buildings excluding the sports field and general infrastructure has been listed as R49 million. This is an investment that needs to be protected and maintained.
The English meaning of the isiZulu name Masibambane is “let us hold hands”. Thus, community outreach is an integral part of Masibambane College. The school takes great pride in its feeding scheme and the aftercare facility for Aids orphans and vulnerable children. Currently 130 such children come to Masibambane five afternoons a week, where they are provided with an afternoon meal and they are assisted with homework. The school also arranges field trips for these children from time to time, including a trip to the Grahamstown Arts Festival. Leadership and mentorship programmes are also arranged, as well as a number of sports activities.
Far from relying solely on outside donors and assistance to build the college into what it is today, Masibambane College has established itself as a centre of educational excellence and an invaluable asset to the Orange Farm community through the hard work and commitment of the staff, School Council and the hope and enthusiasm of the eager learners, who recognise the value of a quality education. It has also shown that good, quality educational institutions can be built and run effectively in poor communities.
Today, the school provides quality education to many children and rewarding employment to many adults in the community. Masibambane College stands proudly as a true testament to what can be achieved in even the most trying circumstances when people come together to benefit the whole community.