|Front entrance of Mary Waters High School|
Mary Waters High
|Mary Waters High School from western side|
There was practically nothing to run the school as there was no money, but they managed to collect things to furnish the class. Prof Morton hadn’t taught in ten year before accepting this job, but according to him the curriculum was partly optional with English and Afrikaans being compulsory. Other subjects offered where Arithmetic, History, Geography, Physiology, Hygiene, and Latin. They taught using the syllabus of the Cape Education Department.
In 1941 the coloured Primary School moved to a building which was apparently built for a recreation hall just off the old King Williams Town (presumably
Raglan Road). This
development led to moving to St.
Clements’s Hall. The move was very helpful since it meant there was going to be
now two class rooms available for them to use. R.U.C
Now, since there were two classes, a full-time teacher was needed. The College then, through the persuasion of Prof Morton, Miss Elspeth Naude (later Mrs Danckwert), who recently qualified from R.U.C, was appoint as a teacher. She taught English and Afrikaans.
The school, in 1955 experienced further challenges. Standard 6 was merged in the secondary school. This expansion made teaching and learning a challenge since there was limited teaching staff. On top of all of that, there were no funds to maintain the school since R.U.C was not obliged to spend money on the school. With no money to run the school, it was than decided to transfer the school from R.U.C to the schools board. Around 1955, the school came under the Cape Education Department. This shift took its toll on the relationship of the school and the R.U.C. The school’s present buildings opened in 1963, making the building 49 years old and the school 72 years old.
Miss Mary Waters
|Miss Mary Waters|
Miss Waters was born in
Miss Waters retired in 1942, and she was soon appointed as lecturer by the Education Department at R.U.C. Not only was she appointed as a lecturer, she was needed to also assist with the
It was at this school where she had contributed extensively, not only education
for the coloured community, but also personal lifestyle. R.U.C. Coloured
Mr. Muriel Wood, in his article published in the Grocott’s Mail of 15 December 2009 recalls Mary Waters as untidily dressed but a brilliant teacher. Wood says Mary Waters made Shakespeare live. She would act out the scenes for her class making set works like 'The Tempest 'and 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' come to life.
Miss Mary Waters retired for the second time around 1958 a very old woman. On here way to
old habit came back again. She stopped at Britain
to yet again take up a teaching position at a local school. It was at this
island where she finally ‘rested in peace’. It said she died of heart attack
while climbing the steep hills of the island, doing her teaching duties. St. Helena Island
|Mr Van Niekerk Headmaster from 1968-1973|
|Mr Crozier Headmaster from 1956-1968|
From pupil to Principal
In 1993 Samuel Wessels became the first principal of
to have been
taught at the school. Till today, he remains the only person to have done so and
he is still the principal of the school since 1993 making it 12 years since he
took over from his mentor Mr Parsotam. Mary Waters
Wessels was born and bred in Grahamstown, a son of a builder and a house-wife. He had attended Mary Waters High from standard 6 till standard 10 (matric). Samuel matriculated in 1976, the year he describes as, ‘the year of school riots in
When our education was in turmoil, South Africa was burning. That was
the year when our education was disrupted. Many of us eventually succeeded to
pass matric’. South Africa
|Mr Wessels Current Principal since 1993|
He enrolled with the
, where he
completed junior degree in education. Afterward he completed a teacher’s
of Western Cape
Samuel wanted to continue with his studies, and he already had an office in
with the Office of Employment when his former principal and English teacher Mr
Parsotam called and recruited him to fill in a teaching vacancy at the school. He
says he got a call from Parsotam saying that 'he believed that I was finished with
my studies, and I was needed to come back and assist at the school.' Cape Town
It was in 1981 when he started as a young teacher at the school, recalls Samuel. He remembers not being able to socialise with his colleagues because of the age difference. He would spend most of his break time with the pupil since they where almost in the same group. ‘When I started here, the learners I left in standard 6 where now in standard 10 and we knew each other so I spent most of the time at the back with the learners instead of the staff room with the other teachers. He was then gradually promoted in the teaching profession. He started as a teacher, then, became the H.O.D of the History Department. Finally on Parsotam’s retirement, he became the principal.
Not only is he a passionate teacher, he also was the school’s rugby and athletics coach. During his reign as the rugby coach, the school was border champions for a number of years. Ten of his first team players where selected to represent the border schools rugby team, so he had to field his second team for that match. This was not the only time he had to play his second team because of the unavailability of the first team. During the 1980s unrest, about 10 of his first team players were arrested by the apartheid government for political reasons.
The School Buildings
|Class rooms on the front building.|
In 1993 a fire broke up in the school leaving 3 class rooms damaged. This was added pressure on an already over crowded school, due to an increase in the number of learners. With the help of GADRA, Mrs Thelma Henderson, and Anglo American Company, the school was renovated and more classes where built between 2003 and 2004.
|Allister Coetzee, head Coach of the Stormers Rugby Franchise|
School Sport and Traditions
|Matric learners of Mary Waters High School on the day of the Mud Bath|
|Some of the school's trophies they won over the years|
|Coffin bearers at Bullie's funeral|
He was also a soccer player, he played for the school’s soccer team and part of the reason he went to the funeral was because of soccer. According to transcripts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s case of 17 May 1996 in East London, Bully went to the funeral to say his final goodbyes to a respected soccer opponent he had knew from their playing days. He was shot at this funeral when it was disrupted by the police of that regime.
Ever since that time till some years ago, pupils of
Mary Waters High School has undoubtedly, throughout the years experienced a lot of changes, and those changes are the reason the school is a success today. The school has faced every challenge brought about to it and came out on top. The school has a reach history, that if correctly documented and preserved, could inspire future generations to live up to the traditions of the school. As a former learner of this school, you have the courage and the ability to prosper like the former teachers, principals and learners of Mary Waters High School.
By: Theo Sinethemba Yame