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The origin of Vryburg High School


The origin of Vryburg High School

The Stellaland Republic was founded in 1882. At that stage there was no formal education on large scale mainly due to the small number of inhabitants and a lack of funds but on the other hand also because the basic skills (reading and writing) could be learned at home.

In 1883, however, two private schools were founded by miss Dedman and miss Kennedy. The Vryburg community and the imperial government (Brits-Betsjoeanaland) teamed up and eventually, on February 2, 1891, the "Vryburg Public School" came into being with a learner number of 20 ...                    Mr. Kelly was initially appointed acting principal, but permanently engaged the post in 1893 at a salary of R400 a year! By 1901, the amount of learners had increased to 200 and the school fund was R12 a year (then it was the price of two sheep).

However, there was another school that was established in 1883, the so-called "Poor School", which was established by the local Dutch Reformed Church for the needy children. The "Vryburg Public School" came under the authority of the Cape Colony in 1895 when the British Bethany land was incorporated into the Cape Colony. The Poor School was then incorporated into the Public School.

After the War of Independence, there were two more schools in the Vryburg area; the monastery school as well as a school in the concentration camp. The local NG minister also founded the "Independent School" because there were so many different language groups. So there were then five different schools in Vryburg… All the schools were united in 1909 to one school.

The biggest need now was a new school building to accommodate all the pupils. In 1913, H. Rosenblatt laid the cornerstone of the new school. However, the new school was very small from the beginning and in 1925 the Education Department budgeted to rebuild new school buildings. The then Minister of Education, Dr. DF Malan laid the cornerstone of the current school building in 1928. The building was in a horseshoe shape to facilitate additions later.

Stellaland Primary School was established in 1940 after the primary school division was separated from high school because the pupil numbers were too much. The pupil number was then 717.

During 1948 the school was enlarged by the addition of a new science laboratory, a library and a classroom; at the same time, the woodworking and household classrooms were equipped. The pupil number exceeded the 600 notch in 1960 and the school was further enlarged.

In 1980 the building plans for further extensions were approved and in 1987 the new building complex was officially received by the Department and opened by S. W. Walters, Director of Education. The expansions amounted to a whopping R 4 226 906 and included a fully equipped technical section with 3 workshops for automotive, electrician and fitting and turning, 17 classrooms, 3 laboratories, 1 household classroom, 6 administrative offices, an enlarged hall , a medical inspection unit, several packing rooms and bathrooms.

Currently, Vryburg High School is 127 years old and the number of learners are almost 700.

(Adapted from the Centenary School Journal)