THE FIRST high school in Cape Town built specifically for pupils of colour celebrates its centenary today.
Trafalgar High School in District Six was founded on January 12, 1912, with the help of Dr Abdullah Abdurahman, the president of the African Political Organisation, and Harold Cressy, the first coloured man to obtain a BA degree at UCT.
It had 60 pupils and five teachers, and Cressy was the first principal.
Today, said principal Nadeem Hendricks, Trafalgar would celebrate at a special academic assembly and party.
The Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Trevor Manuel, would be the keynote speake and special guests were to include the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Western Cape ANC head, Marius Fransman, Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai and the Labour Court’s Deputy Judge President Basheer Wagley.
Abdurahman, the father of anti-apartheid and civil rights heroine Cissie Gool, was later elected to the Cape Town City Council, and the Cape Provincial Council. In 1934, he was instrumental in the establishment of another school for children of colour, Livingstone High School.
Hendricks said that if he were to list Trafalgar’s famous alumni he would “fill a newspaper”. Among the most well-known are former justice minister Dullah Omar and advo- cate Bennie Kies, who was kicked out of the school by the government in the 1970s because of his anti-apartheid activities.
“Trafalgar, Alexander Sinton (High) and Livingstone High School have produced leaders in this country and were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. We are determined to remember the 100 years. We are determined to remind people of the history of the schools who were involved in the liberation Struggle – a nation that doesn’t remember its history is lost.
“It has been a phenomenal 100 years and the school is still respected in the community and we are still educating the poor and retaining an excellent academic record. Seventy percent of our matriculants go to UCT, UWC and Stellenbosch.
“These pupils are our pride. It has been 100 years of taking the poor to academic excellence with pupils from Gugulethu, Langa and Mitchells Plain.”