Establishment of Trafalgar High School – 1912

 

The gross neglect of “non – European” education at the time to union (1910) prompted the APO to level a sharp criticism against the Cape School Board in its August 1911 issue.  It prompted the editor to write:

The results of investigations have shown that thus far the School Board Act has conferred no benefit on the Coloured population.

By 1911 education for Coloured was limited to the mission schools, which catered for primary education only.  Thew Cape School Board, with a large Coloured population in its area supported only three significant schools, viz, Chapel Street, second class; Albertus Street, third class; Sea Point Tramway, third class.

The need for high school was actively propagated by Dr Abdurahman, President of the African Political Organisation and Harold Cressy, the first Coloured person to obtain a B.A. degree at the University of Cape Town. After a great deal pf feet-dragging by the Cape School Board, the following advertisement appeared in the December 1911 issue of the APO:

CAPE SCHOOL BOARD

Trafalgar A2 Public School

(Late Chapel Street A2 Public School)

At this school, which is intended for coloured children whose parents desire to afford them a higher education in addition to the usual elementary school subjects.  Pupils will have an opportunity of learning the following High School subjects:

DUTCH, LATIN and ELEMENTRY (sic) SCIENCE

A Speciality of the School is the University Junior Certificate Class and a Matriculation Class will be formed if pupils present themselves.

Fees vary from ¾ upwards per quarter.  Arrangements may be made for board and lodging of country pupils at £2 per month in good coloured homes.

The first quarter of 1912 opens on January 22nd

For further particulars write to the Principal

H Cressy B.A.

15 Tennant Street, Cape Town.

The Trafalgar A2 Public School then duly opened in January 1912, it’s first principal being Harold Cressy.  The Trafalgar Public School (late Chapel SDtreet) was an A2 school and started off with a roll of 60 students (28 boys and 32 girls) and a staff of five teachers..

The school gained a unique distinction in 1913 by passing the first coloured girl through the University Junior Certificate Examination (the old School Higher).  Miss Rosie waradea Abduraghman, the elkdest daughter of the distinguished president of the APO, Dr Abduraghma, had been successful in passing the Junior Certificate Examination of the University of Cape Town.

She had gained the distinction of being the first Coloured girl from a Coloured school to pass the examination. While congratulating Miss Abduraghman, her parents and the Principal of the Trafalgar Public School, the APOP in no uncertain terms condemened equipment of the schoool as being “unsatisfactory, and its building as a disgrace to the School Board – a monument at the selfish and neglect of the authorities …”

Since its inception, Trafalgar has had the following people as heads and acting heads:

H Cressy

S. Maurice

H. Storey

H. Muller

P. Heneke

A. Roux

E. Steenveld

C. Ravens

J. Meltzer

G. Emeraan

Throughout its existence, the school, though lacking certain basic facilities, has been able to produce many eminent and distinguished scholars, doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, businesspeople and sportsmen.  The basic premise of the School is that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.  It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people, irrespective of race, colour, or creed.  The glorious name of Trafalgar has spread far and wide.