The Ohlange Native Industrial Institute, as it was known at the time, was founded by the Rev. John Langalibalele Dube in 1901. He was known as Mafukuzela, reflecting his energetic and industrious nature. Dube became the first President of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), later to be renamed the African National Congress (ANC). He was also the founding editor of the newspaper Ilanga lase Natal and the first principal of what is today known as Ohlange High School.
Dube’s guiding principle in life, despite his incredible energy, was to “hasten slowly”. This became the basis of the education policy he introduced at Ohlange, insisting that students be thoroughly equipped for their future careers. His concern was to produce self-reliant citizens, and he stressed the importance of providing students with industrial training as well as academic skills. This resulted in shoemaking, dressmaking, carpentry, motor mechanics, agriculture and journalism being taught together with academic subjects.
Dube also placed great emphasis on character formation. Politically he was a moderate and independent-minded person. He found himself in conflict with the Industrial and Commercial Union (ICU) as well as with the colonial government of the time. He worked with Mahatma Gandhi and condemned the resort to arms by the government to put down the Bambatha rebellion. Throughout his life he kept alive the political vision that gave birth to the ANC in the pages of Ilanga lase Natal.
Read more about Dube and Ohlange
Oberlin College student essay on John Dube
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