Established by the missionary, Rev Daniel Lindley and his wife Lucy in 1869 for the American Board of Missionaries, Inanda Seminary was the first secondary school exclusively for African girls in Southern Africa and still remains the oldest girls private boarding school in South Africa. It was built to train girls to be teachers and ‘good wives’ to the young males being trained at Adams College in Amanzimtoti.
It is significant because it has remained unscathed throughout the Apartheid era when ‘Bantu Education’ was enforced and has a fascinating record retained in the archives.
It is also a record of the origins of the Amakholwa starting, for example, with James Dube, half brother of Chief Mqhawe of the local Qadi clan and the father of John Dube the founder of the Ohlange Institute.
The original Congregational Church, built by Lindley in 1849 lies at the head of the eucalyptus lined Seminary Avenue entrance to the school. John Dube’s father James was one of the first African pastors.
A related important discovery during this project period was the discovery of the ruins of Daniel Lindley’s original home in Umzinyathi dated 1847 which makes this a significant colonial vestige.
The first principal was Mary Edwards who arrived from America as a forty year old widow and remained Head until 1892. Sheonly died at the school in 1927 at the age of 98. Her bust is mounted in the forecourt, before the Administration Building which was the original thatched Lindley homestead. “She arrived in Inanda on an ox wagon three months after leaving Boston. Her belongings and supplies including teaching equipment of ten double desks, a teacher’s desk, a black board, globes, a thermometer, and a microscope….” (Rev DR Scott Couper )
To demonstrate the pioneering role of the American Board of Missionaries in Inanda
To appreciate the impact of
To enhance the role of the Inanda Seminary as an historic school in South African society
To maintain a secure and tranquil campus together with historic buildings
To provide an opportunity for visitors to experience a mission school
To retain the very important archives and museum of school and pioneer history.
To build on the long history of the establishment
Fortunately after a serious funding crisis in 1997 the alumnae took over control and with the help of former president Nelson Mandela secured corporate sponsorship from SAPPI to renovate many buildings. Edwards Hall built in 1888 was destroyed by fire in 1993 and reopened in 2009 to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the school. There are ongoing plans to upgrade facilities outlined elsewhere, all in co-operation with the Heritage Authorities.
The school has clearly set its own guidelines.
Proposed future development
This post is also available in: Zulu