Tag Archives: Ohlange Institute
September 2, 2013

Inanda Heritage Route – School Challenge

Click here : Woza eNanda School Challenge Report

Summary : The Woza eNanda School Challenge was a Durban Tourism initiative, schools around Durban were toured through  the Inanda Heritage Route. These tours, consisted of 3 schools per day, 20 students per school (60 students in total, per day) and only grade 12 students participated. The students did a number of activities and were divided into groups.These tours were important for teaching the students about the Inanda Heritage Route and also  teaching them how to work in a team.

February 20, 2013

Inanda Seminary – Inanda Heritage Route Development

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


February 7, 2013

Bophela family of Inanda Mission

The headstones at the Inanda Seminary Cemetery indicate that Mbila (the son of Batshazwayo) and his wife Nomanxiwa KaGolokoqo Cele were 88 and83 years old respectively when they died. Already in the mid-nineteenth century, they were already members of local church. One of the sons of Mbila was Blanjan Mhlathini who died in 1963. His sons Oscar and Pascoe Simo are the subjects of this report. Both became prominent members of both church and community.

O.K Bophela

Oscar (Popular known as O.K) became a teacher of tailoring at Ohlange Institute. When he retired, he became a businessman serving the community throughout his life. Also his name on the commemorative plaque outside the church confirms that he became a deacon and prominent member of the church. He and his wife lie buried at the local cemetery.

P.S Bophela

Pascoe Simo (Popular known amongst his colleagues as PSB) was the younger (and only) brother of O.K. His wife, Grace Ntonjana was a member of another well-known family, the Mfeka’s of Emachobeni. Both became school teachers. After graduating with a B.A  at Fort Hare, Pascoe taught at Mpolweni and then moved to Adams College. He established his reputation as a good teacher of Maths and Science, working together with such great names as Mthimkhulu, Moerane, Mtshali and Ngobese.

In 1948 Pascoe returned to his home and community at Inanda Mission and taught at Ohlange Institute where he became acting headmaster until 1960. When he left for Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where he taught at Mount Selinda and Chikore both secondary schools both run by American Board Mission (UCCSA). In 1992 Pascoe returned to Inanda at the advent of democracy in South Africa. He died in 1994 leaving behind four sons who are still alive and a daughter who is late. He was buried by UCCSA and his community of Inanda and likes, like his forebears, at the cemetery at Inanda Seminary.

What conclusion can be drawn from this brief narrative?

  • The Bophela (Bopela) family ranks amongst the Ngcobo, Goba, Ngidi, Mfeka, and Nxumalo as one of the first families to form the community of what today Inanda Mission.
  • They accepted Christianity early and played a prominent role in all aspects of the church and mission congregants and deacons.
  • They became prominent in business- O.K Bophela and P.S Bophela established Mtshazi cash store in KwaNgolosi and O.K ran school view cash store and education.

Written by Vusumuzi N Bopela in January 2013 (collected by Xolani Magwaza)

For more information on some of the organizations or institutions mentioned in this post click on one of the links below:

University of Fort Hare

Adams College

American Board Mission

United Congregational Church of Southern Africa


February 5, 2013

Pictures of John L. Dube and family

J.L Dube

John Langalibalele Dube (Ilanga News Library)


Mrs Dube and her son Sobantu Dube

Mrs Dube and her son Sobantu (Illanga News Library)


Mrs Dube and kids

Mrs Dube and children (Illanga News Library)









Mrs Dube

Mrs Dube (Ilanga News Library)

November 8, 2012

Mandla Nxumalo – Ohlange Heritage site

Mandla Nxumalo, site guide at Ohlange, talks about John Dube, Ohlange and the importance of visiting the heritage sites in Inanda.

Or listen to the audio clip:

Summary: This heartfelt intriguing video of Mandla talks about him being born and raised in Inanda. He passionately speaks about his current line of work at the John L Dube Memorial Site in Ohlange where he is involved with the training, development and mentorship of the community. He also talks about the museums in Inanda being “learning centers”, not just “museums” and emphasizes that Inanda has a rich source of history, culture and religion. The area has lot of opportunities available and Mandla encourages the local people to visit and educate themselves about the sites in Inanda. Mandla ends off with the philosophy of the late Rachel Dube which is “use your Head, Heart and Hand in whatever you do”. (Summary by Arisha Govender)