Tag Archives: Ohlange
February 20, 2013

Ohlange – Inanda Heritage Route Development

The Ohlange Institute site is very significant because it demonstrates the dreams and achievements of it’s founder, the remarkable Rev Dr John Langalibalele Dube or ‘Mafukuzela’ and the site where President Nelson Mandela recognised Dube’s achievements by casting his vote during South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. Born in the Inanda Mission where his father James was one of the first Black pastors, John Dube went to Oberlin College, Illinois in the US during the 1890’s to study to follow his father to the priesthood. Here he was influenced by the ex-slave Booker T Washington who espoused social emancipation through self improvement, academic learning, practical skills and Christian morality Dube returned to found the Ohlange Institute to put these into effect in 1901. He also founded Natal’s first African newspaper ”IlIange lase Natal” in 1903 and went on to co-found the Natal Native Congress and later became the first President of the African National Congress.

To celebrate the life and achievements of Rev Dr J L Dube
To enhance the African Renaissance Centre.
Record the struggle for Democracy in South Africa
To reintroduce Dube’s ideals about practical skills
Create definition between the school and the heritage precinct
Enhance the landscaping

Provide a moving experience at the Nelson Mandela voting site including struggle songs.
Reintroduce Dube’s founding objectives of self improvement and practical skills in classrooms flanking the former chapel.
Enhance the site of the original humble Dube homestead, family graves and the first classroom.
Provide overnight accommodation in the original dressed sandstone boys hostel.
To provide an opportunity for visitors to experience a large high school in operation.
Restore the elegant final homestead for visitors.
Project centre – the site as the centre of the implementation – project capacity located on the route – community based
Sort out the school – reinstate close relationship between ideals of the Institute with the school

On the upper part of the campus the original house, built of earth, has already been restored as a Museum with Mafukuzela’s statue seated on the veranda. The graves still need to be suitably celebrated and the foundations of the original mud classroom nearby, consolidated.
The former chapel is now the African Renaissance Centre and houses the Mandela voting site. When the school expands as a result of the ‘Historic Schools Restoration Project’, the flanking classrooms will become vacated and used for teaching various practical skills to fulfil the founding objective – ie extension of the African Renaissance Centre founding vision
Ownership and control of these sites within the overall campus needs to be resolved as well as the provision of services prior to any further development.


Ohlange – proposed development





February 4, 2013

Angelina Dube

Courtesy: Ilanga News Library

January 12, 2013

John L. Dube and Ohlange

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

John L. Dube as a writer

Ohlange Institute


Amafa – Heritage KwaZulu-Natal

South African History Online

Historic Schools Restoration Project

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal

Oberlin College student essay on John Dube


November 30, 2012

Learners at Ohlange High School showcase their culture

These videos were recorded at Ohlange High School as part of a community outreach project run by the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the learners are part of the ‘Tourism Club’, an extra-curricular programme for learners who are interested in heritage and tourism. The initial videos were recorded in preparation for Tourism Month and Heritage Day in August/September 2012. Learners were encouraged to showcase their artistic performance talents and knowledge about traditional customary practices and Zulu heritage. Most of the performances were not staged or rehearsed but spontaneously recorded. They provide a glimpse into these young peoples’ lives and their understanding of traditional culture and heritage.

Ohlange High School learners perform a dance

Cynthia Mthembu explains how to make Zulu beer

Or listen to the audio clip:

Nothando Mathabela explains how to make Zulu beer

Or listen to the audio clip: Nothando Mathabela explains how to make Zulu beer

Cyprian Vilakazi talks about Umemulo

Or listen to audio clip: Cyprian Vilakazi talks about Umemulo

Nompilo Mthembu talks about Zulu ancestral beliefs

Or listen to the audio clip:Nompilo Mthembu – Zulu Ancestral beliefs

Three learners perform a traditional song


Siswe Notshe talks about the Nazareth Baptist (Shembe) Church

Or listen to the audio clip:Sizwe Notshe – Shembe


Learners explain male Zulu attire

Or listen to the audio clip:Male Zulu attire

November 8, 2012

Memories of John L.Dube

Edna Thulekile Ncala grew up with John L.Dube‘s family at Ohlange and shares her memories.

Or listen to the audio clip:



Interview with Lulu Dube 

Another interview with Lulu Dube