Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
–Former President of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela
Educate a woman, you educate a nation.
–Former deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka
Inanda Seminary, an all-girls secondary high school in Durban, South Africa, has equipped girls with the ‘weapon’ of education for nearly 150 years and is leading the way currently in the education crisis in the country. Over 85% of South African children attend under-performing schools and only 40% will graduate from upper secondary school.
Inanda Seminary, founded in 1869, was the first secondary school exclusively for African girls in southern Africa established by Congregationalist missionaries. The vision statement of the school includes the empowerment of students (affectionately known as “members”) to play a role in the development of the nation and become future leaders.
Inanda Seminary is a church school of our partner denomination, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA). Inanda Seminary believes in developing the whole child: intellectually, socially, physically and spiritually and upholds six core values: honesty, respect/self-respect, responsibility, loyalty, self-discipline and sociability. These values form the foundation of all that is offered and accomplished at the Seminary. This enables Seminary members and alumnae, in the words of the school motto, to “shine where you [they] are.” (Philippians 2:15)
Inanda Seminary embraces Christian values and African traditions as well as independent thinking and the freedom of expression. The focus for the next three years is integrating technology in teaching and learning, building the skills needed for problem-solving and improving competency in writing and text analysis.
A current grade 11 student, Sanelisiwe Mngomezulu, uses the old adage of fishing to explain the importance of education. “You do not hand out fish. You equip them with a rod. Education allows us to reach our full potential which helps others to see their potential. This leads to a cycle of success.” This is in sharp contrast to the vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, crime and abuse that it rampant in the country. Education eradicates each of these social problems.
As part of the solution to these social ills, Inanda Seminary is reaching beyond its walls into the community through the Khanyisa (light) Inanda Seminary Community Projects to provide extra tuition and holiday school for students, professional development for current teachers and best-practice teaching methodology and pedagogy for aspiring teachers.
Inanda Seminary is also 1 of 22 schools a part of the South African Extraordinary Schools Coalition that define themselves as ‘impact schools’. Impact schools are high-quality, achievement-orientated schools that provide disadvantaged learners across South Africa with affordable access (low fee or non-fee) to high-quality learning that prepares them for success in higher education and the world of work.
Inanda Seminary will continue to ‘shine a light’ on the new story in education to ensure excellence in teaching and learning that enables students to reach their potential and achieve their goals to uplift themselves, their communities and the country.