Fonds BC636 - Zonnebloem Papers

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Zonnebloem Papers


  • 1858-1950 (Creation)

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22 archival boxes

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Administrative history

Zonnebloem College was established in 1858 by Bishop Gray and Sir George Grey in order to educate the children of chiefs, in the hope that they would then carry the message of Christianity and civilization back to their people. It was also the hope of Sir George Grey that this would be a way of solving the state of constant conflict between black and white. The then‑called 'Kaffir College' began with 25 pupils who were housed and schooled at Bishop's Court. They received a liberal education and were also taught trades: carpentry, shoemaking, tailoring and dressmaking. By 1859 there were 49 children at the school and removal to more spacious quarters became urgent. A farm called Zonnebloem, on the slopes of Devils Peak, was bought in 1859 for £6 000, and thence the College moved in 1860. The property was taken over by the See of Cape Town in trust for the education of children of all races of Southern Africa, and for many years white, black and coloured did mix at Zonnebloem College. Gradually, however, as schools such as Lovedale opened nearer home, fewer blacks attended the College, and legislation in 1913 debarred white students. The College became increasingly a coloured educational institution. Many children of chiefs were educated at Zonnebloem College, among them the children of Sandili, Moshesh and Lobengula. Since the 1920's Z.C. has been a training school for coloured teachers, including also a secondary school and boys' and girls' Practising Schools.

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The Zonnebloem Papers were deposited with the University of Cape Town Libraries in 1980, through Dr Janet Hodgson, and number 3 360 items. Correspondence in the collection dates back to the establishment of the 'Kaffir College' in 1858, and the removal thereof to Zonnebloem Estate in 1860. The general correspondence, which includes the correspondence of successive wardens and principals, covers many facets of the running of the college. The Archbishop's correspondence, for the years 1935 to 1948, shows how closely the church is linked with the college. There is much correspondence about Zonnebloem Estate which deals with the maintenance of grounds, buildings, and various leases by the college of the brickfield and quarry. In this section, too, is the association between Z.C. and the Eoan Group. The minutes of Advisory Council meetings from 1919 to 1961 are in the Collection. The material relating to the College finances consists of balance sheets for the years 1860 to 1863 and 1931 to 1951, an account book covering the years 1861 to 1885, and various invoices and accounts. There is an admission register (1876‑1900), a roll of students (1892‑1949) and log books for 1931 to 1948. Papers include such items as title deeds for land granted to Emma and Gonye Sandili, examination lists, medical reports, syllabuses, etc. There are reports of inspection, both by the Church authorities and by the Department of Public Education. Also included are magazines, handbooks, prospectuses, photographs, and newspaper cuttings.


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No restrictions apply

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  • English

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  • English



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  • Shelf: 64b