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Vuleka St Joseph’s – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba School for Boys

| November 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Lu-Ann Bure

We are pleased to announce that the highly respected non-profit, and long- time ISASA member, Anglican Diocesan Vuleka School, based in Johannesburg, will be opening a boys’ school in January 2016, called Vuleka St Joseph’s – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba1 Diocesan School for Boys.

Vuleka School is a Johannesburg-based, low-fee, non- profit, church school with a proud history. It was founded by Susan Germond and Joy Chilvers in 1989, to place previously disadvantaged children into a more efficient branch of the education system. Vuleka opened its doors to 59 children in four classes.

Twenty-seven years later, Vuleka educates a thousand pupils from Grade 000 to Grade 12 in two pre-primary schools, three other primary schools, a centre for assisted learning and a high school – all co-educational, all registered with the Gauteng Department of Education and all members of ISASA.

A historically significant new home

In 2014, Vuleka moved its central office from the church of St Martin’s-in- the-Veld in Rosebank, Johannesburg to the St Joseph’s Diocesan Centre in Sophiatown. This is a historic site, built in 1923 as a children’s home and designed by the architect FLH Fleming.2 It was one of the very few sites not bulldozed when the apartheid government cleared the vibrant multiracial community of Sophiatown to rebuild it as Triomf. Its history is also linked to that of the Anglican Church and the Community of the Resurrection (CR) Fathers, especially Trevor Huddleston,4 and the Sisters of St Margaret. As Bishop Brian Germond noted, the story of St Joseph’s takes us “into the lives of so many people from all walks of life who responded to the challenge of the gospel and the need of the poor and gave generously of their time, talents and possessions to make the world a better, kinder, Christ-centred place”.

St Joseph’s borders directly onto the Melville Koppies nature reserve.7 It is a Johannesburg City Heritage Site and the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. Its geology goes back three billion years. The vegetation of the koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable example of the richness of Highveld grasses, flowers and trees close to a city centre.

On the same premises as the St Joseph’s Diocesan Centre in Sophiatown, Vuleka St Joseph’s will open its doors to Grade 0, Grade 1 and Grade 2 boys in January 2016. The idea to open a new school for boys was brought about by the need in our society to provide young boys with affordable, quality education. This has long since been the dream of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who has generously helped to fund the school.

For young boys, a place to belong

The boys who will come to our school would never have been able to afford average existing private school fees, so we have made quality, private education accessible to them. These boys are more likely to come from single- parent households and don’t have the luxury of both parents at home to help them with their homework, and to support them both financially and in other ways. We are building this school because we believe that the average South African boy child is being left behind,8 and it is our aim to help those boys to become upstanding, contributing citizens of our country and give back to the community, despite their social or economic background.

A meaningful model of masculinity

The values of the boys’ school are drawn from the life of St Joseph – humility, compassion, faith and trust in God, respecting and honouring self, family, school and society and celebrating the dignity of work.

Vuleka St Joseph’s, rooted in its Christian identity, will:

1. grow boys into young men of honour, faith and justice,contributing to South African society and the future of the country
2. teach a model of masculinity defined not by materialism, physical strength or domination of women, but rather by courage, compassion, defence of the weak, integrity, reason and the power of intellect
3. offer a curriculum designed to develop the unlimited potential of each boy
4. foster a teaching methodology grounded in current neuropsychological research and practice
5. enable meaningful participation in an extramural programme that plays its part in the holistic development of each boy
6. make use of its historical and environmental context to enrich the learning experience of each boy.

An ethos underpinned by excellence

Vuleka St Joseph’s has a vision of excellence and will offer a holistic curriculum, in line with the national Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS),10 which allows each pupil to develop his academic, social, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being. Learning through the arts, such as music and visual arts, will be encouraged, and cultural activities will include chess, art and choir. Sporting activities will include mini soccer, mini cricket and athletics. As an Anglican school, we will encourage participation in Christian fellowship – instilling values, and providing a sense of emotional well-being and a sense of belonging.

Money matters

Since 2012, Vuleka’s fundraising team has managed to raise approximately R2 million through donations by trusts, individual donors and other schools. Building costs have amounted to roughly the same amount so far. The Vuleka central office currently occupies one of the four prefabricated buildings, each of which is earmarked for two classrooms. The office will move to the original building (erected in 1923) that was on the St Joseph’s Children’s Home property. It is a beautiful heritage building, and the very necessary restoration will be done as soon as possible. The school fees for the new boys’ school will be R12 210 for the Grade 0 year and R16 896 for the Grade 1 year.

We are all privileged to be able to work and study in this setting.

For more information about the school, telephone the Vuleka Central Off ice at: +27 (11) 477 6917 or e-mail: Lu-Ann Bure is a member of the Vuleka marketing and fundraising team.


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6. Welham,S.(2015)HopeBlossoms in Sophiatown–StJoseph’s Home for Coloured Children – The Story. Johannesburg: The Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg.
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10. See: Assessment Policy Statements/tabid/419/Default.aspx.

Category: Summer 2015

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