St Mark's College Trust
Patron: The Baroness Perry of Southwark
Registered Charity Number: 1006316
The educational institution called St Mark's College, comprises a Senior school, a Primary school and a Pre-primary, all on the same campus in the remote town of Jane Furse in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
The College is located in the grounds of what was once the headquarters of the Community of the Resurrection in South Africa associated with famous anti-apartheid campaigners such as Trevor Huddlestone, and responsible for the education of personalities such as Oliver Thambo. The Community probably chose the site because of its association with the young Christian martyr, Manche Masemola, whose statue now stands alongside Martin Luther King and other 20th century martyrs on the west front of Westminster Abbey.
The Community of the Resurrection closed down the school they ran because they felt that they could not operate under the apartheid regime. In 1985 however, the local community approached the Diocese of St Mark's and asked them to restart the school; a loophole in the law at the time allowed a non racial school to be reinstated.
The video Township Life explains the historical context which inspired the creation of St Mark's College. Many of those past issues are still a problem and providing excellent education remains an ongoing challenge of vital concern.
Peter Anderson was appointed as its first Head Master and the buildings and ethos of the College were built under his stewardship. The values taught during the early days at St Mark's, shown in the video clip Responsibility are as relevant and important now as they were then.
In 1994 the ANC established the first multi-racial democracy. The impact of South Africa becoming a democratic state was such that the public schools in the urban areas, which had been exclusively for whites, opened their doors to black children as well. Most parents, especially those from Pretoria and Johannesburg, (two big cities situated 300 kilometres away from St Mark's) removed their children from St Mark's and enrolled them at schools closer to home. This development had a negative impact on the cash flow at St Mark's and the College converted to “state schools on private land” status in January 2003, with an umbrella School Council chaired by the Bishop of the Diocese of St Mark's in Polokwane, Limpopo.
But due to the ongoing challenges of education in South Africa, government resources are limited and overstretched, therefore the College remains reliant on donations.
Supporting Education and Outreach at St Mark's College in South Africa
© St Mark's College Trust, UK