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St Boniface High School

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 12 APRIL

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UPDATED: 12/04/2018

12 April 1872, Historian George Beet arrives in Kimberley.
12 April 1875, Black Flag rebellion led by Alfred Aylward starts.
12 April 1878, Sir William Solomon admitted to the Cape Bar.
12 April 1887, Kimberley Boys and Girls High Schools founded.
12 April 1889, Thomas Lane VC, dies in Kimberley and buried in Gladstone cemetery.
12 April 1904, Monument Hill residents petition to change Bultfontein Rd to Dalham Rd.
12 April 1926, St Boniface School opens in Galeshewe suburb.
12 April 1926, Edward Skosana the first African teacher at St Boniface.

DID YOU KNOW

Kimberley’s St. Boniface High School was for many years a mission church and school run for Africans by German priests and nuns, opening as such on 12 April 1926. But by 1950, the St. Boniface Mission School, which included elementary through high school grades, had grown so large that the parish leadership had decided that a male religious order would be better suited to the size and stature of the school. An Irish Christian Brother, Paul Dunn, C.F.C., already served as the elementary school principal. He suggested the Christian Brothers to serve the school. Brother Ferdinand Clancy, C.F.C., Superior General of the Brothers, wrote to the Brother Principal of the American Province, Brother Austin Gleason, C.F.C., requesting they send Brothers to found an independent high school in Kimberley. Forty Brothers out of 100 province-wide offered to join in the mission.

Two men were chosen, Brothers Elphage Enda St. Martin, C.F.C., and John James Hayes, C.F.C. The school was named St. Boniface High School, carrying on its original name, and opened for classes in January 1951. The school grew tremendously during the early years, and was funded both by the parish and the state. Relations with the South African government became icy when it became known that the Brothers were offering the black African students a college preparatory education. After the Minister of Bantu Education met with Principal Brother Hayes, the school no longer received government funding, and relied nearly solely on American aid. In 1959, Br. Hayes was deported from the country for his publicly known anti-Apartheid sentiments and actions, and Brother St. Martin replaced him as principal. He later came back to visit the school in 1997 once the Apartheid had ended. He was by then a layperson, having left the Brothers.

During the 1960s, the school expanded its extracurricular and athletic programs significantly. The first dramatic performance at St. Boniface was “Oklahoma!” organized and directed by Brother Joseph Matthews, C.F.C., math instructor and sports coach. The school also added a brass band, the Stardusters, founded by Brother Michael Malvey, C.F.C. He wrote to the New York City Police Department, which donated the unused instruments from their recently disbanded brass band. A fellow teacher from a wealthy family, Brother Stoltz, C.F.C., quietly paid for both the purchase and shipment of band uniforms and the shipment of the instruments. (From Wikipedia, with changes).

The school celebrates its birthday as from January 1951 however, and not from April 1926. A pity as St Boniface actually celebrates its 92nd Anniversary today.

(Photograph from the FB site Kimberley City Portal).

UPDATED: 12/04/2017

12 April 1872, Historian George Beet arrives in Kimberley.
12 April 1875, Black Flag rebellion led by Alfred Aylward starts.
12 April 1878, Sir William Solomon admitted to the Cape Bar.
12 April 1887, Kimberley Boys and Girls High Schools founded.
12 April 1889, Thomas Lane VC, dies in Kimberley and buried in Gladstone cemetery.
12 April 1904, Monument Hill residents petition to change Bultfontein Rd to Dalham Rd.
12 April 1926, St Boniface School opens in Galeshewe suburb.
12 April 1926, Edward Skosana the first African teacher at St Boniface.

DID YOU KNOW

Thomas Lane VC (May 1836 – 12 April 1889) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was born in Cork, Ireland in May 1836, and in 1853, not quite seventeen, Lane was with the 47th Regiment in the Crimean War, seeing service at the Battle of Alma River, at Inkerman and at Sebastopol. He is known to have been nursed in Scutari hospital and may even have met Florence Nightingale.

PT_Thomas_Lane_VC_Grave-1889

Thomas Lane Grave

Three years later, he was in India immediately after the Indian Mutiny had ended, and in 1859 he went to China. On 21 August 1860 at the Taku Forts, China, Lane, then aged 24 and a Private in the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot (later The Royal Hampshire Regiment), British Army and a lieutenant (Nathaniel Burslem) of his regiment displayed great gallantry. They swam the ditches of the North Taku Fort and attempted, during the assault and before an entrance had been effected by anyone, to enlarge an opening in the wall, through which they eventually entered. In doing so, they were both severely wounded. For this action both men were awarded the Victoria Cross. (His medal is displayed at The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum & Memorial Garden in Winchester, Hampshire, England.)

He fought in the Anglo-Zulu War as a Sergeant with the 3/NNC. This unit was disbanded at Rorke’s Drift after the siege and the officers and non-commissioned officers formed three troops of the Natal Horse. He also fought in Landry’s Light horse in Basutoland 1881–82. His VC gratuity was paid from the consulate in Boston, USA, and also from Auckland, New Zealand, during the 1870s. Lane was one of eight men whose VCs were forfeited. He was stripped of the medal on 7 April 1881 after being convicted of desertion on active service and theft of a “horse, arms and accoutrements”.

PT_Thomas_Lane_VC-Medals-1889

Thomas Lane Medals

In 1882 he was in Pretoria jail for tearing down the Transvaal Flag, but was allowed soon afterwards to take the place of a Boer, van Veen, in the Staatsartillerie. The Pretoria jail must have appreciated his dubious qualities, and for a time he was a warder of this jail and his wife was the matron. Lane accused the chief warder of having designs on his wife, which ended that chapter of his life. Lane’s last exploit seems to have been to join the Cape Police in Kimberley. On 12 April 1889 he died in the Carnarvon Hospital, Kimberley, of inflammation of the lungs, and was given a full military funeral. (Various sources).

 

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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