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Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School (South Africa)

Many of the schools in Grahamstown take their names from personalities who had played some form of influential role in the community. Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School is not different from these schools. Benjamin Mahlasela was a principal (headmaster) at Nathaniel Nyaluza High School in the early 1960s. Mr. Mahlasela taught at Nyaluza when that school was still called the Native Secondary School. He became principal after teaching there from inception as its first teacher. In the first year he took the first Form One (Grade Six these days) class and taught the students all six of the subjects on offer.

Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School was started in the late 1980s because there were a handful of unemployed educators and a number of scholars who could not find a place in the then existing secondary schools. It was initially a platoon school until the Department of Education secured a property for the school and built the buildings the school is currently using. The school’s location is Extension Seven. It was opened officially on 23rd September 1996 by then mayor of the Makana Municipality The Honorable Mzukisi Mpahlwa. It had as its first principal Mr Baninzi.

It has as academic subjects: isiXhosa, English, Afrikaans, Biology, Geography, History, Social Sciences, Physical Science, Economics, Commerce, Art, Technology, etc. It is involved in the following extra-mural activities: rugby, soccer, netball, athletics, music and so forth.

Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School has the least number of matrics of any of Grahamstown's schools. Last year, 2009, the school accommodated seven matriculants, while this year they have eight.

The overall number of learners has dropped from 2009's 155 to the current 75 students, giving staff the ability to offer individual attention. The school plans to maintain its 2009 success of obtaining 100 % pass rate in its matric results.

The school staff evaluates the situation of each student, taking domestic influences into account. The school works closely with parents to monitor the development and discipline of the students as both the school and home play important roles in the upbringing of a student.

Students, teachers and parents all show great commitment to learning and teaching in the school. Daily checks on current work are conducted and incompetent and frequently absent learners are treated on a personal level until the root problem is solved.

Extra classes are conducted, with the assistance of Rhodes University volunteer students. Due to the imbalance of this year's school terms, the school has requested extra classes during holidays.

Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa

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