Following the establishment of the Mariannhill-Monastery by Abbot Francis and his band of Trappist Monks in December 1882, Chief Manzini ordered each homestead under his jurisdiction, to send two boys to the missionaries. In 1883 the Trappist founded a non-racial boarding school, St Francis, in which they could educate boys. At the convent, a school for girls, St Anne, was also founded. Later these two schools were combined into one for both boys and girls, in 1909, when the present building was erected. The first school master was Fr A.T. Bryant, a Zulu linguist and ethnologist.
In 1915 the first Catholic Training College for Black Teachers in South Africa was established. For political reasons of the time, it was closed in 1973.
In 1931 the school enrolled learners into High School classes. By 1935 it was recognised as a high school, independent of the Training College, with Sr. Lucia Ballhausen as the First Principal. Since then approximately 4200 students have matriculated from St Francis College, establishing a proud tradition o 100% matric pass rate over the years.
All graduates of St Francis College have been inspired by the spirit of Mariannhill, they have qualifies as: doctors and nurses, teachers and professors, lawyers and judges, priests and bishops. Some have served as Premiers or filled notable positions in government, and in both the public and private sector.
Celebrated former students of the College include: Dr B. W. Vilakazi, linguist and Zulu poet; Steve Bantu Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness Movement; Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburi, former Minister of Post and Telecommunications; KZN Chief Justice Vuka Tshabalala; Dr B. Chidzero, Former Secretary of the UN General Assembly; Mr Sizwe Nxasana, Former CEO of First Rand Bank; Dr I. B. Mkhize, Former CEO of the Kruger National Park, Dr Basil Enicker, Specialist Nero Surgeon; Ms Sizo Angel Mchunu, President of the SA Nursing Council; Dr Judy Dlamini, Vice Chancellor of Wits University; Mr Xolani Dube of Xubeira Institute.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to many alumni who assist to take their Alma Mater to new heights. We hope that their numbers will swell and the spirit gain momentum, to the benefit of their school.
We are immeasurably grateful to the Ikusasa Le Afrika Foundation (ILAF) and its funders, for partnering with the school and embarking on a process of: infrastructure upgrade, construction of new and renovation of old buildings. A new spirit is moving in and through the school, breathing innovation, growth and mind-set change into all members of the school community.
“A PRESTIGIOUS INSTITUTION UPHOLDING A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE THROUGH A HOLISTIC EDUCATION”
ST. FRANCIS’ COLLEGE
Mariannhill Secondary Independent School
170 Abbot Francis Road
P. O. Box 11003