My next visit was to the High School to renew my acquaintance with the Principal Dominic Nxumalo.
Dominic explained that for a number of years, the St Mark’s High School Community has been, and is still struggling to raise funds for to construct new facilities such as additional classrooms, Teacher’s houses, and / or improve already dilapidated existing structures due to the dwindling economy. St. Mark’s is currently on a vigorous Fundraising Campaign in order to accomplish many of the School’s Projects earmarked a couple of years ago to take the school to greater heights. Over thirty School Projects have already been compiled to work on and be completed over a ten year period.
Despite the struggle for funding, Dominic has made some progress at the High School since our last meeting two years ago. The IT classroom is now double the size of previous due to an extension being built. Unfortunately I was unable to photograph this as the room was locked and nobody could find a key! The Administration Block is near to completion and will provide additional room space for more effective organisation.
Documentation going back many years is stored in complete disarray but it is planned to file this in due course to make archive information more accessible.
Dominic is currently only part time Principal at St. Mark’s as he also holds the post of head of the Swaziland Teachers Union. However, Dominic has decided to stand down in September so that he can concentrate full time on the School, the fundraising and the 2010 centenary celebrations.
St Mark’s Primary and High School were once one school but are now run on separate budgets and have drifted apart over the last few years with little communication and no joint ventures. Dominic and Chris plan to change this situation so that St. Mark’s is once again seen as a united school with solid administration, equal ambitions and one large voice. Immediate plans are to unite the fundraising appeals and also work together towards hosting the 2010 centenary celebrations.
To coordinate the fundraising activities, a local St Mark’s Alumni has been formed comprising of ex students and teachers. The Chairman is Sikhumbuzo Dlamini who is also Director of National Parks and Museums. I met Sikhumbuzo at his office in the National Museum and found him to be a very pleasant and forthright man with the best interests of St. Mark’s at heart and full of enthusiasm for the campaign ahead. Sikhumbuzo invited me to the next Alumni meeting being held at the High School the following week.
I mentioned to Sikhumbuzo the benefits of St. Mark’s High School twinning with a school in the UK and also the possibility of UK outlets retailing handcrafted goods from the students / parents to raise funds for the school. He has promised to raise this with the Alumni and get back to me shortly.
John O'Shea - May 2008