St.Francis Adult Education Centre, Langa, Cape Town

History of the Centre

The beginning
In 1967 the government closed all night schools in Cape Town. In 1971 Wilson Mangaliso and his friend approached Sister Veronica O'Nolan (at that time the Principal of Loreto Convent in Seapoint) to help them with their Matriculation Geography, because they had no educator. She agreed and so began the night school.

Moving to Langa
By the following year 90 learners had applied for assistance and Sister Veronica requested and received accommodation from Father Matthew Gormley O.F.M. Cap, the parish priest of Langa, and from the Holy Cross Sisters, Sister Maria Plach and Sister Alfreda Reil. As a result, two evenings every week St. Anthony's Church and the existing pre-school became classrooms for disadvantaged adult learners.
Building the St Francis Night School

By 1973, the learner numbers had grown to 300 and accommodation needs were again urgent. Sister Veronica became "a beggar" in order to secure funds from local firms to build 7 pre-fab classrooms. The number of learners continued to grow to such an extent that by 1974 room was needed to house 630 learners and their 48 educators. Sister Veronica approached Misereor, a German Catholic Organisation, which provided the bulk of the funds for the fine complex (The St. Francis Cultural Centre) as it is known today. On 5th November 1987, the Centre was blessed by Bishop Naidoo before 1 000 people. Frankling Sonn, then Rector of Peninsula Technikon, described the Centre "as monument to human compassion and determined endeavour".

In 1985, a full time Day School (Lagunya) was launched for unemployed adults and learners who failed or performed poorly in their Matric (Grade 12) year.


Historical images
Most of the founding memebers, In front of the original hall / shed.
From left: Sr Maria Placch, Bishop Naidoo, Sr Alfreda Reil, Fr Mathew Gormley, Sr Veronica O'Nolan.
Sr Veronica O'Nolan
The Original Pre-school which was partially rebuilt to house the current Admin Building