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St Barnabas gears up to celebrate 100 years

ST Barnabas Primary School in Windhoek will turn 100 years old next year.

The school was founded in 1923, and officially launched their 100 year celebration at the school on Friday.

Speaking to Desert Radio last Thursday, the school’s principal, Nahason Mbangura, said the aim is to celebrate its rich history.

“The school is a centre of excellence in education and we are continuing to build on that legacy,” Mbangura said.

The formula to the success of the school is their aim to be an academic school of excellence.

“We are not on an island. We cannot isolate ourselves, so we have to involve most of our stakeholders and we are also networking,” he said.

Education is a three partite process involving parents, teachers and pupils, he said.

“This also includes institutions that can assist in terms of academic and infrastructure development. Our strategies are actually based on consultation and networking.”

Mbangura said they want to build on the school’s good legacy.

“Our core mandate is teaching. We need to look at the core area that is academic achievement. There are so many challenges, such as a shortage of textbooks, classrooms and so forth, but with donations from different companies it makes it easier,” he said.

The launch of the school’s centenary celebration aims to mobilise resources to ensure we carry out the school’s projects.

“The school is growing and parents are very happy and supportive. We have a very good team.”

The school has produced prominent individuals at the helm of many institutions, he said.

“We have people such as Sam Nujoma, Peter Katjavivi, Onesmus Amadhila, Kaire Mbuende and Tjama Tjivikua, just to mention a few. They are very proud to be associated with the school,” Mbangura said.

Mulenyane Rukee, who was a pupil at the school in 1979, said the centenary is a significant milestone.

“Those who went to school those years were segregated in terms of ethnicity. Big names went through St Barnabas. People who went on to become captains of different institutions. How can we not celebrate a school that has been kept alive up to date?

“When we were at this school, there were only two blocks with four or five classrooms. There were eight teachers,” he said of the school’s growth over the years.

Speaking at the launch on Friday, former pupils and former Namibia University of Science and Technology vice chancellor Tjivikua said the school was an Anglican mission school.

“The school was situated in the Old Location, a segregated area for Windhoek’s black residents. It was situated in the area between today’s Hochland Park and Pionierspark,” Tjivikua said.

St Barnabas was the first school for black people at the time, he said.

“Many of its pupils became successful leaders of our communities, leaders of this nation, teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists, engineers…”

He said the school has survived many political, social and financial challenges during its 100-year history.

Despite losing seasoned talent and experiencing under-funding and dilapidation of infrastructure, St Barnabas has remained a beacon of hope, he said.

“I now pledge to contribute N$5 000 initially to the centenary celebrations. Surely, a well-managed programme of events will call for more support and pledges,” he said.

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