A School in Africa by Alan Megahey

By Alan Megahey

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This was not simply snobbery; it was a product of habit and upbringing. There was a high proportion of men in this group who had themselves been educated at the public schools in England or South Africa; they naturally thought of sending their own sons through a similar institution. Maybe the same urgings can be seen in the problem of 'accent'. As far back as 1912 the Director of Education in Salisbury had circularised parents, warning that their children were becoming 'accustomed to variants of the English language far from pleasant to hear and which, if acquired, would in later years betray a lack of cultured training'.

V) Concurrently work out plans for building by stages, (vi) Gather the nucleus of a staff. (vii) Build, (viii) Open, and go on building. 44 A meeting at Ruzawi with Ellis Robins formed another important link. Robins was chairman of Ruzawi Schools Ltd, and the powerful resident director of the British South Africa Company in Salisbury. He had been up at Christ Church, Oxford, with Paget before the First World War, as a Rhodes Scholar from the USA. His career had become firmly embedded in British imperial concerns, and indeed he was to end up as one of only two Rhodesians raised to the peerage (the other being Godfrey Huggins).

The chapter in the school history which deals with his Rectorship is well entitled 'Creative vigour amid war's disruption'. There were wartime constraints as staff went off to the forces, money was tight, building was prohibited. Yet by the time Fred left Michaelhouse in 1952, the enlarged chapel had been completed - a war memorial to all those who had died. And, largely thanks to Fred's insistence, it contained magnificent stained glass windows by Bossanyi. Again, too, he left a record of the importance of service: links were encouraged with Adams College, a school for blacks - and testimony to the importance of those links was later recorded at a Peterhouse Speech Day by an old student of Adams, Mr Douglas Sagonda, a member of the Peterhouse Governing Body.

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