In the time of Education and its opposition to the Apartheid system, (when many students and teachers were jailed or banned). The School was nominated to the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) for National Heritage status, by the Trafalgar Alumni Association, which campaigned for it across social media platforms and in newspapers and on radio.
As the oldest School, for people of colour in South Africa, Trafalgar High School has a proud History both in terms of providing superior education as well as ensuring that its students understand their responsibility, in society and their communities. These values have endured for more than a Century.
The School was founded, in 1912. This occurred after the President of the African People’s Organisation, Dr Abdurahman, (who was a councilor at the time), campaigned for a co-educational School, for Coloured People. The School’s first principal, Harold Cressy was also the first person of colour to get a BA degree from the University of Cape Town. Both these men understood that a good education was the means to changing Social and Economic circumstances. This School has recognised that while culture may change, values endure.
Among its many illustrious Alumni is: the first Justice Minister of democratic South Africa, Dullah Omar; as well as advocate Ben Kies and Judge Siraj Desai. “In the field of science and mathematics, we had giants such as Walter Parry; and in the arts, we had the likes of ballet dancer Johaar Mosaval and jazz pianist Dollar Brand pass through our famous portals. “The school also nurtured a long line of political and trade union activists such as Cissy Gool and Rahima Moosa, and international writer Alex La Guma”.
Trafalgar’s first Years were in a cramped Building, in Chapel Street. As a School that had existed through the worst of Apartheid, these values which are embodied in the School’s motto – ‘Per Angusta, Ad Augusta’ (Through Difficulties to Success) This ideology has been handed down to the students that have passed through this institution. It is these values that ensured, despite the Apartheid Government declaring the Area, under the Group Areas Act, District Six. (This was a White Area, in 1966.) The School’s enrolment numbers did not drop as former students continued to send their children to the School, even if it meant travelling long distances.