Michael Rua (1837 - 1910) was a priest and co-founder with Don Bosco of the Salesian Order, who told him, “We two will go halves in everything”. For thirty-six years Michael Rua was Don Bosco’s closest collaborator in the development of the Congregation, and succeeded Don Bosco as Rector Major of the order in 1888. He was instrumental in sending the first group of Salesians to Cape Town in 1896.
In 1951 shortly after opening of St John Bosco College, an English-medium private boarding school for senior boys on the farm Nooitgedeacht, Fr James Doyle began a primary school for the children of families of farm workers and domestic employees of the dairy farms in the lovely valley between Walkerville and Daleside (now Randvaal). There was a cottage on the property built by Italian prisoners of war who worked on the farm during the war years. This was to be the first Michael Rua School - one room, one teacher and about thirty children. It belonged to the great movement of African mission schools; schools that under great difficulties and at the cost of great commitment by personnel, pupils and their families obtained outstanding results in preparing South Africa's future leaders.
In 1953 the Nationalist Government passed its Bantu Education Act. All African education was to be in the hands of the Government Native Affairs Department. The State would give no further assistance to schools for African children. Many church schools and institutions were handed over. The Catholic bishops, however, decided that their schools would remain open as long as possible. The Salesians of Don Bosco maintained the mission school throughout these difficult years.
In 1957 the little school moved to its present site, its own five-acre plot alongside the road from Daleside to Walkerville, with a new set of classrooms. In 1972 a new toilet block and caretaker's house were added. The school grew to over 300 pupils and went to Grade 9. The initiative to expand to a full high school was halted by the Education Department; a farm school could only offer primary education.
After the events of June 1976, education was in disarray. It was also the period of rent boycotts. Catholic schools were challenging the roots of apartheid by taking pupils of all races. For Michael Rua this successful confrontation held out hope of secondary education at nearby St John Bosco College.
During the 1980s and 1990s more classrooms, ablution faculities, a library, workshops, staff housing and sports facilities were added, with help from several local companies and foreign embassies.
Michael Rua is now a public school on private property, with a distinctive Catholic ethos. It is governed by an elected School Governing Body. Michael Rua School has always been a great treasure for the people of the area and the doors are open to further expansion.
Hall, library, design and technology centre, tuckshop, 2 soccer fields, netball court, basketball court, volleyball court, extra afternoon lessons for underachieving learners
140 Visagie Street
PO Box 8149, Pretoria, 0001
012 321 2094
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