I’m learning the purpose of all the organizations on the campus of Zonnebloem College Estate where I volunteer in Cape Town. In addition to the Shine Centre facility and two primary schools, Zonnebloem has a foster home, a crèche, and buildings housing various offices for religious, political, and spiritual organizations. In the morning I’m at The Shine Centre’s facility teaching reading and writing to young children. Some afternoons I also volunteer at Zonnebloem Cottage Foster Home.
Established in 1858 by the Anglican Church, Zonnebloem School was the first African School on the Cape Peninsula. Then Governor of the Cape Colony – Sir George Grey – saw the school as a way to educate the sons of African chiefs and expose them to the world of the British. As well as being Governor of the Cape during his lifetime Sir George Grey was a soldier, explorer, writer, Governor of South Australia, and both Governor and Premier of New Zealand.
Robert Gray was the first Anglican Bishop of Cape Town. He supported the Zonnebloem School and hoped some of the African students would become missionaries for the Anglican Church. In addition to basic subjects, the school taught students trades such as carpentry, tailoring, bricklaying, and printing.
In 1913 the Anglican Diocese built a new Zonnebloem Teacher Training College and for the first time opened training to female students. In 1992 Zonnebloem Nest High School, an independent school, took over the buildings. The high school could not exist on private foreign funding contributions and reverted to Section 21 status in 1998. Today the two primary schools – one for boys and one for girls – still occupy the original historic Zonnebloem buildings.
In May 2009 the Fikelela AIDs Project in partnership with Home from Home (see May 22nd blog) established the Zonnebloem Cottage Foster Home on the grounds of Zonnebloem Estate. Some of the organizations with offices near the orphanage include the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI), the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), and Cape Town Interfaith Initiative which includes members from the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sufi, Islam, Bahai, and African Traditional faiths. IJR’s mission is “cultivating the potential for reconciliation and socio-economic justice in Africa through strategic partnerships and carefully constructed interventions”.
The children at the foster home range in age from 5 to 13 years. At present there are 6 children living in the cottage:
• Omari – 13
• JJ – 11
• Marlin – 9
• Viola – 7
• Gurshwyn – 6
• Jackie – 5
Omari and JJ and Gurshwyn and Marlin are brothers. I spent a few hours with the children on Tuesday and will help them with their homework and put together games we can play together when they get home from school in the afternoon. Of course I will be giving them lots of hugs, love, and attention – they are all very sweet. Little Jackie attends a crèche (preschool) and the other children attend regular primary school on Zonnebloem College Estate premises.
Another volunteer, Rebecca, is returning to her home in Germany in a few weeks. We plan to have a farewell party for her. She loves the children and is fantastic helping them with their homework and reading. They will really miss her!
As I spend more time at the foster home I will write about it in the blog. Emmie and Raymond Adams are the house mother and father. They live in the foster home and care for the children every day.