The second day of Wordfest included the launch of Makhanda historian Dr Eric Kelly’s book on the history of the Grahamstown Teachers’ Training College.
Titled Faithful to the Vision: The History of the Grahamstown Teachers’ Training College 1894 – 1975, the book is a historical account of the fondly named “TC” from its inception in 1894 – through the vision of founder Mother Cecile – right through to its closure nearly 80 years later, in 1975.
TC was born of both sacred and secular appeals for the establishment of a teacher training college in the Eastern Cape at that time, and opened its doors in July 1894. With an inaugural eight students, the college grew stronger over its 80 year history admitting and preparing countless female students for a life of teaching in South African schools, as well as teaching beyond South Africa’s borders. Says the author of the TC:
“… the focus was on the complete education of the student, rather than merely on the content of the curriculum. This short history of the college is intended to show that TC more than earned its reputation of being one the finest colleges in South Africa. It was indeed a unique educational development.”
Kelly dedicates Chapter 10 of the book (The Diaspora), to the contribution of TC in Southern African teaching.
The growth of TC over the years saw to the development of new buildings including a library, accommodation dormitories, and a chapel (the “Nuns’ Chapel”). These buildings now belong to Rhodes University and are the current location of Law and Education faculties, as well as the Allan Webb residence hall.
Dr Kelly concluded with the words that “Faithful to the Vision” is not only a historical account of the prestigious institution TC was, but also a necessary discussion about the importance of holistic teacher training in South Africa. His presentation was well received by attendees, many who are former teachers and alumni of the college.