Focus 2011

Swaziland - AFM15-06-2011

Swaziland, Golden Jubilee – a short review of 50 years

Project: Swaziland
Date: 1951-2011
Place: Swaziland
Province: AFM


Golden Jubilee – a short review of 50 years.

The roots of the Salesian work in Swaziland began with correspondence in
1951 between Bishop A. Barneschi and Fr F. Stubbings, Rector of the Salesian Institute, in Cape Town. Fr F. Couche was the provincial at that time of the Anglo-Irish Province of the Salesian Congregation.
Correspondence was finalised between Fr Couche and Fr Stubbings when the latter was appointed Rector of Bremersdorp (as Manzini was called in those days!) in a letter dated 5th September 1952.

One memorable day in February 1953 the school opened with three teachers and thirty-two pupils. The following year the enrolment more than doubled.
The appointment of Fr Ainsworth as the first provincial delegate resident in Southern Africa brought many benefits. He was on the spot to see the needs of the school, so he did two things. He started a novena to Mary Help of Christians in the school, and at the same time sent one of the Salesians to the United States to raise funds. The prayers and begging combined to clear the debt that was a burden for many years.

During the early sixties South Africa was experiencing turbulent times.
So many of the boarding students came from there to escape the Apartheid regime. Today, many of these students are prominent people in the new South Africa.

The school is one aspect of the work of the Salesian Community. Manzini Youth Care was started in 1978 as a service by the boys of Salesian High in response to the growing numbers of street children.

Manzini Youth Care
MYC also trains young adults for self-employment, as unemployment is high. Skills such as carpentry, motor mechanics, electronics, baking, hairdressing, and screen-printing are taught. The Bosco Study Centre (with well-developed computer courses) offers assistance to those students who fail their final year at school. More than 300 students attend each year to better their matriculation results.

The large Bosco Arena and Oratory complement the youth activity during after school hours and holidays. It also provides the largest venue in Manzini for indoor games such as basketball and seven-a-side soccer.
Organisations and clubs may also hire it for their functions.

The damage caused by AIDS and modern influences to the traditional structures of society are a huge challenge to this Kingdom and its government. The response of the Salesians has been one with the people to address those issues which will give hope and vision for a better future. As in the past, so the Salesians continue to contribute to the advancement of a wholesome society after the mind of St John Bosco.