BACKGROUND OF ST MARKS COLLEGE (SCHOOL'S HISTORY)
Some sixty years ago members of The Community of the Resurrection established a priory alongside the Jane Furse Memorial Hospital, and, alongside
that, a small secondary school. When, in 1952, the apartheid government brought in the Bantu Education Act, the Anglican Church decided that it was
better to close the school than to work with such a deceitful, discredited policy. However, that was not the end of the Jane Furse School.
In the 1980s the government of the day, still experimenting desperately with its apartheid philosophy, formed the so called self governing states.
Lebowa was one of them. One of the dispensations allowed these "states" was to found schools of their own. Accordingly the former students of the
earlier Jane Furse School formed a committee and asked the Anglican Church to found a new independent school on its property in Jane Furse. It was
to be called the St Mark's Comprehensive College.
Later the Council of St Mark's dropped the word "comprehensive" from the title, arguing that it suggested something less than a rigorous academic
standard and was reminiscent of the bantu education being dished out under the apartheid regime in black schools. Thus from the outset
St Mark's College allied itself with the best schools in South Africa.
So it was that in 1985 sixty little grade7 boys and girls and three equally bewildered adults gathered outside the old mud walls of the original
Jane Furse School, to form the new St Mark's College, as the peoples' rebuttal of Bantu Education and the Apartheid Government.
In the meantime Peter and Elisabeth Anderson, although appointed as Principal and Senior Teacher of the school, were still working in Cape Town. Peter was
the headmaster of The Diocesan College Preparatory School and Elisabeth on the staff of Abbotts College as a history teacher. When they joined the school in
April it brought the staff team up to five.
They were exciting years. Together with a brave School Council they raised funds to build classrooms, enrolled new pupils, employed new staff. The work was
rudimentary but the aim was always academic excellence. Many of the teachers that followed were superb. They were assisted by young "volunteers" from overseas,
themselves not much older than the boys and girls of St Mark's College, but well taught and ready to give of their best.
Soon the school was recognised as something different in educational circles. Peter Anderson received an Honorary Masters degree from the University of
Cape Town and later an Honorary Doctorate degree from de Montfort University in the UK. (On the latter occasion he was doubly honoured as Nelson Mandela
was his fellow honorary graduate!)
The life of the school was determined by the boys and girls themselves. Committees were formed that organised the sport, ran the library, worked out the duty
lists for washing up after meals, rang the school bell, kept order in the classrooms during the homework hour in the evenings, lead the boarding houses,
assisted the Chaplain and even organised outings down to Durban and Cape Town. The teaching staff were not abdicating their responsibilities; their presence
was always essential although the committees took the initiative and accepted the responsibility. St Mark's College was recognised as one of the significant
schools of South Africa.