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Oakford sisters pioneered education for children in Swaziland

Joint meeting (back row from left): Srs Anna-Maria, Sizakele, Anne, Fabiola, Alison, Marie-Therese (front row from left) Srs Evangelist, Immaculata, Bernadette Zulu

Sisters who served in mission in Eswatini met at area meeting in Pietermaritzburg.

During the recent South Africa Area Assembly in Pietermaritzburg, a number of Sisters who had in the past served in mission in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) met.

Some among them had lived in the former British Protectorate and had witnessed independence in 1968. Others had arrived later and some were still there at the time when the Oakford Sisters withdrew from Swaziland in the early 1990s.

One, Sr Sizakele, lived for some time in an inter-Dominican community some years later set up under the auspices of the Federation of the Dominicans of South Africa.

Oakford Sisters were pioneers in the field of education for Swazi children, initially teaching boys and girls in the “Little Flower School” in Bremersdorp (later Manzini), and the staffing “St Theresa’s Primary and High School”, still hailed as among the best schools in the country.

The education of boys was taken on by the Salesian men who also offered training in various trades enabling students to find employment.

Eswatini remains an absolute monarchy, with King Mswati III, born in the year of independence, as king. Politics and the economy in this land-locked country are troubled, with much poverty among the ordinary population.

Text und Photos Sr. Alison Munro OP