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50th Garden Cities Archway Hall Marks Cape School's Half Century
Archway Foundation reaches ten-year milestone

In the ten years since it was established, the Garden Cities Archway Foundation has provided 50 school halls for the children of the Western Cape, valued at more than R200 million. More are in the pipeline.

The 50th hall also represents the half-century celebration of the school that received it - Sullivan Primary School in Steenberg, Cape Town.

The hall was officially opened on Saturday August 30 by the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.  The ceremony was also attended by dignitaries who included Provincial Minister of Education Debbie Schafer; former pupil of the school, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State; Chairman of Garden Cities Sean Stuttaford and Sullivan Primary’s Principal Ernest Moore.

Ten years ago, the Board of Garden Cities, the 95-year-old residential Western Cape residential development company voted the Archway Foundation into being, donating a large percentage of profit to the project.

Since then schools as far afield as Mossel Bay have received halls from the foundation – either outright, or in joint ventures with the WCED or private donors. The halls have been provided where they are most needed, and where most to the advantage of under-resourced schools of the Western Cape.

Sullivan Primary is one of the 750 schools in the province that do not have a school hall, and where one million children have to endure sun, wind and rain to hold their assemblies outdoors.  They also have nowhere to stage their school performances, or hold prizegivings. The disadvantaged status of these schools has never been redressed. 

The hall at Sullivan Primary is set to make an enormous difference to the lives of the 582 pupils, their parents and the entire community, already strongly invested in their local school, where parent and neighbourhood participation is at an unusually high level.

‘The school’s history is tied up inextricably with the people of the suburb, and they take pride in it, in spite of its shortcomings in facilities,’ says principal of 15 years, Ernest Moore.

A strong supporter of the school is former pupil, Professor Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the University of the Free State, and one of South Africa’s most respected academics. Prof Jansen, who started school as small boy at Sullivan Primary in the year it was established.

It was he who brokered the Archway’s granting of the hall in meetings with Garden Cities CEO and founder of the Archway, John Matthews.  He was also influential in the R500 000 contribution to the hall by the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, committed to the arts, sciences and music, as well as the Albert Wessels Trust, which donated R300 000, Investec (R50 000) and PolyOak (R20 000).

With the balance of the funding from the WCED, the hall has become a reality.

‘We are enormously grateful to the Archway Foundation, the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, the WCED, the Albert Wessels Trust, Investec, PolyOak and Prof Jansen for this wonderful facility,’ says Ernest Moore, who has spent his entire career at the school trying to have a hall built. Finally, prefabricated classrooms knocked together for a little makeshift hall have been demolished and the Archway hall has risen on the space.

‘I am personally revitalized by this good fortune, and the huge opportunities it brings, not only to us, but also to the community. I am also aware of the prestige a hall brings to the school and its image in the eyes of the people.  It is wonderfully invigorating,’ says Mr Moore.

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