Few youths attending the various schools and colleges on Zonnebloem Estate (District Six) at the foot of Table Mountain, including the seemingly new Cape Peninsula University of Technology would be aware of their historical provenance.
District Six is most famous for the mass evictions and bulldozings of the so-called Coloured (mixed race) community that thrived there until the Apartheid Government tore it down in the 1960s in line with its policy of creating a pure white South African mirage.
The college was founded in the 1850s on the farm Zonnebloem (sunflower) by controversial Cape Governor Sir George Grey in his drive to strip the Xhosa people on the Cape’s Eastern Frontier of their power, and at the same time draw them into the British realm. The college educated the sons and daughters of chiefs imprisoned on Robben Island in the aftermath of the Eighth and Ninth Frontier Wars.
With the advent of the Union of South Africa in 1910 – where the racially motivated Afrikaner republics lost the (Boer) war but won the peace through the machinations of Machiavellian Jan Smuts – the nominally egalitarian Cape Franchise slowly dissolved and Zonnebloem College was absorbed into the District Six community as its first institution of learning at primary, secondary and tertiary level. In 1989 the teacher’s training college component closed.
When democracy arrived in 1994, Zonnebloem College campus was incorporated into the new CPUT campus. Zonnebloem primary and secondary (NEST) schools are the visible remnants of Governor Grey’s vision for an all-British, all-race utopia ruled forever from Westminster Heaven. There have, however, been reports recently of the imminent closure of the secondary school in the wake of flagging academic results.