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n Historia - The expulsion of Mary Calata : the disturbance at St Matthews Missionary Institution, March 1945

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Abstract

In March 1945 there was a student rebellion at St Matthews, an Anglican college in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The students were protesting against the Shepstonian system of authority which existed at the institution, whereby certain students had the power to control and discipline other students. This protest, therefore, divided students into loyalists and rebels. The police refused to intervene and so the institutional authorities closed St Matthews and expelled a large number of students. A committee of senior staff was then set up to probe this disturbance. It produced a report which emphasised that many of the ringleaders were radicalised before coming to St Matthews. However, there were also systemic failures within the institution itself. The case of one expelled student, Mary Calata, is highlighted. Her father, James Calata, was a senior member of the African National Congress and a senior clergyman within the Anglican Church. He fought a campaign to have his daughter reinstated and this brought him into conflict with his bishop, Archibald Cullen. This teases out the tensions that often existed within the Church over the question of politics and religion.

In Maart 1945 het 'n leerling-opstand by die Anglikaanse kollege, St Matthews, in die Oos-Kaap uitgebreek. Die leerlinge het teen die Shepstone-stelsel van outoriteit by die instelling, waarvolgens sommige leerlinge beheer en dissipline oor ander leerlinge uitgeoefen het, geprotesteer. Hierdie protesaksie het leerlinge in onderskeidelik lojaliste en rebelle verdeel. Die polisie het geweier om tussenbeide te tree. Vervolgens het die skoolowerheid die kollege gesluit en 'n groot aantal leerlinge geskors. 'n Komitee van senior personeel is aangestel om die aangeleentheid te ondersoek. In hulle verslag is beklemtoon dat talle van die voorbokke in die protes reeds radikaal was voordat hulle by St Matthews aangekom het. Daar was egter ook sistemiese probleme binne hierdie onderwysinstelling. Die geval van een geskorste student, Mary Calata, word uitgelig. Haar vader, James Calata, was 'n senior lid van die African National Congress, asook 'n senior ampsdraer in die Anglikaanse Kerk. Hy het geveg vir die hertoelating van sy dogter tot die skool, wat gelei het tot konflik met sy biskop, Archibald Cullen. Hierdie voorval weerspieël die spanning wat dikwels in die Kerk rondom politiek en godsdiens bestaan het.

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/content/hist/53/1/EJC38301
2008-05-01
2016-12-09
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