Emmanuel Mission was established in 1965 with the aim of investing in children as the future of South Africa. Through the medium of Christian education, they help develop the children mentally, physically, socially and especially spiritually to become literate and useful citizens in this modern technological society. In total it provides the grounds and buildings for 18 primary schools in remote areas within a 75km radius of East London – African Angels is one of those schools.
The land and buildings where African Angels is situated were originally erected for the Mission’s inaugural High School – Byletts in1991. The parents of learners at the Mission’s rural primary schools were keen for their children to go on to high school but there was nowhere locally that they could attend. In September 1991, the Emmanuel Mission established the Emmanuel Education Trust, collected funds and began laying out the high school buildings.
Pastor Geoffrey Crompton, with the help of three ex-learners from Vanani School, formed the building team with Raymond as foreman, to work through the December holidays to finish up the buildings. Three classrooms were built with prefabricated concrete slabs and two prefabricated buildings were erected as hostels for boys and girls. The first intake was in January 1992 with 85 learners, of whom the majority were boarders. There were two teachers, and the principal of the existing Primary School agreed to take on the role of Principal for the first group of grade 8 learners.
Over the years the school grew until in 1995, the Department of Education agreed to appoint a Government employed principal and built four new classrooms, an office, staff room and another girls’ hostel, enabling the school to accommodate 250 boarders and 80 day scholars.
This Byletts High School achieved such fantastic results that in 2008 the Government acquired its own land and built a brand-new school, Byletts Combined High School, in Mooiplaas. The original Byletts school buildings became available.
Enter African Angels…
Pastor Crompton, who has been leading the Emmanuel Mission since 1988, had heard of the work that Lou Billett, the founder of African Angels, was doing to help learners in the mission’s Bhulura and Chintsa schools and was open to her suggestion to establish a new primary school at the old Byletts location. And so, in 2012 African Angels Independent School was born.
Lou says, “African Angels started in 2008 as a sponsorship programme. After a few years, we realised that we could not provide access to quality education for enough of the children living in Chinta, using existing East London schools. Transporting our sponsored African Angels from the Chintsa area to their town-based schools was becoming too complex and expensive, and the children needed much more support to guarantee their success at school; nutrition, homework and psycho-social support. Whilst it was never our vision to start a school, we needed to find a way to educate the Angels closer to their homes. The previously occupied Byletts’ school grounds provided just the opportunity we were looking for. Pastor Crompton, and his Emmanuel Education Trust, share the same values as African Angels – by investing in the children of today we can create a better future for South Africa. We are building a nation through education.
Thank you Emmanuel Mission and Education Trust
Thanks to the Emmanuel Education Trust, we were able to establish the African Angels Independent school without the high costs of purchasing land and building all of the facilities.”
The Mission’s support is ongoing, with a favourable lease arrangement, and the support of Pastor Welcome on the farm to maintain the grounds. This partnership and financial support enables African Angels to continually improve the school facilities, and focus on providing quality education for the children. We are grateful for Emmanuel Mission’s significant contribution to the success of our school.
Interestingly, Pastor Welcome, was originally employed by The Mission as the first Boarding Master when it founded the school in 1991. His wife worked as the hostel cook. Electricity was only installed in 1992 so cooking was originally done over open fires with big three-legged pots.
“I am delighted with what is happening at African Angels – it truly is one of the greatest success stories in our region.”Pastor Crompton