History of Holy Rosary Independent Combined School – Malamulele

In August 1999 a decision was taken – by the catholic community in this area – to open a Catholic School in Malamulele Parish, which belongs to the Diocese of Tzaneen.   So, the Bishop was to be the “owner” of the school as he is the one heading the Diocese.

Mr. Elias Chabalala, a senior and respectable community member, agreed to find a suitable site for the school. In the meantime, the Development Centre in Xitlhelani (Village) was vacant and with minor adjustments it was turned into two classrooms. The idea was to begin with Grade 1, only. Miss Belinda Sellars, from Johannesburg, was appointed as educator and Sr. Hilda M. Tucker, a Holy Rosary Sister, as Principal.

In January 2000, 28 learners were enrolled.   A second teacher, Barbara Masunda, was employed to teach Grade 2 in 2001.

That same year, Chief Xitlhelani agreed to give a site of 8 hectares for educational purposes. During these two years we applied for funding to Irish Aid, Solon Foundation and Hilton Fund for Sisters, in order to start building the school.

A borehole was drilled, and a security fence was erected around a portion of the premises with a cattle fence around the rest of the site. The foundation for the new school was blessed by Fr. Tom Devoy in May of 2001 and the first phase – six classrooms and an ablution block – got underway.

In January 2002 the Primary School moved from the Development Centre into the new buildings – grades 1, 2 and 3. The Pre-School remained at the Development Centre. The new school was officially opened and blessed by Bishop Hugh Slattery on 15 May of 2002. Another block was built in 2002 to accommodate a double stream for Grade 2.

The school was officially registered with the Department of Education in 2003.

The school emblem, with the letters HRS (school name), showing a lighten candle expressing the moto “Light of Christ”, was adopted as a way of symbolizing the faith building mission of the school and the hope that each learner might play a positive role in the society, being ‘Light of Christ’ wherever they are, now and in the future.

are lacking or the elements are not well implemented.

That same year, a fourth block was built and, in 2004 block 5 and a second ablution block was added. In 2005 block number six was completed and a Crèche was built.

Still in 2006, the Crèche for 34 children was blessed and opened by Fr. Andrew Shingange. A dining area was completed in May 2006. Donations from the Debutants from Holy Rosary School Edenvale helped to make a start to pave the surroundings.

By the end of 2009, the enrolment was 520 learners with 18 Educators, 5 Administration Staff Members, 5 female and 5 male Maintenance Personnel.

Still by the end of 2009, Sister Hilda Tucker was transferred and the Bishop asked the Salesian Sisters to assume the leadership of the school.  So, Sister Lidia Castro assumed the School Management from 2010 up to December 2012, although she was at school from 2009 for the hand over.

The school emblem then went through a slight change, adopting the words “Salesians Malamulele”, as a way of expressing the Salesian educative method, created by Saint John Bosco (a worldwide renowned priest and educator) based on Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness, lived in a Family Spirit Environment.

Academically, the School was going up to Grade 7, by then. At the end of 2012, Sister Lidia Castro was transferred.

From January 2013, Sister Maria Isabel Vieira, a Salesian Sister as well, was appointed as School Principal. From almost Term 3, 2013, a Nursery School started for little babies, in the Babies’ Nest area, with only a few babies, from 3 months old to 3 years. This was a need in order to respond to some poor and young children, mainly from the Village and surroundings, whose grandmothers (including the school cleaners from the Village) had to come/go to work and had nobody to leave the babies with. Some of those small babies had their mothers still schooling in Malamulele and surroundings. The school started giving them full meals throughout the day.

In January 2014, due to the request of many parents, the School introduced Grade 8. Classroom rearrangements had to be done and a new Library was built that same year.

From 2015, Grade 9 was introduced. The number of learners has been growing gradually and parents have been requesting the School, desperately, to proceed up to Grade 12, as well as to open a Boarding School.

At the moment, by the end of Term 3, 2016, the number of learners enrolled was 805 and the total number of Educators was 36. The facilities became reduced.

An appeal to Irish Funds in order to assist with the building of a new Day Care Centre/Creche and Nursery School was approved and the building started in 2016.

More toilet facilities were also needed and two new toilet blocks are, at the moment, almost ready as well.

The first head boy and head girl

The school hall, very big and spacious does accommodate the school needs as well as many of the community needs, to which we are always open. It started being built around 2008 but only now is it about to finish completely, including its toilet facilities. Hopefully, all will be ready by the end of 2016, using school saving funds and some donations. Community functions also take place there, now and then, such as funerals, weddings and/or others. For this, a contribution is given to the school, although some are for free (mainly funerals) as a way of serving the community in need, as well.

The school Ethos, Vision and Mission are displayed on the walls, as a simple and clear way of making the school’s ideals made known to all stakeholders.

Another building, a very special one, is being built: the school chapel. As a Christian and catholic school, we affirm that Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is at the centre of our school community. We deeply believe that a physical space, quiet, calm and spiritually attractive, where a personal relationship with Him can be groomed, human, spiritual and moral values can be growing in the silence of the heart and in daily personal and social life, is a real need. This physical and spiritual space of prayer and reflection plays a fundamental role in our educative system which, being holistic, cares for the person in its whole being, as a mature and reconciled person, understanding towards others, caring, personally and socially committed, peaceful and capable of good and positive choices in life and deep in the heart, for the good of society, where they are called to play an important and positive role, as stated in the mission of the school.

Quarterly, weekend camps and other functions and activities take place in the school, promoted in order to root and deepen in the children the “PERSON” they are called to be, now in the their future (at personal and at social level), as a way of complementing the values and knowledge we teach them. The children love these camps and they can really surprise us positively by the way they respond, behave and take responsibility in the activities.  It’s very encouraging.

The school is also open to welcome and support identical activities promoted by other church or community groups on behalf of youth, church groups, and/or even other community needs. By using our facilities, always open to the good of the person and the community, we strengthen our belonging to this community and our responsibility for its growth as well.

Apart from weekend functions, other co-curricular activities take place throughout the academic year, such as Plays, Musical Festivals, Debates, Sports days, Competitions and many other activities and Feasts, as a way of allowing the learners to become the protagonists of their own growth. Our salesian educating method has this as a strong and meaningful way of putting the learner in the centre of their own educational process, through activities they love so that the holistic way of educating them, takes effective place. These complementary activities become a ‘second school’ to them where interaction with others, respect, concentration, rules assumption, team building, self-confidence and many others take place, making them love and enjoy schooling and rooting in them the deep ‘BEING’ they are called to be in life, in their families and in the society.


Being Holy Rosary, registered already as an Independent Combined School and due to the many requests of Parents and Learners, the Application to be an Exam Centre was  submitted to the Circuit Office Manager in September 2016, hoping that a Grade 10 stream might be opening in 2017.

Although our Secondary School is still very young and small in numbers, it has been growing. The first Grade 8, in 2014 started with 21 learners. In 2015 it reached 30 and, in 2016, 43, in two streams. Grade 9, from 2015, started with 16 learners, enrolling now, in 2016, 30. It seems to be promising.

Soccer's first team
Soccer's second team

New buildings to accommodate the High School still need to be built and an extension of land is in the process of being allocated by the Xitlhelani community to the school, along the Giyani Road. Holy Rosary Educative Community is very grateful for this possibility.

Another extension of above five thousand square meters (behind the Hall) had also been allocated to the school in 2014 and this portion is intended to be for a Boarding School, as per request of so many parents as well. We read this as a very good sign in the development of the school and as a proof of how the community appreciates the school and the role it has been playing among the community.

The Development Centre buildings, the school cradle, are still there, also allocated to the school from the very beginning. There, we see the possibility of a future Skill Centre in order to accommodate some Professional Courses for the children skilled for such and not strongly academically gifted. The community appreciates this idea very much, sees it as a real need and supports it. The future will lead us, by the Grace of God.

A survey to the parents, our first stakeholders, and to the Grade 9 learners as well, ran recently, in order to have their so much appreciated written opinion about introducing the High School and its streams, and, possibly, another will be reaching them about the Skill Centre, and, later on, another one about the Boarding School, so that their role in the school life can be taken into consideration and long term planning can be prepared. One of the beautiful aspects of the history of Holy Rosary School, has been the constant involvement with the community around it. The school started from the heart of the community and it lives for and with the community.

Some outreach initiatives have been happening throughout the years, involving learners and staff, such as the support to Rhulani Camp (a refugee camp) quite near us: the learners, guided by their Life Orientation teachers, enjoy collecting food, stationery and clothes and take their gifts to that community, themselves, together with the teachers. This is a way of making them aware and sensitive to the needs of others and their reality, to grow in them the Christian and Human values proclaimed in our Vision and Mission and to make them protagonists in their citizenship process, responsible and caring for the society around them as a way of contributing to its improvement.

Through the children, the approach to the families, in order to diagnose needs and problems is also very important and will be, on its own, a road to them, to brighten their future, mainly for the young ones and the youth.

In that same community of refugees (Rhulani), we are willing to involve some people of good will who could assume the responsibility of paper work for the many children that are not even registered, so that schooling could be their way out in life, as an alternative to street life and crime.

In December 2015, a beautiful activity took place there, in that same refugee camp, on Christmas day: a group of Holy Rosary staff members, including Admins and Teachers, supported by some business people of good will from different creeds and religions, by church members and by the Rhulani people themselves – chief, mothers and other members – prepared a Christmas meal for the whole Rhulani community. It took place on Christmas day where, after church, many members of the community moved to Rhulani, helping with the serving of food to all, starting from the little ones, sitting with them for hours, enjoying life together as children of the same Father, God. Holy Rosary staff had volunteered for the cooking, giving part of their time preparing for this day to be so pleasant and humanly reach to so many.


Still open to the community that surrounds us, the school is planning to embrace adult teaching programmes, in the evening, in order to assist eliminating illiteracy amongst us. Hopefully, this will be possible from 2017, if the SGB approves the idea as well as the local authorities, and staff members will have availability to give such a wonderful support to the community, benefiting many.


A school exists on behalf and for the community it serves.

As per request of so many stakeholders, as a way to serve, I think we can still nurture a vision that would be an answer to their appeals: Boarding School and a Skill Centre where Professional Courses could be offered, in order to empower their abilities and to earn a professional living.

The year 2017 saw a big accomplishment in our school:  the opening of grade 10 with 20 learners. The school year went smoothly and learners, parents and all associated with the school were in the certainty that our school was growing nicely.

Towards the month of June, the Creche and the Pre-Foundation building was finished. The new place accommodates very well our learners and the structure is a very suitable building to educate young children. The Pre-Foundation Phase is a building of its own but still forms part of this great family of Holy Rosary School.

On the 24th of July a new Principal was appointed by the Bishop Joao Rodriguez. Sr. Consuelo Aguirre took the place of Sr. Isabel Vieira who was transferred to Cape Town to help on the establishment of a Skill Centre for youth in Delft.

Another stepping stone in our school history was the allocation of land to our school where hopefully the High School will be built and extensive sport area which will include athletics track area and swimming pool will complete the suitable environment to educate our children.

On a sad note towards the end of 2017, the Circuit Manager did not allow us to proceed with FET as at that time we did not have in hand the authorization of the Provincial Department of Education to operate FET and the process of accreditation was still in process. He advised the school to close FET and to wait until all the permits and accreditation would be a reality.

It was seen a step back and in 2018 the school saw the diminishing of learners’ enrolment.

Our history as a school has its ups and downs, but there is the certainty that in all the events the hand of God is at work, who is the One who will complete this beautiful work towards our children and young people.

YEAR 2018

A major milestone reached by our school was the Provisional Accreditation for 2 years from UMALUSI

On May the 10th 2018 the school was visited by the people from UMALUSI for a site inspection.

The UMALUSI people worked with commitment, and encouraged us to continue the good work. In October 2018 the Principal received an e-mail where the school was informed that UMALUSI has granted a Provisional Accreditation for 2 year.

The school was given one year to fulfil eleven conditions which UMALUSI considered we