Sastri College

This was the first Indian high school and teachers training college built in South Africa, which was opened in October 1929. The double-storey complex was founded by the Honourable V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, who was appointed as Agent of the Indian government to South Africa in 1927, and designed by the architect Hermann Kallenbach, a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. By agreement with the Smuts administration Srinivasa Sastri was responsible for issues including voluntary repatriation to India of Indians living in South Africa, as well as the advancement of those who chose to remain in the country. In order to prove that Indians were willing to contribute to the cause of education for their children Srinivasa Sastri collected £28 000 and the architect was appointed to build the college in 1928. The institution was officially inaugurated by the Governor-General of South Africa, the Earl of Athlone, and functioned both as a boys-only secondary school and a teacher training college. Access to higher education led to improvements in both the standard of teaching and the number of teachers available for Indian schools. In 1936 the Natal University College agreed to set up a segregated campus for black students, using the facilities of Sastri College. Despite such discriminatory origins, the first degree courses taught to Indians and Africans in Durban on this site had significant implications. A generation of intellectuals from diverse ethnic, language and class backgrounds were united in opposition to racism and segregation. Sastri College was declared a National Monument under the National Monuments Act on 17 March 1989.


Address: Winterton Walk
GPS Points: -29.85286, 31.02419
Site Contact Details: Steven Kotze
Durban Local History Museums
031 311 2239

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