The pride of Orlando
As part of Heritage Day celebrations, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane wants historic schools that have educated many of South Africa's leaders to be fully restored as cultural icons.
Ndungane, executive director of the Historic Schools Restoration Project (HSRP), an initiative to revive South African secondary schools with historic significance by transforming them into sustainable institutions of educational and cultural excellence, said: "I call on the government to assign these schools a special category and designate them as academies.
"The academies in Britain and the charter schools in the US are examples of such an organisational model. They provide publicly funded education aimed at specific goals - goals of excellence - and pursued through the granting of considerable autonomy. Schools need this sort of flexibility to develop their vision, and to create the sort of partnerships, including those with the private sector and civil society, that can support delivery of the excellence for which we yearn."
Among the schools that HSRP is restoring are Adams College, Inanda Seminary, Inkamana High School, Ohlange High School in KwaZulu-Natal, Lemana High School in Limpopo, StMatthews College and Healdtown Comprehensive in Eastern Cape as well as Orlando High School in Soweto.
Orlando High alumni include Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president, and soccer boss Jomo Sono.
Orlando High forms part of a rich anti-apartheid history, with students in 1976 particpating in the historic student march and revolt.
On June 16 1976 students began a protest against Afrikaans as Tsietsi Mashinini led students from Morris Isaacson High School to join up with others who walked from Naledi High School. The march ended near Orlando High School.
Former Botswana president Ketumile Masire and Ruth Mompati were educated at Tiger Kloof College in Northern Cape, which is also part of the programme.
If the plan is successful, more schools with historical ties will be added later to the programme.
Orlando teacher Connie Ncapayi agrees with Ndungane and believes that by restoring the schools their history will be preserved.
Ncapayi said: "They have to know that a lot is expected of them."
Nthabeleng Jankie, 18, a Grade 12 pupil, says: "There is so much pressure. I am working hard to ensure the standards are maintained" .