'Oh! for a blessing on Africa and America', the Mount Holyoke system and the Huguenot Seminary, 1874 - 1885.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


S. E. Duff


New Contree, Volume 50, p.21-45 (2005)






In November 1873, at the invitation of Andrew Murray, two American teachers arrived in the Cape Colony to establish a school to train middle class Dutch-Afrikaans girls to be teachers and missionaries. The two women were both alumni of the Mount Holyoke Seminary, and the institution that they founded in Wellington – the Huguenot Seminary – was modelled on the so-called {'Mount} Holyoke system' of women’s education. While during Huguenot's first decade of existence this system was, with very little modification, able to achieve a great deal of success in the Colony – the school was popular with the Dutch-Afrikaans middle class and many of its students went on to teach and do mission work after graduating – in 1884 and 1885, the values and ideals underpinning the existence of the Seminary came under a sustained attack from the pupils at the school. This article seeks, thus, to investigate the implementation and reception of the {'Mount} Holyoke system' in the Cape during Huguenot’s early years, and then examine why they were so strongly rejected in the mid-1880s.

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