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Thursday, October 30, 2008


Institute’s 70th anniversary remembers Chatsworth pioneers.

From almost a century ago, Indian market gardeners eked a humble but honest living from the soil in Chatsworth by cultivating bananas, vegetables and fruit.

However, they wished for their children to pursue less arduous but better-paying jobs. Hence they placed high emphasis on a sound education. Sadly, there were insufficient schooling facilities for their children to attend in Chatsworth.

The Chatsworth Vernacular Institute was formed in 1938 for classes in Tamil, Hindi, Urdu and Telugu. Later the Bayview Government-Aided School was established for English education.

Initially the school comprised a single block and, as demand for schooling increased, more classrooms were added on. The school became a cradle for academic achievements and produced many men and women who became leaders in various fields. Today successful lawyers, doctors, teachers, business leaders and other professionals are amongst those who passed the portals of this school.

In the early 1960s, when the banana farms and market gardens began making way for the Chatsworth municipal housing scheme, the school roll began dropping as pupils began attending the many new schools that were built in neighbouring areas. When the school closed its doors, it was initially used for various cultural activities.

Today the Chatsworth Vernacular Institute has leased its property to the Sathya Sai School Chatsworth, catering for primary and secondary education as well as the imparting of moral values.

However, in order to rekindle the memory of all those pioneers who sacrificed their meagre incomes to build the school and ensure their children had a sound education, the Chatsworth Vernacular Institute recently hosted an annual get-together.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Chatsworth Vernacular Institute and the annual reunion of the pioneer residents and descendants of Chatsworth took place on October 12, 2008, at the Bayview School (now Sai School), 98 Powerline Street, Westcliff, Chatsworth.

More information from P I Devan, Chairman, Chatsworth Vernacular Institute, on 031 403 2159.