|Description||St Aidan's College: establishment, college publications, correspondence and negotiations leading to closure; Jesuit communities at Dunbrody (closed in 1934) and Johannesburg (established in early 1970s); Southern African Mission Seminar, 1968-1969; audio-visual material (2 cassette tapes); 3 miscellaneous files relating to travel, stocks and shares, and apartheid. |
|Admin_History||The earliest settlers in the colony of South Africa were for the most part Calvinist or Protestant. It was not until the 1850s that the beginnings of a Catholic hierarchy was established in South Africa. The English Province of the Society of Jesus was approached by Bishop Ricards in 1875 to run a Catholic school (St Aidan's College) in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. The College and subsequent Jesuit missions formed the first foundations of the Zambesi Mission. The first Jesuits to head north in this missionary enterprise set out from Grahamstown in 1879.|
In addition to St Aidan's College, the Jesuits established missions at Graaff-Reinet (1875-1889), Dunbrody (1882-1934), Vleischfontein (1884-1894) and Keilands (1886-1908). These stations were intended to be staging posts to support Jesuits heading north to the Zambesi Mission. By 1934 the last of these mission stations, Dunbrody, was closed. The Jesuits continued to run St Aidan's College until its closure in 1973.
The 1970s marked a change of direction for the Society in South Africa. With the closure of St Aidan's there was a conscious effort to create a South African apostolate and increased recognition that the Jesuits in South Africa no longer simply provided support for those in Rhodesia [Zimbabwe]. A community was established in Johannesburg in the early 1970s and around the same time the Jesuits assumed responsibility of their first parish in the city. In 1978 the Superior General created the Zimbabwe Vice-Province; South Africa remained a region of the English Province.
There are two Jesuit communities in South Africa - Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Jesuits in South Africa are involved in parish work, university chaplaincy, education and mission work. As of 2016, South Africa is no longer part of the British Province.