The MC Weiler School
in Alexandra Township
One of the most important achievements of the Progressive movement's United Sisterhood was the establishment during the Second World War of a primary school in Alexandra Township, still in existence today. See the book Mavericks Inside the Tent for the full story of the school
Early photograph of feeding time at the school, when it was still housed in little more than a shack, and called the Jabulani School
The original driving force behind the school, Rita Marx, with her daughter Olga (the second person to celebrate a batmitzvah in South Africa), grand-daughter Jennifer and mother Mrs H Frenkel
Among the services offered by the school from its earliest days were regular visits by a dentist
After half a century of shunting from one derelict shelter to another, a new building was constructed in 1995
Rabbi Moses Weiler and founding headmistress Hilda Phahle, both long past retirement, are honoured at the dedication ceremony for the new school building
A huge mural of Rabbi Moses Weiler gazes down from the rebuilt school wall. Photo: Darryl Egnal
On the 60th anniversary of the school, leaders of the Sisterhood gather beneath a painting of Rabbi Moses Weiler. In the centre is Arnona Weiler, daughter of the rabbi, with her hand on Cynthia Duchen. At left, Belinda Katz, daughter of Cynthia, Marilyn Trujillo, who was then the Sisterhood chair, Ellen Appleton and Anne Marx, daughter-in-law of Rita. Photo: Darryl Egnal
Belinda Katz with excited children and piles of sandwiches. Right from the beginning, the children were fed lunch at school. Photo: Darryl Egnal
Great fun for all on the day off to celebrate the school's 60th anniversary. Photo: Darryl Egnal
Henna Du Plessis, Executive Director during the late apartheid and early post-apartheid period, right, with movement leaders Sybil Abro and Ellen Appleton; Rabbi Charles Wallach and Belinda Katz; at the 60th anniversary. Photo: Darryl Egnal
With a matador-like sweep of the arm, Rabbi Weiler lays the foundation stone in June 1948. The school is still called Jabulani. His wife Una, one of the two co-founders of the school, makes a rare public appearance in sunglasses on the left.
Children line up at break for their sandwiches, dispensed by the teachers.
Teachers in action. Doris Pahle and another teacher in a classroom decorated with the children’s’ paintings.
Prize-giving ceremonies were taken very seriously. The woman handing out the prize may be the mayoress. Looking on are sisterhood leaders Ethel Smith (centre) and Eve Kantor (right)
The dilapidated single-storey building which housed the school for much of the apartheid era.
Rebuilt at the end of the apartheid era, the double-storey school, still in existence today, with all the teachers and children assembled in front.
Almost unheard of at a township school during the fifties: buses lined up to take the children off on a school outing.
Johannesburg’s zoo is only a twenty minute drive from Alexandra Township, but the MC Weiler children would have been among very few black children to visit it.
White children from Temple Emanuel in Parktown accompany Rabbi Richard Lampert on a rare (and possibly illegal) visit to MC Weiler School. A few weeks later, the black children visited Temple Emanuel.
Anne Marx, who provided scholarships to promising black students, with Vincent Dladla, who graduated as a doctor
On the fiftieth anniversary of the school, an elderly Rabbi Weiler and Doris Pahle hold hands under the new South African flag