The University of Cape Town will rename its Palm Court Residence in Mowbary in honour of Mr Harold Cressy, who was the first coloured person to gain a degree in South Africa at the then South African College, which later became UCT.

Cressy graduated at the end of 1910 and obtained a BA degree. In 1912 he was appointed principal of Trafalgar Public School, the only school at the time to offer coloured students an education at secondary level.

He was born at Rorke’s Drift, Northern Natal, in 1889.

Cressy took the lead in establishing the Teachers League of South Africa (TLSA) and in 1913 he was elected the first President of the TLSA at its inaugural conference in June of that year. He served as joint editor of the league’s educational journal.

He was an educational activist who worked tirelessly to improve education for black South Africans.

When Cape Town Secondary School was renamed in 1953, Cressy’s name was chosen and the school was named Harold Cressy High School. The school was declared a provincial heritage site in 2014.

The UCT Council approved the renaming of the building in recognition of Cressy’s contribution to education.

The event, to be attended by Cressy’s family, will be held on Tuesday, 03 October, stating at 17:30 at the Harold Cressy Hall in Mowbray.

– Adapted from press release

Categories: Education