St Paul’s Anglican Theological College during the Transition towards a Democratic South Africa, 1986–92

Henry Mbaya


St Paul’s Theological College was established in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 1902 to train white Anglican students for the ministry. During the last six years of its existence, from 1986 to 1992, the college went through rapid changes: emerging new trends in theological training and ministry raised questions on the relevance of traditional patterns of training in which St Paul’s College had been established and operated from. Although the College was originally intended to exclusively train white students, during this period, the numbers of black students started to balance off with those of white students, just as the number of women ordinands also started to rise. On the other hand, financial challenges facing some dioceses also adversely affected the college. In the dying days of apartheid, the college became more involved in the socio-political issues of Grahamstown. Moreover, its enduring image as a “white” college in the emerging new South Africa seemed an embarrassment to the church authorities. The closure of St Paul’s College, and its merger with St Bede’s College on the premises of St Paul’s College, paved the way for a new College of the Transfiguration (COT), which was an attempt to respond some of these challenges.


Anglican; black; church; St Paul’s College; democracy; students; South Africa; white; College of the Transfiguration (COT); St Bede’s College

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