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Amahlongwa, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

KwaHluzingqondo High School

KwaHluzingqondo High School, a rural school in aMahlongwa, KwaZulu-Natal, is the humble yet agile institution where the late South African poet laureate Masizi Kunene graduated with his senior certificate before going on to become one of Africa’s literary giants and anti-apartheid activists.

The Mazisi Kunene foundation is an organisation in his name chaired by his wife Mathabo Kunene, who together with Bidvest as a sponsor, has been involved in the continual upgrade of facilities at the school for some time, including the addition of a resource centre (library and computer lab), and since, through the engagement of soundspacedesign and architecture fabrik, a masterplan for the school that anticipates its expansion to 2030, including the newly built Science Centre.


The key objective of the commission was the creation of a new science centre (biology and physics laboratory) and the first step was to locate it an optimal position. This required masterplanning that took into account suitable sites and planning targets for the development of the school and aMahlongwa community as a whole.


The masterplan projected enrolment figures extrapolated from the school’s historic data and contextual development. It aligned this information with the KZN Department of Education’s Space Planning Norms and Standards for Public Schools to derive spatial and infrastructure requirements for the next twenty years and thus an accommodation schedule was agreed on, including the provision of sports facilities such as tennis and swimming, and a multi-function hall, all of which could be used by the broader community and other rural schools in the immediate region.

Education Precinct - Expansion Plan


Original Masterplan objectives


Updated Masterplan objectives


Conservative enrolment projections indicate a need for more non-teaching spaces and infrastructure


The school layout including the new Science Centre


Analysis of space provisions against projections and DOE norms


Analysis of space provisions against projections and DOE norms


Conclusions brought into the masterplan brief

Conclusions brought into the masterplan brief


Masterplan to 2030


Masterplan to 2030


Masterplan to 2030 - AXONOMETRIC VIEW

Based on conservative growth estimate of 2.5% per annum, by 2030, KwaHluzingqondo High School would have to double its enclosed space provision (as compared with 2015) in order to keep up with demand. Site planning therefore rationalised the campus as a whole, within which the new Science Laboratory, a hall and additional education, sporting and outdoor spaces were conceived for the use of KwaHluzingqondo High School, the adjacent schools and the broader aMahlongwa and Amandawe communities.


The design reconsiders to amelioration of level changes as social spaces


During this process it emerged that it was logical to procure additional land for the campus as a whole, and use the Science Centre as a fulcrum between the old and new campus, and in order to mitigate between the level change that occurs between the two.

Urban Design & Masterplanning - soundspacedesign with architecture fabrik

Words- Robyn Harding

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