Badplaas, also known as eManzana and eBhadini (native Swati) is a small town on theR38 road in eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. It was established in 1876 on the Seekoeispruit, in the foothills of the Dlomodlomo Mountains (meaning “place of much thunder”), at the site of a sulphur spring. Swazi tribesmen were the first to discover the spring and called it “eManzana”, which means “healing waters”. It has been said that in about 1876 the Swazi chief presented this spring, in gratitude, to a hunter, Jacob de Clerq, who subsequently built a store nearby and developed the spring to allow for visitors’ use due to its believed medicinal properties.
The spring became very popular when gold was discovered in the De Kaap Valley (near Barberton). Prospectors would visit there on weekends to get away from their strenuous work of digging for gold. On 6 November 1893, the government claimed the springs to develop a health resort for public use in perpetuity. It was proclaimed in December 1947. The Protea Group managed this Aventura Resort for a time, but the resort has now been purchased by the Forever Resorts Group.
In 1956 the community of Badplaas realized the need for a local school. Up to that point, the children had gone to school at Carolina. This meant that even the Grade 1 pupils had to live in the hostel and could not come home every weekend. It was difficult for both children and parents. The road had not yet been tarred and in the rainy season, the road was sometimes impassable, especially because of the dense fog and the mountain pass.
The parents jointly decided to start a private school and to appoint Mr Labuschagne, a retired teacher, as principal. The first 18 children attended school in the current church hall (based on the resort). Fridays, the church hall had to be cleared out for Sunday’s worship service. After a few months, the teaching moved to the hall next door (the current resort laundry facilities).
After 6 months, the school committee requested that the school be given departmental status. Officials from Ermelo came to do an inspection and gave the approval. Now the school was a full-fledged ‘Government School’, named Laerskool Badplaas. Three classes were set up in the town. The first official head was Mr Attie Davel.
Another 2 teachers were appointed and the school was ready for art competitions, musicals and barefoot rugby matches (played during break without a referee). It was the highlight of the day for the boys. Meanwhile, the school’s numbers have grown and a beautiful new school has been set up: Stone buildings, 4 spacious classrooms, an adjoining office block, ablution facilities, as well as a schoolhouse (the principal’s home).
The enthusiastic parents set up sports fields and a pavilion. 2 routes have been laid out for buses. With the construction of Vygeboom Dam, the number of pupils increased vastly.
The school was now able to participate in competitive sports and art competitions, with great success. The school hall was commissioned in 1973. The following principals and staff all contributed to the school known today asTHE SCHOOL FOR A NEW TOMORROW. Laerskool Badplaas was one of the first schools to open its doors to reflect the diversity of society.
For many years the dormitories that the parents set up were a major source of income for the school. Groups of children made themselves at home here. During those years, the school hosted large choir and cultural festivals each year, building renowned and precious memories.
SASOL also set up 3 new classrooms and bathroom facilities for the foundation phase.
With the great initiative of the current principal, Mr Opperman, numerous sponsorships for sports equipment and storage were obtained. Thanks to these great contributions, as well as many others under his leadership, Laerskool Badplaas can boast with good sport and academic achievements.