Current Programs in South Africa 

Wilberforce Community College

The AME Church has had a strong presence in South Africa since 1896. There are over 1,000 AME churches in South Africa today and more than 100 independent schools in South Africa. Wilberforce Institute was founded by the AME Church in 1908 in Evaton, South Africa and for over 50 years educated ministers and teachers for leadership positions in their communities. The apartheid laws forced Wilberforce to close in the early 1960's. The AME Church was the only denomination that did not sell its property to the apartheid government. Following the dismantling of the apartheid system, the AME Church commenced the re-establishment of Wilberforce, which is now known as Wilberforce Community College.

Through a series of grants from the United States Agency for International Development Office of American Schools and Hospital Abroad (USAID/DCHA/PVC-ASHA) Wilberforce has been reborn as Wilberforce Community College (WCC).

At present, the College's new campus contains three sets of buildings: The Maxeke/McKinney Renaissance Building, the Josephus Coan Distance Learning Centre, and six units of Faculty Housing. Through additional grants provided by USAID/DCHA/PVC-ASHA the college plans to expand its campus to include dormitories, a dining hall, and a community center.

Maxeke/McKinney Renaissance Center

The Charlotte Maxeke/Joseph McKinney Renaissance Building is the main campus structure housing administration and lecturers offices, conference rooms, study rooms, classrooms, a 30 workstation computer lab, a fully equipped science laboratory, a main hall for large group functions and a library.

Distance Learning Center and Faculty Housing

The Josephus Coan Distance Learning Centre consists of three areas:

  1. The Electronic Classroom which allows for two way video conferencing where events in the classroom can be transmitted to remote sites and vice versa. The Classroom contains 25 computer workstations that have access to Web-CT software that enables the College to enhance courses offered on the campus and gives the student body the opportunity to enroll in courses offered at any institution in the world that is similarly equipped. Already a group of Wilberforce students have enrolled and completed an accounting course with Nassau Community College, located in Garden City, Long Island, New York.


  2. The Resource Centre contains 26 computer workstations for use in training students on various Information Technology subjects, topics, and skills.


  3. The Control Room is the heart of the entire campus computer operation as it is from this location that all information technology resources are controlled.

Faculty Housing consists of six fully furnished and equipped houses used to accommodate visiting professors and volunteers who teach or provide other services to the College.

Wilberforce Community College's mandate today is similar to the one of yesteryear, that is, to provide high quality educational training that is relevant to the needs of South Africa and to carry out various community service projects. The college works with local high schools in an effort to help them improve the results of students attending their schools; conducts computer camps for primary school students; works with emerging contractors to assist them in delivering better products and services; and also working with the national government in its effort to regenerate the area called Greater Evaton.

Currently, the college requires all students to take Mathematics, English and computer subjects. In general the college offers three types of academic programs of study: Science Studies, Business Studies, and Business Management.

Currently serving approximately 100 students, the revitalized college has developed a curriculum called the Wilberforce Bridging Program designed for students who have completed grade 12 but who were not able to be admitted to a Technikon (2 year college). The program has a three fold purpose:

  1. To improve technical capacity;


  2. To provide academic training which will improve the skills needed to gain entry into a Technikon;


  3. Provide career oriented training leading to the completion of the National Certificate:
    • N3 Business Studies;

    • Accounting/Administration.

The curriculum is designed to provide computer practice, business English, public administration and mathematics to all students. After completing courses in these subjects, students will specialize in business studies, science studies or business management.

The Business Studies Program of instruction allows students to take one of two options: Accounting or General. Students selecting the Accounting option also take Applied Accounting, while those taking the General option take Public Administration.

The Business Management offering provides an introduction to Accounting, Computer Practice, Entrepreneurship, Business Management, Communication and Mathematics.

Within the next few years, the college aims to establish three 4 year National Diploma and Degree programs of study. These programs of study will be in Information Technology, Industrial Engineering and Accounting.

The long term vision for Wilberforce includes expanding the course offerings to support the educational needs of a growing Sub-Saharan Africa.