Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (WKUWCSA), one of 18 international schools and colleges in the UWC educational movement, is located in Mbabane, Eswatini, and became a UWC in 1981.

Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa
Waterford Phoenix.png

Eswatini Eswatini
TypeInternational Baccalaureate school, IGCSE, private
MottoUWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
Number of students750
AffiliationUnited World Colleges
Information+268 4220866/7/8

The UWC movement originated in the ideas of the educationalist Kurt Hahn in the 1950s and the first UWC college, Atlantic College, opened in Wales in 1962. Waterford Kamhlaba was established one year later by Michael Stern, in 1963. The school's mission was similar to the philosophy of the UWC movement, and Waterford became the fourth member school of the UWC movement in 1981.


A new multi-racial schoolEdit

Waterford was founded by a group of teachers, led by the young British teacher Michael Stern, as a multi-racial school in opposition to South Africa's apartheid policies. Stern had previously been head of a school in Johannesburg, but the educational policies of the apartheid government in South Africa drove him from the country to Eswatini (then called Swaziland) where he was determined to create a new school in which students of all races could study together and cooperate in community service.

The school was founded in 1963. Land on a hillside near Mbabane had been obtained through a grant from the King of Eswatini, and the main buildings were designed by Portuguese-Mozambiquean architect Amâncio d'Alpoim Miranda Guedes, or Pancho Guedes.

Rising political importanceEdit

Stern and his school became a southern African legend. Nelson Mandela, still in prison, sent his daughters there, and served as Honorary President of the UWC movement from 1999. Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana, sent his son Ian Khama, who was the fourth president; the Tutu and Sisulu families also sent their children. Another Waterford boy, Fernando Honwana, became a trusted assistant to Samora Machel of Mozambique, helping him to act as go-between in negotiations between Margaret Thatcher’s administration and the emerging African government in Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe.

The school — Stern’s idea and his creation — became his life’s work; its balance of boys (and later girls) of all races, tribes and religions, the fulfilment of his dream. In a speech in November 1995, presenting him with a Founder’s Medal, Nelson Mandela said of time spent at Waterford that he “demonstrated in the worst days of apartheid, that even those who were free to enjoy the privileges of the system could ally themselves with the oppressed in the interest of non-racialism in Southern Africa”.

United World CollegeEdit

Waterford was established just one year after the first UWC college, UWC Atlantic College, making it the second oldest college by date of founding. Today, there are 18 UWC schools and colleges on four continents: in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Eswatini, the United States, Italy, Hong Kong, Norway, India, Germany, Costa Rica, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, Japan, Thailand, Africa and China.

As a UWC school, Waterford offers the IB Diploma Programme in its upper school. The entire college, including forms 1-5, is considered part of the UWC movement, although many other UWC colleges offer solely the IB Diploma Programme for students aged 16-19.

Campus and student lifeEdit


Waterford Kamhlaba is situated on a mountain ledge, approximately 15 minutes from the city centre of Mbabane. The sporting facilities on campus include a sports hall and gym, tennis courts, cricket, rugby and football fields. As well as a swimming pool, rock climbing wall, squash, netball and basketball courts. Furthermore, direct access to the feet of the mountains Tom and Kelly provide the students with the opportunity to go hiking and climbing.

Additionally, the Waterford campus houses an IT-centre, a library, an indoor-outdoor dining hall, amphitheatre, tuck-shop, and several other halls for recreational activities.

Student lifeEdit

Housing system and intramural activitiesEdit

Students are divided into three houses, Henderson (house colour: white), Stern (house colour: blue) and Guedes (house colour: maroon), and compete for house points in sport (inter-house athletics, theatre sports, swimming and basketball for instance). Upon the end of each academic year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup.

Extracurricular activitiesEdit

All students are encouraged to spend at least two afternoons a week participating in extracurricular sports or other activities. Activities are supervised by members of staff, volunteers or IB students.

The emphasis is on participation rather than competition, although in some disciplines it is possible to arrange competitive meetings with local schools. Examples of team sports played at Waterford include: soccer, swimming, hockey and basketball.

Student organisations include Amnesty International, debating and public speaking, WIT (Waterford Improvisation Troop), ClimateKids, SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Awareness) Scouting, Link Group which is a student-led organization that arranges and organizes the cultural events on the campus and represents the UWC initiative at Waterford and Young Heroes group which raises funds for Swazi orphans and vulnerable children (http://www.youngheroes.org.sz).

Community serviceEdit

Besides being a part of the CAS (Creativity Action and Service Programme) requirements of the IB Diploma Programme, Community Service has always been an important part of the life of the college. All IB Diploma Programme and Form 5 students take part each week in activities serving the community in Eswatini, and students in the lower forms are offered weekend Community Service activities. Current Community Service projects include the following:

  • Play sessions with abandoned children from Ward 8 at the Mbabane Government Hospital
  • Literacy classes for children from the SOS Children's Village
  • Construction of houses for child-headed households and grandparents caring for AIDS orphans
  • Ngwempisi hiking trail environmental project
  • Music classes with orphans and vulnerable children at the SACRO drop-in centre
  • Aids education through drama workshops with local primary schools
  • Sports and games for children from the SOS Children's Village
  • BraveGirl Camp, an annual student-led camp aimed at empowering 50 young women in Eswatini each year
  • Mpaka Peers, partnering Waterford students with students at Mpaka Refugee Camp
  • Indigenous tree planting and invasive tree removal on the Waterford campus
  • Animal spay clinics with SAWS


Waterford Kamhlaba's Emhlabeni (IB) Hostel

Forms 1-3Edit

Forms 1-3 students take compulsory subjects before choosing their courses in Form Four for the IGCSE school-leaving certificate.

Forms 4-5 (IGCSE)Edit

IGCSEs are based on a 2-year school course for 14- to 20-year-olds. They are internationally recognised as preparation for study at pre-university level (IB or A level standard), and are sufficient for entry to university in Eswatini, Lesotho, Zambia and Botswana.

At Waterford Kamhlaba students may study up to ten subjects at IGCSE level, although most take between seven and nine. All students sit English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, at least one Experimental Science, one Humanity and a foreign language. Otherwise, they may choose from any of the subjects on offer at Waterford Kamhlaba.

All subjects are taught in the classroom, although many (such as the Experimental Sciences, Information Technology and Art) require a degree of practical work, and some IGCSEs include assessed coursework (Music, PE Studies and Drama).

International BaccalaureateEdit

The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year university preparatory course. It is taught in more than 1030 schools throughout the world, and is recognised in most countries as a pre-university qualification.

The IB Diploma Programme requires the student to study six subjects: three at Higher and three at Standard Level. All candidates study their own and one other language, mathematics (or computer science), an experimental science, and a humanities subject. They may then select a sixth subject of their own free choice, in any academic area, including Art, Theatre or Music.

In addition to the six chosen subjects, the candidate follows the Theory of Knowledge course (TOK) and writes an Extended Essay (EE) in a subject of their choice. A further part of the IB Diploma Programme is the Creativity, Action and Service programme (CAS).

If the full IB Diploma is not thought to be appropriate for a student, they may study for IB Certificates. The requirement for the Extended Essay and TOK are waived, and the students choose the subjects of their choice.

Notable alumniEdit

1963 to 1973Edit

1974 to 1983Edit

1984 to 2003Edit

2004 onwardsEdit

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 26°18′10.57″S 31°06′14.60″E / 26.3029361°S 31.1040556°E / -26.3029361; 31.1040556