THE SCRIPTURE UNION INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS STORY (SUIS)
The original vision for SUIS emerged over 40 years ago. It wanted to come alongside Chaplains and Heads of the thirty or so “Traditional Independent High Schools” of South Africa and assist them with making the Christian Faith relevant and meaningful to their pupils. Whilst recognising the value of a personal faith for every individual, it was also well understood that these young people, by virtue of their privileged education, would one day occupy positions of influence and leadership in South Africa and beyond.
In the mid 1990’s a process began of investigating SUIS owning its own “Camp and Conference Centre” for holding its teenage camps. Venues which were affordable and available were not easy to find. In November of 1998 the idea became a reality when Hylton and Jenny Green, the owners of Middledale Farm near Ladysmith, offered 4 hectares of their land on the banks of the Tugela River downstream from the Spioenkop Dam and nestled under the famous Boer War battle site of Spioen Kop itself. This gift was accepted by the SUIS Board and in April 1999 a Development Committee was formally appointed to take responsibility for moving the project forward.
THE EM’SENI STORY BEGINS
Thus began a long and sometimes arduous process of creating The Spioenkop Trust to own the land; the design concept discussions; planning permission approval; dealing with lifting a land claim; raising finance; appointing contractors and finally construction. Eventually the first buildings were ready for use in 2005.
This whole process was only accomplished through dedicated work by volunteer SUIS Board members, sustained effort from the staff, and heartwarming commitment to the concept from architects, engineers, surveyors and lawyers. Deeply humbling was the incredible generosity of all the donors whose gifts, both large and small, turned a dream into reality.