Academic Departments

Department of African Languages

Waterford offers the opportunity for students of all ages and levels to learn an African language or continue studying literature in their home language. This not only succeeds in putting African languages on the same level as their often dominant European counterparts but also seeks to maintain the diverse range of cultures which Waterford houses and hopes to do so for many years to come.

Department of Economics and Business Studies

Business and management is the rigorous and critical study of the ways in which individuals and groups interact in a dynamic business environment. The ideals of international cooperation and responsible citizenship are at the heart of Business & Management. A quarter of the course assessment comes from a research project undertaken by the students in regard to a real organisation. The subject would be suitable for students who have a real interest in current business and political events.

Department of Psychology and Life Skills

The reason Waterford has produced so many nice, sociable, capable alumni is that they learned how to be that way at WK. They may not know it now but students at Waterford are being moulded into the image of their creators through psychological, behavioural and social development, inside and outside the classroom.

Drama and Theatre Department

The Drama and Theatre department is very active in extra-curricular activities. We create two school productions each year, often with large casts of students from across the school, in 2012 these productions were The Importance of Being Earnest, and a devised musical, in collaboration with the Music department. Our annual Evening of Dance is a great highlight for many. We host the Alliance Francaise each year when they bring world-class performances to Swaziland. Our annual inter-house Theatresports event is always popular and in 2012 we were able to send a team of Theatresporters to an inter-school Theatresports event in Singapore at our sister UWC.

English Department

Owing to Waterford’s commitment to Internationalism and diversity, our students are drawn from a wide range of socio-linguistic backgrounds and, as such, many of them are not mother-tongue English speakers. Our challenge, as a Department, is to nurture language development and skills and a love of literature in all its forms across the academic board so that our students become confident, competent users of English and critical, analytical and insightful readers of literature.

Geography Department

Waterford Kamhlaba’s Geography Department is one of the busiest departments in the school, and a favourite amongst its students, mainly because it consists of highly trained professionals whom the students enjoy bonding with in an academic manner.

History Department

We must look at History as a giant mirror, we look into it and it reflects our present. If we chose not to look, we are in danger of not knowing who we are.

IT Department

In 2001 the Christopher Newton Thompson IT Centre was opened. The centre had been built through the generosity of a number of donors, secured primarily by Christopher Newton Thompson (1919 - 2003). We are greatly indebted to him for his hard work and perseverance in pursuing his dream of this facility for Waterford Kamhlaba. At that time the IT Centre hosted 45 computers connected to various network servers. The computers ran the Windows 98 operating system and all had Internet connectivity. As is normal with our fast-moving technology, within a few years the computers required software and hardware upgrades. Waterford Kamhlaba made a very significant decision at that point and moved the computers fully onto Open Source Linux software. There are a few computers in the centre which still run Microsoft Windows but we are predominantly a Linux environment. Our operating system is Ubuntu and we have chosen to use the Open Office (Apache) as our office suite.

Maths Department

The priority given to Mathematics at Waterford Kamhlaba is reflected in it being a daily subject for most students. Classrooms have computers and data projectors to support modern approaches, but our teaching is still largely based on thinking, doing and working out with pencil and paper or even better, in the head. We try to teach for understanding, believing that developing a thoughtful and informed approach to problem solving is more useful than being given a formula. In essence, the department aims to teach mathematical thinking as much as mathematics. Calculators are not used in Forms 1 and 2; students need to be prepared to do mental Maths and use their knowledge of multiplication tables.

Graphical calculators are used for IGCSE and IB. The department also offers students the opportunity to participate each year in the South African Maths Olympiad. One of our students in 2016 reached the top ten, out of eighty thousand!

The department offers after-school Help Sessions and welcomes parents to visit class.

Progression: Students will generally have a change of teacher as they progress but keep the same teacher for the two years of the IGCSE programme and again for the two years of the IBDP.

The accelerated class: Between form 3 and form 5 the top Mathematics students are placed in the accelerated class. They are prepared for IGCSE exams in form 4, then take either AS-level or Additional Maths in form 5. Students who join Waterford in form 4 still have a chance to join this class.

Grade requirements: One of our key goals is to empower our students to progress as they would wish to further study both within and beyond Waterford. To this end, our first target is a minimum of a grade C in IGCSE, as this is the requirement for access to tertiary education worldwide. A grade B in IGCSE is needed to do Standard Level Mathematics in the IBDP and an A* (or AS - level/Additional Maths equivalent) for Higher Level Mathematics in the IBDP.

Modern/ European Languages Department

Recent economic and diplomatic development on the African continent has highlighted the importance of French in dealings with francophone Africa, the EU and the Lome Convention, and Canada. Many anglophone African government officials currently find themselves needing to understand and speak French in their dealings with their francophone counterparts in Africa. Dialogue, role-play, short presentations and sketches in a francophone setting are the means used to enable pupils to understand and use the langauge to good effect in an authentic way, all the way from Form 1 to Form 5 at Waterford Kamhlaba. These activities are laid on a solid base of structure and grammar at a beginners level. The audio-lingual course Tricolore Total is used from Forms 1 to 5 along with extensive resources generated within the department.

Music Department

Due to the generosity and hard work of our great supporters, Michael Jarvis and Michael Holland, and the generosity and trust of the Clothworkers’ Association of London, we have a department that, in international terms, is extremely well resourced. We have a range of percussion instruments, including Chopi marimbas, djembes, and drum kits. We have quality guitars, basses, electric guitars, electric pianos, keyboards, several acoustic pianos, a double bass, saxophones, trumpets and a trombone, a beautiful marimba set, amplification, and PA resources which are shared with the Drama Department and the school’s sound and lightning team. We have a computer suite in which we currently offer Sibelius 7 for our IGCSE and IBDP music students to use for their coursework. As well as the lessons offered as part of the curriculum in Form 1 to IB, we also offer individual, extra-curricular instrument lessons on instruments including the piano, guitar, voice and drums. Other extra-curricular activities offered by the Music department include the school choir, djembe drumming and various marimba ensembles.

The Tony Hatton Library

The history of the library stretches as far back as the birth of Waterford itself in 1963. The pioneer Librarian, Tony Hatton, started the library in what was then the Leonardo Room, which is currently the Ekukhuleni residence office.

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge is a core part of the IB Diploma programme, and is therefore undertaken by the senior students at Waterford Kamhlaba. Theory of Knowledge, often referred to as “ToK”, encourages the students to question their knowledge and embrace the different arguments against and in favour of an issue.