The Siyavuna Award - 2017 Recipients

In 2016 the Board of Governors of Inanda Seminary initiated the Siyavuna Award.

This award serves to honour those members of the Seminary family who have served the Seminary above and beyond the call of duty or have brought honour to the school by their contribution for future generations to know of their service to the school.

The award is divided into two categories:

1. Patrons
The Inanda Seminary Patrons’ Award is conferred on those individuals who have made a difference to Inanda Seminary through giving of their time or financial donations.

2. Old Girl Achievement
The Inanda Seminary Old Girls’ Achievement Award is conferred on those Old Girls who have brought honour to Inanda Seminary by their achievements.  This award is conferred at the At Home

2017 Siyavuna Award Recipients


  1. Dumisani Cecil Zondi
  2. Cynthia Mpati
  3. Rev Susan Marie Valiquette

Citation  – Dumisani Cecil Zondi

Mr Dumisani Cecil Zondi arrived in Inanda Seminary in 1966 as a casual teacher - his first experience at an all girls’ school. In the early 1960s Mr Zondi used to bring Ohlange students to Inanda Seminary and that is how he met his wife teacher Cybele Zondi. At Inanda Seminary he fulfilled the following functions – librarian, biology teacher, deputy principal, principal, and later, an archivist. He studied librarianship at Fort Hare University and organized and transformed the Inanda Seminary library with his expertise. In 1970 furthered his studies in the United States and returned to Inanda in 1972 as Deputy Principal. In 1974 he became the first African Principal and served to 1976.

His leadership focused on the Inanda Seminary being an educational environment with an African ethos. He expressed this view through encouraging the girls to sing isiZulu songs and dance like gospel singers in the chapel. He created a night school for teachers so that the teachers could matriculate and earn a better salary as well as broaden their subject knowledge. Although he did not encourage political organisation at Inanda Seminary, he quietly expanded Inanda students’ links to Black Consciousness activists at the University of Natal. He organised some Inanda girls to attend political summer schools and some were able to see and interact with Steve Bantu Biko. Mr Zondi was able to navigate politics successfully and minimise political tension between different parties. Mr Zondi together with Fatima Meer founded a Black Consciousness research group called the Institute for Black Research at the University of Natal. He regularly brought independent thinking Inanda Seminary members with him to sit-in on Meer’s Sociology courses.
Major developments witnessed under Zondi’s leadership of the Seminary were the opening of the Secretarial School and the Mobil Student Centre. His racially integrated teaching staff had salaries distributed according to qualifications and not race.

After being the first black deputy librarian at the University of Zululand library, the first rector of Umlazi College for Further Education and inspector of KwaZulu Library Services, Mr Zondi returned to Inanda Seminary in 1999 and was able to start the school archives and museum. He continued as the first archivist of the Lucy Lindley Interpretive Centre until the 140th birthday of the Seminary. He trained members to become actively involved in the archives and was able to initiate a number of projects which include producing the ‘Ubuwazi? Did you know?’ publication and a guide to the collection. He was extremely successful in collecting and preserving the Seminary’s historic records.

This is awarded posthumously.

Citation – Cynthia Mpati

Cynthia Mpati is an alumna of Inanda Seminary. She has an extensive background in education. After the power of 10 took over the running of the school in 1997, they experienced difficulties and called upon Cynthia to serve as a volunteer Principal from 2001 – 2002. This was a very difficult period of time in the history of Inanda Seminary. When Cynthia arrived, she found low morale among the teachers, non-adherence to school rules by students, high anxieties among teachers relating to salaries and school traditions that had fallen by the wayside. Cynthia displayed tremendous leadership and earned the respect of teachers and students alike. She was able to improve academic performance and improve discipline and strongly supported social development. Student enrolment improved and a successful matric dance was reinstated. The school attracted sponsorships through her initiatives.

A favourite memory is her repeated encouragement to the members. “Members, let's have fun, but let’s have good clean fun!”

Cynthia accomplished all of this pro bono and largely after hours and weekends while simultaneously maintaining her position at the Department of Education. She was commissioned by the National Department of Education to start the massive National School Nutrition Programme with Minister Kader Asmal. 

Cynthia in her retirement is still instilling values, teaching good clean fun and feeding the children of her community.

Citation - Reverend Susan Valiquette 

The Reverend Susan Valiquette is a North American United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) missionary who was appointed in 1999 by Global Ministries to serve as Inanda Seminary’s Chaplain. Susan’s home city of Ohio is the same city where the founding principal Mary-Kelley Edwards came from. Reverend Susan (as she is affectionately known) arrived at a time when the Inanda Seminary was vulnerable and on the verge of closure due to financial troubles. She has subsequently served Inanda Seminary for eighteen years and played a crucial role in the restoration of the school to its current glowing status. After being reappointed 4 times to serve at the Inanda Seminary, 2017 is her final year of placement.

Susan has been responsible for the spiritual and social development of the school, as well as taken on the personal well-being of each student and staff member. She leads daily chapel services with innovative chapel themes that are motivational and spiritual and appeal to the members' interests. She is faithful in prayer and planning and ensures that worship services are vibrant by incorporating the school’s African ethos through songs both in isiZulu and English.

Reverend Susan also provides pastoral care and counselling for all students and staff with her practical empathy and immense wisdom. She has upskilled many enabling them to develop techniques and strategies which have helped them manage their own personal difficult circumstances and find a new path. She has documented many of these practices and trained others to do similar work.

Reverend Susan has also fulfilled the role of educator and taken on the responsibility of coordinating grade 11-12 bursary and tertiary institution
applications and established credible connections with funders and programmes.

Reverend Susan is a strong community activist drawing alongside people and forming relationships. Many a local person has come to the school gate looking for ‘the American lady who helps people’. She was instrumental in driving the social development in the Seminary, helping to transform it from ‘outreach’ to development. Her relationships and generosity towards local community leaders and families including those who live on the campus reflect her love and care and an attempt to bring about equity in communities.

Reverend Susan’s advanced skills in administration and technology have assisted the school to produce an annual yearbook for the past 15 years; have enabled many school policies and procedures to be documented in Umalusi files; have taught many as they have watched her presentations and videos; and have added immense value to all the major events in the school through her presentations.

Reverend Susan has acted as a spiritual keel for the school, providing a strong link to the past, stabilising the present and playing a vital role steering the school into the bright future.

She is an example of how our Lord calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things that glorify His name. The woman of noble character as described in Proverbs 31 aptly describes Reverend Susan. “…..She opens her arms to the poor and needy; she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction…honour her for all the work she has done”.