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Western Cape

  • ISO 3166 code: ZA-WC
  • Capital: Cape Town
  • Established: 27 April 1994


In 1652, the first white settlers arrived at the Cape. Jan van Riebeeck was among the Dutch settlers as they encountered a number of different groups of black people who were occupying the land.

On 28 March 1658, 170 slaves arrived at the Cape in the Dutch ship The Amersfoort. They were the first shipment of slaves in the colony.

On 17 April 1658, the first formal school in South Africa was opened by the Dutch East India Company. It was specifically intended for the slaves from The Amersfoort. Pieter van der Stael taught the class.

In 1682, a colonial decree required compulsory school attendance from all slave children under 12 years of age. Older slave children had to attend school twice a week. Both settlers and slaves ignored this and some slaves even hid in mountain caves to avoid going to school.

In 1714, Governor de Chavonnes decreed the first educational ordinance: the Ordonnantie van de School Ordenning. The decree made it illegal for a person to be employed as a teacher without the approval of the governor and the Council of Policy.


The Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997 (Act No 12 of 1997) provides for a uniform education system for the organisation, governance and funding of all schools and makes provision for the specific educational needs of the province.

The Western Cape Education Department is responsible for primary and secondary education within the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Law and Government

The Western Cape is governed by a provincial government consisting of a premier, an executive council of ten ministers, and a 42-member provincial legislature. Acts are laws passed by national or provincial parliament.

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Cape TownUCT - University of Cape TownUniversity of Western Cape
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