Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust - New West Secondary School - 0315782544 Principal: MF Bayat

Go to content

Main menu:

Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust

Our Partners in Education

New West Education Trust
The New West Education Trust and the Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust are inextricably bound. Although the NWET had humble beginnings, it grew from strength to strength, with the bulk of its funds derived from the SHSMT.

Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust

Henry Strakosch was the son of Mr Edward Strakosch, who prospered in the Austrian sugar beet industry.  Henry was born at Hohenhau in Austria in May 1871.  He was brought up in England and began his banking career at the age of 20, when he entered the London branch of the Anglo-Austrian Bank.

In 1895 he came to the Rand and joined the Goerz enterprises. In 1896 he became the assistant General Manager of the Goerz enterprises. He was transferred to London in 1901. In 1902 he became managing director of Union Corporation Limited and was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Governors in 1924. He visited South Africa only three times, relying on a dedicated team in Johannesburg. These people stayed in place until World War II. The most prominent of these men was Peter M Anderson. Henry Strakosch was an eminent financier and undisputedly controlled Union Corporation Limited from January 1908 to 1943.

In 1919 he attended the Paris Peace Conference as an advisor on banking and finance.  On General Smuts’ invitation he came to South Africa to advise on banking and currency problems in the Union. South Africa was off the gold standard at the time and depended on a highly inflated paper currency. Leading commercial banks faced a severe crisis. He submitted a memorandum to the government and this document formed the basis of the Union Currency Act. The banking crisis was averted and South Africa returned to the gold standard. Recommendations by him led to the establishment of the South African Reserve Bank and he also helped establish the gold industry in South Africa on a firm foundation. The mines concerned were Modderfontein Deep and Springs.

Henry Strakosch was also a representative at the Imperial Conference of 1923 and served on the League of Nations’ Economic Committee for years. He was a multi-lingual European who traveled constantly and became a very rich man.

He was awarded three separate Orders for Knighthood, one for South Africa, one for India and another for Britain.

Sir Henry was made director of Anglo International Bank in 1930, while his interest in India led to his appointment to the Council of India in 1935. He initially was mistaken when Britain left the gold standard by presuming it would be in the best interest of South Africa to remain on the gold standard (1932). When money left the country, he realized his mistake and changed his mind, but Havenga and Hertzog decided to stay on the gold standard.  Just before "Anschluss", the union between Germany and Austria, in 1938, he brought his mother and sister out from Austria.

Sir Winston Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, recorded that Sir Henry had analysed the Nazi Re-armament programme in 1936.

On his final visit to South Africa in 1939, he was ill for much of the trip. He still tried to determine whether South Africa would join the allies in World War II.

He was a bachelor until late in life, marrying a widowed lady in 1941. In September 1942 he fell ill with cancer and died in his home in Surrey on 30 October 1943.

He bequeathed a residuary Trust Fund of £400 of his estate £2,5 million. He directed his trustees to use the fund to strengthen the bonds of unity between South Africa and Britain that could appease the conflict between the Dutch and English communities. The money was to be used between British and South African graduates. Unforeseen legal complications led to the Appeal Court voting against the Trust as a Charitable Trust.

His married sister, Mrs Adele Fraenkel, survived him by two years. She was deceased when the trust entitled her to a one-half-share. This fell to her estate, the heirs being her two sons, Herbert and Eric. The latter decided to use this quarter share (approximately £60 000 after death duties) to set aside the trust as wished by Sir Henry. On 8 May 1950, Mr Eric Fraenkel established the trust and bequeathed his legacy to it for administration by the first trustees.

The trustees created the following educational scholarship and bursaries:

  • Wits University received a grant of £6,000 to provide a scholarship of approximately £200 per annum.                                                                                                                   

  • From 1956 to 1996 the Trust awarded 42 scholarships to Cape Town and Stellenbosch University graduates for post-graduate study at the University of Cambridge.

  • The Western Cape and Wits Universities also received money for the creation of scientific and technological endowments.

  • Travel bursaries were awarded annually to graduates from Oxford and Cambridge Universities to pursue research in South Africa during the English summer vacation.

  • Two travel bursaries were awarded periodically to Mining Colleges or UK Universities to allow members to visit South Africa’s mines and their itineraries allow them to travel widely and meet a cross-section of South Africans.

In the year 2000 our School received correspondence from the Trustees of the Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust requesting information regarding the School’s association with the Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust. Of course, we could lay claim to such association as the current Principal, Farouk Bayat, had been a recipient of a bursary from the Trust to read for an MSc in Educational Management and Administration at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh in 1991-1992. A detailed proposal was submitted by Mr Bayat to the Trust to motivate for funding for the improvement of facilities at the school.

In 2001 the Trustees awarded New West Secondary School an amount of £125,000-00 (R2,037 million) to be held in Trust for the development of the school. This amount was held in the New West Secondary School – Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust, administered by BDO Spencer Steward in Johannesburg.

In 2002, the Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust Computer Laboratory with 42 computers and a server was established at the school at the cost of R450,000-00. Thereafter, many improvements were made – upgrade of hall, library (now converted into an Art Centre), administration buildings and hall annexe, amongst others. In 2005, the New West Secondary School - Sir Henry Strakosch Memorial Trust was wound up and the proceeds transferred to the New West Education Trust.

Thank you, Sir Henry!

New West Education Trust
The New West Education Trust was started in 2000 by a group of concerned staff members who saw the potential of some very poor pupils who would not have had the finance to pursue tertiary education. It started with a few thousand rands donated by members of staff, and was boosted by a donation of £4,000-00 (R64,000-00) from the Reading Rotary Club in the UK. It was soon discovered that the bright pupils who excelled in the Senior Certificate Examinations were given bursaries and scholarships, and hence the focus of the NWET shifted to improving the teaching and learning facilities at the school. This, in any case, is one of the main objectives of the Trust.

The New West Education Trust has over the years funded the following:
Upgrade of the Computer Room
Cloakrooms for female staff
Rest room for General Assistants
Upgrade of Hall Annexe
Airconditioning of the Hall and Hall Annexe
Hospitality Studies Training Kitchen
Hospitality Studies Dining Room, in partnership with Albaraka Bank.

The Hospitality Studies Kitchen is a state-of the art kitchen typical of a restaurant or hotel kitchen. It provides our pupils with the necessary facilities to train to be chefs and to work in the hospitality industry. With the impending boom in tourism, especially with South Africa hosting the World Cup in 2010, there will be an even greater demand for suitably trained personnel. As it is, there is a great demand for SA-trained chefs and hotel managers in the Middle East, UK, USA and Europe. There are also job opportunities on ships for the more adventurous. We already boast of pupils who have worked in Dubai, New Zealand and some of the boutique hotels in South Africa.

Thank you, Mahomed Farouk Bayat, Parvathy Reddy and Andrew Christopher Nair, Trustees of the New West Education Trust!

New West Education Trust & Albaraka Bank
Hospitality Studies Dining Room–Classroom

Back to content | Back to main menu