The First World War ends

The First World War ends, heralding peace for the first time in over four years. A celebratory Peace Picnic is organised for Johannesburg’s white schoolchildren, and St Mary’s girls join others for a picnic at the zoo.

In the last months of the war, many thousands of South Africans of all races succumb to Spanish influenza. The pandemic, one of the worst human disasters ever, kills up to 6% of the global population. The particularly virulent H1N1 flu strain spreads to every corner of the globe, assisted by the return of millions of soldiers who had participated in the world war. South Africa is not spared. St Mary’s School looks like a hospital, as every bed is filled by those fighting for their lives.

In these difficult times, when some St Mary’s fathers have perished alongside the millions of others, when communities and economies around the world have been devastated and South Africa slides into a post-war depression, St Mary’s College is not spared and fights for its very survival.

German ships at scapa flow november 1918
German ships at Scapa Flow, November 1918
The johannesburg zoo in the early days
The Johannesburg zoo in the early days
The johannesburg zoo where school children celebrate the end of the war
The Johannesburg zoo where school children celebrate the end of the war