Work and Worship in Zimbabwe - an introduction to rural life in Central Zimbabwe

Tenda Mwari (Thank God) sung by the Youth Choir of St Cuthbert’s,  Gweru
St Patrick’s High School includes interviews with pupils about their hopes for the future
St Luke’s Kwekwe:  extract from an open air service at Kwekwe Hospital
Work & Worship in Zimbabwe Tenda Mwari St Patrick's High School Kwekwe Service Extract


The diocese currently has four primary schools, three of which are deep in rural areas, and one secondary school. Teachers are paid by the state and international aid administered by UNICEF has recently provided basic textbooks for every primary school in Zimbabwe, but all other costs are paid by the diocese and local community. All schools charge basic fees and all have uniforms. Many pupils are AIDS orphans, being looked after by older siblings or the extended family.  Teaching tends to be blackboard-based and there are very few resources for sport, arts, creative play or other activities. Pupils are generally very well behaved and keen to learn.

St Hugh’s  Primary School, Mazyingo

St Hugh’s is in a very remote rural area 120km from Gweru on an unmade road. The 830 pupils travel up to 7km on foot to get to school. Teachers are housed on site in very basic accommodation. Many teachers farm to supplement their income.  There are 14 classrooms for 17 classes of children and many of the existing classrooms are in a poor state of repair. Water is drawn from a well and there is no mains electricity.  Despite the basic conditions,  morale among staff is high and teaching standards are good. A donation in 2012 from the Link funds has provided materials for the building of a new two-classroom block and we are in the process of raising money to furnish these classrooms. St Hugh’s is linked with Croydon Parish Church Junior School. (Click to watch a video)

St Mark’s Primary School, Lozane

Another remote rural school with 262 pupils, of whom over 100 are orphaned.  Of the ten classrooms only three are in a reasonable condition. One has an end wall that had to be removed because it was unsafe, and another recently had the roof blown off.  Most teachers return to their homes in the town at weekends, but because of transport problems, this often means they travel on Mondays and Fridays and children do not get a full week’s teaching. There is an irrigated gardening project on site, but this is still not fully operational.  Water comes from a borehole and there is no electricity supply within 15km. This school has also been given a donation for the building of a new classroom block. St Mark’s is linked with Christchurch Primary School in Purley. (Click to watch a video)

St Martin’s Primary School, Amaveni

This school in a high-density suburb to the town of Kwekwe has 960 pupils. It has better conditions: mains electricity and water  and well-maintained classrooms, but there are only 15 classrooms for 22 classes. A well-organised system of ‘hot-seating’ has been developed  with two-thirds of the pupils starting at 7.30am and a third starting at 10.30am and working outside until midday when classrooms are swopped over. The early starters then have outside activities till 4pm. St Martin’s is linked with Beulah Junior School, Thornton Heath. (Click to watch a video)

St Patrick’s Primary School, Gambiza

Part of the St Patrick’s Mission site, the school has 630 pupils travelling by foot from a radius of 6-7km. They come from a subsistence farming background and are not always able to pay their fees or afford uniform. There is electricity on site and the school now has a computer.  Water is a problem and work is in progress to provide  a raised tank to provide better water flow. Again there is a shortage of classrooms, with an excellent Early Child Development class crammed into a tiny room.  The school has its own vegetable garden tended by pupils. Nutfield Church (C of E) Primary School is St Patrick’s partner school and has raised funds towards their water project. (Click to watch a video)

St Patrick’s High School, Gambiza

Also on St Patrick’s Mission, this is a highly-regarded secondary school with good exam pass-rates. Its 812 pupils are mostly boarders, drawn from across Zimbabwe. Classrooms and boarding accommodation are adequate but very basic.  The school has an IT department and a library. It has no art or music on the curriculum, but a wonderful school choir nevertheless.  Fees are high relative to other state schools but still low compared to other private boarding schools.  The Christian ethos of the school is a central factor and pupils are diligent, articulate and highly-committed to learning. Archbishop Tenison’s School in Croydon has links with St Patrick’s High School. (Click to watch a video)