Freedom MutandaÂ Post Correspondent
Situated in the deep end of the Sabi Valley near the mighty river is Chibuwe High School which was established in 1979 towards the end of the Second Chimurenga to complement the work done by five other schools in Chipinge district namely Chikore, Mount Selinda, Gazaland, Ratelshoek and Jersey that could not satisfy the hunger for education exhibited by the children after they finished their primary education and could not continue with their secondary education.
The idea to have a secondary school was in response to the huge volume of children who wanted to go to school in the Chibuwe protected village in the late 1970s.
The zoning system advocated by the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia government saw most children in the locality operating within confined zones.
It was virtually impossible for a child to be accepted at the American Boarding schools, Chikore and Mount Selinda, as they were very strict on the kind of student they wanted enrolled at their schools.
As a result, they became cheap labour for the Middle Sabi white commercial farmers after they had finished Grade 7.
Mutape Phineas Mutorwa and the community applied to council and were granted permission to construct a boarding school.
They cleared a stretch of land previously owned by Mbuya Manhi and the first crop of students enrolled for Form 1in 1979 were Clement Jeza, Encia Mabvuu, Enock Porusingazi among others.
The school operated from the protected village and real boarding life started at the dawn of independence in 1980.
Nelson Bangidza Dhliwayo is the founding head of the school. Some of the heads who have presided over the school include Noah Tholana, Stanley Thondlana, Siyaganda, Andrew Mururami, John Mutambara,Phineas Mufisha, Cames Khosa and Needmore Chikwama Maposa.
For several years, Chibuwe Secondary School played second fiddle to the two UCCZ run schools Chikore and Mount Selinda before it competed with them pound for pound.
In 2001, Chibuwe was granted â€˜Aâ€™ level status and it has never looked back since then.
Chibuwe is densely populated thus Chibuwe High School filled a gap that up to now is noticeable as the administration races against time to establish Chibuwe B whose enrolment is almost 200.
However, apart from the pass rate that consistently rises both at â€˜Oâ€™ and â€˜Aâ€™ level, there are developments that have been observed over the past three yeas which include the coming of the school bus on Wednesday last week.
It was a culmination of hard work and determination on the part of the parents, wider community and the school administration.
The Manica Post was on hand to witness the excitement that accompanied the bus arrival. The atmosphere in the township was electric.
Everywhere, people wore smiling faces and you could see the tension, albeit positive, that rose to a crescendo as Mr Sifelani Tonje, the man responsible for logistics and public relations, told the expectant crowd that the bus was heading towards Chibuwe from Mwacheta turn-off.
The head girl, Barbara Mutambisi, was excited about the bus. She said, â€œI am very happy that the school has acquired a bus. We now join other schools in the district that have bought state of the art buses. When it comes to seminars and sporting activities, we will use our bus to go there.â€™â€™
Phainos Bote, a parent, was over the moon. He said they had waited for a long time for the bus to come. As parents, they felt the school deserved to be among the leading educational institutions in the country and purchasing a bus was one way of being at par with those schools.
â€œWe have waited since last year for the dream to crystallise into reality. Now that the bus is finally here, we thank the almighty for leading us to this happy occasion,â€™â€™ he said.
As the music exploded courtesy of Mathabuka Crew, there were anecdotes that the Director of Ceremonies, Charles Siyapeya, the deputy head, interspersed with music that made the appreciative crowd roar with laughter.
In his keynote address, the head, Mr Needmore Maposa, said although there were hurdles along the way, God was the final arbiter.
â€œOnly God can make the objectives of a united group fail to materialise. I would like to thank the SDC headed by Mr Edmore Mugwazeni, retired Colonel Murire, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and parents for transforming our dream into reality.
â€œAs it stands, our goal is to buy two more mini buses for the transporting of our children to seminars and other educational tours,â€™â€™ said Mr Maposa.
Among the dignitaries were Chief Vusani Musikavanhu, Kraal head, Phineas Mutorwa, Education officials Lenard Makwambeni and Isiah Masona. Mr Makwambeni, the area Education Inspector, emphasised the importance of unity when administering a school between the community and the school administrators. Reverends Godfrey Dhundu and Christine Maposa of UCCZ were on hand to celebrate the good news with their Secretary Needmore Maposa.
â€œAs Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we are pleased that Chibuwe has a bus. Developments actually sell a brand. We are proud to be associated with the successes of the school and we give our blessings to a head with a development trajectory. If there is any lingering disunity among the stakeholders, itâ€™s time to bury the hatchet and join the development oriented train. In unity, there is strength. As a resident of the area, I feel that Mr Needmore Maposa and his team have just used a fraction of what they can do and there is plenty of room for the school to score further successes,â€™â€™ Mr Lenard Makwambeni said amid applause from the crowd.
Self sufficiency in food at the boarding
Meeting Tennyson Chanje, the man tasked with the school garden project, one is disarmed by the humility he exudes although he has a wealth of experience in tending horticulture crops. He was soft spoken as he narrated how the self-sufficiency road Chibuwe High School walked since 2015 has borne fruits.
â€œMr Tonje and Mr Maposa mooted the idea of having a project that would save the school in vegetables buying. To that end, a two and a half acre plot came into being as the Agriculture department had to extend the garden for that purpose,â€™â€™ he said.
He tends vegetables that include onions, tomatoes, maize, okra and beans. A piece of land has been cleared to grow 300 banana trees. His is an eight hour job. The school has a borehole right in the middle of the garden.
â€œInitially, we had water problems but we bought a two horse power pump. Rating helped clear a piece of land for us as this used to be a dumping site. Inputs pose a challenge but the admin comes in whenever I ask for material,â€™â€™ Tennyson Chanje said.
Dakarai Dhliwayo, the associate Senior Master, said the school initiated a firewood kitchen which resultantly was cost effective. So far, the school saved quite a lot in monthly electricity bills.
â€œWe used to pay $6 000 on electricity bills but thanks to the firewood kitchen we initiated, that figure has fallen to $2 000 and that is a whopping $4 000 in savings,â€™â€™ said Dakarai Dhliwayo.
Over the past two years, a number of projects spearheaded by Mr Needmore Maposa have spruced the image of the school. Headlining the big projects is the construction of a mega-dormitory that accommodates 150 girls that was built in under a year solving accommodation woes.
The senior matron, Tandiwe Chigugudhlo said that because of the growing number of students who joined the school in recent years, it was incumbent upon the school to embark on a construction of dormitories and that was duly done in 2015 when a new dormitory was commissioned.
The other matron, Juliet Muparanga, echoed the statement saying, â€œevery term, we have new arrivals but now we have space for 40 more female students and that is healthy. Girls need their privacy and the new dormitory enables that privacy for the senior students. That the dorm was built in a year is amazing indeed,â€™â€™ she said.
Hand in glove with other developments was the construction of an â€˜Aâ€™ level Arts and Commercials block which was completed within a year.
Mr Needmore Maposa talked about his desire to incorporate the national vision encapsulated in the ZIMASSET document as well as Vision 2063 in order to produce an all round student. He said the STEM craze was not a dream at all thus a Chibuwe High School student, Beauty Tasara, won a laptop in the STEM competition held in Bulawayo recently.
â€œWe are committed to dovetail Science education in our curriculum with Commercials, Arts and Practicals. With this in mind, I must hasten to add that we have 32 STEM students at this school and one of them made us proud recently by winning a laptop in a Science fair in Bulawayo. We have a team of highly qualified teachers whose experience is reaping rich dividends for the school. E-learning is in its infancy but we have a WI-FI facility at the school. Due to the expanded garden, we have saved $1 000 thus far as a result of using vegetables from the garden. We also have a poultry project,â€™â€™ Mr Needmore Maposa said.
In his address to the students and community, the affable head said it was an urban school in a rural setting. Chibuwe High School is an oasis in the desert, according to the inscription on the bus.
A former student who is in the diaspora, Memory Chigaro, said the acquisition of a bus was a step in the right direction.
â€œAs former students, we ought to form a Chibuwe Former Students Association to spearhead development at the school,â€™â€™ she said.
For now, it is not an understatement that the school has had an incredible 37 years in existence and there is more to be expected in the coming years.