The Marist Brothers (Marist Brothers of the Schools) is an international religious community of more than 4,000 Roman Catholic Brothers dedicated to the education of young people, especially those most neglected. The order was founded in 1817 by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest as a way of combating illiteracy and spiritual poverty in post-revolutionary France.
The Marist Brothers arrived in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1939 at the request of Bishop A. Chichester S.J to assume responsibility for education at Kutama Mission. In addition to Kutama, the Marist also presently operate Nyanga High School, Marist Brothers (Marist Nyanga), in Nyanga District, Manicaland and Marist Brothers Secondary School, Dete (Marist Dete) in the Hwange District, Matabeleland North.
Today, the Marist Brothers are involved in educational work throughout the world. They run primary and secondary schools, academies, orphanages and retreat house in 81 countries, including in Africa.
Jesuit Jean-Baptiste (John) Loubiere, with his assistant Joseph Dambaza, are credited with the founding of Kutama Mission, located near Norton, approximately 80 km southwest of Salisbury (Harare). Father Loubiere named it Kutama after his first convert the chief.
The mission began as an outstation of Chishawasha Mission. Cassiano Ushewokunze, who was trained at Chishawasha, was posted as the first teacher-catechist at Kutama in 1913. Fr Loubiere became the first resident priest in September 1914 (the date generally given as the mission’s founding date) and through his efforts, Kutama became a fully-fledged mission independent of Chishawasha.
Fr. Loubiere’s initial focus was on evangelism, but realizing that educational development was needed as well, he began primary education. By 1926, the Jesuits had established a two-year Teacher Training course for primary school teachers, which would become St. Francis Xavier (Kutama) College. After the death of Fr. Loubiere in 1930, Father Jerome O’Hea arrived in 1931 to become the school’s headmaster.
Fr. O’Hea established a hospital on the mission site using his family’s resources after a request for government funding was turned down. The hospital was later named Fr O’Hea Memorial Mission Hospital (Kutama Hospital) in his honor.
The Jesuit were challenged to both perform pastoral work and run the school, so in 1939 Bishop A. Chichester S.J invited the Marist Brothers to come to Kutama and assume responsibility for education. Under their leadership, Kutama was one of the first missions in Southern Rhodesia to offer secondary (high school) education to Africans.
President Mugabe was born in the village of Kutama and educated at Kutama College.
Fr O’Hea Memorial Mission Hospital (Kutama Hospital)
In 1897 Rhodesia Railways asked one of Cape Town’s top lawyers Mr Webb to come to Bulawayo to open Bulawayo’s first legal firm. Webb quickly established a firm which provided top quality legal services to the fledgling colony.
Webb soon invited Henry Low, another lawyer practicing in South Africa, to join him. Henry Low was later knighted for his services to Bulawayo and lends his name to the Henry Low primary school in Bulawayo. Michael Barry, the firm’s third named partner, joined the firm in 1922 creating Webb, Low & Barry.
In 1983 Bob Cole became senior partner on Michael Barry’s retirement and the following year David Coltart, the current senior partner became a partner. Norman Pattison became a partner in 1985, with Josephat Tshuma becoming a partner in 1989. David Coltart became senior partner in 1998 when Bob Cole retired.
The firm prevailed through the harsh economic climate and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe from 2000 to 2008. In 2006, Webb, Low & Barry took over and incorporated another old Bulawayo firm, Ben Baron and Partners. The firm migrated to larger premises in 2008 in the Belmont suburb of Bulawayo.
Since dollarization in 2009, the firm has continued to grow and expand its client base both within Zimbabwe and internationally. Webb, Low & Barry is a full service law firm with a dedicated team of lawyers that practice in all areas of Zimbabwean law.
Mtoko (Mutoko) Mission, located approximately 65 km north of Mrewa (Murewa) in Mashonaland East Province, was founded by Dr. Samuel Gurney of the Methodist Episcopal Church(MEC) in 1911. The Mutoko area had a large population and Dr. Gurney saw it “as a way to move on from there toward Nyanga” and “as a final link that would connect Methodist work in the Mutasa area.”
The British South Africa Company granted MEC an old police camp containing several brick buildings from which the missionary work could begin. Dr. Gurney, then residing at Mrewa Mission, was appointed head of the Mrewa-Mtoko (Murehwa-Mutoko) Circuit, while African evangelist James Apiri was stationed at Mtoko itself.
For the first several years, the Mtoko Mission suffered from the lack a resident missionary. Eddy H. Greeley and his wife were appointed to Mtoko in 1916-17, but were transferred after only six months to Old Umtali Mission. Another missionary was appointed in 1919, but again his stay lasted for only six months. Dr. Gurney managed the mission from his base at Mrewa while juggling his other duties. He wrote in a report to the Methodist Rhodesia Mission Conference in 1919 that in most “respects this Mtoko child of our mission family seems to have suffered from arrested development.” With my time fully occupied and living forty miles distant, “the poor little Mtoko mission received much more of absent treatment than was good for it.”
Nonetheless, with the help of African evangelists (pastor-teachers), and later missionaries, including Wilfred Bourgaize (beginning 1921 – still in the field as of 1954), the mission prevailed. As of 1924, a new church building had been built and there was a small primary boarding school consisting of six boys. By 1944, the Boy’s Boarding school had increased to nearly 100 students.
Today, under the control of the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Mtoko (Mutoko) consists of the Mutoko Central Primary School, Mutoko Methodist Center/church, and it serves as the base of the Mutoko/Nyadire District.
A Theological School was begun at Old Umtali Mission in 1927 to train African pastors. Initially it was a department of the Hartzell Training School under the supervision of Reverend M. J. Murphree. As of 1931, five of the seven students were ready to complete the three-year course. Class work was augmented by practical experience gained in “camp-meetings” that were being held. A. L. Mansure was in charge of the school as of 1951, assisted by his wife, Reverend E. J. Asechliman (who later became Director of the school) and J. M. Chimbadzwa. A notable alumnus of the school during that time was Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who was briefly Prime Minister of Rhodesia, 1979-1980.
As of 1953, the school was known as “Old Umtali Theological Seminary” (also referred to as the Hartzell Theological Seminary). Dr. Maurice E. Culver was a teacher and Principal, 1953-1957. Beginning 1958, the school became known as “Old Umtali Biblical Institute.” Dr. Culver continued as Principal of the institute until 1961. He was succeeded by Reverend Hunter D. Griffen. Other faculty included Henry I. James and Mr. and Mrs. A. Reid. There were no approved candidates in 1965 and existing students were transferred to Epworth Theological College in Salisbury (Harare). The school was closed sometime thereafter.
Journals of the Methodists Rhodesia Annual Conference
Robert C. (R. C.) Gates was born November 1892 in Renova, Pennsylvania to William and Gertrude (Rhoads) Gates. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1915 and married his wife, Mildred Colcord. The Gates came to Southern Rhodesia in 1922 as part of the Methodist Episcopal Church’s Rhodesia Mission Conference. He was ordained a deacon in 1923.
During his first ten years of missionary service in Southern Rhodesia, Reverend Gates was at Old Umtali Mission serving as pastor, superintendent, and Principal of the Hartzell Training School. In the following years, he served as superintendent of the Nyadiri Mission, and Mrewa Mission, Umtali-Rusape and Marange Districts. He was also the mission and Conference Treasurer and pastor of St. Andrews Church in Umtali (Mutare). Mrs. Gates supervised women’s work in the various districts in which they were stationed.
After forty-one years of missionary service, the Gates retired in 1963 and returned to Pennsylvania where Rev. Gates was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Dickson College. He died in October 1964. His wife, Mildred, died in April 1970.
Namwianga Mission was founded near Kaloma, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) by Churches of Christ missionaries Dow and Helen (Alice) Merritt in 1932 (the Merritt’s first arrived in 1926). Encompassing 6,000 acres, the mission originally consisted of three separate farms that were consolidated during the 1940s and 1950s.
The mission began primary schools in the 1930s to promote the Christian faith and to teach students to read the Bible. In the 1960s, Dr. George Benson, along with Dow Merritt, raised enough money to build a high school, currently the Namwianga Christian Secondary School. In the early 1990s, Namwianga Mission partnered with the University of Zambia to establish George Benson Christian College (named in Dr. Benson’s honor), which is a three-year college that trains students to teach at the secondary level.
Other facilities include the Namwianga Mission Hospital (formerly Namwianga Zonal Health Center) treating more than 10,000 patients per year, farm, radio station, and “The Haven” in-home orphan care. The orphanage operates four homes that support infants, toddlers, children with special needs and the fourth home, named “Eric’s House, for older boys.
In addition to the Merritt’s, early missionaries at Namwianga include Mrs. Ray Lawyer, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Shewmaker, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hobby, Myrtle Rowe, and Alva and Margaret Rees. Dow Merritt’s son, Roy, together with his wife Kathi, returned to Namwianga Mission sometime in 1968-69 to teach at the high school and have continued to serve at the mission over many years.
Namwianga Mission is currently operated by Zambia Christian College, which goes by the name Zambia Mission Fund. The mission has been supported as a “permanently funded work” of the Prescott Church of Christ church in Texas, since 2006.
Central Africa Mission Evangelistic Literature Service
Begun in 1965, the Central African Mission Evangelistic Literature Service (CAMELS) is Churches in Christ mission publishing house located in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. CAMELS supports the education efforts of both Zimbabwe Christian College and the greater evangelical efforts in southern Africa by publishing songbooks, lesson materials, religious tracts, baptismal certificates and other printed materials. It also supports itself by doing commercial printing for mission institutions and various church groups.
For a number of years, the publishing house was overseen by Frances Johnson. Marcia Kay Thompson was manager of CAMELS as of 1993.