The Church of Sweden became an independent church in 1963 as the Evangelical Lutheran Church now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ). As such, it took over administration of all work (including the missions) previously directed by CSM. Jonas Shiri was consecrated as the first African bishop in 1975.
The “struggle for liberation” in the late 1970’s seriously impacted ELCZ schools, causing many to close (some were destroyed). All Swedish missionaries were withdrawn by the Church of Sweden in 1976. The schools were re-opened post independence in 1980. As of 2006, ELCZ had 134,000 members, the vast majority of which are in the southern part of the country. The church runs a number of schools, four hospitals and a nursing school.
Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa – Tor Sellström
In 1936, St Mary’s Lukozhe was moved to establish St. Mary’s Mission. From St. Mary’s the Mariannhill missionaries visited regularly Hwange where the school of St. Ignatius and the parish were more effectively served.
The earliest details of the parish of the Holy Family go back to 1938. However, it appears to formally exist from 1951. The Holy Family Parish was one of four urban parishes in Wankie.
The Prefecture of Wankie was cut off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Salisbury and Apostolic Vicariate Bulawayo and was erected on 29 June 1953 and confided to the Fathers of the Spanish Mission Institute (SMI). On 1 March 1963, the Prefecture of Hwange became a Diocese.
On 3 July 1991, the civil district of Gokwe, the area of Omay between the Sengwa and Sanyati rivers in the Kariba district, and the area of the Nkayi district north of the Shangani river, were cut from the Diocese of Hwange and formed into the Diocese of Gokwe.
The Diocese of Hwange comprises the following civil districts: Hwange, Binga, and the part of Lupane north of the Shabula River. It is bounded on the North by Zambezi River, on the West by Botswana, on the East by the civil districts of Omay, Gokwe, Lupane and on the South by Nyamandlovu.
The Margaretha Hugo School for the Blind (commonly known as Copata School for the Blind) had its origins when the parents of a blind boy approached Dutch Reformed Church missionary Reverend Hugo at Chibi Mission for help. Rev. Hugo asked his wife, Margaretha, to look after the boy and she replied “I will try,” from which was born the later motto of the Margaretha Hugo Mission – “We will try.”Soon, there were 8 children in her care. Margaretha later went to South Africa to learn how to teach Braille.
Established in 1915, the school was registered as a school in 1927 as the first school in Southern Rhodesia providing services to students with disabilities. Because of challenges with accessibility, the school was moved to the Zimuto Mission farm in 1938.
From its initial founding, the school has grown to include a primary and secondary boarding school supporting 480 students with disabilities, most of them with visual impairments, coming from across Southern Africa. The school has a staff of 35 primary and 14 secondary school teachers and continues to be managed by the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ).
African evangelist from the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) first entered the area of what would become Zimuto Mission in the 1870-80’s, but it was the Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) that opened Zimuto Mission in 1904, 15-20 km north of Fort Victoria (Masvingo). BMS transferred control of Zimuto to the DRC in 1907.
The first DRC missionary, Rev. G. S. Murray, was sent to the mission in 1907 and did a lot of evangelism in the area. Educational and medical work was started soon after the mission opened. In 1956 a secondary school was opened with the aim of offering preparatory training for entering the Higher Primary Teacher Training Course, an advanced nursing course, or a course for African ministers. The Margaretha Hugo School for the Blind (Copata) was moved from Chivi to the Zimuto Mission farm in 1938 as a sister institution.
Along with DRC’s other missions in Southern Rhodesia, Zimuto Mission was transferred to the local control of the African Reformed Church – later renamed Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) – in 1977.
Today Zimuto is also one of the RCZ’ s largest mission stations. It has a conventional primary school, a primary school for the blind, a high school, a secondary school for the blind, a clinic and workshops for basketry and chalk making. Zimuto High School has students from Form 1 through “A” level and more than 50 teaching staff. Zimuto Clinic has 6 beds and serves the majority of the people in the Zimuto area. It averages 6 deliveries a month.
A medical clinic with 15 beds was established at Howard Institute in 1928 by Adjutant Agatha Battersby, who had prior experience running a dispensary in South Africa. By 1930, under the leadership of S.R.N Mary I. Ryan, the clinic was treating nearly 2,000 out-patients. In 1939, Adjutant Isabel Sloman began a Nurses Training School, with government support, to train assistant nurses who received a government certificate. The clinic became a recognized hospital in 1956.
The hospital was administratively separated from Howard’s educational facilities in 1967 when Dr. James Watt took up the post of Chief Medical Officer. Dr. James and his wife Bette remained in country until 1984. The hospital was kept open during the Bush War. 1980 to 1984 were rebuilding years.
Today, the 144-bed Howard Hospital is a major provider of health services to more than 40,000 outpatients and 4,000 inpatients per year. The hospital includes pediatrics, obstetrics, psychiatry, infectious diseases and runs a number of community-based programs. There are currently 40 student nurses in the nurses training program, which offers residential training courses in primary care and midwifery.
In 1923, Major James Barker and Captain Leonard Kirby of The Salvation Army moved the education facility that was at Pearson Farm to Nyachuru in the Chiweshe Communal lands, approximately 80km north of Salisbury (Harare). The new mission was built on 105 acres granted by the British South Africa Company and named Howard Institute after T. Henry Howard, the Salvation Army’s second Chief of Staff, who died in 1923.
Howard Institute would become the Salvation Army’s primary education center in Southern Rhodesia, with a “Practicing School” (where student teachers could practice in a class room), a combined Central Primary School with boarding section and theological training school for Salvation Army Officers, teacher training (established 1933 by Captain Thomas Lewis) and a nurses training school (begun 1939). By 1928, Howard had 48 students. Secondary education was added as of the 1960’s. Howard Hospital was opened 1928.
Eva Burrows, future General of the Salvation Army (as of 1986), was appointed an officer teacher at Howard Institute beginning 1952. During her 14 years at Howard, Burrows focused on the training of teachers to serve in the network of Salvation Army schools throughout Southern Rhodesia. She was promoted to Head of the Teachers’ College and then Vice-Principal of Howard Institute, before leaving to become Principal at Usher Institute in 1966/1967.
Howard Institute currently consists of Howard High School, with approximately 800 students, and Howard Hospital.
The Bradley Institute was founded in 1926 by Major James and Captain Bennett of the Salvation Army. It is located near the village of Madziwa, Mashonaland Central Province, about 100 km northwest of Salisbury (Harare) and 32 km north of Shamva. A central boarding school was soon opened for boys; girls were accepted later.
Bradley has had an acute water problem from its very inception that has threatened closure many times over the years. Even after a dam was built for the school, the water was muddy. During the tenure of Lt Col Gaughey Gauntlett, 1953 – 1962, the school was able to drill deep wells to produce a supply of water. Gaughey also arranged for building water storage tanks, which have been important as the water table sank. Nonetheless, Bradley was closed 1964 – 1966 due to severe water shortage.
In addition to Lt Col Gauntlett, other missionaries at Bradley have included Captain Jean Wylie (as of 1948 – 1949); Major Margretta Nelson (Headmistress as of 1954-1955, during which time the institute consisted of a boarding school for 200 boys); and following departure of Gauntlett in 1964, Major Hafford, who was soon replaced by Captain William Evans.
Bradley Institute was closed in 1976 during the Bush War in Rhodesia by authorities who feared the school would be a breeding ground for “terrorist.” At time of closure, the school was a primary boarding school teaching from Standard 4 to Standard 6. In addition to basic academics, the school also taught building, carpentry and agriculture. Bradley reopened in 1980 as a mixed boarding school and upgraded to a secondary school, Form 1 to Form 4 (“O” level). Captain Brian Knightley (with his wife Dorothy and daughter Helen) was Superintendent as of 1981 – 1984. During his tenure, enrollment increased from 220 to 320.
The mission currently consists of the Bradley Institute Secondary school.