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.
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.
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
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.