Robert C Gates
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.
- Obituary, Rev. Robert C. Gates, Journal for the Rhodesia Annual Conference, The Methodist Church, 1965
- Obituary, Mildred Colcord Gates, Journal of the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, 1971
- Obituary, Dr. Robert C. Gates, The Express, Lock Haven, PA, Oct. 22, 1964
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe
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 All Swedish missionaries were withdrawn by the Church of Sweden in 1976.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.
The Evangelical Alliance Mission
The Evangelical Alliance Mission (T.E.A.M.) opened up the Hunyani Mission station in 1948 in the Zambezi Valley near the Mozambique boarder, approximately 130 miles North of Salisbury (Harare). T.E.A.M. missionaries Les and Lillian Austin were at Hunyani from 1951 to 1954.
Betty Wolfe, at Hunyani along with her husband John during their “second term” as T.E.A.M. missionaries in Southern Rhodesia in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, describes descending into the valley during the hot season and being hit with a wave of heat “like an oven door being opened in our faces.” Their mission house at Hunyani “had an asbestos roof with no ceiling over the kitchen and dining/living room, which made it rather like an oven.” One year they hung a thermometer outside in the shade, and “it registered 110 degrees [Fahrenheit] every day for a month. In the middle of the night it cooled down to 96.”
At one point, the mission contained a medical clinic and was a base for language training of other T.E.A.M. missionaries. The mission was still open as of the Bush War. The mission’s current status is unknown.
Roman Catholic Church
Diocese of Hwange
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.
- Holy Family
- Our Lady of Peace
- Ss Peter and Paul
- St Charles Lwanga
- St Francis Xavier
- St George
- St Joachim
- St Joseph
- St Josephine Bakhita
- St Kizito
- St Monica
- St Teresa
- All Souls
- Holy Cross
- Mary Inmaculate
- Our Lady of Fatima
- Sacred Heart
- St John the Baptist (Dandanda)
- St John the Baptist (Makwa)
- St John Vianney
- St Martin de Porres
- St Mary’s
- St Teresa of the Child Jesus
Dutch Reformed Church
Margaretha Hugo School for the Blind
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).
Dutch Reformed Church
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.
The Salvation Army
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.
Frederick George Hosking
Frederick George Hosking was born on 1 January 1890 in Johannesburg, South Africa. On 14 December 1929 he married Olive Mazoe Pascoe. They had two sons, Vincent Frank and Rirchard John.
Hosking was a commission agent and broker in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia under the business name of F G Hosking.
He died 1 December 1968 in Salisbury, Rhodesia.
The Salvation Army
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.