Lorraine Mapuranga – life after Pakati

A life being lived to the full…my former student from 1990 and 1991 has told me more of her life since she left Pakati all those years ago, after completing her Form 4 in 1992.

Lorraine at home in Harare in 2020 enjoying the fruits of her labours

“Dear Mr Walker

I have a topic for you to share..I know you have had good experiences of Pakati like most of us on Friendsofpakati – let me give it a title that says
‘Let not your past pull you down, but learn from it and move forward’

I once wrote a story about my life at Pakati and the community around (see my earlier posts). From the pics and stories that you always post on the blog I seem to notice that there are some changes in lifestyle of the student today compared to yesteryear (mine) though not so much in some cases, e.g. looking at the life of the scholar. The same problems I suffered are not so far from the ones being experienced today, 28 years after I left the school – shortages of books, desks, uniforms, school fees and any material related to being a student in the rural school.

The learning environment looks to have changed very little in the past 30 years

Even under those difficult circumstances a lot of students managed to prosper through hard working..The economy may be struggling, high unemployment is the order of the day, but hard work is the only way out. Let me just shed a little light on how I managed life after school.

I got married at 21 and have my 2 children Keith and Mitchelle, but unfortunately my husband died, leaving me with my kids still in Primary school and creche. Sometimes problems befall us, and to overcome them, we must think outside the box.

Lorraine, Keith, Mitcelle and Chris, Domoboshawa caves, October 2019

I was employed by a private company then things seemed not to be working well because of inflation, but what is inflation? When things go wrong in one way or the other some people will tend to find opportunities. In 2008 I resigned from my job and started a small business. Hard work plus patience pays. I started on a project of selling eggs, and using my marketing experience from the company that I had been working for meant I found few challenges. Food was scarce then but I was very fortunate to connect with a commercial grower of eggs and chickens. I took up the challenge to market their produce on a commission basis.

A typical image of chicken rearing in Zimbabwe

My child was in form 1 at a boarding school and I had to work hard so that I could manage all that he needed. I never knew life at boarding school myself, but I learned of it from my son. I did well and just through selling of eggs and chickens. My business grew big and I even went on to do other things apart from just sending my kids to school. I could wake up as early as 3am and be home as late as 10pm..I changed myself from a formal secretary in an office to an informal sales lady in the business.

Lorraine (left) with her school friend Chido in 1991

Contrast this with Lorraine as she is now….

Lorraine in 2020

I just want to encourage others who will read my story that nothing must deter you from reaching set goals. My biggest achievement is taking my children where I wanted them to be and just managing a stable life. I have some lessons from the projects that I ran..I fell down from my business after cash challenges hit the country. I then relocated to South Africa where I now work, but my aim is to raise enough capital and return to my projects as I used to do. It was good to be my own boss and I still feel there’s room for me to rise up again. Hard work and perseverance pays..Let not the past destroy you but learn lessons and transform your own lives..Hoping this will help someone out there waiting for a job in a jobless country. Try enterprising while you wait for your right career.”

Lorraine, Keith and Mitchelle outside their home in Harare 2020

Authors comments:

Wow. Having met Lorraine and her family in 2019, I have to say she is playing down the efforts she has made in order to raise her children so well. I can also tell you when I listened to her story in more detail I was both inspired, and occasionally moved to tears. She continues to provide for her children, and is indeed living a full and active life. To me, it shows that someone from such humble beginnings can do well for themselves thanks partly to the encouragement from family, from some of the teachers at Pakati back in 1990-92, and from having a positive attitude even in the face of some very challenging circumstances.


My name is Chris Walker, and between January 1989 and September 1991 I worked, through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), at Pakati Secondary School in Murehwa South district in Zimbabwe. I was a Maths teacher for 2 years, the Acting Head for the last 8 months there. I have also taught in Botswana & the UK, had 4 years working for VSO, and have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005.

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