Schools closed today…Pakati now deserted

My thanks to Mr Mahachi (Primary Head) and Mr Magabaza (Secondary Teacher) for the pictures and information provided below, and Vari Marez of Vatonatsa Foundation for the President’s statement

Deserted classroom blocks seen this afternoon

“The lessons went as usual up to yesterday. This term we could not manage to have learners write end of term tests as we were given short notice regarding closing of schools for the term. So on the closing day (today) no reports were given to learners.

Pakati Secondary school Admin Block

We carried out a general cleaning of the school on the closing day, before the Head Mr Chifaka made some announcements at assembly. We dismissed learners early at around 9am, as we had been instructed by the DSI in light of the President’s announcement yesterday, that no more gatherings of more than 50 people are allowed anymore to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease.”

Both Pakati schools closed earlier today, and assemblies held before students were dismissed.

Mr Mahachi, Head of Pakati Primary school, addressing his young learners before sending them home for a longer holiday than usual

These are uncertain times for teachers. Some have gone to their home areas, some are staying at school for now with their families.

One of the teachers houses at Pakati Secondary school

Those staying have as I understand it, their own vegetable plots & can grow a lot of their food. Some have chickens for meat and for eggs. There is some uncertainty about teachers salaries though, as they are waiting to hear about it.

Teachers accommodation at Pakati Secondary school

One teacher had this to say today: “I think it is ideal for everyone, both learners and teachers, since this safeguards their welfare and it minimises the spreading of the virus, at the same time teachers will have extended holiday!”

Textile and Design block now lying idle

Of course we have no idea how long the closure will last, but in several countries, lockdowns are starting as 2-3 weeks to begin with then extending. Others are going for 12 weeks before reviewing the situation. It is perhaps likely that the whole of the next term (winter – in the Souhern Hemisphere) will be lost.

School Science/Laboratory block…not a student in sight

More to come as I hear from the teachers themselves and other community members!


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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