Locked down in Harare suburbs – student Mitchell Karasa

Friends of Pakati are a real mixture of people, African, European, Asian; they live in many different countries; they are male and female, old and young, rural and urban; students, workers, farmers: donors, supporters, casual readers; many have a strong connection to Pakati and its surrounding communities, others may have slightly more tenuous links. Here is one such story…

Meet Mitchell – pronounced as Michelle – she is a 19 year old student in Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe. She lives in Hatcliffe, one of many high-density suburbs on the outer edges of the city. As the colleges schools and universities are all currently closed, like all other students, Mitchell is having to stay home. Not the most interesting times for someone normally so active and with a wide circle of friends….

Some of her time is taken up with continuing her studies at home, though this is sometimes limited as internet/wi-fi is not always as regular as she would like, so online lessons are not always possible. She is studying an advanced Office Administration course at Trust Academy in Harare.

Mitchell with Jabu

Thankfully she is not alone, as she has two cousins staying with her, Jabu and Noku, both aged 19, both are at University. Jabu is in the second year of an IT course, while Noku is doing Motor Mechanics and is hoping soon to go on attachment (placement).

Mitchell with Noku

Mitchell and her cousins have to entertain themselves some of the time, so out come the cards, especially if the electricity supply is off as it can be sometimes, though more recently this has improved.

Sometimes they will watch movies in TV in an afternoon and evening time too, hence the popcorn

So her typical day will involve house chores, bathing, studying, listening to music and dancing, cooking….

The view from her front gate

…taking a walk outside the house and seeing a friend if she can do it safely….

…she misses college and being with her friends though.

At college, early March before Lockdown

So you might ask how I came to know Mitchell? Well her mother is a good friend of Pakati, as well as being my former student, Lorraine Mapuranga. I visited the family last year, and with friends we went to Domboshawa caves, just a few kilometers from Hatcliffe.

Lorraine, Keith, Mitchell, the Author, Esther, Admire, Pamela, October 2019

It was a pleasure for me to see my student grown up, with her own family, and to meet them at their Hatcliffe home.

Outside the family home in Hatcliffe, December 2019

Keep following the blog…still so much more to come!


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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