**Weekend Star** Juliet Valley – former Pakati teacher

I am delighted to introduce a former teacher from Pakati Primary school! She tells the story of a hard life, but is clearly a very resilient Zimbabwean lady. Please read her story below….

In my small garden

“Hello! My name is Juliet Valley, now age 58, and I once taught at Pakati from 1984 up to 1987.

I did my secondary education in Chitungwiza (suburb of Harare) at St Mary’s Secondary school. I did ‘O’ level in 1980, then I applied for temporary teaching work using my ZJC (Zimabwe Junior Certificate – 2 years before O levels) and got a job through Murewa District Council.

My photo at Rupange Primary school in 1982,
with Grade 1 pupils

My first school to teach at was Rupange Primary, from 1981 first term up to 1982. I then transfered to Munamba Primary, and in 1983 went Chidiya Primary. Soon after that I then went for maternity leave.

I rejoined teaching third term 1983 in Murewa, where I transfered because I was teaching to cover for someone who was on leave. Finally I was deployed at Pakati Primary for the first term of 1984.

I came to Pakati in 1984 with my son Nyasha (by then he was 9 months old) under Headmaster Chihaka. I taught Grade 1, and the policy then was when you start with Grade 1, you move with your class up to Grade 3, so I did that for 3 years up to 1986.

In 1987, that’s when I taught Bothwell Mafema in Grade 3 (see pic above) and he was very brilliant. I chose him a class monitor, as his attitude showed that he would be someone in the future. His duty was to collect my books in the Headmaster’s office and return the class register after roll call. See more about Bothwell here: https://friendsofpakati.com/2020/07/31/from-rural-student-to-international-teacher/ There after I was retrenched at the end of 1987.

Juliet with my friend Judith at Pakati Primary School

After leaving Pakati I came to Mutoko to do my studies, since I had no full qualification. I was staying with my husband Lazarus Ziunye. He assisted me through my studies, and finally I passed English (C) and Commerce (B). Then in 1989 I was blessed with twin boys in December.

Later I did several courses at Jamaica Inn, a College along the Mutare Road. I did Project Planning and Business Management, Tailoring, and Baking skills.

Juliet receiving Certficate of Project Planning and Business Management at Jamaica Inn in 1996

In 2002 my husband passed away, and since then I have been relying on vegetable vending, and getting a small amount from a Government pension from my husband’s package. During the farming season I go to my rural area for farming and spend some time there. I then go back to Kotwa growth point to do my vending, so I think in short thats my history.

My first born son unfortunatly died in 2014 at 31. The twins are now 30. I am happy because one of the twins married and they were recently blessed with a baby boy, whom I am with in many photos. He turned 4 months on the 7th August.”

With my grandchild Delane

I have exchanged messages with Juliet recently to gather the full story, and below is part of those exchanges:

Juliet, please tell me about what you are doing now?

So I am no longer a teacher but I am a vegetable vendor at Kotwa growth Point.

At or near Nyamapanda?

Yes, 20km from Nyamapanda border post.

What are you growing there?

I am growing tomatoes and vegetables to ease the burden of buying.

Good idea. do you have any other crops? any livestock?

I usually go to my rural area during rainy season and do farming there. I grow maize, groundnuts, roundnuts, rapocco and sorghum. I face problems in paying people who plough my fields though. My cows were badly affected by the drought in 2016 and they all died. I had 2 cows 2 bulls and 2 small cows but was left with nothing.

So sorry to hear of your struggles. Where is your rural area? far from Kotwa?

Its about 35km from Kotwa, going towards Harare we branch at Chingwena Primary, and it is 7 km from the highway to my homestead.

The photo is of my hut at Mudzi rural area, in preparation of rainy season in July this year

Can I ask a few more questions please? Where is your home area (where you come from), is it where you farm near Kotwa? Apart from Bothwell, are there any other memories from your time at Pakati? Was it easy working there?

My home now is near Kotwa, but originally I come from the Murewa area, at farms near Murewa Centre, in Chitowa. It is about 5km from the Harare-Nyamapanda road.

At Pakati I enjoyed tbe environment because that’s where I spent 4 years as a teacher. During weekends I spent my time with my friends, going to nearby villages such as Chinhoyi, Njenje and Chigwada, and associating with parents. Sometimes I would go to Shavanhowe river to do my washing.

Juliet in the Shavanhowe river in 1987

How are things at present?

Right now, truly speaking as we are now at level 2 lock down, you can hardly find any customers because of this. It is so hard to earn a living as compared before lockdown. I am fine, but only disadvantaged with being locked at home and afraid of moving outside unecessarily. Life can be tough but there is much I can be grateful for.”

At my vegetable vending stall in Kotwa

This story will also be available on the page https://friendsofpakati.com/meet-pakati-people-profiles-and-success-stories/

To come here at Friends of Pakati:

Another story that I have received is about a more recent former student of both Pakati schools, and I have to say it is yet another great story of resilience in the face of adversity…

A friend in the UK has agreed to give his thoughts all things Friends of Pakati related…just waiting to hear back from him.

I have been discussing the overall project with various interested parties and am consulting others too, about priorities, the overall vision, funds, advertising, etc. More on this in a post in the near future…

Stay safe everyone👍


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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