Pakati Primary school – a short history

This will become a page dedicated to posts about the Primary school, including staff, students, sports, classes, developments, and donations. Firstly, however, we start with a History lesson…

The Primary school is just a few 100 metres from the Secondary, though it is quite a lot older. Much more information about the school’s history has been provided by my friend the Headmaster of Pakati primary school, Mr Ambrose Mahachi, pictured below with the Author.   

“A brief history of Pakati Primary school.

Like most schools in Murewa district Pakati Primary was founded by the Roman Catholic church, and the school was originally named St Blazios. Oral history locally gives the establishment date of the school as 1 January 1940. By then the classrooms consisted of pole and dagga structures. The school changed name to Pakati after Zimbabwean independence in 1980, when most rural church schools were handed over to local councils according to the given legislation. St Brazios, like other schools was supposed to be renamed, taking the name of the village it had been constructed in which was Chinhoyi village (Author: I recall several people actually refer to it as Chinhoyi school when I was teaching at the Secondary school). 

Mr Mahachi

That was not the case however with Pakati Primary, as circumstances to its naming points to the effect that it was a central place where annual school sporting activities could be hosted for surrounding schools. St Blazios was central to other schools between Chidiya and Chikupo, which it competed with during annual sporting activities. So for several years they convened their sporting activities at St Blazios. The second narration on the origins of the school name came from a local parent (similar to the story I was told also – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2019/01/16/pakati-stories-1/ ) says the school was named Pakati as it was sited between three villages – Chinhoyi, Chihumbiri and Mbundire. Residents could not agree on the name of the village to give to the school hence it was given the name pakati which means “the middle” or “central place (or as I was first told, it meant ‘in-between’)”.

Prize giving ceremony at the school

The known first head of the school according to the source is Mr Njenje a local person, then the longest serving head was Mr Chihaka, who was in charge of the school according to the source from 1965 to 1985. Mr Chihaka is still remembered for the saying ” pachikoro pano pakafira kachembere kasingadi development” – translates as ‘an old lady who didn’t want development died at this school’.

School picture frame with some old pictures

After Mr Chihaka came Mr Rugoyi (Head at the Primary when I was at the Secondary between 1989 an 1991), then Mr Gumbeze, then Mr Macherenje, Mr Mushangwe, Mr Makoni, Mr Muzhingi and currently, Mr Mahachi. A lot of achievements and infrastructural developments have been realised during Mr Mahachi’s tenure from 2015 to date, among them are – fencing of the immediate perimeter around classrooms; chasing, tubing and electrification of all staff houses, administration offices and one classroom; construction of an 8 roomed house for staff with the assistance of some partners in paying for labour, whilst parents moulded bricks and provided local resources like sand water and labour; renovation of a semi detached teachers house.

Tree planting day and Mrs Mandingaisa with the school choir

We have also witnessed the construction of a two roomed ECD (Early Childhood Development) block entirely by local parents, using levies and with them providing labour and local resources like river and pit sand. Purchase of a photocopier and improvement of sitting and writing places for learners and sporting equipment. Some projects like gardening, field crops and chicken rearing where initiated though they are not viable through out the year, due partly to the economic situation prevailing in the country hindering the sustainability of the projects. These achievements have seen the school being awarded a certificate of merit of the most improved infrastructure in the province – rural day category in 2016.

Despite the achievements the school still faces accommodation and classroom challenges as the school currently has 775 learners and 18 teachers. The teachers currently have 2 rooms each despite them having families. Then we have 14 classrooms out of the required 28. The school authorised establishment requires us to have 28 teachers but we currently have a shortfall of 10, which we hope the government will help us fill. Given the covid pandemic there may be need for more teachers which means more classrooms and accommodation needed also. We currently fetch water from a borehole 500metres away but during the rain season we have two deep wells we may use though they dry up during the dry spells.”

One of the deep wells close to the school

Many thanks to Mr Mahachi for the information and some of the older pictures. It is great to find out more about how Pakati Primary school has developed since it first started in 1940.

Author:

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 spent the last 14 years as a Civil Servant in Bradford. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

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