New Lockdown affecting Pakati schools and Pakati people

In spite of the covid limitations (see below), we at Friends of Pakati are continuing to raise funds in the hope of delivering more computers later this year – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/01/13/pcs-to-pakati/ – for more details. This is enhanced by sales of our merchandise – https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/01/09/friends-of-pakati-merchandise-for-sale/ which is going well so far. See how well we are doing here – https://friendsofpakati.com/pcs-to-pakati-check-our-progress/ – good to report we are on the way!

Scenes like this at Pakati Secondary school back in March 2020 are now being repeated across Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, like many other countries around the world, is being ravaged by Covid. Also like others, a near-full lockdown is now in place across the country.

I personally hope that the lockdown works, and people follow the 3 principal rules of Hand hygene, Social Distancing, and Mask wearing. These are what most helps prevent transmission of the increasingly virulent form of Covid now evident across Southern Africa and beyond.

Local shops are also once more deserted

Both Pakati schools are closed, though I did hear from both Heads recently, Mr Mahachi from the Primary and Mr Chifaka from the Secondary.

Mr Mahachi: “I’m fine Mr Chris. Right now Primary schools are closed due to covid lockdown restrictions. We did not open on the fourth of January as expected, so I’m at my rural home. I am currently busy taking care of my crops, not at the work station. Hope you are taking all safety precautions that side. We still need each other…”

Mr Mahachi

Mr Chifaka: “Hi Chris. We are now under lock down. Only form 4 candidates are coming to write their outstanding subjects. To date, four exams are still to be written and the last exam is on 27 January. After that we don’t know how things will go. Stay safe.”

Pre-exam layout for Pakati Secondary students who are following Covid protocols

I have also heard from others who have strong Pakati connections….including Debbie Chadbon, my fellow-former Maths Teacher at the Secondary school, currently living in Bristol, UK: “Hi Chris, we’re all fine thanks. I’m still going to work, but everyone else is at home. I’m getting my first vaccination on Monday which is great. How about you?.” (Author – I am now working from home myself for at least 6 weeks)

A contributor to this blog, former student Portia Nemaruru had quite a bit to say on how it has affected her recently:

“How Covid 19 has affected both me, school children and even parents.

As it was and it is declared a global pandemic, each and every day new statistics are being recorded. Unfortunately every statistic is a human being. Covid 19 has affected many people and economies at large. In trying to curb the rampant spreading of the deadly Covid 19, the government has put various measures which included the new lockdown. This has affected everyone though it has resulted I some inventions that would, in normal circumstances take our economy at another level

School children have been affected by the lockdown. They almost spend the whole of 2020 staying at home. Only a few had the chance to have access to digital platforms where they continued learning, whilst the majority of them did not have access to those platforms, so remained lagging behind. Some of their parents live hand to mouth on a daily basis, so they could not fund their children in accessing those digital platform to learn.

Personally as the writer, lockdown has affected me lately. As a sitting candidate, I might say I was not that prepared to sit for my A level exams. I only spent approximately 3 months out of 10 (if am not mistaken) having face to face lessons with the teachers, and the rest alone. This was a big challenge since I did not have the required tools to access the digital platforms for my education.

Many parents rely on buying and selling which has became a survival strategy for them. Some are cross boarders all for surviving. Only a relatively small portion are working in the formal economy, the majority are in informal trading which has been hindered severely by the lockdown. This has affected their survival and their ability to pay for their children at school.”

Empty market areas can be seen across Zimbabwe

Below we hear from another regular contributor, and keen supporter of Friends of Pakati, Lorraine Mapuranga:

Lorraine visiting her former school back in January 2020

“Good morning Mr Walker. I hope I find you well.
Yes 2020 has been a difficult year since March when covid 19 was reported in Africa, specifically in SA where I’m currently based. The year had started on very well for me as I had set up my resolutions and was working on making them a success.

But little did I know that only 3 months into the new year, there was different language, lifestyle and a lot more changes which caused the whole world into something that was not easily imaginable. We were in lockdown since March and this meant that we spent 3 months inside our homes…the streets were deserted.

For me, Lockdown had a negative impact on my life. I usually go home to Zimbabwe at least twice during the year, to visit my family and children. Sadly it was not so this time around as the border was forced to close, and also Zim was also put in an indefinite lockdown. The only possible way to communicate was through Whatsapp and video calling my family.

Life became difficult and expensive. I had to join the online shopping community in order to send food to my family up until now. It’s a difficult choice of shopping since it is expensive, and you dont get to find the things that you would require. There is no choice of particular brands, but it’s better that my family was sustained through online shopping.

Worse still jobs were not spared. I ended up joining a dufferent area of the organisationI work for, as my role was affected, even up until now. Salary cuts even worsened the situation.


As we approached year end the lockdown regulations were easing giving hope to visit my family in Zim. But there were still fears and insecurities as the infection rates picked up. However, I could not stay where I was living in Jo’burg that time.

Going towards the Christmas holiday, border closure forced me to change the route from home to local family visits and a holiday in SA. I decided I should visit Western Cape Province, where I also have close relatives. So I think, at least this holiday turned into a rare benefit to covid – a brief stay in Cape Town, my first time there.”

Lorraine at the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town

Thank you to those who contributed…

Want to tell your story on here? Do you know someone with a tale to tell? Let us know please.

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 have been a Civil Servant in Bradford since 2005. I married a Zimbabwean woman & we have 2 sons.

One thought on “New Lockdown affecting Pakati schools and Pakati people

  1. special thanks to all writers for keeping us in touch with what is happening globally as a result of covid19

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