**Pakati Sports Star** Profile of Juliana Chiroodza

Recently I posted the story of a former students of mine now working in London – https://friendsofpakati.com/2021/07/24/from-pakati-to-london-weekend-star-epiphania-chiroodza/ but here I have a different story to tell…

Juliana competing at St Pauls Mission school sports ground, Musami, in 1992. Thanks to Debbie Chadbon for the photo

Today I am delighted to tell the story of her sister Juliana Chiroodza, a genuine sports star during the time I was at Pakati Secondary.school – a student who had a personality to match!

I first came across her in 1989, when she was in Form 2, in a class of around 35 students. In all honesty, and she admits this, Juliana was not academically gifted, but she really shone when it came to sports…here, in her own words, is her story.

Juliana, on the right of the picture, in 1989

“I was born in 1974 and I started my grade 1 up to grade 4 at Rukudzo Primary school in Harare . I started doing sports (100m) at grade 3 when I was 9 years old, and I won a small book called At the Farm.

In 1985 I was transferred to learn in a rural area, and I still remember that the headmaster at Rukudzo Primary refused to give me a transfer letter because of sports, but fortunately I went at Pakati Primary school without the letter.

Juliana (centre, circled in red) seen at her Form 4 Leavers Party, also two of her friends mentioned here are on the far left, Irene Njenje, and Sopia Chiweshe is next to Juliana, partly obscured by the circle

At Pakati Primary I continued with sports, all short events from grade 5 up to grade 7. Grades 5 and 6 I was tauught by Mr K .Mushangwe, then in grade 7 I was taught by Mr Marambakuyana.

In 1988 I did my Form 1, and that’s when I started all sporting activities, including field events such as high jump and long jump. l competed from district level, then up to Provincial level. 1st year at the provincial competition I took 2nd position in 100m, then at National Sports high jump I also took 2nd position. The following year I took 1st position.

Juliana involved in one of her favourite sports – high jump – at Pakati Secondary in 1989

My sports teacher was Mr Mutatapasi. 3rd and 4th year l went to University of Zimbabwe sports grounds, I competed there and came first, and all those years I was given some gold medals and certificates, but my teachers didn’t collect them at Murehwa centre.

Juliana competed in High Jump at the National Sports Stadium in Harare – this is the only picture she has of the occasion

My secondary school teachers were Mr Choga, Chifamba, Kashangura, Chadbon, Walker, Murwira, Mrs Masendo and Mushamba. I was made a Prefect from Form 2 up to Form 4. (Some of those teachers are pictured below)

left to right – back row – Mr Kashangura, Mr Choga and Mr Gororo – front row – Mr Walker,      Mr Nyamauya, Mr Mutatapasi, Mr Murwira & Mr Chirape

My friends at Secondary school were Febbie (she doesn’t remember the surname), Irene Njenje and Sophia Chiweshe. Unfortunately we seperated after school and sadly we are no longer in touch.

Juliana with her daughter Tafadzwa

After Pakati I didn’t pass very well so I went back to Harare and stayed with my sister Eppie, doing some piece-work jobs. Later on I got married to Lovemore Mukahanana and now I have 3 Children and we are living in Stoneridge Park, Harare”

With her son, Simbarashe

First, let me thank Juliana for telling me her story, it is for me a delight to be back in touch after so long. I want to thank her daughter Tafadzwa too for providing the means to contact her, as Juliana does not have a smart phone.

Lastly, I cannot go without saying something about my own memories of Juliana.

I have many very happy memories of my time at Pakati, and many students who I remember. However, a small handful have always stood out for me, and Juliana was always in that small group.

Like so many, she found the funny side in almost everything, but had a laugh louder than anyone else, and I dont remember seeing her other than with a huge smile on her face, just seemingly glad to be alive.

We, the teachers, made her a prefect at the school, as she definitely had the respect of her peers due to her sporting prowess. She had been an exceptional athlete, and I remember veey well watching her compete at Murewa High school during District level sports events.

Coming soon…

I hope to have more stories of former students ready to publish soon, and of course the IT video we have almost completed.

The biggest post to come, this weekend,. is about the event I attended on 7th August on behalf of Friends of Pakati. Here is one sample photo….

Photo courtesy of Deborah Jay Kelly & Andre Holland

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.

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