Podcast 3 – Mr Walker in charge!


Welcome to our 3rd Friends of Pakati Podcast…this episode is mostly about my time as Acting Head of Pakati Secondary school in 1991. Once again I would like to thank our host & editor Bradley Mell for his efforts, and for offering to do these for us👍

Chris in 1991 – holding a baby crocodile at Victoria Falls

Episode 3 – Chris in charge from January to August 1991

If you would like to hear more about my time at Pakati Secondary school, have a listen to the first two podcasts here:


For those wanting to hear from others associated with Pakati schools, Episodes 4 & 5 are already recorded & edited…our first two guests are both involved with Friends of Pakati too. Both will be published in the coming weeks

Ep.4 has Lorraine Mapuranga as the guest, one of my former students, while Ep.5 features Bothwell Riside, who studied at both Pakati schools just a few years behind Lorraine. Both of them are good friends of mine, meeting up together at Lorraine’s home in Harare in 2019 – see below:

Latest on Fundraising

Once all the promised funds come in, we will have over £1700 in the bank towards the cost of transporting IT equipment out to Pakati schools in August/September this year.

Now that GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI is over we move on to the next event:

An Evening With….Iron Bru Podcast & Special Guests, including music by E.v.i.e.

Iron Bru are working on a guest speaker, most likely a former player, and hope to do the podcast live from the venue.

Food provided, raffle of memorabilia, merchandise stall

Day & Date: Saturday 9th July

Venue: Redbourne Club, Scunthorpe

In aid of Friends of Pakati


Today we report on the events of yesterday, as many football fans GOT TIED UP for Pakati at the match between Bradford City & Scunthorpe United. For me, it started with an Iron…

Preparation for the day…ready to GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI

During the morning, I started to hear from friends coming over from Scunthorpe for the game, and also from some who couldn’t make it. Some were sending pictures for me already whether they were coming or not. Early contributions are seen below:

By lunchtime, friends were arriving in Bradford, and sent me their first pictures. We were to meet up at the stadium before kick-off.

Along with my son Daniel and my friend David Scott (whose idea GET TIED UP was) we walked from the city centre to the ground, which took around 25 minutes or so.

Supporters on their way were sending photos…

…while those unable to attend also sent their photos too

By the time we got to the ground, the coaches from Scunthorpe had just arrived. Quite a few supporters had turned up wearing ties of many colours, shapes and sizes & in different ways!

Once we got into the ground, others had turned up wearing ties…


Throughout the day, donations were coming in to our fundraising account – http://paypal.me/friendsofpakati as they had been during the 3 weeks leading up to the event. All donations received by cash and paypal have been transferred into the single bank account I use to hold all Friende of Pakati funds.

Early in April, the balance in the account stood at £648.11…

At the end of yesterday, thanks to donations from people from Scunthorpe and Bradford, it now stands at £1194.51…

GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI instigator David Scott has also said he will live up to his promise of matching the first £400 during the coming week. In addition, there is at least another £100 which has been collected on the Scunthorpe United supporters coaches, which will be given to me at the club’s ground next Saturday. This will bring the total up to around £1700 !!

Massive THANK YOU!!!! to everyone who has donated – it means a lot to us here at Friends of Pakati 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻


This coming Saturday is our first major fundraising event – GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI

The basic idea is for football fans of Bradford City & Scunthorpe United going to the game between them on Saturday 23rd April to wear a tie, send us a photo/short video, and donate (at least) £1 to us via http://Paypal.me/friendsofpakati  – pics can come to us via email friendsofpakati@gmail.com or a tweet to http://Twitter.com/friendsofpakati or even via http://Instagram.com/friendsofpakati

The question for fans is how to wear their tie….? Lots of options – see our page https://friendsofpakati.com/get-tied-up-for-pakati-3/ for some ideas – but I am sure people can find many other inventive ways to GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI!

We have a new page ready for the best examples we see from the game – https://friendsofpakati.com/gallery-get-tied-up-for-pakati/ so please send us your pictures! Many will get shared on social media, so please be aware that by sending them to us, or posting them yourselves, you are consenting to them being shared.

What is it all for I hear you ask? Well it is about this:

Helping us to get these computers…

….donated by this company…



…shipped out to these schools in Zimbabwe…

…so that these students…

….can learn more about IT & how to use it in the modern world, just like we can…the foundations of which are already in place thanks to our first delivery back in 2019.

Thank you!


We have two podcasts already released – https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/03/27/our-very-first-podcast-blog-part-1/ and https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/04/10/friends-of-pakati-podcast-no-2/ so please do catch up…

We have recorded 2 more episodes which will be published in the coming weeks. Episode 4 introduces our first guest, Lorraine Mapuranga, former student at Pakati, who tells us about what it was lije growing up in the area & going to school at the Secondary school. Its a fascinating story to hear!


Friends of Pakati Podcast No.2…

Welcome to the second Podcast for Friends of Pakati, and thanks once again to our host & editor, Bradley Mell for his efforts.

Chris as a member of the teaching staff at Pakati Secondary school in 1989

This one gives a bit more background to how I came to be at the school, some early experiences, and the day I was surprised! Enjoy….

In episode 3, we are hoping to cover a bit more of my experiences at the school & in the community, but also to have our first guest. She will be one of my former students, who came to Pakati Secondary in 1990 when I was her Maths teacher, and was there in 1991 (after I was surprised!)

Friends of Pakati contributor & supporter, former student at Pakati Secondary school from 1990-1992, Lorraine Mapuranga in 1991 (left, with her friend Chido) and in 2020.

There is a lot still to be discussed, and it will be great to hear from people associated with the school, be they as students, teachers, parents or local community members, plus those involved in various capacities with Friends of Pakati.

I managed to get another article in the local paper here in Bradford this week, about the fundraising event coming up soon…


I have added a new page where all our podcasts can be essily found in future, along with a new Gallery page ready for pictures sent to us regarding that upcoming fundraising event, to find out more please go to https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/03/15/what-is-get-tied-up-for-pakati-all-about/



2022 – 1st Quarter – so far so good!

Well I have to say that I was a bit unsure of what might happen with Friends of Pakati this year. However, in spite of that, it is turning into a fascinating year with a lot of promise.

I was concerned we might struggle to fundraise, get visitors & views on this website, not do as well as previously. There have been periods where things have not gone so well, and I talked about it here on the blog more than once.

The thing is, when you get involved with something like this, you really dont want to give up too easily. Thanks to the support of so many, both from the Pakati community & diaspora and from people here in the UK, I began looking ahead in late 2021. I started to plan & come up with ideas to raise funds for, and awareness about Friends of Pakati.

So, let me summarise what has gone on so far, and what is (hopefully) to come this year.

January to March

During this first 3 months of 2022, these are the key things which have happened:

  • Fundraising event 1 – GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI has been gradually growing, and will take place on 23rd April
  • Publicity for the event has also been growing, with newspaper articles & radio interviews. More to come in the lead up tp the game.
  • Both football clubs – Scunthorpe United & Bradford City – and their fans are increasingly involved

  • Fundraising event 2 – An Evening With…Iron Bru Podcast (plus special guests) – room booked and guests being arranged
  • Publicity to go ahead once GET TIED UP is over
  • A sponsor has agreed to help pay towards the event

  • Friends of Pakati is joining forces with VaTonatsa Foundatiom to help us help each other where our interests overlap
  • We have also joined the Consortium of Zimbabwe Charities, to strengthen the position of so many organisations who work for Zimbabwean communities

  • Friends of Pakati is looking for help & support to develop its activities, and have applied to Huddersfield University for ideas to market ourselves & improve our online presence
  • They have put us forward as an organisation who could benefit from the efforts of some if their Business & Marketing students at Masters level

April to September

Following on from our first Podcast – https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/03/27/our-very-first-podcast-blog-part-1/ – we have a number of others planned. In no particular order:

  • Stuart Pine, IT Manager at the Stephenson Group, our key donors on computers
  • Bothwell Riside, former Pakati student, now teacher at an International School in Asia
  • Lorraine Mapuranga, former student at Pakati, frequent contributor to Friends of Pakati living in South Africa
  • Roj Rahman, Scunthorpe Businessman & donor/supporter of Friends of Pakati
  • More from the Author about how he came to be at Pakati, and his experiences at the school

The two fundraising events discussed earlier will, we hope, raise enough funds at least to transport the IT equipment promised to be donated by the Stephenson Group – I estimate the cost at around £2500-£3000.

If we are successful. Then we will get the goods shipped out to Harare in late August, so that they will be there shortly before I arrive myself in mid-late September to hand the goods over to both Pakati schools.

I intend to visit other local schools in the area to see if we can help them too in some way. I also hope to meet up with local dignatories & organisations, similar to what happened in 2019

All of this will be detailed here on the blog, and with luck & plenty of hard work, we can meet more of the aims of our Vision.

Pakati Primary school updates (Blog Part 2)

Before I get onto the updates, I feel I must say something about this recent post – https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/03/17/in-memory-of-my-friend-thomas-gombera/ – as I have had a tremendous response from people. I am grateful to all who read the post and liked/shared or commented on it. It is the single most-read post on the blog for two years, currently standing at 148 views. Thomas was a much-loved character in the area, and it is hard to imagine not seeing him when I revisit Pakati later this year.

Pakati Primary School

My thanks go to Mr Mahachi, Head of the Primary school, for the following information and photos.

Here is the message he sent me earlier this week:

“Hi Chris, we have embarked on an ambitious but achievable project. We intend to have portable water at the school. We intend to pump water from the borehole in the vlei in the school area (we showed you the site). We have bought a solar pump (as our transformer needs replacement as it was hit by lightning during the rainy season), 5000litre tank, pipes, and accessories. The trench from the borehole site to the tank site is complete. The tank stand is being built using locally available bricks and materials to reduce costs. Parents with fees arrears are being used also to minimise costs. See attached pics. I will keep you updated on developments.” Below are the pictures he sent me:

In addition to this, Pakati Primary are one of thr beneficiaries of a local charitable organisation called Mavambo. Again, here is what Mr Mahachi sent me:

“Mavambo trust is a non-governmental organisation funding Mary’s meals program, and our school is a beneficiary. It is supplying the school corn soya bean porridge to all learner’s at the school. The CSB porridge is being prepared by volunteer parents, who have made a duty roster from Monday to Friday.” Pictures sent by Mr Mahachi are below:

It is great to see such local initiatives going ahead to support the youngest learners in the area.



Our Very First PODCAST! (Blog Part 1)

This week’s big news here at Friends of Pakati is….our very first PODCAST!! I have just had a listen back to it, & am delighted with what I heard – so a massive THANK YOU to Bradley Mell for everything – I look forward to many more future episodes here on friendsofpakati.com

Here it is:

Hope you like it!

As we said in this first episode, we aim to include people involved with Friends of Pakati both here in the UK and in Zimbabwe, and other countries around the world.

Current plans are for interviews with Roj Rahman, a Scunthorpe businessman who has backed us from the early days; Stuart Pine from IT donors Stephenson Group; at least one of the two Pakati school Heads; some former students of Pakati wherever they might be; at least one other former teacher at Pakati.

David C Scott, the Author, and Roj Rahman

Following on from the podcast, yesterday, I met with Roj & with David C Scott. David, as I mentioned in the podcast, is the one who came up with the idea for GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI originally back in 2020. Those plans were scuppered by the Covid pandemic, but now have been resurrected for this year:

We will have a dedicated Gallery Page, and there is already talk of adding photos & clips on to our youtube channel http://Youtube.com/friendsofpakati after the event. We are also looking to create new content for the channel in the near future..

Well, that’s it for this first part of the blog…coming up in part 2 will be the latest updates from Pakati Primary school, courtesy of the Head, Mr Mahachi.



Moving forward after a difficult week

This week, I have been heartened by the response I have had to my post following the passing of my friend Thomas Gombera – see https://friendsofpakati.com/2022/03/17/in-memory-of-my-friend-thomas-gombera/ – and it will spur me on to keep Friends of Pakati moving forward. Here is how:

Fundraising events are gathering pace & publicity, as I look to maximise the take-up of ‘Get TIED UP for PAKATI’. I have been given some new potential contacts to increase participation by fans & staff of Bradford City, to join those of us on the Scunthorpe United side. SUFC have already promised to publicise on their website, in their online programmes, and around the stadium in Scunthorpe.

Work colleagues of mine are also getting involved, as we are having a ‘Dress Down Day’ where we are asked to wear a sports top to work. I will also have a chance to take orders for our merchandise that day. See some examples in the pic above, and here: https://friendsofpakati.com/merchandise/

I recently had a chat with Stuart from the Stephenson Group Ltd of Leeds, and am hoping to have a visit to their offices soon for some publicity for them and for us. I am also hoping to discuss what help they might be able to give us towards the cost of shipping the new donations of IT by the group.

There are of course several other things going on in the background, which will be revealed over time. For now, we are concentrating on the forthcoming chances to raise much-needed funds. I will keep updating our situation month by month.

In memory of my friend Thomas Gombera

This morning, Thursday 17th March 2022, I had some very sad news. One of the very first people I made friends with at Pakati, back in January 1989, was Thomas Gombera, owner of the Hamamaoko store at Chigwada township, some 40 minutes walk from Pakati. I learned today he has passed away. My condolences go to all his family & friends.

I think it is good for me to remember him here on the blog, so please just accept these as my own personal memories.

I was first introduced to Thomas by the Headmaster of Pakati Secondary school at the time, Mr Samakomva. He thought Thomas was someone it was important for me to get to know in the area.

The shops at Chigwada (top) where Hamamaoko Store is,  and bottom right is Pakati Secondary school.

He was right. As the owner of the store nearest to the school in 1989, he was also one of few people in the area at the time with a vehicle, a van which he used to collect stock for his store from suppliers.

Hamamaoko Store in 1990

Hamamaoko Store in 2018

I often got lifts from him, either from Musami Cross, or Musami township on my way back to the school; or from Chigwada to wherever he would take me – Musami, Murewa, even Marondera. Sometimes I would just go with him for a day out, always interesting, fun, got to meet so many people in the stores and bars around the various smaller townships in the area. Never without a drink….

How he has lived to age he did is a mystery to me, as his lifestyle back when I worked at Pakati could not be described as healthy…how his wife Judy dealt with him I can only imagine, but every time I spent time at the store with my drinking buddies – Mr Jambwa, Mr Juru, Mr Mrasawi & several others including teachers from both Pakati schools – Judy was always there to keep an eye on him & us, and very quick to laugh at our expense😁

A Spanish lady who was teaching at St Paul’s, Musami, Thomas, & Mr Jambwa, in 1990

I do remember one Saturday he took me to Murewa, but when I arrived at the store, he came out from his home, walked into the store, took a cold beer from the fridge, bit the top off with his teeth, said ‘Ah, yesterday, too much beer!’ and promptly took a large swig out of the bottle! He then drove us with the bottle between his knees…I did get back safely later that day, but not sure how….

I know one weekend on a trip to Murewa when I wasnt with him, he witnessed the aftermath of a bad bus crash off the main road at Chivake Bridge, and he told me how bad it was, having ferried some of the injured to Murewa hospital, then having to wash the back of the van down. He was quite shaken by the experience.

One of my birthdays, Thomas & Judy & friends threw a party behind the store, and two VSO volunteers who were visiting from Tanzania came to stay with me & joined in…a very good night though I dont remember too much about it😁plenty to eat & drink & local music to enjoy late into the night.

Photo taken in 1991 just before I left Pakati, with Thomas on the right

I have many abiding memories of times with Thomas & his wife, the store, the customers, and life in general at Pakati and in the area. I never felt out of place, never felt alone, always had someone wanting to talk to me, was always made welcome by the community (& still am), and that is something I treasure to this day.

Chigwada township to the left of the picture, from Gwangwadza hill, 2014

Thomas in his fields near Chigwada township.

The last time I saw Thomas was in September 2019, the first time for many years. I went with him to his rural home and we spent time reminiscing….a wonderful day for me, and fitting I should have such happy memories. Rest in everlasting Peace, Shamwari Yangu.


What is ‘GET TIED UP FOR PAKATI’ all about?

For the second time this year, I recently took the opportunity to talk about Friends of Pakati on my local radio station – Bradford Community Broadcasting – BCB – to raise the profile of our fundraising efforts in April this year. For more information read here – https://friendsofpakati.com/get-tied-up-for-pakati-3/ but also please listen to both broadcasts below.

My thanks today therefore go to presenter Dom Burch, who has become a supportive friend of Friends of Pakati! Great to see him enjoying his tea in one of our mugs & proudly wearing our badge.

So, please have a listen to the interview here, slide forward to 33 minutes in and you will hear more about what we are doing after some music, and what we have already done for/at Pakati:


At the end, I hoped to hear my favourite Zimbabwean song, but the version they found although still great, wasn’t quite the one I had always loved, so here is the version that will be familiar to many:


Here is also my earlier broadcast in late January, where you can slide forward to 28 minutes to hear my first interview on BCB:


It’s clear that we hope to get as many people involved on the day, and I am delighted to have local media involved in both Bradford (where I live) and Scunthorpe (where I am from).

Why are we doing all this? Well, it is for children like these seen below from Pakati Primary school, recently sent to me by the Head, Mr Mahachi (above).

Mr Gonye in the computer room with his grade 6 class.

Madam Mandingaisa teaching her ECD A class

A grade 2 class in session

There are more pictures & information to come from the Primary school very soon!