Chisi Chippings Magazine

75th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

1929 – 2004

Makorokoto Chisi - 75 years

Advert The birth and growth of Chisipite Junior School from a small government aided farm school to the fully functioning and successful school that it is today, seventy five years later, is an achievement made possible by the five very dedicated heads, boards of governors, parents and teachers.  Perhaps the success of the school is partly due to the determination of each principal to nurture and perpetuate the philosophy and traditions on which the school was founded through often turbulent times.  The school motto “Fons Vitae Caritas” – “Love is the Fountain of Life” has been central to the resolve of each principal to provide Chisipite’s pupils with a firm foundation for life that goes beyond mere education.  1929, the year of Chisipite’s birth saw Black Thursday and the crash of the New York Stock Exchange, leading to the decade of the Great Depression.  Millions of people worldwide were out of work.  This was also the Jazz Age and Science and technology began to make an impact on peoples lives.  The automobile was a common sight.  Charles Lindberg made the first transatlantic flight. Radio provided a new form of entertainment and women in the United States were given the vote.



The Beginning:  1922-1939

Here in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, a land surveyor named Mr. Jenkinson bought a 440 acre farm for his retirement and named it “Chisipite”, a Shona word meaning “Water From Below”.  He and his family moved into the house in 1922.  When he died, his wife Mrs. Gertrude May (Maisie) Jenkinson decided to educate her only daughter Betty (now Thomas) at home, as she felt she was too young to go to boarding school.  Mrs. Jenkinson was a teacher and had come to Southern Rhodesia with her family in 1910.  So began a small farm school with three pupils: Betty, Molly Macllwaine (whose home was where Nazareth House is today) and Sue Ludgater.  By the end of the year there were twenty pupils.  The school was government aided and still had to conform to government regulations.  Betty remembers the first school room as being a guest room at the back of the main farmhouse.  As the school grew, a cottage – now the art room – was built for Maisie and the farmhouse became the school.  Maisie also took over the administration and employed others to teach. Maisie Jenkinson


Memories of the Early Days

By Betty Thomas (nee Jenkinson)

In 1929 duiker grazed peacefully on the lawn in front of the house and at the back Miss Hewlings taught Molly, Sue and me in the first classroom.  I can still picture Mr. Sutherns (the government school inspector) there on his first inspection of the school.  Christie Collings (one of the founders of REPS Theatre) came to teach us dancing, elocution and action (speech and drama) and in 1930 she produced our first public performance.  I remember the impressive masks she made for “The Three Bears”, a short play she wrote for us.  There was serious concentration in our sewing classes when we were making bags for our books.  I still have mine with a large “BJ” embroidered on it.  In contrast Miss de Villier’s arithmetic classes were great fun and what a good grounding she gave us.  Apart from the usual tennis, netball, swimming (the school truck would take us along the dusty Enterprise Road to the town for swimming) and horse riding, we played cricket.  Phyllis Dudley coached us and for years I remembered her remark on my report as a “good underhand bowler”.  I felt very proud of my mother starting the school, and of the school as it is today, still run on the same good principles.

More Memories

By Lindsay Walshaw (nee Jenkinson)

Lindsay was Maisie Jenkinson’s Granddaughter who lived with her parents, Jean and Keith in the farm cottage (now the art room) from 1944-1953.

“She employed very glamorous teachers who would dress up in hats, and very high heels and have tea at Pockets Tea Room.  Two teachers were Cinders de Villiers (nicknamed for her red hair) and Mona Weakley who later moved to Bulawayo.  The classrooms had three sides and the open side faced what is now a grassed in quadrangle where the fish pond is today.  Farm animals regularly visited the classrooms and Mr. Fitzgerald, the farm manager, had to come and remove sheep from the classrooms, and one day a turkey from the top of Mrs. Anderson’s cupboard.  I remember that the desks were made from “petrol boxes”.  Petrol was bought in cans and each box held two cans.  Lindsay has happy memories of bringing boarders home for tea every afternoon and a special birthday tradition: a garland of flowers was made for the birthday girl to wear on her head all day and they could choose the hymn in assembly.  Lindsay remembers “Midsummer Night’s Dream” being staged under an old fig tree near the old swimming pool.

Maisie still has two great nieces at Chisipite, Abigail and Bethany Squire.  Maisie Jenkinson (nee Hards) had a sister Agnes, who married Atherton Lilford.  They founded Lilfordia School.

The Swimming Pool

Some Early memories:  1932-1935

Joyce Mossop (a pupil at this time) “I was taken to the school at the age of seven by my grandmother, a melee of pupils arriving at the same time.  My grandmother accompanied me on a short tour of the school and then it was time for the new girls to be taken for a walk.  I was greatly distressed to discover that my granny was nowhere to be found.  On the first evening an older pupil was deputed to find out from the new girls about their prospective extra mural activities.  The question put to me was “Do you take music or dancing?”  The meaning of ‘take’ in this connection was lost on me and said I didn’t know.  “Then I’ll put you down for both” she said firmly.  Thus it was that I received excellent tuition in both subjects for which I shall be ever grateful.  Classes from Standards 2-5 were taught in the same room by the same teacher, who had an amazing ability to cope admirably with teaching one group whilst keeping the others beneficially occupied.  Again I am grateful for that well-planned tuition.  The food at the farm school was nourishing and greatly appetizing.  I particularly enjoyed the rice pudding made with lots of milk, sometimes raisins and no egg!  But as I heartily dislike spinach, I wrote home to say that “they put poison in our food!" (To which Mrs. Jenkinson took great exception!).

A Little World History

1939 Britain declared war on Germany and Churchill became the new Prime Minister.  In September 1940 the blitz began reducing much of historic London to rubble.  By 1941 America had joined the war after the bombing of the Pearl Harbour.

The First Teacher

By her Granddaughter Mrs Linda Edwards

My Grandmother’s name then was Kathleen McAlister-Hewlings.  She arrived in Salisbury in 1929 all by herself with the intention of meeting some acquaintances at the Meikles Hotel.  They were late to fetch her so she decided to read the newspaper.  Having a total sum of fifty pounds to her name, she knew a job was high priority.  In the “Help” column she found the advertisement from Mrs Jenkinson asking for assistance in opening the new “farm school”.  A meeting was arranged for the next day.

Mrs Jenkinson and Gran took an instant liking to one-another and eventually Mrs Jenkinson asked “Well Kay, please tell me, what are your qualifications?” “None!” replied my Gran.  “Well then, perhaps tell me what you know.”  “Nothing!” came the answer.  They both roared with laughter and Mrs Jenkinson exclaimed “With honesty like that I cannot go wrong!”

Gran had indeed taught at a Nursery School in Leicester, but was always very modest.  She went back to Chisipite and settled in.  Gran taught pupils whilst Mrs Jenkinson did the Administration.  Advertisements were placed in the Newspaper advertising the school as a “New Farm School, with fresh milk and fresh vegetables.”

Once several girls were enrolled, Gran would take them to the swimming bath in town as she had her driving license.  Molly Mcllwaine came to school in the front basket of a bicycle ridden by their cook whilst Judge Mcllwaine went off to court in the car. After swimming lessons, Gran would race back in time to catch the Judge going home on the Enterprise Road.  She would roar up behind him with the Girls in the back egging her on, and hoot at the Judge to get out of her way!  He would pull over, cigar in mouth, shaking his fist as the Chisipite truck roared past with the Girls happily waving Good-bye and laughing as clouds of dust covered the Bentley!

Whenever the Judge came to school, he had a special smile for Gran and so it lead to a conspiracy.  Mrs Jenkinson and the Judge arranged a date for Gran and Gerard, his eldest son, who was farming in Zambia.  He came one day unexpectedly to the school as assembly was about to begin in the courtyard.  Gran was late and so busy staring at Gerard, furious at his ‘surprise’ visit that she tripped and sprawled in front of the whole school!  One thing lead to another and after two years at Chisipite, 29 pupils, she married Gerard.  Mrs Jenkinson was her Matron of Honour.  Mrs Jenkinson organized the wedding and allowed no alcohol – much to the dismay of Sir Robert Mcllwaine and most of the Irish guests.  My Gran recalls most of the guests hiding behind the trees at “Irisdale” (now Nazareth House) wishing she could disappear from the watchful eye of Mrs Maisie Jenkinson!  By then Beryl Anderson had emerged and Gran also befriended her, saying that Beryl was the most intelligent woman she had ever known.

School Bus

Snakes in the PK’s!

By Penny Riddell

Mary Rose Hadden-Paton (Macllwaine) and I were at Chisipite in Mrs Jenkinson’s time – 1936!  We are also in touch with Jill Atabay (Nash) now living in Turkey.  Betty Jenkinson was still in Harare some years ago.  Lost touch now.  We have memories of a farm school out in the sticks.  Snakes in the PK’s, locusts stripping the foliage outside the verandah while we had our afternoon 'rest'.  Also a weird game with a tennis ball round a practice wall, which I believe has been still played quite recently.

Personally I remember bad bouts of malaria when eiderdowns were piled on me to try to make me sweat!  Red-headed Miss de Villiers, the music teacher, went on to play the organ at some old girls’ weddings.  Excellent all round schooling gave us a good start for further education.  Mary Rose and I went to GHS, but I was taken to boarding school in England.  My brother (and a few other small boys) was also there before going to Ruzawi.

The School 1936

Chisipite in the 1940’s & 1950’s:  1940-1959

When Mrs Jenkinson retired in 1943 the school was taken over by Tom and Beryl Anderson.  Mr Anderson arrived at Chisipite in 1928 to become the farm manager for Mrs Jenkinson.  He left in 1930 to go farming and in that same year married Beryl, an Oxford MA who had taught at Prince Edward School.  The couple bought Chisipite School, Mrs Anderson became headmistress and her husband took care of the school’s maintenance and the building of additions.  The school at that time had 23 pupils, boys and girls, and the term’s fee for boarders was twenty two pounds.  By 1950 the numbers has treble to 100 and many additions made: a new diningroom, more classrooms and dormitories.  Mrs Anderson became aware of the need for a senior school in and 1951 a number of girls stayed on for the Form One year.  Mrs Anderson formed a private company to take transfer of additional land and started the building of the senior school.  By means of a loan and funds raised by parents and friends, the buildings were started, and in 1954 the first section of the senior school opened.

Staff & Pupils 1942

Chisi Remembered

By Danielle Dowding 6S

My granny, Ann Pistorius (nee Hamersley) attended Chisipite Junior from around 1946.  At this time Mrs Anderson was the headmistress.

My gran’s parents lived on a farm so she was a boarder and has fond memories of this.  In winter term they were given spoonfuls of malt to keep them healthy.  The loos were far away and at night they had buckets at each end of the dormitory.  The worst chore was sharing duties to empty the buckets in the morning!  As a senior she would have to help bath the smaller children and do their hair in the mornings.  They would twist pieces of rags in their hair at night and in the morning they would have lovely curls.
My gran was an athlete and won the Victrix in her age group.  Her sports teachers were Mrs Lancashire-Smith and Mrs Purvis.  She thinks that she was in “Blue Bird” sports house.  She was netball captain for the second team and they got their picture put in the Herald as they did so well.  She was also a wonderful dancer and has fond memories of taking part in a dancing show which included ballet, tap and Mexican dance.  Mrs Fleming was their dance teacher.  They staged a nativity play in the last term of each year and she remembers being a shepherd.
My gran enjoyed her years at Chisipite Junior and loved her journey to school on the train.  Her aunt would collect her from the station and check her into the hostel.  When she left the Junior School she went to Girl’s High School (GHS) as at that time Chisipite did not have a senior school.  My Gran enjoys coming back and seeing all the changes and some of the original buildings.  She is thrilled that my sister and I are now at her old school.

Memories of an Earlier Time

By Elizabeth McCarthy (nee Senior)

One of the incidents I remember from my days at Chisipite was the occasion when my father came to fetch us (my sister Kate and I) for a Rhodes and Founders weekend.  He was late, as usual.  Why were my parents always late?  I was told they were 'so busy'.  He came, not in the smart ministerial car with its blue flashing light, but in an old lorry. For he had come straight up from the mine.  By that time all the people who were left behind were waiting with us on the front steps, so my father said “Why not bring them all with you?”  He straight away made arrangements with Mrs Jenkinson, as we piled onto the back of the lorry, and off we went to the new house we were moving into outside Salisbury.  When we arrived my mother was somewhat surprised as there were hardly enough beds for our family let alone a dozen visitors!  However she coped with her usual cheerful acceptance.  “We’ll just have to picnic!” she said.  I wonder if there is anyone who remembers that weekend?
Chisipite was run by Mrs Jenkinson who was a Christian Scientist, so we had prayers every morning. Her husband had died, so the farming operations were carried out by 'Fitz', who also drover the school lorry when we went on outings.  We sometimes helped with the monkey nuts on the farm when they were short of labour, but were not allowed in the cattle kraal which was beyond our playground, because there was a fierce bull.
The first teacher I can remember was a Mrs Scott, who seemed to manage several classes in one room.  We had to start the day with tables and arithmetic.  We all stood in a line and she fired questions at us at random.  Anyone who couldn’t answer went to the bottom of the class!  It certainly woke one up in the morning.
Then there was a Miss De Villiers who had red hair and sometimes used to scream “I feel like pulling out all my hair at you!”  She was a very good teacher and her learning methods stood me in good stead when I went onto St Cyprians, a big school in Cape Town.

Farmhouse 1949

Chisipite Junior School:  1949 - 1953

By Diana Bartlett (nee Hawley)

When I attended Chisipite Junior School I was a very shy farm girl, whose elder sister Tess had laid a hard example to follow.  She had been Head Girl of the junior school 5 years earlier, and many teachers remembered her and I dreaded being brought up by remark’s like “Why can’t you be like Tess?”  Luckily I had an older cousin who took me under her wing – Pauline Hoskins-Davies, and through her I found my place in what was to become an exciting new life.  Mrs Robinson was our strict matron, who dyed her hair red on a regular basis, and had to suffer many unkind pranks, which were punishable by writing 100 lines of prose.  The sickbay was a mini hospital which at times became fairly crowded.  I believe when I was particularly ill with mumps, the school was put on silent alert and even the school bell was stilled for a few days.  The only time anyone was sent home sick, was when the school was put in quarantine for polio, and holidays begun a few weeks early for once.  During the years of the junior school there were several highlights.  The Centenary Celebrations down in Bulawayo.  We were taken down in a bus and a couple of teachers’ cars.  We spent a few nights in small prefab hostels.  The school held a fete to raise money for some building project and we were allowed to buy a tray of seedlings to plant in the garden behind the hostels.  I chose some red salvia which have always remained a favourite of mine. I felt lucky to be one of the pupils to have enjoyed my entire time at Chisipite Junior School.  (Diana’s Granddaughter, Cate Bartlett was in Grade 1 in 2005).

Classrooms 1954

Petrol Box Lockers

By Peggy Matthewman (nee McNeil)

Chisipite in the 40’s was a cold austere and grim place, or so it seemed to a four year old little girl.  The dormitories were gauzed in verandas with cement floors – very cold in winter – bearable in summer.  Beside each narrow little bed was a locker made from petrol boxes.  That was to store our clothes in.  The lockers always had to be kept tidy at all times and beds well made with proper hospital corners.  Rules! Rules! Rules!
So many and so easy to break.  And as corporal punishment was the order of the day, it was rare not to be beaten for something.  All of this was too much for a four year old to cope with.  However I had special treatment as I was the youngest in the school (having been put there because my father had custody of me and didn’t know what else to do!)  I was given to an older girl to be taken care of.  I will always remember her name, Janet Mowbray.  She saved my life on an emotional level as she was very nurturing.  She also helped me with making my bed etc.  Before lights out at 7pm the matron would make us kneel at the bottom of our beds and recite aloud our prayers.  The DormitoryWe would pray for our mothers and fathers and all the soldiers, airmen and sailors fighting the war to keep us safe.  That’s practically all I knew about the war apart from the fact that we frequently had Czechoslovakian housekeepers whom we were told had escaped from the war.  We thought this explained the lousy food!  We were also very short of teachers – because of the war, we were told!  At one stage one teacher taught all children except Std 5 in one classroom (a converted barn open to the elements).  The different standards sat in different rows.  But the classes were very small.  At one stage (Std 1 I think) there were only two of us.  By Std 5 there were five of us in the class.  When I first went to Chisipite there were only 20 girls in the school.  By the time I left in 1949 there were 48 – I think.  Miss Anderson – no relation to the head – use to hit us daily for the most minor transgression.  No doubt trying to teach 5 classes at once was a bit stressful – although we were trained to be very obedient!  I remain obedient to this day!  The matrons were also very quick to administer hidings – though usually with a slipper rather than a ruler.

What Chisipite did install in me was a very good sense of the best of values.  Loyalty, Honesty and Truthfulness.  I remember being absolutely horrified when I went to senior school and saw for the first time girls cheating in tests and homework and lying and telling tales.  We would never have done that at Chisipite! 

So I thank Chisipite for having instilled such good ethics and standards which have helped me in good stead throughout my life.

Classrooms 1954

My Recollections of Chisipite Junior School

By Veronica (Ronnie) Mackay (nee Hilton)

For a period in 1959 my Headmistress was Miss Stevens, and the Deputy Head was Mrs Purvis.
My memories as a full time boarde' were a disaster!  I spent most of my time in the Sick Bay being Homesick!
In spite of this I remember many cheerful and happy times at Chisi.
My dorm was called 'Windemere', it was the only dorm with its own bathroom.  Being a senior in Std 5, this was a little privilege!
What really sticks in my mind, was behind the Hall, just above Windemere was a beautiful old fig tree, where we made what we called 'Gardens for the Fairies'.  As seniors we took turns in looking after the 'babies', the little KG1’s and 2’s. 
They were taken to see the Gardens.  Nearly everybody in Chisi Junior played the piano – I always remember the practice hours between 4 and 5, after tea.  (This was a slice of bread and butter spread with hundreds and thousands.)
The cacophony!  All different scales and noise of music being played out of tune, including my own contribution!
Our classroom was down the side of the tennis court, with 3 bricked walls, the 4th was open sided.  There was a hessian blind which was dropped when it rained or got a bit chilly in the winter.  Another fond memory I have is of the avenue of camphor trees which separated us from the senior school.  When my friend and I would 'bunk out' or 'skip' sports activities to play our battery operated Crystal sets which we had sneaked out of our lockers from the dorm!  I was only at Chisi for one year but went on to do two years at the Senior School.  I remember fondly Chisi Junior in spite of my homesickness.  It had a warm, homely atmosphere and I am very proud to be part of the Chisipite Junior Family.


The Swinging 60’s:  1960-1970

Excerpt from “Makorokoto Chisi!” -  75th Year Jubilee Play – Grade 6M 2004

Let us take you on a roller coaster ride through the most fascinating decade of the century.  For some people it was the decade of peace, love and harmony.  For many teenagers, it was the time of rock and roll, from Elvis to the Beatles, crazy fashion and a whole new language that drove our parent’s nuts!  Oh wait – we left out the race to the moon, major political changes and assassinations and great advances in science, the Berlin Wall and the Vietnam War.

Here in Africa the 'winds of change' saw many African nations granted independence from their colonial past. In 1960 most French territories became independent and the Congo became Zaire.  Closer to home Zambia and Malawi gained their independence as the Federation was dissolved.  In 1960 Queen Elizabeth of Britain switched on the power generators at Kariba.   1965 saw Rhodesia become independent with UDI by Ian Smith.  This was fiercely opposed by our country’s black majority. 

In newly independent Tanzania, Louis Leakey a great fossil expert was digging in the Olduval Gorge.  Leakey uncovered the bones of the oldest member of the human race so far discovered.  The bones of an 11 year old child.  In South Africa, Nelson Mandela, for his part in the struggle for freedom from apartheid, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.  More than 200 000 peaceful demonstrators came to Washington DC to demand equal rights for black and white.  Here they listened to a speech from Dr Martin Luther King, who peacefully fought for the rights of black people.  The United States won the space race by landing a man on the moon.  Neil Armstrong was the first man to step on to the surface of the moon, and Buzz Aldrin stepped out soon afterwards.  The 60’s was a great time for teenagers – the 'Baby Boomers' – as many had lots of money to spend on pop music and clothes.  Mary Quant, Rock and Roll, the Twist, Woodstock, hippies, Pop Art and The Beatles were the defining icons and images of the age.

What was happening at Chisipite at this time?  Mrs Anderson retired after 21 years as Head Mistress and was succeeded by Mrs Kay Purvis in 1965, during really difficult times in Rhodesia: sanctions, shortages, petrol queues and no foreign currency!  The school houses – Bluebird, Blackbird, Robin and Sunbird were born.  Mrs Purvis had been a teacher from 1948 and lived at the school, where the Nursery School is now, with her family.  Her daughter Stella, attended both the Junior and the Secondary Chisipite schools.

Magnificent Msasas

By Kay Purvis

In 1948, no roads, no houses, no shops, nothing but endless bundu whichever way one looked.  To a 'pommie' fresh from the outskirts of London, Chisi seemed definitely 'out in the sticks'!

In the grounds themselves were three things that stick in my mind and bring back memories.  One was the vegetable garden where the present grand swimming pool stands.  It had 44 gallon drums of water sunk into the soil for watering – these proved very dangerous for the unwary not watching their feet.  The second was the trees – the magnificent Msasas in front of the farmhouse: the venerable fig tree used for climbing and in the Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Puck appeared from between its branches.  The third thing was the swimming pool – to many generations of Chisi girls it was pure heaven, despite its duck pond appearance. 

Of course no school can function without classrooms.  My heart sank when I first saw those offered by Chisi.  Spartan open-air boxes – grano floors – rough plaster walls – home-made desks and lockers fashioned from tea chests and paraffin boxes, and tin roofs that leaked in a variety of interesting places in the rainy season.  In 1948 only two of these rooms existed, facing the tennis court.  I soon discovered that the buildings and furniture made no difference to the standard of education that was achieved at Chisi.  It was every bit as good, if not better, than that I had left behind in the plush classrooms of England.

The 70’s & 80’s:  1970 – 1980

Excerpt from “Makorokoto Chisi!” 75th Year Jubilee Play – Grade 6S 2004

Brazil kicked off the new decade,Advert in Guineas
And won the World Cup, what an accolade.
Apollo 15 set off for the moon
Who knows? You or I may be joining them soon.

A Swedish band began to form,
Soon they took the world by storm.
Two men and two woman could be seen.
Our favorite song was Dancing Queen.  Abba!

Elvis Presley, the great king of rock,
Well he passed away, it was quite a shock.
And then, Jim Henson invented The Muppets.
Animal, Miss Piggy and Kermit, such special puppets.

Further afield, the world was crying.
Oil wells were exploding, and whales were dying
Global cooling discovered, a problem most grave.
Our beautiful earth we would have to save.

Of interest to woman, some news, not sinister,
Of how England’s Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.
And Mother Theresa, despite her diminutive size,
Deservedly won the Nobel Peace Prize.
And then… in the year of our Lord 1973,
A new Headmistress of Chisi we see
In these difficult times we don’t need a coward
So let us introduce you to Mrs Joan Howard.

Now as mentioned before, the times were tough,
And in ’74 life became rough.
Money was scarce and belts were pulled tighter,
But our spry new Head, she was a true fighter.
She took to the classroom to teach Grade 4,
Then became the bus driver, who could ask for more?

The main field was levelled for us to play sport,
When we heard a loud resounding retort.
The skating rink was bombed with a loud explosion,
Chaos abounded, what a commotion!
Back home in our beloved land, the war was over and change was at hand.
On the 18th April 1980
A bright and colourful flag we see,
As it was raised by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
Our nation changes from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.


The Joan Howard Era

Betty Thomas & Mrs Howard

Upon Mrs Purvis’ retirement in 1973, her successor, Mrs Joan Howard had previously spent 20 years at Highlands Junior School.  Mrs Howard’s name has become synonymous with that of Chisipite Junior School, where in a career spanning some 20 years, she guided the school through some very difficult times.  In the early 70’s the viability of the school was threatened due to the dwindling number of pupils from Zambia.  Because of the political isolation of Rhodesia then, the Zambian border was closed.

The school at this time had 120 pupils of whom only 20 came from this country.  But Mrs Howard was determined to keep the school going, as were the staff and parents.  She has paid tribute to the staff and parents and all involved.  She said  “I had a wonderful Deputy Head, Mrs Heather Leverton", who was a tremendous support, but everyone from the office staff, the grounds men, the kitchen staff, the children, the parents – all were determined that the school would keep alive.

During Mrs Howard’s time the school saw a large number of changes, and one of the first things to go was the huge bank of cypress trees.  Later in order to expand the Jubilee Field to its present size, the skating rink had to be demolished. By calling upon the army, this was soon accomplished with explosives, causing much excitement amongst the children.  Later in 1982, the school hall, which had been in the back classroom block was started, The Christmas and carol festivities had to be held in their tents loaned from the army as the hall was incomplete.  The children had decorated the roof with beautiful paper angels and as the rain poured down and wet the canvas, so the paper angels rained down on the audience!

Mrs Howard Remembers…

Have you ever noticed the collection of teddy bears in the office?  A large number were left behind by former pupils.  Mrs Howard recalls that there was a teddy bear that used to travel with the bus to and from the border with the Zambian pupils, some of whom were very young and needed the comfort of the teddy on the long journey to Harare (in armed convoys).

Excerpt for Headmistresses Report

School Magazine 1973

“Having now completed two terms at Chisipite, I can, with all honesty, stand here and say to you, I am glad I came.”  You, in turn may say you cannot really imagine why this should be!  Well, one of the main reasons behind my gladness is my joy of being with your children – they have recently given to me of their friendship and spirit.  This spirit if the children is one of the essential characteristics of this School, I’ve found and for this rather wonderful inheritance I would like to thank Mrs Anderson and Mrs Purvis under whose guiding and loving influence this spirit has developed and deepened.”

Mrs Howard, Digby & Prefects


Working on the principle of not dismantling what was built by other, but building on it Mrs Howard guided the School’s development to what it is today.  A firm believer in the indefinable 'Chisi Spirit' she stressed the family nature of the school and its happy, relaxed atmosphere.

Sweeties and Timetables:  1974 - 1977

By Kim Blackstock

I started school at the age of 6½ as a full boarder in Grade 3 (Std 1).  Our dormitory was in the (now) office and very spooky.  The new dorms were built and we moved there.  Our Matron was Mrs Botha (a very large woman).  My memories of the boarding house are pleasant except for tuck – 3 sweets only on weekdays and 6 on weekends.  A Crunchie or Lunchbar counted as 6 and no more!
Memories of the dining hall – Well, the food was alright, not the best.  If we had a birthday, the friends in the dorms would collect gifts from all the children for us in a pillowcase and then place the gifts at our breakfast table.  The school sang “Happy Birthday” while you stood up on a bench.  That was a wonderful moment!  Our sick bay was run by Mrs Prince – her Granddaughter, Wendy Prince was in my class.  Mrs Howard was a friendly headmistress and always had a faithful brown poodle 'Coco' accompanying her everywhere.  The teachers I remember were: our standard 1 teacher, Mrs Downing - a strict, hard woman who smacked me over the knuckles with a ruler for burying my 'dead' silkworms.  (They were in fact alive and in a pupa state, which I never knew!). Mrs Duncombe was my Std 4 teacher. She was strict but played the piano magnificently during assembly.  Mrs Collins taught history.  I remember our times tables being drummed into us!
There also used to be a whole forest of trees near the old office/ Headmistress's house.  We would make little gardens under the trees.  I would collect manure from the stable as I did horse riding.  The long trips to Zambia by bus were exciting but when I think of it now, very dangerous!  The bus drivers would go so fast and we would travel in a convoy of army soldiers.  We had to empty our bags at the hot border posts for the customs officials to check and then repack them.  We had to change buses and carry our luggage halfway across the border onto the bridge.  We usually left early morning and arrived in Kitwe at about midnight!  I must say that I think of Chisipite constantly and often have nightmares that I’m back and writing exams!!!

Memories of a Lifetime:  1971 - 1972

By Colin Beattie

Like it was yesterday, such fond memories of preschool at Chisipite – fun learning, great kids, happy, happy times, the total unknown and naïve expectancy of life ahead.  But the most lasting memory……Kiss-catches…. At break time   …. In the playground!
Like it was yesterday, the total and utter innocent excitement of the girls ganging up on us boys (in the minority), tormenting us (but the same time us loving it), with the threat of another game of kiss-catches this break time… As the bell goes, running for our lives, scattering far and wide throughout the playground and then the ultimate humiliation when you were caught and smothered with kisses by the group of giggling girls.
It is amazing how life, its values and its lessons, have a habit of repeating themselves – now, all these years later, I proudly watch and listen to the same experiences, emotions and feelings of our 5 year old son, Tyran, at his preschool (and conversely what fun our 3 year old daughter, Kezia, is about to have and the chaos she too is about to unleash!)  In kiss-catches at break time …. In the playground!  And now today, I can thank God for yesterday, for all the values and experiences of the Chisipite education for growing up in Zimbabwe, for family and friends.

Mrs Howard & The Netball Team

A Mayger Event!:  1990 – now!

May 1993 saw the advent of a new era for Chisipite Junior – a male headmaster, Mr Allan Mayger.  With 20 years’ experience as a head, Mr Mayger has been every bit as determined as the four lady predecessors to uphold the traditional values and those that have defined the Chisipite Spirit through the last seventy years.

Mr Mayger’s own aim has been to develop the facilities, without threatening the character of the school.  In spite of a harsh economic environment much refurbishment and construction has been achieved, with the help and support from a very dedicated Board, loyal and capable staff, and an extremely supportive parent body.

When he first arrived “All the ground staff called me Madam!” he joked.


By Heather Leverton - Deputy Head under Joan Howard

Congratulations and greetings to all of you who are ex-Chisipite girls or staff and to the present headmaster and children who are celebrating the 75th birthday of our school – what an achievement!  I enjoy the story of how it all started, so my memories are of that long ago time when Mrs Jenkinson taught two little girls in the old farmhouse.  Others joined them and the class grew steadily which meant the arrival of Mrs Anderson taking over the responsibility of a fair sized school.  One of her great contributions was the fountain badge and motto, ”Fons Vitae Caritas” which has meant so much to us all through the years.

I was privileged to join the staff under Mrs Kay Purvis.  One of her aims was to increase numbers by encouraging day-scholar pupils.  Being a small staff and small classes we were like one big family- the children got individual attention and the teachers got to know every child and most of the parents.  The matrons lovingly looked after the boarders.  Who would forget Ouma and dear Mrs Prince? 
We worked hard, but had fun especially at the end of the year concerts.  A specialist music teacher put on wonderful shows on a tiny stage in a tiny hall.  Costumes to be made, scenery to be painted, matron and staff joined in enthusiastically.  It drew us so close together that we made friends, which last a lifetime.  Towards the end of Kay’s headship the Trust decided to build two most comfortable well-equipped hostels to accommodate the boarder numbers.
Joan Howard became our headmistress in 1973 and took on new staff as specialist teachers in Art, Music and Sport, each having great success in competitions, eisteddfods and on the sports field.  She also enlarged the office staff who supported us all so competently and enthusiastically.  Although much larger. We still maintained the spirit of co-operation and friendship.  Joan had great responsibility, but above all, we were there for the children, to instill in them the love of learning and loyalty toward 'Chisi'.

A new classroom block was built which was a joy to teachers and children alike. Then with great excitement we watched our hall grow brick-by-brick and the grassed quadrangle with our fountain in one corner.  But above all my memory is with the Grade 1 little girls who arrived on the doorstep each new year, eager and exited in the green and white uniforms – fair-haired, dark-haired, brown-eyed and blue – a few redheads too!  I enjoyed each moment of the progress made in the classroom and the fun as we walked in the playground admiring the beauty of the old trees, especially those in Camphor drive, with their low branches – so useful for climbing!  I watched their progress as they moved from class to class and still recall so many faces and characters.

They all loved their school, and many served it well as head girls and prefects.  What a pleasure it gave me to be a guest at the celebration for the 60th birthday of Chisi.  I met so many old friends – members of the Trust, parents and old girls.  May your 75th celebrations be as joyful and successful.  Many folk will be remembering with you.  As you go forward into the future always remember:  Love is the Fountain of Life.