Maodzwa, May 2014

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  1. Maodzwa Primary School: The Legacy of Mr Jackson James Maodzwa

    In writing about instititutions, it is important to set the record straight about their origins and the role different people or orgabisations played.
    The history of Maodzwa Primary is intertwined to the legacy of the late Jackson James Maodzwa who passed away in August 2013. Maodzwa village has always veen under Sabuku Maodzwa since the 1930s.

    As a retired Health Inspector of Harare Municipality, Mr Maodzwa decided to start the school because more than 25 years after independence young children were walking to either Nzvimbo Primary or Gunguwo Primary and this was harzardouus during the rainy season. He had grown tired of seeing young children in post – independent Zimbabwe walking long distances like he did in the 1940s. Jackson James Maodzwa was born to James and Gertrude Maodzwa on 1 July, 1932.

    Maodzwa village in Chiweshe Rural Area of Mazoe District in Mashonaland Central had been the hot bed of the liberation war, with the famous battle of Gonhi having been fought in nearby mountains between the liberation guerrillas and the Rhodesian forces.
    Yet more than 25 years after independence, the area looked pre-historic. Absolutely no development touched the area. No road, no electricity, no descent boreholes or clinic. People survived on brewing the illicit kachasu beer. Since there are still no roads going to this village, people have to drop off and walk for 15 to 20km from Nzvimbo growth point depending on where they are going.

    The dreary circumstances and reality of this village did not deter the vision and hope that Mr Jackson Maodzwa had. His enduring passion for education and belief in its power to transform communinities saw him in his 70s start a school project. He was a living testimony of the difference an education could make in one’s life.

    He tirelessly started travelling up and down to Bindura town using public transport going to seek permission to start a primary school in his village.
    This was eventually granted by the Mashonaland Central Ministry of Education Offices under Provincial Director Mr Lakayana Dube.
    He was asked to whom he wanted affiliated to between Concession Rural Council or The Salvation Army and he chose the later. This because the village is a stronghold of the Salvation Army and there was a church on the site on which he chose to build the school.

    After approval he immediately set about build temporary thatched shacks for classes to start immediately after the Ministry of Education allocated the first teachers to Maodzwa Primary School.

    Multiple classes were held in one building with some being held in the church before it was destroyed by a whirlwind and unfortunately one pupil died. Mr Maodzwa offered his home to the initial teachers so they could have a fairly decent place to live and so would not leave out of frustration.

    Mr Jackson started building the first block after getting standard plans for building schools from the Ministry of Education. He started having regular meetings with villagers to strategise the way forward. Consultative meetings in which he sort consensus and provided leadership was his forte. After all, he had been Chairperson of the Harare Municipal Workes Union from 1960 to 1980 during which time he also fought the oppressive colonial regime so that Municipal workers could earn descent wages and have better conditions of work.

    With the help of village community who would mould bricks, Mr Maodzwa’s children, Barbara Maodzwa, James Maodzwa, Mandivavarira Maodzwa and son in law, Jeremy Taylor helped to fund raise for cement, window fames, door frames and other material which went into the foundation of the block. On numerous occassions Mr Maodzwa would use his own money when the funds raised werr not enough to buy the buildin materials. Forward Kagande, a nephew of Mr Maodzwa, his late sister, Esther Kagande’s son would transport these materials from Harare to Maodzwa village in Chiweshe using his personal truck. The first building he put up was a big house for teachers. Their welfare was his concern.

    During the elections in 2008 Mr Chenhamo Chimutengwendwe had aproached Mr Maodzwa and as a campaign strategy offered him only $50 as a contribution towards the school. Needless to say he did no accept the money as it was a pathetic attempt at vote buying.

    When Honourable Shepherd Mushonga eventually became MDC MP for the area, he expitedited the building of the two blocks. He even facilited the electrification of the school. His next project would have been construction of a proper road from Rusenza stores along the edges of the mountain, to minimise costs through engineering requirements in the swampy area where the current makeshift road which is not a road passes through.

    Mr Maodzwa was very proud to see the school becone a reality and children enrolling from Grade 1 to 7. Unfortunately, the electrification of the school was completed shortly after he died on 24 August 2013 at the age of 81.

    Since his death, and the Honourable Shepherd Mushonga’s term of office as an MP was cut short, development has stalled. The 4km stretch of road that should be built to the school has not materialised which makes the school inaccessible by car during the rainy season.

    However hundreds of children are now enrolling at the school and some have successfuly gone on to secondary schools. While he was still alive, he would help some orphans and vulnerable children at the school with payment of school fees, people testified at his funeral. His wish and vision was to eventually see the building of a secondary school adjacent to Maodzwa Primary School. This is a dream which requires someone else, perhaps the Government of Zimbabwe, the Salvation Army Zimbabwe or the village community working itself working with a dedicated Member of Parliament who they choose carefully itself, to grab the baton stick and run forward with it. However, the road needs to be constructed first.

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