Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

VIDEO: The state of our schools 33 years after independence

Report by Brilliant Pongo

BULAWAYO – Once, a “whites-only” school before independence, it was regarded as one of the top primary schools in the areas surrounding Firstar and Woodville which are small scale plots/farms.

Brilliant Pongo visits his old school and finds it in a shocking state.
Brilliant Pongo visits his old school and finds it in a shocking state.

It is located in the environs of some of Bulawayo’s biggest business factories and communities, Natbrew (Chibuku), Clay Products (Ltd), McDonald bricks and Cement side (PPC Zimbabwe) along the Bulawayo-Harare road, perhaps more famous is the Support Unit ZR Police (Fairbridge).

At the centre of all these industrial factories and communities is Fairbridge Primary School, a school I went to for my first and second grade back in 1983.

The school was one of the many schools that the government needed to only maintain infrastructure as it had been well equipped with great infrastructure before independence, in buildings and learning materials. However the school has lost its sparkle and rating after years of under-funding.

Like most government schools in the country, it lacks everything from textbooks to toilet paper; the infrastructure at the school is in a state of total dilapidation.

The school had a music hall which has since burned down, Squash-courts that have now but collapsed, and a large swimming pool which is now in a state of complete decrepitude, it has trees growing in side it.

This used to be the swimming pool at Fairbridge Primary School in Bulawayo but now trees are growing inside.
This used to be the swimming pool at Fairbridge Primary School in Bulawayo but now trees are growing inside.

Poor infrastructure provision in post-2000 Zimbabwe is a strong reminder of the neglect of the last decade. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has had to confront numerous and complex challenges that have been due to the country’s social and political instability.

While our politicians fight to keep their jobs as MPs and Ministers, they have taken their eyes of the ball, forgetting to fight and speak up for those who they represent. Many poor children are still attending school under trees or in the open air.

The education budget allocation has been shrinking for a long time and as a result much of the school infrastructure in the forgotten schools like Fairbridge Primary School has been left to crumble.

The nation’s education system – once the pride of Zimbabwe – is literally falling apart. This is best summed up by the sad state of affairs at the once sparkly Fairbridge Primary School. This is evidence that the country’s education system is now facing a crisis –one of the most serious in its history.

A significant number of schools are now unsafe and structurally unsound yet we continue to turn a blind eye to the daily dangers that we are putting thousands of young lives as they continue to use these unsafe and un-maintained buildings.

Most of the original buildings at Fairbridge primary school have collapsed save it be for two; one new block has been put up bringing the total number of classroom buildings to three. The three impoverished structures cram over 400 pupils.

Although we are four years into the coalition government, poor infrastructure provisioning continues to plague the delivery of effective education and there has been very little improvement on the ground in terms of buildings. This is especially so in the case of poor rural provinces.

Fairbridge Primary school is not even in a rural province and if it is in such a state one dreads to think of the state of schools in the poor rural areas.

This is a call to our politicians, but most of all to the businesses in the vicinity of Fairbridge primary school, yes, Netbrew (Chibuku), Clay products (Ldt), Cement side (CCP Zimbabwe), McDonald Bricks , the Support Unit ZRPolice (Fairbridge) and indeed the alumni of this once great school, lets help this your/our school. Lets come together and make it a better place indeed a centre of excellence.

Many schools across Zimbabwe are in a state of disrepair; those in the Diaspora have a role be it as part of Old school associations or as organisations to resource such schools. We all need to come together to work at rebuilding our education system.

You can call the Head teacher Ms S Khumalo on +263 773270484 and find out how you can personally help Fairbridge Primary School. Or you can follow the school’s new facebook page and follow developments.

Join the Fairbrigde Primary School Facebook page

  • Chibaya Admire Huve

    No Comment

  • Israel Chipere

    You know the enemies of progress who destroyed Zimbabwe.Zimbabwe needs a fresh start..How you are going to do it,is your own homework..

  • Dominic Muntanga

    We will be working on a UNICEF supported initiative to get the Diaspora involved in helping revamp their former schools.

    • i hate blueeyedblackmen

      I wouldn’t trust anything United Nations say. Besides its the skewed UN policies led by the United states that is causing a lot of strife across the world. Funny how they want to “help” with one hand and kill with the other. I dont know who Dominic Muntanga is but FCUK you and your heroes. traitor ! If you are zimbabwean you should be lined up together with mugabe and tsvangirayi and simply shot.
      Education is rigged to brainwash world citizens to slave for the super rich.

  • Pasi nemaporitizhen

    ndo zvinoitika when greedy ignorant baboons take charge. One other important thing has to be said as well, varungu kept their places in top condition at the expense of the masses. I know people who went to school without shoes and sat on wooden log stumps in rural schools. As for vana mbare high, they had less than a quarter of resources at Prince Edward and yet both were government run schools.
    Its a case of “from frying pan to fire” for a common african child. Thanks to the devils who run countries. Black or White.

    • Muzungu

      My primary school deep in Gokwe was run by the Rural District Council in the late 70s. It was superb I wish could share the pictures. The bottom line is resources or no resources people of our color from Harlem to Harare are just bad at infrstructure management. Period. Tinoparadza. It has been proven. Even in RSA the destructive streak is slowly but surely creeping in.

  • Mudumex

    These so called liberators ruined our once beautiful state of the art country and pushed it way back to 100 years ago and at 89 years of age someone is still defiant and thinks he is still the best candidate to run the country’s top office.Its time for us Zimbos to kick this group of looters and loosers out of our motherland.

  • Truth chokwadi

    We really need to put our heads together and help rebuild our education system this is a great article and very powerful visual that drives the point home I would like to applaud Nehanda radio for this report thumbs up Mr Pongo let’s see how the companies in that neiboughood respond for they surly have a responsibility to the local school. How can a school in the areas of clay products and macdonalds bricks and CCP cement get run down for want of bricks and cement and its all across the road?

  • Methinks1

    Kana miti yadakumera zvayo ungaidii?

  • Dhiredhi

    Infrastructural decay chaiyo. It will take a generation to put things right. I feel that old students associations that used to fund raise for schools have been adversely affected by death, illness, mass migration, unemployment, corruption, misgovernance, nepotism & general apathy. School Development Associations bcame politicized. Competent Governors, Education Officers, Heads, teachers to the groundsmen were made to give way to the politically connected. Kuona muti uchimera mumudhighidho munovakwa neconcrete, nematayera, vanhu makatarira is just sad.

  • Tim

    Go have a look at Plumtree, formerly one of the top schools in Africa!

  • Pj

    Is there any end to African incompetence and misery?

  • chengewezhira

    Shocked at the state of the school. Thanks for doing that vid Billy. Great Memories.