By Albert Marufu
Former Zimbabwe, Dynamos, CAPS United and Blackpool goalkeeper Ernest “Dhara” Chirambadare’s Facebook profile picture reads: “This page is not intended for the politically correct or weak minded. Enter at the risk of opening up your mind.”
The page confronts you with messages focusing on the emancipation of blacks through positive education and urging the youth not to look beyond Africa for salvation.
With that philosophy in mind, Chirambadare (48) has opened a school in Zimbabwe named Garvey School of Excellence after the late Jamaican historian and activist Marcus Garvey in Marondera, 75.5km outside Harare. Garvey died almost eight decades ago and his war cry was education as a pathway to freedom for black people.
One of Garvey’s most popular quotes is: “It is by education that we become prepared for our duties and responsibilities in life. If one is badly educated, he must naturally fail in the proper assumption and practice of his duties and responsibilities because the Negro has been badly educated.”
Just like Garvey, Chirambadare dreams of an environment in which Africans’ education will help them become self-sustainable.
The school, which is self-funding and headed by his mathematician wife, has four classes — Form One to Four — but when fully operational, should take up to Advanced Levels.
“Yes, I am into education or should I say education is into me. The idea came to me and my wife (then girlfriend) Rebecca Muzambi after studying the writings and teachings of The Honourable Marcus Garvey. His teachings had a great impact on our lives that it was only natural to open up a school in his honour here in Africa.
“It (the school) is located in Marondera and at the moment it’s a day school but with the intention of having a boarding school in the near future. We are currently adhering to the national education curriculum,” said Chirambadare, who is brother to former Dynamos defender Stanley.
“The school is self-funding and we also get assistance from brothers and sisters in and around Zimbabwe, (Azania) South Africa and Europe. We will mostly focus on the sciences and technical activities which will bring forth a self-reliant nation which were the ethos of the Hon Marcus Garvey’s teachings.
“It is an academic school which naturally incorporates sports and recreation. In future we hope to draw students from the rest of Africa,” he said.
Though the school is now running, at first he had hurdles to clear.
“Parents were a bit sceptical but are now catching on the vibration. They couldn’t connect my being a former football player and education. They just couldn’t fathom it because of the negative and unfounded stigma footballers have of being ‘supposedly’ uneducated,” Chirambadare said.
Chirambadare disappeared from Zimbabwean football in 1999 at the age of 29 after relocating to the United Kingdom following the frustrations of being unfairly treated by the Dynamos board, but he returned home 13 years later.
“That one hurts (leaving Dynamos). I have a feeling that those who were in-charge at the time had an ulterior motive once we qualified for the group stages (of the Champions League). They accused us of selling the final game and actually fined us for protesting our innocence. We lost our skipper (Memory Mucherahowa) during warm-up due to him having been head-butted by ASEC Mimosas players in front of hundreds of cameras and reporters.’’ The Herald