Pfepferere me­mo­rial col­lege project at St Au­gus­tine’s

The Manica Post - - Unsung Hero/ News In Pics - Ray Bande Se­nior Re­porter

WHAT is hap­pen­ing at St Au­gus­tine’s? What ex­actly is hap­pen­ing on this quiet rather for­lorn sa­cred hill­top known for more than a cen­tury for nur­tur­ing aca­demic gi­ants and some of the coun­try’s finest brains in the coun­try? You can think of pol­i­tics, eco­nomics, law, re­li­gion; each of th­ese as­pects of Zim­bab­wean life had its share of he­roes and hero­ines made here...and many more.

St Au­gus­tine’s-Tsambe is in Man­i­ca­land Province. The province is proud of its his­tory and con­tri­bu­tion in the pro­trac­tion of the war that lib­er­ated Zim­babwe from chains of colo­nial slav­ery. Many sons and daugh­ters of the soil from Man­i­ca­land fell, in­deed like many oth­ers in other parts of the coun­try.

From ev­ery inch of Man­i­ca­land soil emerges a fas­ci­nat­ing story to tell about the coura­geous sac­ri­fices il­lus­trated by the war vet­er­ans who fought an ugly and fierce war to lib­er­ate our mother­land.

One such in­trigu­ing story is the story of a young, self­less, gal­lant and heroic free­dom fighter, one Tendai Pfepferere (TP) who was killed in cold blood at the foyer of St Au­gus­tine’s class­room blocks dur­ing the war on 5 Au­gust, 1979. The Man­ica Post cor­re­spon­dent and Ed­u­ca­tion guest colum­nist Mor­ris Mtisi is known to have metic­u­lously re­searched and writ­ten widely on the drama that led to the cold mur­der of this hero who chose to die so that stu­dents and teach­ers would live. It is known that MM has writ­ten about this great story of heroic self-sac­ri­fice more than any­body else.

The whole tragic drama of Tendai Pfepferere’s self­less sac­ri­fice and un­usual brav­ery is cap­tured in the film script writ­ten by the teacher-au­thor-re­searcher, now ra­dio pre­sen­ter-Di­a­mond FM and ed­u­ca­tion journo with The Man­ica Post, our own Mor­ris Mtisi.

The Man­ica Post cur­rent af­fairs crew cur­rently caught up with MM, founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cross­Roads Africa Trust (CAT) and asked him, “What ex­actly is go­ing on at St Au­gus­tine’s Mis­sion?”

“The story of Tendai Pfepferere will never es­cape my mind. He is a mi­cro­cos­mic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of all who died be­cause they hated what was wrong and chose to take up arms to fight the en­emy and free the mother­land. The in­trepid TP did the un­done to die in a war sit­u­a­tion where he could have eas­ily used stu­dents as hu­man shield to fight back and es­cape the wrath of the en­emy,” Mtisi nar­rated with re­mark­able elo­quence, cer­tainly with a vis­i­ble sense of an­gry ad­mi­ra­tion.

“For many years, I as founder of Cross­Roads Africa Trust tried in vain to shoot a film on this brave in­ci­dent of un­par­al­leled self-sac­ri­fice. Ow­ing to var­i­ous rea­sons, ma­jor among them be­ing un­avail­abil­ity of money to fund a project of this mag­ni­tude, this was not pos­si­ble.

“We now have prospec­tive fun­ders and in­vestors in this project. They will en­able us to rekin­dle this won­der­ful film project which con­jures up both pro­vin­cial and na­tional pride,” said Mtisi. “Re­mem­ber La Fon­taine who said, “Pa­tience and de­lay achieve more than force and rage.”

Mtisi said that the grand project to be head­quar­tered at St Au­gus­tine’s com­prises sev­eral fas­ci­nat­ing projects within the project. Cen­tral to all th­ese as­so­ci­ated projects is the con­struc­tion of a me­mo­rial col­lege on the mis­sion farm­land.

“We want to thank the Bishop of the Man­i­ca­land Angli­can Dio­cese, Lord Bishop Erick Ru­wona who as part of the Dio­cese’s sup­port and ges­ture of part­ner­ship al­lowed Cross­Roads Africa Trust util­i­sa­tion of land be­tween 30 and 40 hectares on which to con­struct the me­mo­rial col­lege. It will not be an aca­demic col­lege.

“We want to put up a skills de­vel­op­ment col­lege that will train youths, first and fore­most from Angli­can schools, to pur­sue in­ter­est ca­reers in mu­sic, in­clud­ing song-writ­ing, in­stru­ments play­ing, com­pos­ing and pro­duc­ing songs, film script writ­ing, film pro­duc­tion and di­rect­ing, on-stage (drama) and film act­ing,” said Mr Mtisi.

“All youths that are tired of be­ing throt­tled into uni­ver­sity ed­u­ca­tion but wish to pur­sue other in­ter­ests and gifts to make money and liveli­hood, here is an op­por­tu­nity to tap tal­ent into ca­reer. We gar­rotte our chil­dren and push them into uni­ver­si­ties...and then what? Uni­ver­si­ties don’t make jobs, do they? Those who don’t wish to go uni­ver­sity or in­deed fail to, here is an op­por­tu­nity for you to lis­ten to your hearts and fol­low your tal­ents. Those without (nat­u­ral tal­ents) will be big deal,” he said.

“First pref­er­ence shall be given to our Girls of Sub­stance in the schools...that refers to girl learn­ers who are mem­bers of the Girls of Sub­stance Move­ment which was launched in Septem­ber 2018 at Tsambe. This is one of the projects within the project that ad­dresses moral rear­ma­ment amongst girls in high schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. There is no bet­ter time to run se­ri­ous be­hav­iour change pro­grammes in th­ese ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions than now, is there?

“We wish to take this op­por­tu­nity to thank the Angli­can Dioce­san of­fice, cour­tesy of the Lord Bishop who in­stantly saw and shared our vi­sion and pledged all the sup­port we needed in this dream and ven­ture.

He quickly fa­cil­i­tated that we get con­ve­nient ac­com­mo­da­tion and of­fices at St Au­gus­tine’s.

“Our sec­re­tar­iat will be­gin day-to­day of­fice work at our of­fices at Tsambe as soon as ex­am­i­na­tions are over early De­cem­ber. We thank the school head Rev­erend Syd­ney Chi­rombe, Deputy head, Mr Makamba, se­nior teach­ers Mai S. Mu­sanhu and Mr Jonathan Chir­ima as well as rel­e­vant staff for sup­port­ing the Bishop to sup­port us on this noble project.”

“The in­sti­tu­tional me­mo­rial col­lege shall be in hon­our of two he­roes con­nected to St Au­gus­tine’s his­tory: Tendai Pfepferere and Fa­ther Richard Hugh Keb­ble Prosser: The col­lege shall be called Fa­ther Prosser Me­mo­rial Col­lege.

Its de­part­ments of Her­itage Stud­ies and to be con­cen­trat­ing fo­cus on chron­i­cling war lib­er­a­tion sto­ries and record­ing them through film, books and doc­u­men­taries shall be ded­i­cated to Tendai and named af­ter him.

“There shall be other project fac­ul­ties like Ubun­thu /Hunhu and In­tu­itive Guid­ance and Coun­selling in which the guided and coun­selled(also the prob­lem maker) is part of the so­lu­tion, all ze­ro­ing in on in­cul­cat­ing sub­stance and val­ues in school girls (Ref. Girls of Sub­stance Move­ment.)”

“We can­not end this en­light­en­ment to the pub­lic without say­ing the fol­low­ing:” said Mr Mtisi.

“We are aware peo­ple within the church or around the Angli­can Church may want to ask ques­tions about who is do­ing what, how, why ... as part of their own cu­rios­ity, anx­i­ety or in­stinc­tive agenda to throw mud into our wa­ter.

‘‘Cross­roads Africa Trust does not want or in­tend to be em­broiled in church pol­i­tics at what­ever level. We come in faith­fully and sim­ply to hon­our two he­roes the his­tory of St Au­gus­tine’s can­not be writ­ten or re­mem­bered without; Fa­ther Prosser and Tendai Pfepferere.

“Our ob­jec­tives are clear. Our mis­sion and vi­sion are clear.

‘‘Any­body who wants to add value to our mis­sion and vi­sion is wel­come to do so. Peo­ple who wish to fight over our heads are not wel­come. Noth­ing can be sim­pler...noth­ing can be eas­ier to say. The Bishop did not give us land. He did not sell us land. He did not lease land to us.

“He sim­ply al­lowed us to build a col­lege on mis­sion farm to carry out a plethora of ex­cit­ing projects and pro­grammes that will not only cel­e­brate the self­less sac­ri­fices of the late Fa­ther Prosser and Cde Tendai Pfepferere, but ben­e­fit stu­dents, teach­ers, the Angli­can Church, Man­i­ca­land as a province and the en­tire na­tion of Zim­babwe...not for­get­ting the tens of hun­dreds of job­less peo­ple who will be hired and em­ployed to put up the in­sti­tu­tional me­mo­rial col­lege and cam­pus.

‘‘We pray for the hand of God, not man’s hand, in ev­ery bit of this ef­fort... ev­ery mile of the jour­ney.”

This pic­ture col­lage shows the bul­let holes on the walls and gut­ters of Tsambe High School af­ter Rhode­sian forces shot and killed Cde Pfepferere.

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