JUST months after spearheading an ambitious project to raise US$20 million for the University of Zimbabwe, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has outlined a rescue plan for his old school – Hartzell High School in Mutare – which he says has “fallen on hard times”.
Mutambara was guest of honour at the Methodist Church-run school’s speech and prize giving ceremony recently where he was greeted by collapsing infrastructure and declining standards.
Hartzell, Mutambara said, was a “school of excellence that has contributed to the academic revolution in our country and produced a distinguished group of prominent and successful personalities occupying influential roles around the world”.
But the school “has fallen on hard times and requires strategic intervention”.
“We are reaching out to all individuals whose lives were in any way affected by Old Mutare Mission [Hartzell’s old name] to step up to the plate,” said Mutambara.
The Deputy Prime Minister is hosting a dinner at the school on October 27 – one of several initiatives planned to raise $2 million for the school.
Guests at the dinner will folk out US$1,000 for a table of 10, or US$100 per individual.
“In addition, we are asking for donations or pledges in cash and kind towards realising our target of US$2 million. These pledges are the key fundraising instruments of the event, and will be announced at the dinner,” Mutambara said.
"Institutions must not deteriorate, but must get better. A lot of luminaries were produced at Hartzell and it is time for them to stand up and be counted by giving back to an institution that helped to shape their careers.”
Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) CEO Justin Mutasa, a former pupil and teacher at the school, is working with Mutambara in the fundraising initiative. He said priority areas requiring urgent funding include the refurbishment of laboratories, upgrading of the sewer system and sprucing up other infrastructure.
"There is a glaring difference from the institution which we used to be proud of during our stay both as pupils and teachers at the school. Our Jerusalem has literary died and we cannot allow that to happen,” Mutasa said.
“The school needs funds and they will only come from us, those who have their roots at the school. I know we have the who-is-who in the corporate world who passed through the school and they will not take it lightly to see their school suffering from years of neglect.
"So we are saying let us meet on October 27 and play our role as the school's new midwives. This is time for the rebirth of the school. We want Hartzell to retain its old sparkle in everything.”
Other former Hartzell pupils include President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary in the Public Service Ministry Thankful Musukutwa, Delta Beverages CEO Pearson Govero, the chief operating officer for OK Zimbabwe Limited Albert Katsande, TM-Pick 'n Pay CEO Bisset Chimhini, former Standard Chartered Bank CEO Washington Matsaira, Pioneer Hi-bred Zimbabwe managing director Munyaradzi Mutsvairo, and High Court judges Charles Hungwe and Susan Mavhangira.
Mutambara arrived at Hartzell as a Grade 5 pupil in 1979 and completed Upper Sixth in 1986. He skipped Grade 6.
To book your table and register your donations or pledges in cash or kind, please contact Rebecca Mutyambizi, chairperson of the school’s board of governors on e-mail: email@example.com or mobile +263772165947; Mutasa on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile +263712600237 or Mutambara on e-mail: email@example.com or mobile +263772129080.
If you cannot make it to the dinner and want to deposit cash into the school account you can do so using the following details: Hartzell High School, ZB Bank Mutare, Account 4532392675200 and send your notice of deposit