Faces of Old Mutare
Africa University and Environs
Old Mutare, Zimbabwe
January to May 2012
Latest update: 7 June 2012
Ab first came to Africa University in 1993 to assist with the establishment
of AU. He has taught for six full semesters in the Faculty of Agriculture
and Natural Resources since then. Ab is a biologist and has recently
retired as professor at Wofford College where he taught in the Biology,
Mathematics, Sociology, and English Departments.
Ab has identified over two hundred species of birds on the AU campus.
GR has pictures
of a few birds.
Ab, Chris, GR, and Phillip stayed at the Farm House from January to
May. The Farm
House had plenty of room and excellent views of the AU farm fields.
Like her husband Ab, Chris has been teaching voluntarily at Africa
University since 1993. Chris is the retired chair of the Sociology Department
at the College of Charleston.
Ab and Chris are especially fond of reptiles and are well-known as
"Snake Charmers" in Old Mutare. On several occasions, they
have been summoned to
capture a python that had invaded a chicken house.
Randy is a wildlife biologist from Arizona who was a guest of Ab and
Chris for most of January during which time he took Wofford College
students on night-time trips to photograph bats as they emerged from
the abandoned gold mines on the AU campus. In addition to sharing his
special equipment to get National Geographic-quality photographs of
bats, Randy taught us a great deal about the animal life on the campus,
especially the snakes!
photo by Suiter Coxe
Ab and Chris
Taking a break while on safari
at Gonarezhou National Park in southeatern Zimbabwe.
During the game drives, we saw elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, warthogs,
hippos, hyenas, duikers, kudu, waterbuck, zebra, and impala.
Over the Easter break, GR and Phillip rode 1016 kilometers across
Zimbabwe in a "chicken bus" from Old Mutare to Victoria Falls.
The trip took 23 hours and we averaged 25 miles per hour. After zip-lining,
bungi jumping, and doing the Zambezi River gorge swing, Phillip seems
to have found the end of the rainbow. See
more pictures of Phillip's daring adventures here!
Larry and Jane are the last two full-time, long-time white United
Methodist missionaries in Zimbabwe. Larry teaches in the Faculty of
Agriculture and Natural Resources and is the Technical Advisor for the
AU Farm. Larry and Jane have four children: two sons who have completed
college in the US, a daughter Carly who is finishing high school and
looking at universities in America, and son Michael. GR found this website
that tells more
about the Kies Family.
Jane teaches Intensive English to to prepare incoming AU students
to handle the AU curriculum which is taught entirely in English.
Ever the gracious hosts, the Kies invited GR, Phillip, Ab and Chris
for a weekend at World
View in the Nyanga highlands and a visit to the
farm of friends Trevor and Shelia on the way back to Old Mutare.
A resident of Nevada and recently retired with vast experience in
Public Health, Maggie taught three courses as a Visiting Lecturer in
the Faculty of Health Sciences at AU during Jan-April 2012.
Even before she returned to Nevada, Maggie had obtained the paperwork
to apply for a Temporary Work Permit so she can return to AU to teach
GR, Maggie and Phillip took a long day-trip to the ancient ruins
Great Zimbabwe, where, as you might expect, GR took a couple of
Faculty of Health Sciences
Peter Fasan (Dean)
Maggie Freese (visiting lecturer)
Ed Dodge (visiting lecturer)
Violet directs Project
Tariro which provides counseling and training for unemployed persons
who have HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.
One of Petra's boys, Alexander shows off his certificate from Mutare
Polytechnic Institute. It say's he's qualified in Electrical Repair.
He's doing an internship with the maintenance staff at Africa University.
Another of Petra's boys, Tariro enjoyed playing the drum at our campsite
in Gonarezhou Nation Park.
Casper and Thomas
grill pork and roast maize for Petra's guests at a cookout to welcome
visiting lecturers at AU. Casper is a star rugby player and Thomas makes
sure he is well nourished.
Thomas, Casper, Alexander, Tariro and Munoradzi (not pictured) are
Petra's Zimbabwean family.
A native of Holland, Weitske is married to Alex Mushonga of the Faculty
of Management. She is the coordinator of the Laboratory Training program
in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
In contemplating the colors to be incorporated into the hoods of the
graduates in Laboratory Technology, Weitske had a choice to make: she
could chose red to represent the color of blood, which her lab tech
students routinely test, or yellow for urine, or she could opt for brown,
the color of stool, the other body "fluid" commonly sampled.
She decided to go with ......
On Wednesdays, Weitske collects blood samples from the Old Mutare
Clinic and take them for processing at the Mutare Provential Hospital.
The number of persons who need their blood tested for HIV/AIDS exceeds
the capacity of the Provential Hospital. Wietske, GR, and others would
like to see the CD4
Cell Counter currently housed in AU's Faculty of Health Sciences
Research Lab used to test blood samples for diagnostic purposes.
Ngonidzaiche "Ngoni" Dapiwa
Ngoni is Acting Director of Public Information at AU during the maternity
leave of Mrs. Sharai Nondo. Fomerly employed by the sensational Manica
Post newspaper, Ngoni makes sure people know the goings-on at Africa
Since the founding of AU, Susan has worked in the Public Information
Office and makes sure schedules run smoothly and visitors have a great
experience. A native of Mutare, she's a runs a superb tour of that city
which lies in the valley across Christmas Pass from Old Mutare, the
site of Africa University and the Old Mutare Methodist Mission.
Along with Jacob, Mike, Elsen, Ernest, Lovemore and three others,
David is employed by AU to drive buses, airport shuttles and minivans
to get AU employees, students and guests where they're supposed to be.
Having problems with your computer at AU? Godfrey is the man to see.
He'll set up your AU email account and internet access and whatever
else you need to keep that computer running well.
Christina is one of many security officers at AU. She's often found
at the desk in A Block where students, faculty and staff can sign out
keys to various campus buildings. Here she's handing the keys to FHS
Mai ("Mother") Bange is much more than just the cleaner
for the Faculty of Health Sciences. She runs errands all over campus,
opens and closes the building, prepares coffee and tea and biscuits,
and even provided pumpkin greens to GR (complete with instructions on
how to cook them with onions, tomatoes, and peanut butter.)
Sixteen Hundred Students
There are two dining options for the 1600 students who attend Africa
University: the Dining Hall with three serving lines shown here and
a buffet with a few more options downstairs. Breakfast of porridge,
a boiled or scrambled egg, tomato & onion sauce, three slices of
bread with a dollop of butter and jelly, and hot tea with hot cream
is $2. For lunch or dinner, one can get a huge portion of rice or sadza
and beans for $1, or sadza, beans, veggies (greens), and chicken for
$2.50. Since there is no change, you can get a Coke,
Fanta or Ginger Beer to make it a round $3.00.
More campus scenes.
Dr. Ed Dodge (retired MD) is the eldest son of Raph Dodge, the Bishop
of Southern Rhodesia for twelve years. Since retiring, Ed has written
two books on Healthy Living Lifestyles and comes to AU each year to
teach courses in Public Health. He also hosts a weekly Internet radio
show called "The Joy of Healthy Living." An avid hiker, Ed
and GR made trips off the AU campus to the Pioneer Cemetery, the Old
Mutare Cemetery, and Tsvingwe village. Together with Chris Matinga,
Ed scaled the highest peak above Tsvingwe (5065 feet) and in descending
discovered a trail that was later used by GR, Chris, and Choi to reach
Here Ed stands by the sign at the Old Mutare Mission which honors
The Gonye Family (not their real name)
Afternoon Strollers to Tsvingwe village:
Many AU workers live in Tsvingwe, a 6 kilometer (35 minute) walk along
an ancient heavily-traveled footpath that winds eastward from the AU
campus through farmland and forest crossing the Fairfield Road and over
the rise to the village of Tsvingwe where Chris, the stone carver lives.
Chris is a talented Stone Carver who was taught by his grandfather
to transform soapstone from a nearby mountain into many decorative forms.
Here Chris shows how a stone is roughed into shape.
A wide variety of soapstone
carvings like those crafted by Chris can be purchased at the nearby
border with Mozambique.
Sekai and Chris Matinha
With Chris occupied as a stone carver, much of the work in the fields
is done by his wife. The couple has three daughters: Faith, a boarder
at St. Patrick's Mission School; Agnes in Grade 7 at St. Augustine's
Primary School, and Ellen in Grade 3 at Tsvingwe Primary School. They
all do well in school when Chris sells enough carved stone to pay their
at the summit of the mountain. According to Chris, the Shona name
for this mountain means "The Ancestors will watch over us."
From South Korea, Choi is teaching Korean language classes to staff
and students at AU.
Choi, GR, and Chris enjoyed the view from the summit
With his most recent hair cut being four months earlier, GR actually
needed this bandana during the hike to the 5065 ft summit of Tsvingwe.
Robert grew up on the ridgeline above the St. Augustine Anglican Mission
where he went to school. He is now employed as a cook by the Redwing
Gold Mine. After a chance encounter on a Sunday afternoon he showed
us some ancient rock paintings.
The Tractor Drivers
Every four years or so, Jane and Larry Kies must take a furlough to
the US to raise awareness (and money) for United Methodist Missions
in Zimbabwe. In 2012, the United Methodist Church had them leave AU
shortly before the end of the semester, at which time Larry always teaches
those graduating AU Agriculture students who have never driven a tractor
how to drive using this little 8N Ford. With Larry's early departure,
GR helped out by giving tractor driving lessons to nine students, some
of whom are shown here. Fortunately, GR's dad has an 8N Ford just like
this one and GR knew enough to pass on that skill to these FFAs (Future
Farmers of Africa.)
Just a few years ago Luke graduated from Africa University. Now he
resides across the Nyanga Highway from the AU campus where is the Administrator
of the Fairfield Childrens Home. This photo was taken right after Luke
and GR had repaired the swings on the playground at the orphanage.
There is a Methodist Cemetery near the orphanage where the first black
bishop of Zimbabwe is buried. Tombstones can be seen from the classrooms
of the Hartzell Schools. GR enjoyed making pictures of these subjects.
the Farm Kids
Kids of the AU Farm workers like to visit Ab, Chris, Phillip, and
GR at the AU Guest House adjacent to the farm. Kids come by to draw,
bounce balls, play with cameras and binoculars.
At twelve years old, it is difficult to predict whether Lameck will
become Zimbabwe's president, top general, TV preacher, field biologist,
photo- videographer, or professor of Fictional History. At the moment,
all are realistic possibilities for this frequent visitor to the Farm
made this musical instrument from a flexible stick, a piece of nylon
filament and a plastic bottle.
When the mangos at the Farm House ripened (actually long before they
ripened) Farm Kids climbed the trees, shook them, and did whatever it
took to get those mangos into their hands. Joseph, son of Frank, the
Supplies Manager of the AU Farm, enjoys a mango.
David's mother is an "auntie" in one of the houses at the
Fairfield Childrens Home, the orphanage associated with the Old Mutare
Mission. David grew up in Old Mutare and graduated from Hartzell High
School. He showed GR and Ed to the
Pioneer Cemetery which is now surrounded by resettlement lands.
David can show you the trail that leads to the top of Mount Chiremba.
GR noticed that David's hat promotes Hope Mills Carmaster. It just
so happens that GR and Tia grew up about 10 miles from Hope Mills in
North Carolina! The connections between the Carolinas and Old Mutare
are quite strong. The building that houses the Faculty of Theology on
the AU campus was purchased with funds donated by the South Carolina
Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Adrian and Webster Katsidzira
Webster is the retired treasurer of the Mutare Mission. His daughter
Nyasha makes colorful
tapestries for sale to raise funds that she hopes will allow her
to attend Fashion Design school in South Africa. Nyasha's son Adrian
accompanied his grandfather to deliver a parcel of tapestries for GR
to deliver to the US.
First Year Nursing Students
came by after their final exam to visit with Dr. Davis and bid him
a fond farewell.
Left to right: Happiness, Lindani, Soloman, Augusta, Shelter, GR,
John, Catherine, Perpetua, Barbra, and Millica.
GR and Phillip took a chicken bus from Mutare to Victoria
Falls (660 miles) over the Easter Holiday for a look at "the
Smoke that Thunders." We then went across the border to Botswana
Moabi got us really close to a lion,
elephants, and lots
of birds. He's the Director of Steenbok Safari in Kasane, Botswana
who does a great job of arranging safaris in Chobe National Park.