Faces of Old Mutare

Africa University and Environs
Old Mutare, Zimbabwe

January to May 2012

Latest update: 7 June 2012


Ab Abercrombie

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.


Chris Hope

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 Babb

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.


Phillip Davis

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!

GR and Phillip also made pictures at Victoria Falls and took an overnight safari to Chobe National Park in neighboring Botswana where we saw a lion, elephants, and many birds.



Larry Kies

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 Kies

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.



Maggie Freese

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 in 2013.

GR, Maggie and Phillip took a long day-trip to the ancient ruins at The Great Zimbabwe, where, as you might expect, GR took a couple of pictures.



Faculty of Health Sciences

Peter Fasan (Dean)
Wietske Mushonga
Maggie Freese (visiting lecturer)
Ed Dodge (visiting lecturer)
Auxillia Munodawafa
Simbarai Gwaze
Elizabeth Chadambuka
Petra Krumpen
Violet Chakanya

Violet directs Project Tariro which provides counseling and training for unemployed persons who have HIV/AIDS and their caregivers.


The Revend Dr. Beauty Maenzanise

The Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Africa University invited the Wofford Interim group to her rural homeplace to meet her parents before we went to Maenzanise United Methodist Church just up the road.


Petra Krumpen

Certified as a Pediatric nurse, Petra joined the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2004 where she's been teaching nurses ever since. She has researched the challenges that orphans encounter as they transition from institutional care to independent living. As a result, Petra co-founded Kuyaruka Trust which provides support for orphans in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Petra has five foster sons, all from the R.G. Mugabe Orphanage at St. Augustine's Anglican Mission near Penhalonga. The Kuyaruka Trust also assists families in need, such as the Gonye family.



Alexander Tapiwa

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.


Weitske Mushonga

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 University.



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 Mashonga

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 to GR.




Grace Bangezhano

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.



Ed Dodge

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 the summit.

Here Ed stands by the sign at the Old Mutare Mission which honors his father.




The Gonye Family (not their real name)

Read about this family's situation and see how a family lives in the rural area.



Afternoon Strollers to Tsvingwe village:

Jaeyoung Choi
Chris Matinga
Ed Dodge

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 Matinha

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 school fees.


Chris Matinha

at the summit of the mountain. According to Chris, the Shona name for this mountain means "The Ancestors will watch over us."


Jaeyoung Choi

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 of Tsvingwe.




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.

GR and Phillip also scaled Mount Chiremba across from the AU Campus.


Robert Mandiringana

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.

Take a look at the 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.)

GR got a portrait of each Tractor Driver.


Luke Makuanya

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 Bishop's Grave and Reflections in Old Mutare.



Phillip and
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.



Lameck Sadupa

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 House.

There are marvelous views from the front porch of the Farm House.



Lameck Sadupa

made this musical instrument from a flexible stick, a piece of nylon filament and a plastic bottle.


Joseph Chadzuka

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.



Chris Hope
Ab Abercrombie
GR Davis
Joy Lee Saungweme
Robert Saungweme

Robert is the Crops Supervisor at the AU Farm where he has been employed in various capacities for nearly 20 years. His wife is doing her internship in Mutare Provential Hospital as a Medical Laboratory Technician. The Saungweme family is featured in the 2009 book by Abercrombie, Davis, Ferguson and Hope entitled Africa University: Thy Wonders Displayed.



David Kaisi

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.

See the bios and portraits of each nursing student.



Moabi Marambo


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 for an overnight safari.

Moabi got us really close to a lion, many 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.



More photos by GR Davis