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A School in Africa: Peterhouse and Education in Rhodesia and by Alan Megahey

By Alan Megahey

While Peterhouse opened in 1955, the British Empire in Africa was once nonetheless intact and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland - with its excessive hopes and fears - had simply come into being. It was once a boarding tuition based at the British version, yet making sure that it'll 'adapt all that's most sensible within the Public college culture to African conditions'.For 50 years, in Rhodesia after which in Zimbabwe, its governors and employees have tried to do this, and feature noticeable it develop from a boys' college of 350 to a bunch of colleges teaching over one thousand boys and girls.But the tale of Peterhouse is not just approximately paintings and game, song and drama, chapel, construction advancements and syllabus alterations. it really is set within the context of academic improvement and political swap in a Southern African country.This heritage of the varsity indicates the way it grew to become a pioneering multi-racial establishment in 'white Rhodesia'; shared the sufferings of the rustic throughout the 'bush war'; increased significantly within the new Zimbabwe, survived the contradictions of a black 'Marxist' executive, and has stored its enterprise dedication to being a 'Church School'.

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But he also immersed himself (to the point of illness) in his social work, though it was more than social work, for he and his friends 'pledged themselves idealistically to evangelise the world'. 28 The group included Alan Don (later Dean of Westminster), Wilfred Parker (later Bishop of Pretoria), Arthur Hill (later Dean of Salisbury, Rhodesia) and Edward's cousin, Robert Moberly (later Bishop of Stepney). In the years before the First World War these young men - from privileged backgrounds - were working amid the poverty and deprivation of the East End, especially among the boys and young men upon whom its future depended.

Gibbs fully backed the idea of a local public school, and as a prominent churchman was keen that it should be a Church school. He had been involved initially in Maurice Lancaster's plans in Matabeleland, where the Gibbs family lived. Perhaps, like Snell and Hodgkinson, he found 21 A S C H O O L IN A F R I C A Lancaster too eccentric, and too Anglo-Catholic; perhaps also he agreed with them that the site was hardly suitable - stuck out in the dry Matabele scrublands. At the first moves by Snell to recruit local talent, he came on board, as the chairman of what at this stage was simply called 'The Committee'.

So from April 1952 the 'proposed school' had the beginnings of a Board, and a strong link with Ellis Robins and the Ruzawi Group - a link that was to provide the funding in these early months. Snell and Hodgkinson had spent ten days together over Easter 1952 touring the Salisbury area and the Eastern Districts, petrol expenses being met by the Ruzawi Board. Eastern Rhodesia was the sort of country that appealed to Fred, and he was drawn back to the Chimanimani mountains, but decided that Melsetter was simply too inaccessible as a site for the new school.

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