News about Gwebi
In September 2018, Old Gwebians Alastair Paterson and Peter Dick took a tour to Gwebi. They met Dr William Matizha the Principal and his delightful secretary Ms Sinikiwe Chijoko. “They had both started at Gwebi around 1995 so had many years of experience. We were so pleased that they were only too available to work with us. Unfortunately the tour around the college was devastating. The Engineering practicals did not operate, as told to us by the son of Phineas (driver in our time) who stated that the students could not drive a tractor. We asked about Kampholo and of course he had sadly passed on but we visited his livestock section and were very disappointed. The magnificent dairy herd which was the top grade Friesland herd in Zimbabwe now consisted of eight scrub cattle. Our optimism was now diminished. However, there were four centre pivots watering magnificent stands of wheat. These were on Broadbalk and Gwebi South. Also on Gwebi South were excellent vegetable plots. We found out that these were all being run by the Chinese who seem to have taken over most of the ‘good’ areas of Gwebi.
“We realised that something must have happened to bring Gwebi to its knees and Dr. Matizha mentioned that in his early days there were over 1,000 applicants to Gwebi and they could only take about 100. Now that the Government decided to have colleges in all provinces his applications were equivalent to his normal intake of 100.”
Another Old Gwebian, Colin Lowe visited Gwebi for a Course 16 reunion in 2014 and many were disappointed at how threadbare the College had become. “Actually, there’s a very simple explanation – the Principal, Dr. Matizha, told us that for many years the Government had given them no funding at all – not a cent. Most of you will remember those horrendous roadblocks that the Police mounted throughout the country which initially started with the instruction from the Police Headquarters, ‘If you want your salaries go and collect them from fines at the roadblocks.’ Well, the Gwebi Principal was faced with much the same problem when the Ministry of Finance told him, ‘Sorry, there’s no funding for Gwebi, if you want finances for running expenses go and sell your livestock and grow some crops.’ ”
Mike Bellis, Course 24, visited the college in 2017 and took these photos:
Another story is shared:
Charles Lock (Course 33).
Charles was born in 1962 and raised in Macheke and is number five of six children to Tim and Mollie Lock. Charles went to Macheke, Godfrey Huggins Primary, Hartmann House and St. George’s College. He completed Gwebi then travelled the States for six months before settling down to helping his father on the farm for a few years. After saving a bit of money he went to the UK to play minor County cricket. One thing led to another and he managed to land a job with Rothmans International as a Projects Development Manager, answering to another Zimbabwean Dr. Henry Papenfus. He was based at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He travelled extensively all over the world, particularly to Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet system. After six years he returned to Zimbabwe and started an Agricultural Consulting Company operating mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1998 he married Ellen Fischer daughter of Gill and Anthony Fischer from Headlands. They had four children, Richard, Rebecca, Olivia and Jeremy.
Charles has two sisters Helen and Emma and his three brothers George, Martin and Andrew all of which still reside in Zimbabwe with their mother Mollie now aged 97 and still “with it”. His father Tim died in 2000, a few days after the birth of his granddaughter Olivia, named after the farm on which he got his first job after emigrating from the UK shortly after the Second World War. Granny Mollie has 18 grand children and one great grandchild.
In 2000 and with the onset of the land invasions Charles focused his efforts on his farming operations in Mount Darwin. In 2003 these where taken over and he moved to the Fischer family farm to attempt to retain the unit which had been in the family for four generations. After a protracted and violent conflict lasting six years in which he was evicted three times, Charles and the family where forced off like so many others and started re-building their lives in Harare.
Charles gained employment with Northern Tobacco and he also established a Company that imported and sold specialized agricultural equipment. Charles and Ellen got divorced in 2017 and he currently continues with Northern Tobacco running the grower contracting scheme.
A keen cricket and tennis player he represented Zimbabwe in cricket playing in the World Cup in 1996 and subsequent test matches. His interests are now mainly cycling (road), tennis, trout fishing, gardening and skiing in the Alps with his family occasionally.