Gweru


Gweru

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Gweru
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motto = Progress


imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Gweru City Center, the administrative buildings in the foreground.


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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Zimbabwe
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = Midlands
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established_title = Founded
established_date = 1894
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population_total = 300,000
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Gweru (formerly Gwelo) is a city near the centre of Zimbabwe at coord|19|25|S|29|50|E|. It has a population of about 137,000 (2002), making it the third largest city in the nation. Gweru is the capital of Midlands province. Gweru was founded in 1894 by Dr. Leander Starr Jameson. It became a municipality in 1914 and achieved city status in 1971. The name changed from Gwelo to Gweru in 1982.

It is also home to Thornhill Air Base, an airforce garrison, the Zimbabwe Military Museum and the Antelope Game Park. The Nalatale and Danangombe archaeological enclosures lie nearby, the first known for its patterned brickwork, the second for its Portuguese remains.

In 1928 Gweru resident and pioneer widow Mrs Jean Boggie erected a memorial clock tower in memory of her late husband. The Boggie Clock Tower has become a landmark in Gweru.

Industry

Industries include Zimbabwe Alloys, a chrome smelting plant, and Bata Shoe Company (established in 1939). Both are leading employers in Gweru. Gweru is situated in one of Zimbabwe's finest cattle rearing areas and surrounding agricultural activity revolves around the cattle industry (both beef and dairy). Bata have their own tanning plant for cattle hides and the Cold Storage Commission CSC have an abattoir in Gweru. Flowers are also grown in the area for the export market and Zimbabwe's largest distiller, Afdis, have extensive vineyards in Gweru for the production of wine. Mining is also prevalent, mainly chromite ore from rich deposits along the Great Dyke to the East of Gweru.

Transportation

Railway

The National Railways of Zimbabwe have the country's largest marshalling yard, Dabuka, on the South side of Gweru. Dabuka plays a pivotal role in rail movement in the country as it is the central hub of the rail links to Mozambique in the East, South Africa in the South and Botswana and Namibia in the South West, lying on the Bulawayo - Harare Line.

Road

As a central city (hub), it has direct links to all the other cities and the towns of Zimbabwe.

Roads linking Gweru

Road names used are by destination only, for example the Harare - Gweru Road. There are only mainroads, no highways or freeways. [The Automobile Association of Zimbabwe]

Politics

Like other urban areas of Zimbabwe, the majority supports the MDC.

International relations

Gweru shares an international relationship with the town of Basildon, (Essex, United Kingdom). [ [http://www.international.lga.gov.uk/international/Establishing_a_partnership/twinning_db.html Local Government International Bureau (LGIB) Database of "Twinning Towns"] ]

Population

The urban population of Gweru is thought to be around 300,000 people, but could well be more than that as most urban Zimbabweans maintain a rural home as well. Because it falls between the Shona and Ndebele regions a sizeable percentage can speak both of the major local languages although Shona is spoken by the majority with approximately 30% speaking Ndebele.

Residential areas

Like all other cities in Zimbabwe, Gweru is divided into high, medium and low density residential areas. During the colonial era cities were also segregated according to race with the Black Africans living only in the high density areas. Coloureds (those of mixed heritage) lived in separate medium density area while the Whites (Europeans) occupied most of the medium and all of the low density areas. Although now racially integrated the dermacation between low, medium and high density still remain.

The biggest original "black" suburb in Gweru is Mkoba and is divided into sections. Mkoba started as a village so it still maintains village 1, village 2 up to village 20. It is the only suburban area in Zimbabwe to have the village suffix. Mtapa, Senga,Nehosho, Mambo are some of the high density suburbs around Gweru. Southdowns, Northlea, Lundi Park, Riverside etc are among the "middle class" residential areas of Gweru.

Harben park, St Annes drive, Kopje, Brackenhurst, Windsor Park are some of the "elite" residential areas of Gweru.

Education

The primary and secondary system of education has not changed much in structure for several decades. Schools in Gweru subscribe to the same British system of education as the rest of the nation. Students spend seven years in primary education and four (Ordinary Level) or six (Advanced Level) years in secondary depending on the level of education they choose to reach. Until the 1990s 'O' and 'A' level exams were administered by two major British examination bodies, i.e. Associated Examination Body (AEB) and Cambridge University. These are now being examined locally by the Zimbabwe Education Board.

Prior to 1980 schools were divided into two groups. Group A schools are the former all-white or mixed race schools and Group B schools are the former black schools. The difference lay mainly in the curriculum and facilities available. Group A schools generally had more facilities, particularly in the non-core teaching areas such as art, music and sport. Of particular emphasis is the sporting area in which former Group B schools taught mainly athletics, football and netball whilst the Group A schools had a wider range of sporting activities including athletics, tennis, swimming, diving, gymnastics, hockey, rugby, cricket, netball, basketball and cross-country. There has not been much change in this provision since independence.

;Nursery Schools
*Mimosa Nursey School
*Dominican Nursery School
*Gweru Nursery School
*Midlands Pre-School

;Primary SchoolsGroup A
*Cecil John Rhodes School
*Stanley School
*Riverside School
*Lundi Park School
*Midlands Christian School (Private)
*Anderson Adventist (Private)Group B
*Bata School (Financed and Maintained by the Bata Shoe Company)
*Sandara School
*St Pauls School (Catholic)
*Chikumbiro School
*Bumburwi School
*Muwunga School
*St. Micheals Primary School (Catholic)
*Senga Primary School
*Matongo Primary School]
*Mpumelelo Primary School
*Takunda Primary School
*Mkoba 4 Primary School
*Takwirira Primary school
*Thornhill Airforce

;Secondary SchoolsGroup A
*Chaplin High School (former school of Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith)
*Thornhill High School
*Midlands Christian College (private)
*Anderson Adventist High School (private)
*Nashville Secondary School
*Guinea Fowl High SchoolGroup B
*Mkoba 3 High School
*Ascot Secondary School
*Matinunura Secondary school
*Senga Secondary School
*Mkoba 1 Secondary School
*Mambo Secondary School
*Fletcher High School (this school produced some of the country's top professionals)*Tertiary Schools
*Gweru Polytechnic College
*Mkoba Teachers College
*Midlands State University

Church/Mission Schools
* Loreto Secondary School (Catholic)
* Lower Gwelo High School (Seventh Day Adventist)
* St Patricks High School (Anglican)
* Regina Mundi High School (Catholic)

;Commercial CollegesCommercial education was not easily available to the majority of Gweru residents especially before independence. There was a surge of new colleges after 1980 when Zimbabwe gained independence and also when commercial courses became a popular requirement in industry.

Midlands College of Commerce - The first black commercial college was founded in the early 1970s by Wilbert H. Shumba. It provided courses in most commercial and practical subjects popular during that era for example, typing, bookkeeping, dress-making and shorthand. These were examined by the UK-based Pitman examination institute. This college stopped operating in the mid-1990s following the death of W.H Shumba in 1994.

After 1980 other colleges were soon established:
*Educare College
*Ambassador College
*Commercial Studies Centre
*Solars College
*TopFlight Secretarial College
*Herentals College

;Correspondence / Distance Education Colleges
*Zimbabwe Distance Education College (Zdeco). Founded by Dr Skhanyiso Ndlovu who is now the Minister of Information for Zimbabwe. ZDECO was formed soon after independence and is now one of the country's largest adult education colleges. This college runs commercial and academic programmes including ZJC (Zimbabwe Junior Certificate), 'O' and 'A' levels and degree programmes
*Central Africa Correspondence College established in 1954
*Rapid Results College established in 1962
*International Correspondence Schools
*Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU)

Tertiary Education
*Midlands Christian Training Centre - provided Teacher Training, and is also an examination centre for UNISA exams. This training centre is closely linked to Midlands Christian School and College.

Hotels

The Midlands Hotel was opened in 1927 by the Meikles brothers. It was about to demolished but after much protest, it was spared. Chitukuko hotel (formerly known as the Cecil Hotel) is another local hotel located in the city centre area. Both hotels are now owned by Patrick Kombayi, a prominent Gweru business, ex-mayor, and politician known for his highly publicised criticism of the current government. Fairmile Motel is just a mile from the city centre on Bulawayo road.

References

2. Munyaradzi B. Munochiveyi, "An Economic History of Industrialization in Zimbabwe: The Case of Gwelo Town, 1890-1979", B.A. (Honours) Thesis, University of Zimbabwe, 2001.

External links

* [http://www.ucaz.org.zw/Gweru.htm Gweru city web site]
* [http://www.msu.ac.zw/ Midlands State University web site]
* [http://www.afribilia.com/gweru.html Street map of colonial-era Gweru]


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