Injiva pour R40 million into Tsholotsho school project Royal Avenues High School in Tsholotsho District, Matabeleland North Province

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, [email protected]

TWO Zimbabwean entrepreneurs based in South Africa have joined hands to invest about R40 million towards the construction of a modern high school in Simanje Village, Ward 15 under Chief Gampu in                                       Tsholotsho District, Matabeleland North Province.

Construction work is already underway at the new Royal Avenues High School, which is set to open its doors for the first intake in January next year, according to Mr Lancelot Sithole, who is building the school together with Mr Never Ngwenya.

Both entrepreneurs were born and grew up in Tsholotsho where they experienced childhood struggles of walking long distances of close to 10km to the nearest primary school.

Once complete, Royal Avenues High School is expected to become the third full boarding school in Tsholotsho after Khumbula High School and Tsholotsho High School. 

Two other schools, Nemane and Landa John Nkomo high schools have semi-boarding facilities.

“The school project is inspired by our struggles to access education when we were young. We don’t want our children in future to go through what we experienced.

“Once complete, the school will offer all sorts of subjects, as well as courses like motor mechanics, brick moulding and carpentry, among others. 

“It’s our desire to have children from Tsholotsho having access to universities after high school, especially at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) because we are going to offer sciences with full equipment,” he told Chronicle in an interview.

Mr Never Ngwenya (left) and his business partner Mr Lancelot Sithole

Mr Sithole said as part of preliminary steps, they have already sent the paperwork to Government seeking approval to have the school officially registered and expressed confidence that come January next year, they will enrol the first intake.

By undertaking such an ambitious project, Mr Ngwenya said they wanted to demystify the myth that Zimbabweans based in South Africa, popularly known as “Injiva”, particularly from Tsholotsho and Plumtree, were only known for bad things like violent crimes.

“It’s not everyone who comes from Tsholotsho who is a criminal and anti-development. We want to bring positive development to our area, which will help our people, change their lifestyle for the good and demystify the negative perception that people have out there,” said Mr Ngwenya. 

“We can assure you that once the school is complete, few people will believe that it is in rural Tsholotsho. We are still pulling resources and in terms of budget, we are looking at spending over R40 million.”

He said as partners with Mr Sithole, they have built and were operating a similar high school in South Africa and the institution has managed to produce 100 percent pass rate in Matric examinations for the past six years.

A Chronicle news crew recently visited the project site and observed that the construction works were already in full swing. 

The project already has two classroom blocks, an administration block, and two other structures under construction with the classroom blocks nearing completion at roofing level. 

A perimeter fence has already been erected, and plans for teachers’ cottages are on the pipeline. 

“We feel honoured by what our children, particularly Never Ngwenya and his partner, did for our area. This is a top class school and this structure makes it compete with schools from big towns,” said Chief Gampu. 

“It’s even great that Mr Ngwenya is actually coming from this area where as a young man he had a very difficult education.”

After navigating through his educational journey, which was very tough for him, the chief noted how Mr Ngwenya left for South Africa where he teamed up with his business counterparts to venture into schools construction.

“They proposed and agreed that they come and help in the development of their own area, which is actually in line with the Second Republic’s philosophy that ‘Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo/Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’”, said Chief Gampu.

The construction of Royal Avenues High School is one of the shining examples of the success of the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), a larger Government initiative aimed at bridging the gap of approximately 2,800 schools in Zimbabwe. 

The Government has pledged to expand educational opportunities to marginalized populations and has greenlighted the construction of 3,000 new schools by 2025 to accommodate increasing learner enrolment.

The NDS1 initiative has already sparked the construction of 35 model schools across all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe, with the Government providing the necessary funding while being complemented by private sector efforts. Further plans are underway to foster public-private partnerships to achieve this ambitious goal.

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