St George’s College is among the best secondary schools in the country, and indeed, in Africa. It was founded in 1896 in Bulawayo, moving to Harare (then Salisbury) in 1926. The school boasts beautiful grounds, with the iconic castle-themed building where the administration and some hostel facilities are housed. This month’s schools interview is with the head boy from this school – the cheerful, positive, and friendly, Takavada Chigumete.
Tell us about your leadership style, and how you manage your position in such a big school with a diverse student body.
I believe that communication is important because situations change. To solve a problem well, you need to understand the circumstances, and this is done by interacting. Most people think that the job of a head boy is to punish, but to me, for people to understand their roles well, interaction is vital. Even more so in a school like this one with students from various upbringings.
How many prefects are under you and how do you interact with them?
I have 23 prefects under me. We meet once weekly and exchange notes on leadership related issues. I also use my spare time because I am now doing two subjects, to compliment the three I did last year.
What subjects are these, and how do you plan to use them?
Last year I did Mathematics, English Language and Thinking Skills. This year I added Computing and Physics. After school I want to study computer science. As you know, modern times are evolving around IT (information technology).
How do you balance your demanding responsibilities as a leader with school work?
I have good time management skills, courtesy of my father. He is an entrepreneur and values time allocation and planning. I also attribute the same to my mother, who is a teacher, also with an eye for the dispensation of time.
What are interactions between teachers and students like?
The students are very polite to the female teachers. This is because the teachers are good – trained professionals who understand teenage boys well, and second the school’s ethos is based on building gentlemen out of students. For this to be achieved, respectfulness is a prerequisite and there is no room for rudeness, or wayward behaviour. To the male teachers, the relationship is that of father to son. I guess that in general, the relationship is good.
What’s the best thing that has happened at St George’s lately?
Since last year, great strides have been recorded in athletics, basketball, and the rugby team is also doing well. I am quite happy with the sporting achievements of the school. Our academic record is also good.
What do you do for fun?
I spare some time to hang out with friends socialising, though not at night of course. I was brought up by parents who were strict about that, although they have relaxed it a bit now.
How are sports taken up at this school?
It is a requirement that one has to do at least one sport. I used to play soccer and I switched to tennis as a result of a knee injury. I am also in the second string rugby team.
What do you think students can do to improve Harare?
Students should do some outreach programmes into the community and render help where necessary. At this school, after Form Four exams, we do visit old people’s homes, orphanage centres and under-privileged primary schools to give them any help that we can. In the long run, things like this can change the face of Harare.
Any parting words for students out there?
Instead of doing something better than others, one should aim to do it differently. Make the best use of and appreciate the time available to you. If you waste time… there is no getting it back.