|Ishmael Chigumo and his wife Florance|
Ishmael Chigumo, the head of Ratidzo School in Masvingo, has retired from his long career as a teacher, special needs educator and very committed Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ) parishioner.
Born of Mangisi and Ronia Chigumo in Gosho Village in Buhera on 6 January 1953, Chigumo went to Gosho and Mukondomoi Primary schools for his early education from 1961 to 1968 before enrolling for his secondary education at Makumbe Mission (1969-1972). He was born in in very humble conditions but it was the Dutch Reformed Church became part of his life.
After completing his form 4 at Makumbe High School, Chigumo went to Morgenster Mission for the then T3 teachers' training from 1973 to 1975. He then joined the Henry Murray School for the Deaf when he taught for most of his prime time as a primary specialist teacher beginning 1976.
It was at Henry Murray School for the Deaf that his passion for teaching the deaf became apparent. It was because of this passion for special needs education that he enrolled for the special Education Certificate at Montfort College in Malawi between 1980 and 1981.
In Malawi, the young Chigumo then met and married Florence Chigumo. Between 1984 and 1985, he furthered his education, again in special needs education at Newcastle Upon-Tyne University in the United Kingdom, where he graduated with the Diploma in Advanced Education Studies in Special Needs Education.
He then completed his Bachelor of Education in Educational Administration with the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) in 1997.
He then began to study for the Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration with the same institution.
In 1985, Mr Chigumo was appointed headmaster of the Henry Murray School for the Deaf after 9 years as a teacher. He became head of the special school for 23 years, during which time he helped to initiate monumental educational development programmes for the school of the deaf. He was instrumental in the shaping of the physical and structional developments of the Henry Murray School for the Deaf. Before that, all the pupils at his school did not write the grade 7 examinations. Between 1986 and 1987, Chigumo oversaw the building of two blocks of buildings with four classrooms each at the same school.
In 1989, he engaged the Netherlands Friends of the School who then donated a truck which became the school's first vehicle. He helped to build a lot respect for the deaf at this school in Masvingo.
Between 1990 and 1996, Chigumo initiated several income-generating projects that also gave learners a chance to do practical work.
He oversaw the building of the Henry Murray School Kitchen and Dining Hall. He also helped to build the audio logical laboratory centre, the girls' hostel and new administration block currently being used by the Reformed Church University (RCU). At the same time, he started the poultry and piggery projects for the school plot. All these projects became important income-generating projects while training learners in practical life skills.
Christian engagements at the RCZ
He became the secretary to the Education Secretary between 1996 and 2008 and the Synodical Administrative Board Secretary between 1998 and 2008.
Chigumo was the Morgenster Mission Station Council Treasure, while also being the secretary of the Reformed Church University Trust which saw the introduction of the RCU between 2004 and 2008.
In 2008, Chigumo joined Ratidzo School for the Mentally Challenged as headmaster. He has been there up to this time of his retirement. While at Ratidzo, he became instrumental in the development of the school.
To date he has contributed to the building of the security wall around the school, acquiring two vehicles for the school and building the computer laboratory in 2012. Indeed, education and the church has been central to Chigumo's life. He has now retired after more than 42 years of committed and dedicated work in education and in the church.
Chigumo has had a glamorous educational and Christian career. He deserves a good rest, knowing that his contribution can never go unnoticed for the people of Masvingo and Zimbabwe
Kutsiriyi Timothy Gondo
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).education