BELOVED AFRICAN PAPERBACK

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BELOVED AFRICAN PAPERBACK

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BELOVED AFRICAN is the story of John Hammond, born in Plumtree in 1910, 20 years after colonial settlement of Southern Rhodesia in 1890. He was a man destined to become a legend in the history of African education. Appointed as headmaster to Tjolotjo School at the age of 26, within only a few years, virulent tertian malignant malaria and exponential growth in demand for pupil entry, became key factors in deciding to move this agricultural and technically based school to Mzingwane.

Over two years, John, his staff and the schoolboys built the new school almost 100 miles distant, moving everything by trek oxen to the new site. The enormous success of this school at Mzingwane, prompted the African Education Department in 1954, to move John Hammond as headmaster to a deeply troubled school at the time, Goromonzi. This was the first school in the country offering six years of secondary schooling and preparing pupils for university entrance. However it was not destined to be easy and resulted in John having to expel the senior forms with no guarantee of re-admittance.

The story is, as told to his daughter and author Jill Baker, through the perceptive, courageous, but anxious eyes. of his English born wife Nancy. Her light, love and hilarious observations are a wonderful counterpoint to the difficulties - and extraordinary achievements - of the staff, pupils and John himself as they tried desperately to educate enough young Africans to be able to run the country. John Hammond felt the greatest tragedy which was stated to the end of his life “we needed one more educated generation to give them a chance to run it well”