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Cyrene High crowned Nash debate national champs


By Mthabisi Tshuma

The Cyrene High School debate club has broken Matabeleland region’s nine-year barren streak after being crowned this year’s National Association of School Heads (NASH) debate champions in the seniors category.

Cyrene High School students and their coaches from left, coach Patrick Gatsheni Ndlovu, students Tirivashe Mataya, Nathaniel Moyo, Menelisi Nyoni, Ntandoyenkosi Mahonde and coach Zinhle Chinembiri pose for a photo with their trophy after they emerged the 2019 National Interschools’ Debate Champions. (Picture by Nkosizile Ndlovu)
Cyrene High School students and their coaches from left, coach Patrick Gatsheni Ndlovu, students Tirivashe Mataya, Nathaniel Moyo, Menelisi Nyoni, Ntandoyenkosi Mahonde and coach Zinhle Chinembiri pose for a photo with their trophy after they emerged the 2019 National Interschools’ Debate Champions. (Picture by Nkosizile Ndlovu)

The competition, which was put on halt last year after an outbreak of cholera in Harare, was eventually held in Mutare earlier this month. The four-member Cyrene group comprising of Tirivashe Mataya, Ntandoyenkosi Mahonde, Nathaniel Moyo and Menelisi Nyoni shrugged off competition from 10 other schools.

Bulawayo’s St Columba’s High settled for second position while Kriste Mambo High took third position. Other schools that participated were hosts Mutare Boys High, St Faith’s Secondary, Mazowe High, Ellis Robins High, Kriste Mambo High, Chaplin High, Silveria High and St Dominics High while George Silundika High failed to field participants.

The motions for this year were abstract and somewhat more difficult, giving all teams a debating plain field. The final round impromptu motions were:

“This house believes that housewives should be paid for their duties” and “This house believes that Greece should default its debt and go back to the Drachma.” The groups were given 10 minutes to caucus and argue on the topic given.

With an exceptional intellectual verbal skirmish, Cyrene earned themselves an entry ticket to the Orate-Africa debate competitions in Namibia where they will represent the country in December.

The Figtree school’s debate club coaches, Patrick Ndlovu and Zinhle Chinembiri, said they were elated to have won the competition. They said they are now in dire need of funds for the team to participate in the continental competition.

“Considering the current economic situation in the country, we might not participate in the Orate Africa competition as we don’t have funds. As such, we’re appealing to sponsors to come on board and fund the group so they represent the country.

“As a school which is located in the rural areas, the way the boys performed in the final impromptu competition shows how talented they are, thus they need our full support,” said Chinembiri. Regarded as a niche of Matabeleland South, the group said they owed their success to the school’s heads.

“We worked as a team to achieve this and we appreciate the work from the whole debate club, the Deputy head Mrs Dube and the head Mr Bhebhe for supporting us from the onset. Debate has turned from being an extra-curricular activity in our school to being a culture,” said Ntandoyenkosi Mahonde who emerged as the national competition’s second best speaker. As the reigning champions, we’re eager to penetrate the international ground and do our country proud,” added Mahonde.

To show how good the Cyrene team is, its senior team almost landed the trophy at the last edition as they came second.

More than a mere verbal or performance skill, debate embodies the ideals of reasoned argument, tolerance for divergent points of view and rigorous self-examination.

It is, above all, a way for those who hold opposing views to discuss controversial issues without descending to insults.

A key trademark of debate is that it rarely ends in agreement, but rather allows for a robust analysis of the question at hand. The Chronicle

Cyrene High old boys rescue destroyed school


By Rutendo Ngara

Cyrene High School has received a donation of roofing sheets from former pupils to repair two hostels whose roofs were destroyed by a whirlwind last month.

Cyrene High old boys rescue destroyed school
Cyrene High old boys rescue destroyed school

Speaking at the handover ceremony at the school in Matobo on Friday, the headmaster, Mr Charles Bhebhe, said they did not have money to repair the damage.

“It was an accident and as a school we did not have the money to repair the damage. Some of the quotations we got from local companies were ranging between ZWL$80 000 and ZWL$100 000.The money which comes to school coffers is from fees payments but because of inflation, as a school we failed to buy the material,” said Mr Bhebhe.

The chairperson of the Cyrene Old Boys Association (COBA), Mr Roy Tapela, said former pupils had decided to plough back to their former school.

“I was here from 1987-1990. When I saw the article about the incident, I sent it to our group as an association. We managed to raise over R60 000 to buy the material,” said Mr Tapela.

“As an association our aim is to groom our young brothers so that we have great people from Cyrene. We have also awarded a scholarship to Nikita Mweembe to study at the National University of Science and Technology.

“The scholarship covers tuition fee, accommodation and some pocket money. The amount of pocket money depends on the inflation rate on the market. Last month we gave him RTGS$500.”

Mweembe, who is studying Civil Engineering at Nust, said he was grateful for the sponsorship.

“I was here from 2016 to 2017 majoring in Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. I scored 16 points. I did not have money to proceed to university and grace located me, COBA gave me a scholarship,” he said.

Matobo South Schools Inspector Mr Liberty Sibanda said the help received from COBA shows that if people are united, progress is inevitable.

“We heard from Mr Bhebhe that as a school they failed to raise money to buy the roofing material. COBA proved that togetherness brings progress.

“As Matobo district, we want to thank you COBA for the wonderful work you have done at Cyrene. You have proved that togetherness brings progress in society,” said Mr Sibanda. Source: The Chronicle

Whirlwind blows off roofs of classrooms and hostels


By Nqobile Tshili

A WHIRLWIND blew off the roofs of classrooms and hostels at two schools in Matabeleland South on Thursday injuring pupils at one of the schools.

Whirlwind blows off roofs of classrooms and hostels
Whirlwind blows off roofs of classrooms and hostels

Matabeleland South acting provincial education director Mr Lifias Masukume confirmed the incidents which occurred at Cyrene High School in Matobo District and Senondo Primary School in Gwanda

He said he has since deployed his teams to the ground to assess the impact of the damage.

“I’m still waiting for a full report from the district schools inspector, currently I’m at a Ministry’s workshop in Bulawayo. I received a report that several learners were injured at Senondo Primary School and were taken to the hospital.

“I don’t have the exact number of pupils who were injured. In Cyrene High School there were no injuries,” said Mr Masukume.

He said schools should constantly monitor their roofing infrastructure to ensure that they are in a perfect condition.

Mr Masukume said maintaining schools infrastructure could lessen severe impact when natural disasters occur.

He however, said his call for institutions to assess their buildings was not implying that the two incidents occurred as a result of weak infrastructure.

A source said Cyrene High School is now facing serious accommodation problem following the incident.

“The situation is very serious I don’t want to lie. Hostels for Form 2, 3, 4 and Upper Six students were damaged by the whirlwind. The school had to relocate the students to dormitories that were not affected.

“But it’s not very convenient as the boys are now very cramped in very small space which is not good. I hope something will be done very soon because the makeshift environment is also a good breeding ground for bullying incidents,” said the source.

Cyrene High School is an Anglican Church- run boys boarding.

A week ago, a whirlwind damaged infrastructure at Mafakela Primary School in Bulawayo leaving four Grade Three pupils injured. The Chronicle

Posthumous academic awards for two Cyrene pupils


By Whinsley Masara

Two Cyrene High School pupils who drowned and died during a school trip last month, were awarded certificates posthumously on Saturday for academic achievements.

Melinkosi ( in white shirt and cap ) receives a prize during the 2016 Speech and Prize giving day
Melinkosi ( in white shirt and cap ) receives a prize during the 2016 Speech and Prize giving day

Melinkosi Mhlanga (17) a Form Five pupil and Blessings Ngwenya (14), a Form One pupil drowned in a canoeing accident in Masiye Dam at Matopo National Park on September 19.

They were among 31 pupils from the Anglican Church-run boys’ boarding school who had visited Masiye Camp which is run by the Salvation Army Church when their canoe capsized and they drowned.

Speaking during a speech and prize giving ceremony that was held on Saturday at the school, the headmaster, Mr Charles Bhebhe said the school had been robbed of two geniuses.

“Death robbed us of two students in the second week of the term, Melinkosi Mhlanga and Blessings Ngwenya.

“Blessings was a Form One student, who had attained 13 one symbols during the mid-year examinations and was joint position one in the Form One stream. He receives his prize posthumously. He was also a good chess player and a promising handball player.

“Melinkosi was a lower six science student majoring in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Education. At ‘O’ Level he had attained five As. He was a member of the school choir,” he said.

The late pupils’ families received certificates for the achievements.

Mr Bhebhe said no one understands why God takes away good people.

“Good people pass away; the Godly often die before their time but no one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow Godly paths will rest in peace when they die (Isaiah 57:1-2),” said Mr Bhebhe.

“In God’s care you rest above, in our hearts you rest with love. Memories of you are ours to keep. Our words are few but our love is deep.” Source: The Chronicle

Edward “Ned” Paterson


Edward “Ned” Paterson (1895–1974) was a pioneering art teacher in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He is known for founding Cyrene School near Bulawayo.



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