Fr General visits St George’s College, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe welcomed Fr General on 14 December as he continues his visit to the Southern African Province. He visited several apostolates in the country including St George’s College, Harare, Zimbabwe – a momentous occasion for the school community of one of the oldest boy’s schools in the country. Fr Sosa’s presence celebrates the Jesuit heritage but also highlights the ongoing impact the institution has on education in Zimbabwe.

Founded in January 1896 by French Jesuit, Fr Marc Barthelemy, St George’s began from a humble corrugated iron hut with only six pupils. Today, the school boasts of over 700 students and stands as a beacon of academic excellence, especially because of its dedication to the holistic formation of young men and women in view of preparing future leaders.

The story of this prestigious institution has not been without its twists and turns, but, through it all, St Georges has weathered various storms and evolved over time. In 1925, because the school had outgrown its original location in Bulawayo, the decision was made to relocate to Salisbury (now Harare) in January 1927 to have more room for expansion. Subsequently, during the 1940s and 1950s, various building projects were undertaken, including the Library wing in 1942, “Monastery” and later the “Priory”. In 1955, a new Dormitory Wing and new Laboratories were completed. Other structures and amenities sprang up in the years that followed.

In addition to its physical growth around that time, the College marked a few milestones, especially the admission of its first black student in 1964 despite opposition from the government of the time. St George’s went on to open its doors to students of all races who could satisfy its entry criteria. More recent years have seen St George’s continue relentlessly along the path of growth.It built upon its primary school wing at Hartmann House by adding Early Childhood Development (ECD) which is called the Paul Miki Center. The Primary school – Hartmann House – currently has about 450 pupils. In 2017, St George’s launched a new science block whose building commenced in 2016. In 2018, the Fr Michael Ross SJ Science Centre was opened, sporting 11 fully fitted modern laboratories, 3 preparation rooms and offices. In 2023, St Georges was accredited as a member of the Headmasters Conference (HMC) with over 300 top private schools around the world. In 2017, it opened a new primary school wing and started the building of a new science block. In 2018, the Fr Michael Ross SJ Science Centre was opened, sporting 11 fully fitted modern laboratories.

Beyond its campus walls, St. George’s College has had a profound impact on the broader education landscape of Zimbabwe. The school’s commitment to academic excellence has had an influence on educational practices and inspiring other institutions to prioritize holistic development and character formation.

The College’s dedication to excellence also extends to extra-curricular activities, and it figures among the best in sports: rugby, cricket, athletics, basketball, tennis, squash and swimming. Some of its old students have gone on to become nationally acclaimed athletes and sportsmen.

Father General visiting the Fr Michael Ross SJ Science Centre.

Though St George’s has traditionally been a boy’s college, the decision was made in January 2020, in line with the inclusive spirit of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus to accompany the youth, to allow a first intake of girls; by 2026, all classes will be coed.

The visit of Fr Sosa to St George’s College in Harare will go down in the books as a significant chapter in the school’s storied history. It underscores the school’s deep connection to the universal Society and its commitment to the principles of Ignatian education. Fr Sosa’s presence served as an inspiration for students, faculty, and the entire school community, reinforcing the importance of the Jesuit values that form the bedrock of St George’s College.

Father General also took the opportunity to meet with our partners in mission and with youth groups, visit the Chishawasha mission, and the scholastics in formation at Arrupe Jesuit University, the philosophate of the Society of Jesus in Zimbabwe.

Look at the photo gallery of Father General’s visit to St George’s College.

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