Service Above Self!
The Early Years
The Rotary Club of Harare, Zimbabwe which was chartered in 1930, was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Johannesburg, South Africa as one of the first Rotary Clubs in Africa outside the Union of South Africa. At that time the country was called Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes who had an ambition to build a railway line from Cape to Cairo and to develop the hinterland economically. With the coming of Independence from Britain in 1980, the country's name changed to Zimbabwe and a few years later, the capital city's name was changed from Salisbury to Harare. The city remains the capital and economic hub of Zimbabwe. The International Directory lists six Rotary Clubs in Harare.
Up to June 1997 the country formed part of Rotary District 9250 but at present is one of the four countries of Rotary District 9210.
Previously the Kingdom of Swaziland and the northern and eastern parts of the then province of Transvaal in South Africa were part of the District.
Now the District encompasses Malawi, Zambia and the northern half of Mozambique in addition to the whole of Zimbabwe. This covers a large area of sub-equatorial Africa. So the District Governor annually has a daunting task to visit all the Clubs in this large District.
At the time of redistricting there was disappointment at not being able to meet annually close Rotarian friends from Swaziland and South Africa at future assemblies and conferences. However it has created opportunities for further friendships with Rotarians in less developed neighbouring countries in Southern Africa and provided almost unlimited opportunities for service.
Like the club which sponsored the formation of RC of Harare more than seven decades ago, the Johannesburg Rotary Club, the first on the African continent, the average age of membership continues to be the highest in RI District 9210. Because of this, the club has a goodly number of members now in retirement, so steps continue to be taken to induct younger members. The weekly luncheon attendance by the 70s plus age group, however, remains regular. Their wise counsel on the service committees particularly, based on their experience with major projects many initiated by them in earlier days, is much appreciated and where possible these 'old timers' continue to support the ongoing ones. Membership in general of course realizes that there is the continuous need for an inflow of new younger members to maintain the dynamism for which the club is so well known.
Current president is Jefta Mugweni. but one of the younger members Immanuel Banza, who joined the club in September 1998 was President in Rotary's centenary year, which was also the seventy-fifth anniversary of the RC of Harare.
Although and because of the club's age, it can claim many more past major projects, at the same time members are mindful of the extensive projects being undertaken by other Rotary Clubs in Zimbabwe and in the other three countries of RI District 9210, in fields such as medical service provision and the undertaking of surgical operations by local and overseas Rotarians, particularly in dentistry and improving eyesight in remote rural areas. In this connection and where possible, the RC of Harare supports service initiatives by those other clubs.
Notable among past and present major projects of the club (many continuous and some with the cooperation and input by other service clubs including Lions and Round Table among others) are:
- The Children's Home
- Fairways Home for the Aged
- Athol Evans Hospital Home
- Bumhudzo Home and Hospital for Aged Destitutes (the club's 50th year Anniversary Project) Braille Library (serving the whole country with financial assistance from Rotary Clubs abroad)
- Providing guidance for school leavers to choose a career
- Upgrading of rural water wells and installation of naturally ventilated pit latrines, a major project that has and continues to attract support from Rotary Clubs in USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Holland and Spain
A focus of Rotary worldwide, one that the RC of Harare strongly supports, has for decades been on youth development. In this regard RC of Harare Club spearheaded the introduction of Interact Clubs in the District and is presently overseeing no less than six active Interact Clubs at schools within Harare.
- Harare International School Interact Club
- Highfield Secondary School Interact Club
- Girls' High School Interact Club
- College of Health Sciences Rotaract Club
- Churchill High School Interact Club
- Roosevel Girls High School Interact Club
- Prince Edward Girls' High School Interact Club
The RC of Harare boasts of having provided no less than seven District Governors. Membership is largely drawn from amongst the ranks of business and professional leaders within the city, individuals who have over the decades made significant contribution towards the development of Zimbabwe.
|1990-1991||1991-1992||1992-1993||1993-1994||1994-1995 Danny Meyer|
|2010-2011||2011-2012 Jim Henry||2012-2013||2013-2014||2014-2015|
This account was prepared by past president (1994-95) Danny Meyer of the Rotary Club of Harare, for the author of the 'History of Rotary' book, which was published to coincide with the centenary year of Rotary. Members of the club are acknowledged and thanked for their input. Danny Meyer, Harare, Zimbabwe
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